The Ages of Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Changing Times

The Ages of Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Changing Times

by Joseph J. Darowski (Editor)


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Since Superman first appeared on the cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938, the superhero has changed with the times to remain a relevant icon of American popular culture. This collection explores the evolution of the Superman character and demonstrates how his alterations mirror historical changes in American society. Beginning with the original comic book and ending with the 2011 Grounded storyline, these essays examine Superman's patriotic heroism during World War II, his increase in power in the early years of the Cold War, his death and resurrection at the end of the Cold War, and his recent dramatic reimagining. By looking at the many changes the Man of Steel has undergone to remain pertinent, this volume reveals as much about America as it does about the champion of Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786463084
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 01/24/2012
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joseph J. Darowski teaches English at Brigham Young University and has published on comic book superheroes such as the X-Men, Wonder Woman, and Superman as well as on television series such as Chuck and Frasier.

Table of Contents

Preface Joseph J. Darowski 1

"Superman Says You Can Slap a Jap!": The Man of Steel and Race Hatred in World War II Todd S. Munson 5

Supervillains and Cold War Tensions in the 1950s Lori Maguire 16

Kryptonite, Radiation, and the Birth of the Atomic Age Peter Lee 29

Truth, Justice, and the American Way in Franco's Spain Louie Dean Valencia-García 45

The Inflexible Girls of Steel: Subverting Second Wave Feminism in the Extended Superman Franchise Thomas C. Donaldson 62

Black Like Lois: Confronting Racism, Configuring African American Presence Christopher B. Zeichmann 78

Red, White and Bruised: The Vietnam War and the Weakening of Superman Jason M. LaTouche 91

The Struggle Within: Superman's Difficult Transition into the Age of Relevance Paul R. Kohl 103

"It's Morning Again in America": John Byrne's Re-Imaging of the Man of Steel Daniel J. O'Rourke Morgan B. O'Rourke 115

The New "Man of Steel" Is a Quiche-Eating Wimp! Media Reactions to the Reimagining of Superman in the Reagan Era Jack Teiwes 125

More Human than (Super) Human: Clark Kent's Smallville and Reagan's America Michael Smith 143

The "Triangle Era" of Superman: Continuity, Marketing and Grand Narratives in the 1990s Matthew J. Smith 156

Searching for Meaning in "The Death of Superman" Joseph J. Darowski 166

Death, Bereavement, and the Superhero Funeral José Alaniz 177

Superman and the Corruption of Power Stefan Buchenberger 192

This Isn't Your Grandfather's Comic Book Universe: The Return of the Golden Age Superman Jeffrey K. Johnson 199

In a World Without Superman, What Is the American Way? John Darowski 209

Traveling Hopefully in Search of American National Identity: The "Grounded" Superman as a 21st Century Picaro Randy Duncan 218

About the Contributors 231

Index 235

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