The DC Comics Universe

Critical Essays

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About the Book

As properties of DC comics continue to sprout over the years, narratives that were once kept sacrosanct now spill over into one another, synergizing into one bona fide creative Universe. Intended for both professional pop culture researchers and general interest readers, this collection of essays covers DC Universe multimedia, including graphic novels, video games, movies and TV shows. Each essay is written by a recognized pop culture expert offering a distinct perspective on a wide variety of topics. Even though many of the entries address important social themes like gender and racism, the book is not limited to these topics. Also included are more lighthearted essays for full verisimilitude, including analyses of long forgotten or seemingly marginal aspects of the DC Extended Universe, as well as in-depth and original interpretations of the most beloved characters and their relationships to one another. Highly accessible and approachable, this work provides previously unavailable in-roads that create a richer comprehension of the ever-expanding DC Universe.

About the Author(s)

Douglas Brode is a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, film historian, and award winning journalist. He teaches courses on various popular culture subjects at the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Department of Radio, TV and Film, at Syracuse University. The author of more than 35 books on the visual and performing arts, he regularly appears on national radio and TV shows as a special guest.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Douglas Brode
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8737-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4726-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Superman, DC Comics, and the Lure of the Fantastic
Douglas Brode 1

Super Immigrants in the DC Universe: Superman and Wonder Woman in the United States
Emily Lauer 15

Deconstructing Batman, Encumbered and Unencumbered
Cyrus R.K. Patell 25

Queer(ing) Robin: Performances of Sexuality in Dick Grayson and His Aliases
Micah McCrary 42

Constructed Super Families: Superheroes, ­­Super-Kids, and ­­Super-Pets
Ora C. McWilliams 54

From Sherlock Holmes to Contemporary Superheroes: The Art of Detection and Investigation in the DC Universe
Michelle D. Miranda 65

Of Selina Kyle and Harley Quinn: Branding and Controlling Women in Batman Video Games
Carl Wilson 77

Shipping Supergirl: Discovering and Defending Lesbian Identity Through a DC Fandom
Katherine Pradt 89

Batgirl of Burnside: The Normalization of Diversity in the DC Universe
Hafsa Alkhudairi 100

From Boy to Man: The Power of Shazam and Idealized Self-Image
William Battle 110

The Cultural Context of Green Lantern: Superhero Commodity Rebirth, Renewal, and Rhetorical Extensions
Garret L. Castleberry 122

Teleporting Off the Page: The Wacky Life and Truncated Career of Ambush Bug
Joseph S. Walker 136

Ratoon, Remontant, Revenant, or Recorporation: Death, Melancholy, and Mourning in DC’s The Saga
of the Swamp Thing
Jeffrey Mccambridge 146

Aquaman Rex: The Arthurian Associations of a DC Superhero
Carl B. Sell 158

Bound to the Shackles of History: Reading Archival Practices in DC Comics’ Flashpoint
Priel Cohanim 170

DC’s King of the Wild Frontier: Tomahawk and the Tradition of the Eastern–Western
Douglas Brode 180

DC Comics’ Renaissance: An Examination of the Audience for The New Teen Titans
Joshua Ryan Roeder 191

“A vision of the world where all wisdom is annihilated”; Time, Narrative, and the Optics of Power in Watchmen
Jeffrey Mccambridge 201

Wonder Woman Revisited: Increasing the Drama with Classical Reception in New 52’s Justice League
Scott Manning 214

Evil Ink: Tattoos as a Sign of Villainy in Comics
Michelle D. Miranda 225

Caped Crusaders and Cartoon Crossovers: A Nostalgic Look “Beyond” DC Superheroes
Christina M. Knopf 236

About the Contributors 247
Index 251