The Modern Superhero in Film and Television: Popular Genre and American Culture, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Modern Superhero in Film and Television

Popular Genre and American Culture, 1st Edition

By Jeffrey A. Brown


182 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-11-10
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Hollywood’s live-action superhero films currently dominate the worldwide box-office, with the characters enjoying more notoriety through their feature film and television depictions than they have ever before. This book argues that this immense popularity reveals deep cultural concerns about politics, gender, ethnicity, patriotism and consumerism after the events of 9/11. Superheroes have long been agents of hegemony, fighting for abstract ideals of justice while overall perpetuating the American status quo. Yet at the same time, the book explores how the genre has also been utilized to question and critique these dominant cultural assumptions.


"Brown’s careful analysis and self-reflexivity make this an engaging read for those passionate not only about comic books, but also comic book movies. The Modern Superhero in Film and Television is essential for anyone interested in learning more about the modern superhero in mainstream filmic culture." --Danielle Alexis Orozco, The Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Live Action Superhero Genre

1. Hollywood Superheroes: Commercial Economy, Spectacle and the Universe

2. Supermen and Wonder Women: Gender Ideals and Live-Action Superheroes

3. Superheroes Rewriting 9/11 and Remasculinizing America

4. America, Nostalgia and Exceptionalism

5. Diversity and Marginalization

6. Spoofs, Parody and Camp

Conclusion: Superhero Fatigue?

About the Author/Editors

Jeffrey A. Brown is a professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, USA. He is the author of Black Superheroes: Milestone Comics and Their Fans, Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture, and Beyond Bombshells: The New Action Heroine in Popular Culture.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Comics Studies

Routledge Advances in Comics Studies promotes outstanding research on comics and graphic novels from communication theory, rhetorical theory and media studies perspectives. Additionally, the series aims to bring European, Asian, African, and Latin American comics scholarship to the English speaking world. The series includes monographs and themed anthologies. Comics Studies is a recently established and rapidly evolving field with much exciting research still to be done, and Routledge Advances in Comics Studies is dedicated to furthering the understanding of comics as an art form and a medium of communication.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies