Posted by: Doc Comics | August 8, 2010

Week 5: Post-9/11 SuperAntiheroes

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN offers a rare celebration of utopian humanism.

As we enter the last week of our Superhero Summer, we’ll be returning to a few central themes of and questions for the course: What *is* a superhero? What makes them so darned American, and what can we learn from them? These questions become particularly relevant when cast against the backdrop of cultural-political anxieties and debates that have accompanied America’s so-called “Global War on Terror” and the rise of “Disaster Capitalism” (you may recognize a few course themes here). Course readings will explore some of these connections between SuperAntiheroes and their cynical dystopias (Hollywood is particularly fascinated with darker themes following Batman’s cinematic success).  All this will lead us to ponder: Are superhero myths a “noble lie” that distance us from uncomfortable truths?

Our comics of the week are very different meditations upon the intersections of the superheroic and supervillainyALL-STAR SUPERMAN became an instant classic and will be the subject of Tim’s MoreFun Monday Soapbox. (FYI, Morrison now has his sights on Batman Inc.Marvel’s CIVIL WAR and its aftermath will provide a glimpse into post-9/11 political themes.  These two comics nicely illustrate two contradictory impulses for our superhero mythologies: Nostalgic desire for a return to a Heroic Age of utopian superheroics, and more cynical acknowledgment that postmodern complexities create SuperAntiheroes who do as much harm than good in their zealous crusades against some absolute ‘evil’ or injustice (shades of V here, no?). In many ways, these two fables offer competing political myths of America.

“Dark Reign” followed Marvel’s Civil War with a Thunderbolts-inspired twist of bad guys playing good guys. Above: The Iron Patriot!

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Responses

  1. WOW what a great week ahead!! this section is my favorite

  2. Morrison re-tells one of his most famous ComicCon stories about meeting Superman!


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