The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood, by Brian "Box" Brown / ISBN 9781250261403 / 258-page hardback from First Second
Brian "Box" Brown brings history and culture to life through his comics. In his new graphic novel, he unravels how marketing that targeted children in the 1980s has shaped adults in the present.
Powered by the advent of television and super-charged by the deregulation era of the 1980s, media companies and toy manufacturers joined forces to dominate the psyches of American children. But what are the consequences when a developing brain is saturated with the same kind of marketing bombardment found in Red Scare propaganda?
Brian “Box” Brown’s The He-Man Effect shows how corporate manipulation brought muscular, accessory-stuffed action figures to dizzying heights in the 1980s and beyond. Bringing beloved brands like He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony, and even Mickey Mouse himself into the spotlight, this graphic history exposes a world with no rules and no concern for results beyond profit.
"Brown’s trademark crisp, simplified cartooning style is a great fit, and he masterfully balances the joy readers may find in nostalgia with the discomfort of the psychology of marketing."―Booklist, starred review
"Brown returns with another clever, sharp, and well-researched graphic novel that explores a pop culture non-fiction topic in close detail."―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"[Brown's] book will...fascinate readers wanting to understand the curious pull that a small, plastic, blond, outer-space barbarian still has on their emotions."―The Star Tribune
“No matter the focus[…]Brown can be counted on to unspool eye-opening, entertaining books that often feel like documentary films.”―The Philadelphia Inquirer