War, Politics and Superheroes

Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film

War, Politics and Superheroes

Superhero adventure comics have a long history of commenting upon American public opinion and government policy, and the surge in the popularity of comics since the events of September 11, 2001, ensures their continued relevance. This critical text examines the seventy-year history of comic book superheroes on film and in comic books and their reflections of the politics of their time. Superheroes addressed include Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Superman, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, and topics covered include American wars, conflicts, and public policy. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

War, Politics and Superheroes

Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film

War, Politics and Superheroes

Superhero adventure comics have a long history of commenting upon American public opinion and government policy, and the surge in the popularity of comics since the events of September 11, 2001, ensures their continued relevance. This critical text examines the seventy-year history of comic book superheroes on film and in comic books and their reflections of the politics of their time. Superheroes addressed include Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Superman, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, and topics covered include American wars, conflicts, and public policy. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

Superman and the Bible

How the Idea of Superheroes Affects the Reading of Scripture

Superman and the Bible

In 1938, Superman debuted, jumping off the pages of Action Comics #1. In the cultural context of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. would see the rise of the superhero not only in comic books but in radio programs, animated cartoons and television shows. Superman forever changed one’s concept of the hero and became permanently engrained in both American and worldwide culture. This study explores the Man of Steel’s narrative as a fresh perspective on readings of the Bible—his character is reflected in such figures as Moses, Samson and Jesus. The author argues that if we read the Bible it can be said we are reading about Superman.

The Superhero Symbol

Media, Culture, and Politics

The Superhero Symbol

“As a man, I'm flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol... as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting”. In the 2005 reboot of the Batman film franchise, Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne articulates how the figure of the superhero can serve as a transcendent icon. It is hard to imagine a time when superheroes have been more pervasive in our culture. Today, superheroes are intellectual property jealously guarded by media conglomerates, icons co-opted by grassroots groups as a four-color rebuttal to social inequities, masks people wear to more confidently walk convention floors and city streets, and bulletproof banners that embody regional and national identities. From activism to cosplay, this collection unmasks the symbolic function of superheroes. Bringing together superhero scholars from a range of disciplines, alongside key industry figures such as Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini, The Superhero Symbol provides fresh perspectives on how characters like Captain America, Iron Man, and Wonder Woman have engaged with media, culture, and politics, to become the “everlasting” symbols to which a young Bruce Wayne once aspired.

Superheroes and American Self Image

From War to Watergate

Superheroes and American Self Image

This book offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of comic-books, mobilising them as a means to understand better the political context in which they are produced. Structured around key political events in the US between 1938 and 1975, the author combines analyses of visual and textual discourse, including comic-book letters pages, to come to a more complete picture of the relationship between comic-books as documents and the people who read and created them. Exploring the ways in which ideas about the US and its place in the world were represented in major superhero comic-books during the tumultuous period of US history from the Great Depression to the political trauma of Watergate and the end of the Vietnam War, Superheroes and American Self-Image sheds fresh light on the manner in which comic-books shape and are shaped by contemporary politics. As such it will appeal to scholars of cultural and media studies, history and popular culture.

The Comic Art of War

A Critical Study of Military Cartoons, 1805-2014, with a Guide to Artists

The Comic Art of War

For military cartoonists the absurdity of war inspires a laugh-or-cry response and provides an endless source of un-funny amusement. Cartoons by hundreds of artists-at-arms from more than a dozen countries and spanning two centuries are included in this study--the first to consider such a broad range of military comics. War and military life are examined through the inside jokes of the men and women who served. The author analyzes themes of culture, hierarchy, enemies and allies, geography, sexuality, combat, and civilian relations and describes how comics function within a community. A number of artists included were known for their work with Disney, Marvel Comics, the New Yorker and Madison Avenue but many lesser known artists are recognized.

Working-Class Comic Book Heroes

Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics

Working-Class Comic Book Heroes

Contributions by Phil Bevin, Blair Davis, Marc DiPaolo, Michele Fazio, James Gifford, Kelly Kanayama, Orion Ussner Kidder, Christina M. Knopf, Kevin Michael Scott, Andrew Alan Smith, and Terrence R. Wandtke In comic books, superhero stories often depict working-class characters who struggle to make ends meet, lead fulfilling lives, and remain faithful to themselves and their own personal code of ethics. Working-Class Comic Book Heroes: Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics examines working-class superheroes and other protagonists who populate heroic narratives in serialized comic books. Essayists analyze and deconstruct these figures, viewing their roles as fictional stand-ins for real-world blue-collar characters. Informed by new working-class studies, the book also discusses how often working-class writers and artists created these characters. Notably Jack Kirby, a working-class Jewish artist, created several of the most recognizable working-class superheroes, including Captain America and the Thing. Contributors weigh industry histories and marketing concerns as well as the fan community's changing attitudes towards class signifiers in superhero adventures. The often financially strapped Spider-Man proves to be a touchstone figure in many of these essays. Grant Morrison's Superman, Marvel's Shamrock, Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta, and The Walking Dead receive thoughtful treatment. While there have been many scholarly works concerned with issues of race and gender in comics, this book stands as the first to deal explicitly with issues of class, cultural capital, and economics as its main themes.

Working-class Comic Book Heroes

Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics

Working-class Comic Book Heroes

The first book to tackle the blue-collar hero and working-class creators

Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men

Superheroes and the American Experience

Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men

Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men explores the changing depiction of superheroes from the comic books of the 1930s to the cinematic present. In this anthology, scholars from a variety of disciplines including history, cultural studies, Latin American studies, film studies, and English examine the superheros cultural history in North America with attention to particular stories and to the historical contexts in which those narratives appeared. Enduring comic book characters from DC and Marvel Comics including Superman, Iron Man, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Avengers are examined, along with lesser-known Canadian, Latino, and African-American superheroes. With a sweep of characters ranging from the Pulp Era to recent cinematic adaptations, and employing a variety of analytical frameworks, this collection offers new insights for scholars, students, and fans of the superhero genre.

Rape in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and Beyond

Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction

Rape in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and Beyond

Focusing on the sexualized violence of Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium trilogy – including the novels, Swedish film adaptations, and Hollywood blockbusters – this collection of essays puts Larsson's work into dialogue with Scandinavian and Anglophone crime novels by writers including Jo Nesbø, Håkan Nesser, Mo Hayder and Val McDermid.