What is a Superhero, Anyway?

On November 6th, I will be part of a panel on superheroes, morality and the modern world at Dominican University.  As a lead up to that event, I thought I rerun a series of articles that first appeared on Clearance Bin Review and that would delve into a topic that is at the heart of…

Representations of Women in Japanese and American Pop Culture

(From a 2004 paper on a cross-cultural examination of the superheroine)             In their article on children and role models, Anderson and Cavallaro (2002) say that superheroes are “larger-than-life symbols of American values and ‘maleness’.” (p. 162).  From a socialization point of view, is there reason to be concerned about…

Making Sense of Entertainment in Virtual Worlds

In September of 2008, with the ink on my doctorate barely dry, I jumped a plane and landed in Denmark.  I had accepted a post-doctorate research fellowship at Roskilde University with the Virtual Worlds Research Project.  My main research project with the group would turn out to be a qualitative experiment to understand how people…

Awesomest Cookbook Ever

Every once and awhile, you’ll go into a used bookstore, and after you finish wondering about the future of the print industry thanks to e-readers, you’ll browse the musty collections and find a gem. A gem like what I have deemed to be the “Awesomest Cookbook Ever” — and that’s awesomest in the original sense…

Comics Adaptations and True Believers

Think about all of the movies being made lately adapting a comic book or graphic novel.  The superhero movie has become it’s own genre, with every major Hollywood studio trying to create tentpole franchises on well known, and not well known, superheroes.  The studios are even “re-imagining” superheroes who have been in franchises, or attempt…

Preliminary Marxist Critique of Superheroes

[What follows is from a class assignment for a critical theory course I took in graduate school.  It’s in idea I’ve been mulling over for awhile.  It is not a complete idea: just the seed of something for the future.] I’ve been mulling over this idea for a while: how to conduct a Marxist critique…

The Shadow: The Place for the Crimefighter in American Life

Back in 1997, I was a freshman in college, at the venerable University of Wisconsin at Madison. I went into college pre-med — I had even attended a surgery during high school at Oconto Falls and did not faint. I thought I was meant to be a doctor. I was going to earn my degree…

Superheroes Around the World

Last fall, I was invited to talk at a science fiction convention in Copenhagen, Denmark, called Fantasticon.  My friend helped to organize the convention, and he knew I had spoken at other conventions in the United States.  When he asked what I wanted to talk about, I decided to go with a topic I had…