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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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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 31 March 2020

The Comics and the Super State

The Comics and the Super State

(p.34) The Comics and the Super State
The Superhero Reader

Walter Ong

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter links the superhero genre with the herd mentality and extrajudicial violence of the totalitarian state. It suggests that the genre has a strong crosscurrent of those forces which the German, and other, super states have found useful. The general drift toward unmasked and pretentious sensationalism is perhaps the most evident component, but various less obtrusive trends are even more pointedly indicative. Among these trends those exhibited by Superman are perhaps most representative, because back of the dozens of comics exploiting “hero” characters, he stands as the raw, elemental prototype, constructed on a monumentally primitive pattern.

Keywords:   superhero genre, comics, herd mentality, extrajudicial violence, totalitarian state, superman

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