Posted by: Doc Comics | September 25, 2011

The American Monomyth: Week 5

This week we begin reading Jewett & Lawrence’s Myth of the American Superhero (discussion items here), which diverges sharply from both Reynolds and Coogan in offering a critical examination of the superhero’s distinctly American mythos. Our comic of the week is Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s critically-acclaimed deconstruction of the superhero genre. Through these texts, we will begin reflecting upon the more troubling issues of redemptive violence and antidemocratic vigilantism that superheroes express and explore. As myth, these stories don’t just invite reflection upon the purpose, function, and consequences of the superhero, they demand it!

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MoreFun Tim’s Soapbox: What the heck do Hello Kitty, Venom, and Rorschach have in common? And is The Incredibles a better translation of Alan Moore’s vision than the film? ‘Understanding ComicsScott McCloud helps explain! In other news, the DC Comics new 52 revamp is a home-run for retailers.



    In chapter one, Jewett and Lawrence define their American Monomyth in the following excerpt: “a community in a harmonious paradise is threatened by an evil; normal institutions fail to contend with this threat; a selfless superhero emerges to renounce temptations and carry out the redemptive task; aided by fate, his decisive victory restores the community to its paradisiacal condition; the superhero then recedes into obscurity” (p.6). How does WATCHMEN seem to illustrate and stage the critique of this Superhero Monomyth?

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