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The Superhero Reader$
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Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038068

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038068.001.0001

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date: 16 December 2017

Masked Heroes

Masked Heroes

Chapter:
(p.99) Masked Heroes
Source:
The Superhero Reader
Author(s):

Richard Reynolds

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617038068.003.0012

This chapter briefly charts the history of the comic book from a superhero fan’s point of view. It notes the range and diversity of superheroes, stressing their differences rather than their generic identity alone. It constructs a first-stage working definition of the superhero genre based on the following elements: the orphan hero; the hero as demigod; the devotion to a personal rather than legal sense of justice; the contrast between the human and the superhuman; the secret identity; the hero’s doubtful relationship to political order; and the indiscriminate blending of science and magic.

Keywords:   comic books, comics, superheroes, superhero genre

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