Why We Need Superheroes


In stock

About the Book

Comic books and superhero stories mirror essential societal values and beliefs. We can be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Black Panther or Rocket Raccoon through our everyday choices. We can’t fly, fix hyper drives or hear human heartbeats a mile away, but we can think about what Matt Murdock would do in a conflict, how Superman would respond to natural disasters and how Captain America would handle humanitarian crises. This book analyzes the impact of dozens of comics by examining the noble personalities, traits and actions of the main characters. Chapters detail how superheroes, comic books and other pop culture phenomena offer more than pure entertainment, and how we can better model ourselves after our favorite heroes. Through our good deeds, quick thinking and positive choices, we can become more like superheroes than we ever imagined. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Kahan is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in California.

Bibliographic Details

Jeffrey Kahan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages:  273
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8272-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4497-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Why Comic Books 5
1. Race in Black and White 17
2. Captain America Rules! 41
3. The Fantastic Four, Incorporated 66
4. Coded Complications 90
5. The Guardians of Goofiness 116
6. Islamophobia 137
7. Wayne’s World 161
Coda: Are Comic Books Dying? 190
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 237
Index 251

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This comprehensive, exhaustive volume offers a bounty of riches for those in the subfield of superhero studies. Kahan, who with the late Stan Stewart constructed the first and second editions of Caped Crusaders 101 (2006, 2010), has built on that previous research and analysis while addressing issues and concerns overlooked or marginalized in the earlier works…. this text is an important contribution to superhero pedagogy…highly recommended”—Choice

• “Why We Need Superheroes is a welcome contribution to contemporary popular culture studies. Elegant, comprehensive and infinitely readable, this is a book for teachers, scholars and anyone who’s ever been curious about the world of superheroes.”—Miranda Corcoran, University College Cork, Ireland