Super/heroes: From Hercules to Superman

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Wendy Haslem, Angela Ndalianis, C. J. Mackie
New Academia Publishing, LLC, 2007 - Art - 416 pages
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Why are audiences so fascinated with heroes? What makes the idea of heroes so necessary in society? The superhero has reached a level of popularity never witnessed before, making a successful and prolific transfer from the comic book and graphic novel into the multi-million dollar blockbuster film. A number of films and their sequels, including Spider Man, Batman, Batman Begins, Sin City, and X-Men represent only a handful of examples that have attained unprecedented box-office success or cult status in recent years. This collection of essays explores contemporary superhero narratives, including comic books and films, in a wider mythic context. This is the first study to evaluate the social function of the super/hero in contemporary, ancient and multiple media contexts, evaluating its continuities, transformations and cultural significance. The exploration of issues and hero types across time, cultures and media will open up the possibilities of hero studies across disciplines. This collection will be, in many respects, a prototype that will reveal the limitless possibilities inherent in truly inter-disciplinary studies in this area. "This collection fills an enormous gap in the study of popular culture and provides exactly what has been missing for too long-a comparative heroism study, driven by close-grain analyses of a wide range of heroes from different national cultures (comic book avengers, professional wrestlers, rock stars, anime heroines, Jesus) all animated by theoretical frameworks that are both rigorous and lucidly articulated. The end result is a collection of fascinating case studies which probe the popular appeal of the super/hero with an unprecedented degree of insight." -Jim Collins, Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre, University of Notre Dame. "Holy smoke! These essays offer a varied and engaging consideration of hero and superhero culture in a variety of manifestations-from Greek heroes and truly 'super men', to anime characters, Mexican luchadors and gangsta rappers. Reaching backwards with mythic, biblical and Jungian approaches to the heroic journey of mutation and transformation, and forward into the role that diverse media platforms and generic hybridity play in the evolution of superhero universes, this timely collection challenges what it means to be a Super/hero." -Roberta Pearson, Professor and Director of the Institute of Film and Television Studies at the University of Nottingham, and co-editor of The Many Lives of the Batman.
 

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Contents

Shinji Ikari in Hideaki Annos
8
Do We Really Want Our Icons
12
Wrestler Superhero and Saint
51
Epic Iconographies
65
Men of Darkness
83
Restlessly violently headlong like a river that wants
97
Malone
111
Shamans vs Superheroes
127
The Black Metal Aes
211
Marked Men with Strong
225
Hercules Psychotherapist
239
The Guardian Angel as
251
Why are all Turkic Superheroes
263
RIPPED OFF CrossMedia Convergence and The Hulk
291
Transforming Superheroics through Female Music Style
307
Shelving an Icon as Superheroes
321

Exploring the Action of
139
Parenting Con
155
The Superheroic Body of Jesus
167
The Rise and Fall of Professional
181
Making the Margins Heroic
197
the Collectible Superhero Tabletop Combat Game
335
Contributors
363
Index
413
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Wendy Haslem is Lecturer in Cinema Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is currently in the process of publishing her dissertation, which looks at the recurrence of fairy tale structures, in particular, the Bluebeard narrative, in film noir of the 1940s. She has published widely in numerous journals, including Senses of Cinema, Real Time Art, and Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media. Her areas of research include film noir, feminist film, and studio and independent film production in America during the 1940s. and 50s.

Angela Ndalianis is Associate Professor in Cinema & Entertainment Studies University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research areas focus on contemporary cinema, the convergence of entertainment media, and media histories. Her book Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment (MIT Press 2004) explores the parallels between C17th & contemporary baroque culture, and she is currently writing a book about the history and cultural significance of the theme park. Other publications include contributions to the anthologies On a Silver Platter: CD-Roms and the Promises of a New Technology (NYU Press 1999), MetaMorphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick Change (Minnesota University Press 2000), Hop on Pop: the Politics and Pleasures of Popular Cultures (Duke University Press 2002) and Rethinking Media Change (MIT Press, 2003).

Chris Mackie is Associate Professor in Classical Studies and Director of the Centre of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. Most of his working life in Classics has been concerned with exploring narratives of war and heroic conduct. He has published very successfully in the area of Greek and Roman epic, and Greek and Roman mythology, in some of the best overseas refereed journals (Classical Quarterly, American Journal of Philology, Greece and Rome, Phoenix, Classical Journal). His main research focus in the past five years has been the monograph Rivers of Fire: Theme and Symbol in Homer¿s Iliad which is in press at Cambridge University Press. His contribution to the field has been based on the comparative approach. Other publications include The Characterisation of Aeneas, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh: (1988) and Oral performance and its Context. Ed. Mackie, C.J. Brill, Leiden (2004).

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