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The Supervillain Reader$
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Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826466

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826466.001.0001

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Harley Quinn, Villain, Vixen, Victim

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(p.203) Chapter 19 Harley Quinn, Villain, Vixen, Victim
The Supervillain Reader

Joe Cruzand

Lars Stoltzfus-Brown

University Press of Mississippi

No matter if inhuman, nonhuman, or superhuman, villains continue to inspire directors and viewers to think in new dimensions. I argue that they also represent a broader cultural symptom of problems growing on a global scale and becoming increasingly difficult to grasp. In this context, gigantic villains provide a space for the safe (and often unconscious) engagement with both these larger than life problems and what I call, in reference to Julia Kristeva, the abject-posthuman. Using the example of both the original 1954 and 2014 movie, the article explores how Godzilla, by now a veritable pop culture icon, represents a variety of approaches to the topic of scale, monstrosity, villainy, and posthumanism. It traces what, if anything, has changed in our imagination during the 60 years of Godzilla’s existence and what the continued success of giant heroes and villains can teach us about ourselves.

Keywords:   posthumanism, monster studies, abjection, popular culture, film studies

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