On December 12, I received my copy of the two-volume Mormons and Popular Culture in the mail. know it’s not out until the 31st, but Praeger‘s the sort of classy joint that hooks the contributor up before the general population. I think this is the first time in my career I’ve received a copy of my work before the general public. . . .
Anyway, the two-volume work covers the gamut from film to football, with surveys on everything from comics to historical sites and closeups on folks from Stephenie Meyer to Glenn Beck. Some of the essays are versions of ones we know like Randy Astle’s work on cinema and some are utterly new. I mean—did you know about Rose Marie Reid?
I haven’t read any of the essays yet (they just came in the mail), but since they’re crazy expensive and thus you may not be buying your own copy, I thought I would share the table of contents and some general first impressions.
Mormons and Cinema (Randy Astle)
The Mormon Influence at Disney (J. Michael Hunter)
“Flights of Imagination”: Philo T. Farnsworth and the Invention of Television (John-Charles Duffy)
Mormons and American Television (John-Charles Duffy)
Mormons and Melodrama (Megan Sanborn Jones)
Mormon Drama (Eric Samuelsen)
Ritualized Theater: The Performing Pilgrim’s Process at the Hill Cumorah Pageant (James A. Bell)
Mormons and the Music Industry (Michael Hicks)
America’s Choir: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and American Popular Culture (Heidi S. Swinton)
A Genius for Beauty: Swimsuit Designer Rose Marie Reid (Roger K. Petersen and Carole Reid Burr)
Profiles of Selected Mormon Actors (J. Michael Hunter)
“As Much as Any Novelist Could Ask”: Mormons in American Popular Fiction (Michael Austin)
Mormon Contributions to Young Adult Literature (Toni Elise Pilcher)
Testifying: Mormonism and the Writings of Stephenie Meyer (Kristi A. Young)
Orthodox vs. Literary: An Overview of Mormon Fiction (Christopher Kimball Bigelow)
Mormon Picture Book Authors (Rick Walton)
Mormons and American Comics (Theric Jepson)
Mormons and American Popular Art (Noel. A. Carmack)
“Horribly Caricatured and Made Hideous in Cartoons”: Political Cartooning and the Reed Smoot Hearings (Michael Harold Paulos)
Jack Anderson: A Mormon Who Influenced Millions (Tim Chambless)
Glenn Beck: The Meteoric Rise and Decline of a Mormon Media Phenomenon (Robert A. Rees)
The Dawning of a New Era: Mormonism and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 (Konden R. Smith)
Mormons in the New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965 (Nathaniel Smith Kogan)
Touring Sacred History: The Latter-day Saints and Their Historical Sites (Daniel H. Olsen)
Ab Jenkins and the Mormon Meteor (Jessie L. Embry and Ron Shook)
Profiles of Selected Mormon Athletes in Professional Sports (J. Michael Hunter)
No doubt, knowing this audience, your first thought is, “But what about ______?” And I totally agree with you. It’s a shame that ______ didn’t get an essay. But I’m still pretty excited about what is here and that this book is going to be showing up in university libraries all over.
On a personal note, although I’ve written about Mormons and comics as extensively as anyone ever in the history of the world, for some reason completing this essay ranks among the most difficult writing tasks of my career. I don’t know why, but it was rough. And I wish I had included more old stuff such as the whatnot Ardis is always uncovering. But it’s still a terrific terrific essay and all by itself probably worth about $75 of the cover price. So that’s great news!
One bonus for readers of AMV:
For some reason, my images didn’t make it into print (with one exception, that actually appears in Carmack’s article)—perhaps difficulty obtaining rights? But as for me and the Internet, we laugh in the face of the copyright fears faced by legit publishers! So you can see the images and captions here.
In related news, I published a comic the same day I received these books in the mail. Which, as mentioned, feature me talking about comics. I’m the image of Sam Brannon in the bottom left.