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Death, Disability, and the SuperheroThe Silver Age and Beyond$
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José Alaniz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461176

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461176.001.0001

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Introduction: “Unmasked at Last!”

Introduction: “Unmasked at Last!”

Death, Disability, and the Super-Body

(p.3) 1 Introduction: “Unmasked at Last!”
Death, Disability, and the Superhero

Alaniz José

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter provides a brief history of the superhero genre. Since its inauguration in 1938's Action Comics #1, the superhero genre has served as a disability and death-denying representational practice which privileges the healthy, hyper-powered, and immortal body over the diseased, debilitated, and defunct body. Canonical Golden Age heroes—such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America—all advance a corporeal archetype—strength, control, and unboundedness, flourishing fully equipped bodies “ready for anything.” Launched on the eve of World War II, the superhero genre represents a rich “mirror universe” of American society. This book studies the Silver Age of DC and Marvel Comics for its increasingly complex depiction of disability and death.

Keywords:   superhero, Action Comics, superhero genre, Golden Age heroes, mirror universe, American society, DC Comics, Marvel Comics

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