Skip to main content

The Politics of the Superhero: Introduction

  • Matthew J. Costello (a1) and Kent Worcester (a2)

This symposium explores the relationship of superheroes to questions of power, ideology, social relations, and political culture. It represents the first time that a political science journal has devoted sustained attention to the superhero genre as it is reflected in the pages of comic books and graphic novels, and on the big screen.

Hide All
Ahrens Jörn, and Meteling Arno, eds. 2010. Comics and the City: Urban Space in Print, Picture and Sequence. New York: Continuum.
Brooker Will. 2000. Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon. New York: Continuum.
Brown Jeffrey. 2001. Black Superheroes, Milestone Comics, and Their Fans. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Bukatman Scott. 2005. Masters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the Twentieth Century. Durham: Duke University Press.
Bukatman Scott. 2009. “Secret Identity Politics.” In The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero, ed. Ndalianis Angela. New York: Routledge.
Cocca Carolyn. 2014. “‘The Sexier the Outfit, the Fewer Questions Asked’: Negotiating the Third Wave of Feminism in Wonder Woman.” PS: Political Science and Politics 47 (1): this issue.
Costello Matthew J. 2009. Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America. New York: Continuum.
Costello Matthew J. 2010. “The New Superpowered Conflict: Re-Imagining the Cold War in Contemporary Comic Books.” In Between Fear and Freedom: Cultural Representations of the Cold War, ed. Starck Kathleen. London: Cambridge Scholars 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 Veronique, Dony Christophe, and Rosenberg Warren. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.
Dittmer Jason. 2005. “Captain America's Empire: Reflections on Identity, Popular Culture, and Post-9/11 Geopolitics.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95 (3): 626–43.
Dittmer Jason. 2009. “Fighting for Home: Masculinity and the Constitution of the Domestic in Tales of Suspense and Captain America .” In Heroes of Film, Comics and American Culture: Essays on Real and Fictional Defenders of Home, ed. Detora Lisa. Jefferson: McFarland Press.
Dittmer Jason. 2013. Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero: Metaphors, Narratives and Geopolitics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Donovan John. 2012. “Red Menace on the Moon: Containment in Space as Depicted in Comics of the 1950s.” In Comic Books and the Cold War, eds. York Chris and York Rafael. Jefferson: McFarland Press.
Dorfman Ariel, and Mattelart Armand. 1975. How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic. London: IG Editions.
DuBose Mike. 2012. “Holding Out for a Hero: Reaganism, Comic Book Vigilantes, and Captain America.” Journal of Popular Culture 40: 915–35.
Eco Umberto. 1972. “The Myth of Superman.” Reprinted in Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium, eds. Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
Edelman Murray. 1996. From Art to Politics: How Artistic Creation Shapes Political Conceptions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Engel Gary. 1987. “What Makes Superman So Darned American?” In Superman at 50: The Persistence of a Legend, eds. Dooley Dennis and Engel Gary. Cleveland: Octavia Press.
Feiffer Jules. 1965. The Great Comic Book Heroes. New York: Dial Press.
Garrett Dan. 2014. “Superheroes in Hong Kong's Political Resistance: Icons, Images, and Opposition.” PS: Political Science and Politics 47 (1): this issue.
Gavaler Chris. 2014. “The Imperial Superhero.” PS: Political Science and Politics 47 (1): this issue.
Hatfield Charles, Heer Jeet, and Worcester Kent, eds. 2013. “Introduction.” The Superhero Reader. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Heer Jeet, and Worcester Kent, eds. 2009. A Comics Studies Reader. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Hughes Jamie A. 2006. “‘Who Watches the Watchmen?’ Ideology and ‘Real World’ Superheroes.” Journal of Popular Culture 39 (4): 546–57.
Lang Jeffrey S., and Trimble Patrick. 1988. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? An Examination of the American Monomyth and the Comic Book Superhero.” Journal of Popular Culture 22 (3): 157–73.
Lawrence John Shelton, and Jewitt Robert. 2002. The Myth of the American Superhero. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans
Lewis A. David. 2012. “The Militarism of American Superheroes after 9/11.” In Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology, ed. Pustz Matthew. New York: Continuum.
Maggin Elliot (w), Swan Curt (p), and Osker Bob (i). 1974. “The Man Who Murdered Metropolis!” Superman 271 (August). DC Comics.
Miettinen Mervi. 2014. “Masculinity Deconstructed in Watchmen .” PS: Political Science and Politics 47 (1): this issue.
Miller John Jackson. 2005. “Blue States … Unread States?Comics Buyer's Guide 1604 (May 2005): 4045.
Moore Jesse T. 2003. “The Education of Green Lantern: Culture and Ideology.” Journal of American Culture 26 (2): 263–78.
Nama Adilifu. 2011. Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Pearson Roberta E., and Uricchio William, eds. 1991. The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and its Media. New York: Routledge.
Phillips Forrest. 2013. “Captain America and Fans' Political Activity.” Transformative Works and Cultures 13.
Pustz Matthew. 2012. “‘Paralysis and Stagnation and Drift’: America's Malaise as Demonstrated in Comic Books of the 1970s.” In Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology, ed. Pustz Matthew. New York: Continuum.
Reynolds Richard. 1994. Superheroes: A Modern Mythology. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Smith Matthew J., and Duncan Randy. 2012. Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. New York: Routledge.
Weiner Robert G. 2009. Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero: Critical Essays. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.
Worcester Kent. 2011. “New York City, 9/11 and Comics.” Radical History Review 111: 138–54.
Worcester Kent. 2012. “The Punisher and the Politics of Retributive Justice.” Law Text Culture 16 (1): 329–52.
Worcester Kent. 2013. “Graphic Novels in the Social Science Classroom.” In Teaching Politics Beyond the Book: Film, Texts, and New Media in the Classroom, eds. Glover Robert W. and Tagliarina Daniel. New York: Bloomsbury.
Yockey Matt. 2012. “Wonder Woman for a Day: Affect, Agency, and Amazons.” Transformative Works and Cultures vol. 10.
York Chris, and York Rafael, eds. 2012. Comic Books and the Cold War. Jefferson: McFarland Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 117
Total number of PDF views: 337 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1321 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.