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From Renaissance to the Dark Age

From Renaissance to the Dark Age

(p.181) Chapter Six From Renaissance to the Dark Age
Bending Steel
Aldo J. Regalado
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses how the superhero paradigm introduced by Marvel Comics in the 1960s evolved over the course of the twentieth century, ushering what many theorists refer to as a postmodern sensibility. Characterized by fluidity, plasticity, alienation, freedom, and a free reign of possibility, this new postmodern approach to superhero fiction pervaded the industry as a whole, and reflected the ways in which creators and fans oriented themselves toward the genre, toward their professional lives, and toward society in general. Increasingly cynical, the American superhero became a vehicle for expressing disgust with and disdain for the meta-narratives of American society. Even the narratives traditionally employed by superhero fiction came under attack by creators and audiences themselves, as evidenced by deconstructionist works like Alan Moore and David Gibbons's Watchmen, which aims to unveil the social dysfunctions that allegedly lie at the heart of superhero fiction.

Keywords:   Marvel Comics, postmodern sensibility, superhero fiction, American superhero, American society, deconstructionist works, Alan Moore, David Gibbons, Watchmen, social dysfunctions

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