The Mythology of the Superhero


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About the Book

Superheroes have been an integral part of popular society for decades and have given rise to a collective mythology familiar in popular culture worldwide. Though scholars and fans have recognized and commented on this mythology, its structure has gone largely unexplored. This book provides a model and lexicon for identifying the superhero mythos. The author examines the myth in several narratives—including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Green Arrow and Beowulf—and discusses such diverse characters as Batman, Wolverine, Invincible and John Constantine.

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About the Author(s)

Andrew R. Bahlmann is an assistant professor at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. His interests include medieval literature, popular culture, and mythology and folklore. He lives in Ephraim.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew R. Bahlmann

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6248-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2518-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Introduction: Superheroes as a New Mythology 3

1. Building a Framework: The Lexicon of Superhero Mythology 25

2. Green Arrow as an Exemplar of the Superhero Myth Structure 95

3. Buffy Summers and the Superhero Myth: Reading a Popular Culture Icon Through a Mythological Lens 112

4. Finding the Superhero: Reading SyFy’s Alphas Through the Mythological Lexicon 132

5. The Superhero Before the Superhero: Finding Superhero Mythology in the Old English Beowulf 150

6. The Superheroic Structure: Examining the Mythological Character of the Superhero 168

Appendix: Superhero Tropes 181

Chapter Notes 185

Bibliography and Television Shows and Films 195

Index 201