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Report on the Superhero Identities Symposium (December 2016)

By Naja Later

Organised by the Australian Research Grant-supported Superheroes & Me research team, the Superheroes Identities Symposium ran at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne on 8-9 December 2016. The symposium hosted over 50 speakers whose research questioned what defines superheroes and how superheroes define us. With a wide range of panels, speakers, events and attendees, the symposium created a dynamic environment in which new frontiers of superhero research collided and collaborated with wonderful possibilities for the future.

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Superior Unreliability: Thoughts on Narrators in Comics on the Occasion of Spider-Man 2012/13 by Stephan Packard

The following thoughts started off as a contribution to the online roundtable on unreliable narration in comics at the German Society for Comics Studies, ComFor. I am indebted to fellow roundtable participants Burkhard Ihme, Dietrich Grünewald, Elisabeth Klar, and Daniel Stein, as well as roundtable organizer Felix Giesa, for the engaging and inspiring discussion.

Spoiler Alert: Peter Parker is no longer the amazing Spider-Man; in fact, he is no longer Peter Parker. Doctor Octopus, one his longest-running villains, has taken possession of Peter’s body, is living in and through him and has been secretly continuing both his private and his secret identity. While Doctor Octopus’ Spider-Man has since launched into his own series, the Superior Spider-Man replacing (for now) the established Amazing Spider-Man, the original replacement of one mind by another took place around issue #698 of Amazing, late in 2012. More specifically, it took place before that issue starts, but readers only find out about it on the last few pages. Up to that point, the readers are deceived, much like the other characters surrounding Peter and Spider-Man. So the narration is unreliable in the strict sense of the prima facie interpretation requiring revision. But does the unreliable narration imply an unreliable narrator? And what can this unreliability tell us about the general problems of applying narratological concepts such as narration, narrator, and unreliability, which are typically formed vis-à-vis written lingual narrative, to comic books?

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Posted by on 2013/08/12 in Guest Writers

 

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New MP3 Download: Death and the Superhero

Today we present the second MP3 to come out of the Comics Forum Presents… series, José Alaniz’s talk ‘Death and the Superhero: StrikeForce Morituri‘, which took place at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds earlier this year.

‘Death and the Superhero’ looked at the ways in which the superhero genre deals with death through the use of a case study: Marvel Comics’ Strikeforce: Morituri (1986-1989). This lecture runs for just over an hour.

You can download the MP3 below, or from the Death and the Superhero archive page (where you can also download the event’s poster). All downloads are free.

Comics Forum Presents… Death and the Superhero: StrikeForce Morituri by José Alaniz (introduction by Ian Hague)

Direct download as an MP3 here (1:05:39, 60.1MB (right click and ‘Save Target As…’)).

Online streaming and alternative download formats are available here.

Be sure to check back later in the week for the monthly Comics Forum News Review, coming up on Thursday!

 
 

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Between Supermen: Homosociality, Misogyny, and Triangular Desire in the Earliest Superman Stories by Eric Berlatsky

Fig 1, ™ and © DC Comics.

Fig 1, ™ and © DC Comics.

The Superman “shield” most familiar to contemporary readers is a pentagon. Emblazoned on his chest, it is a recognizable symbol of the “first superhero” whose emergence in Action Comics in 1938 gave birth to the genre most associated with the history of American comics. Interestingly, however, the symbol has little resemblance to that which first appeared on Superman’s chest in his debut. In those early days, Superman, created, by Jerry Siegel (writer) and Joe Shuster (artist), had a simple triangle on his chest, with a sinuous “S” in its center. The shift in insignia is largely insignificant, but the original shape is reflective of the ways in which those early stories revolve around a “love triangle” that is both familiar and unconventional. [1]

Fig 2, ™ and © DC Comics.

Fig 2, ™ and © DC Comics.

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Posted by on 2013/04/11 in Gender, Guest Writers, Women

 

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Comics in Education: A Personal Perspective by Robert G. Weiner

Comics have long played a role in my life. My first memories of comics include Tales of Suspense 39 and Silver Surfer 1. The image of the grey Iron Man is one that I remember seeing as a kid, and I still have an affinity for that old costume. The Silver Surfer, too, remains one of my favorite characters. I also remember reading an old Legion of Superheroes story in which one of the characters, Chemical King, dies. I remember re-reading that issue several times just to make sure he did indeed die. It really affected me (I must have been about 10 or so). Other comics I read include Black Panther, Human Fly, Moon Knight, the Kirby and Simon Sandman reboot. I loved them (and still do). I remember going to 7-11 every week to see what new comics the store might have.

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