Framing Animal-Rights Activism: An Analysis of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man

Open Access
Blankfield, Bryan Boyd
Graduate Program:
Communication Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 19, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Christopher Lyle Johnstone, Thesis Advisor
  • animal rights
  • framing
  • comic book
  • Grant Morrison
  • Animal Man
In the late 1980s, animal-rights activists spread their message through a variety of channels. An important animal-rights text from this period is Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, a comic series produced by DC Comics. This thesis employs Kenneth Burke’s cluster analysis method to reveal Morrison’s frames in Animal Man. Frames are rhetorical devices that both serve a definitional function, in that they indicate how something is to be understood, and promote a certain moral evaluation of and/or action toward it. Close inspection of Morrison’s rhetoric reveals his conception of animals, humans, and his vision of a moral society. Through strategic framing, Morrison challenges the speciesist belief that animals are inferior to humans and therefore are ours to use. Moreover, he argues that humans have forsaken their responsibility toward animals and the environment. Ultimately, he provides a vision of a moral society in which humans respect and protect animals.