Disability and the Superhero

Essays on Ableism and Representation in Comic Media


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About the Book

This is a collection of essays that analyze the presence of ableism in superhero narratives from television shows, films, and comics. Contributors use critical disability studies, media studies, cultural studies, and other interdisciplinary fields to unveil the misinformation, stigma, and exclusion caused by ableist representations of disability or disability-related experiences. Ableism is unmasked in media franchises such as DC Comics, Marvel, Sesame Street, and more.
These essays go beyond what is currently available in critical disability superhero studies, and explore both the well-known and lesser-known characters including Iron Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Thor, Nick Fury, Jessica Jones, War Machine, Wonder Woman, Dr. Poison, the Joker, Bucky Barnes, Punisher, Rocket and Groot, Luke Cage, Captain America, and Sesame Street’s Super Grover. They also offer insightful intersectional analyses of entire series, films, and shows such as Arrowverse and The Ables.

About the Author(s)

Amber E. George is an assistant professor of philosophy and diversity, equity, and inclusion at Galen College and has written and edited several books that explore social justice themes. She lives in Vestal, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Amber E. George
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8097-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4908-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Amber E. George 1
Introduction: Making Sense of Superheroes and Their Social Identities
Amber E. George 3
­Hyper-Normative Heroes, Othered Villains: Differential Disability Narratives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Kelly A. Kane 13
Living in the Mutant Underground: Marvel’s The Gifted
Sue Scheibler 30
Isolation, Overcoming, and the Filmic Stare in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Iron Man Films
Grace McCarthy 46
Tech as Ableist Tool: Understanding the Role of Disability in the Arrowverse Series
Courtney Stanton 61
Cultural Appropriation and Ableism: Dr. Strange’s Strange Concoction
Shanti Srinivas 81
Of Sexism and Ableism: Wonder Woman’s (Ab)Use of Disability
Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad 95
Assimilating Queer/Disabled Subjects in Marvel Superhero Fanfiction
Divya Garg 108
Enabling New Perspectives of (Super)Power and Disability in Jeremy Scott’s The Ables
Robin E. Field and Christopher Boucher 128
“It is I, Super Grover, Here to Challenge Ableism!”
Daisy L. Breneman 145
The Joker: Disrupting Perceptions of (Dis)ability in Batman Comic Books
Sean Thomas Milligan 166
About the Contributors 183
Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This book adeptly addresses the scholarly conversations around disability, superheroes, comics, and popular media.”—Robert Rozema, professor of English