Superheroes have been the major genre to emerge from comics and
graphic novels, saturating popular culture with images of muscular
men and sexy women. A major aspect of this genre is identity in the
roles played by individuals, the development of identities through
extended stories and in the ways the characters inspire audiences.
This collection analyses stories from popular comics franchises
such as "Batman, Captain America, Ms Marvel" and "X-Men, "
alongside less well known comics such as "Kabuki "and "Flex
Mentallo. "It explores what superhero narratives can reveal about
our attitudes towards femininity, race, maternity, masculinity and
queer culture. Using this approach, the volume asks questions such
as why there are no black supervillains in mainstream comics, how
second wave feminism and feminist film theory may help us to
understand female comic book characters, the ways in which "Flex
Mentallo" transcends the boundaries of straightness and gayness and
how both fans and industry appropriate the sexual identity of
The book was originally published in a special issue of the
"Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics."
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