This book explores representations of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel in comics and film, as well as political struggles over these works, to illuminate contemporary cultural concerns about gender, sexuality, race, migration, imperialism, and war.
It focuses on the only two female superheroes who have long histories grounded in feminist activism and military service, and who have starred in blockbuster origin films at a time when resurgent progressive activism has been met by an emboldened backlash against movements for equality. Interdisciplinary and intersectional, the book employs insights from political science and political economy, feminist theories, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, and queer theory to explore how these characters’ feminism and militarism render them particularly appealing and profitable in contentious times.
This is a concise, accessible text suitable for students and scholars in comics studies, media studies, film studies, and women’s and gender studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Gender, Violence, and Militainment
Chapter 2: Military Service, Empowerment, and Diversification
Chapter 3: The Othering of Adversaries and Refugees
Carolyn Cocca, PhD, is Professor of Politics, Economics, and Law at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury. Her Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation won the 2017 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the Best Academic/Scholarly Work category, and she has written numerous articles and book chapters on female superheroes and the importance of representation. She is also the author of Jailbait: The Politics of Statutory Rape Laws in the United States and the editor of Adolescent Sexuality. She teaches courses in U.S. politics, law, and gender studies.