Superheroes! Capes and Crusaders in Film and Comics

on March 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

Roz’s book has finally been released in the U.S.

Modern myths, cheap trash or the objects of fetishist desire?

Most people know something about Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, even if what they know is heavily filtered through film and television versions, rather than the comics in which they first appeared. Yet, even though the continuity of the DC and Marvel Comics universes rival or surpass in size almost anything else in Western culture, surprisingly little attention has been paid to comics, which we are supposed to grow out of.

In Superheroes!, acclaimed cultural commentator Roz Kaveney argues that this is a mistake, that, at their best, superhero comics are a form in which some writers and artists are doing fascinating work, not in spite of their chosen form, but because of it.

Superheroes! discusses the slow accretion of comic universes from the thirties to the present day, the ongoing debate within the conventions of the superhero comic about whether superheroes are a good thing and the discussion within the comics fan community of the extent to which superhero comics are disfigured by misogyny and sexism. Roz Kaveney attempts to explain the differences between Marvel and DC, the notion of the floating present (or why Spider-Man, fifteen when he adopted the costume, is still only in his early thirties), and the various attempts by both companies to re-invent and re-boot individual characters and their entire continuity universes. She also looks at the influence of comics on the group of film and television screenwriters she calls “the fanboy creators,” all of whom moonlight as comics script writers, using Joss Whedon as her case study, and examines the adaptation of well-known comics into large-budget feature films, not always to the advantage of the material.

Author Bio

Roz Kaveney is the editor of and main contributor to Reading the Vampire Slayer, and the author of From Alien to The Matrix: Reading Science Fiction Film and Teen Dreams: Reading Teen Film and Television. She is widely published as a reviewer of film and as a cultural commentator; in the 1980s, she was one of the first mainstream critics to write about graphic novels.

Praise for Superheroes!
“Roz Kaveney’s knowledge is awesome, her analysis passionate: this is a work of eloquent advocacy, urging readers to pay more attention to a crucial arena where ideas about men, women, virtue, and power are discussed–and formed. Like a modern Gulliver, she brings back news of other worlds, of marvellous utopias and dystopias, in order to throw light on the one we live in–or think we live in.”–Marina Warner, prize-winning novelist and cultural historian

“Combines a command of literary theory with a hands-on grasp of how pop fiction gets built by producers and used by readers. Indispensable.”–Geoff Ryman, author of the interactive novel 253

Table of contents

* Acknowledgements * The Freedom of Power–Some first thoughts on Superhero comics * The heroism of Jessica Jones–Brian Bendis’ Alias as thick text * Watching the Watchmen–Sharing the World With Superheroes * Dark Knights, Teammates and Mutants–Sustaining the Superhero Narrative * Some Kind of Epic Grandeur–Events and Reboots in the Superhero Universe * Gifted and Dangerous–Joss Whedon’s Superhero Obsession * Superherovision–from comic to blockbuster * Bibliography * Filmography * Index *

Interviews with Roz about the book are here and here.

Reviews are here and here.

Available through Amazon.

Leave a Reply