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Fighting the Battles We Never Could: The Avengers and Post-September 11 American Political Identities

  • Annika Hagley (a1) and Michael Harrison (a2)
Extract

On June 26, 2012, Marvel's The Avengers became the third movie in history to earn $600 million dollars at the box office. The film was well received by fans and critics alike and it stood at the apex of a series of superhero movies released in the last decade. The mass appeal of the superhero, as evidenced by this success, has never seemed more powerful than in the years since September 11, a day that floored the likes of Captain America, who wept amidst the rubble with Spider-Man. “Some things are beyond words. Beyond comprehension. Beyond forgiveness” (Straczynski, Romita, and Hanna 2001, 2–3). In this atmosphere of uncertainty, comic book writers struggle to deal with the realization that, when America needed its heroes the most, they could only stand among the wreckage of the smoldering twin towers with the rest of us and ask “why?”

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References
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Campbell Joseph. 1949. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Costello Matthew J. 2011. “Spandex Agonistes: Superhero Comics Confront the War on Terror.” In Portraying 9/11: Essays on Representations in Comics, Literature, Film and Theatre, eds. Bragard Véronique, Dony Christophe, and Rosenberg Warren, 3043. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Engelhardt Tom. 1995. The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation. New York: Basic Books.
Jenkins Henry. 2006. “Captain America Sheds His Mighty Tears: Comics and September 11.” In Terror, Culture, Politics: Rethinking 9/11, eds. Sherman Daniel J. and Nardin Terry, 69102. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kading Terry. 2005. “Drawn into 9/11, But Where Have All the Superheroes Gone?” In Comics as Philosophy, ed. McLaughlin Jeff, 207–27. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Straczynski J. Michael (w), Romita John Jr. (p), and Hanna Scott (i). 2001. The Amazing Spider-Man 36.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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