The Amazing Transforming Superhero!

Essays on the Revision of Characters in Comic Books, Film and Television

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About the Book

This collection of essays analyzes the many ways in which comic book and film superheroes have been revised or rewritten in response to changes in real-world politics, social mores, and popular culture. Among many topics covered are the jingoistic origin of Captain America in the wake of the McCarthy hearings, the post–World War II fantasy-feminist role of Wonder Woman, and the Nietzschean influences on the “sidekick revolt” in the 2004 film The Incredibles.

About the Author(s)

Terrence R. Wandtke is a professor of literature and media studies at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, where he teaches classes in comic books, graphic novels, visual art, and new media. He is the founder and director of the Imago Film Festival.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Terrence R. Wandtke
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3189-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9013-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction: Once Upon a Time Once Again      5

PART I: SUPERHEROES IN THE GOLDEN AND SILVER AGES

Retconning America: Captain America in the Wake of World War II and the McCarthy Hearings      33

Super-Girls and Mild Mannered Men: Gender Trouble in Metropolis      52

From Jimmy Durante to Michael Chiklis: The Thing Comes Full Circle      70

PART II: SUPERHEROES IN THE MODERN AGE

Frank Miller Strikes Again and Batman Becomes a Postmodern Anti-Hero: The Tragi (Comic) Reformulation of the Dark Knight      87

The “Transcreation” of a Mediated Myth: Spider-Man in India      112

Warren Ellis Is the Future of Superhero Comics: How to Write Superhero Stories That Aren’t Superhero Stories      129

PART III: SUPERHEROES IN THE MULTI-MEDIA AGE

Wonder Woman as World War II Veteran, Camp Feminist Icon, and Male Sex Fantasy      151

Smallville as a Rhetorical Means of Moral Value Education      174

“Le Western Noir”: The Punisher as Revisionist Superhero Western      192

The Nietzschean Influence in The Incredibles and the Sidekick Revolt      209

Afterword: Conclusion to the Never-Ending Story(s)      231

About the Contributors      237

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“scholarly…interesting”—School Library Journal; “enlightening”—Critical Mass.