The US South has historically loomed large in North American comics. Beginning in the early twentieth century, newspaper strips such as Li’l Abner, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, and Pogo circulated many of the classic tropes of what Kathryn McKee and Deborah Barker (2011) have termed the “Southern imaginary,” a concept they define as “an amorphous and sometimes conflicting collection of images, ideas, attitudes, practices, linguistic accents, histories, and fantasies about a shifting geographic region and time” (2). These strips forwarded an idea of the South as a pastoral setting for the misadventures of comical rustics (Inge 2012). Another facet of the Southern imaginary familiar from comics is the idea of the South as a place of horror, depravity, and violence: think of Graham Ingels’s vision of the decaying plantation home that shelters two murderous brothers (until it doesn’t) in the classic EC Comics horror tale “Horror We? How’s Bayou?” (Haunt of Fear #17, February 1953) or the stereotypical voodoo sorcerer Black Talon who menaces Marvel’s superheroes in the Louisiana swamps (see, for instance, The Avengers #152, October 1976).

This essay may be found on page 193 of the printed volume.

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