The Superhero Reader

Edited by Charles Hatfield
and Jeet Heer

Edited by Kent Worcester

368 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, bibliography, index

978-1-61703-802-0 Printed casebinding $65.00S

978-1-61703-806-8 Paper $30.00S

Printed casebinding, $65.00

Paper, $30.00

A full exploration of the history, politics, and aesthetics of the superhero genre

Contributions from Will Brooker, Jeffrey Brown, Scott Bukatman, John G. Cawelti, Peter Coogan, Jules Feiffer, Henry Jenkins, Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence, Gerald Jones, Geoff Klock, Karin Kukkonen, Andy Medhurst, Adilifu Nama, Walter Ong, Lorrie Palmer, Richard Reynolds, Trina Robbins, Lillian Robinson, Roger B. Rollin, Gloria Steinem, Jennifer Stuller, Fredric Wertham, and Philip Wylie

Despite their commercial appeal and cross-media reach, superheroes are only recently starting to attract sustained scholarly attention. This groundbreaking collection brings together essays and book excerpts by major writers on comics and popular culture.

While superhero comics are a distinct and sometimes disdained branch of comics creation, they are integral to the development of the North American comic book and the history of the medium. For the past half-century they have also been the one overwhelmingly dominant market genre. The sheer volume of superhero comics that have been published over the years is staggering. Major superhero universes constitute one of the most expansive storytelling canvases ever fashioned. Moreover, characters inhabiting these fictional universes are immensely influential, having achieved iconic recognition around the globe. Their images and adventures have shaped many other media, such as film, videogames, and even prose fiction.

The primary aim of this reader is twofold: first, to collect in a single volume a sampling of the most sophisticated commentary on superheroes, and second, to bring into sharper focus the ways in which superheroes connect with larger social, cultural, literary, aesthetic, and historical themes that are of interest to a great many readers both in the academy and beyond.

Charles Hatfield is an associate professor of English at California State University, Northridge, and is the author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature and Hand of Fire: The Comic Art of Jack Kirby, both published by University Press of Mississippi. Jeet Heer, a columnist for the National Post (Canada), has been published in Slate, the Boston Globe, the Guardian, the Comics Journal, and many other venues. Kent Worcester teaches political theory at Marymount Manhattan College. He is the author of C. L. R. James: A Political Biography and coeditor (with Jeet Heer) of Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium and A Comics Studies Reader, both published by University Press of Mississippi.

368 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, bibliography, index