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Bending SteelModernity and the American Superhero$
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Aldo J. Regalado

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462210

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462210.001.0001

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From Steel and Shadows to the Flag

From Steel and Shadows to the Flag

(p.113) Chapter Four From Steel and Shadows to the Flag
Bending Steel

Aldo J. Regalado

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter looks at the superheroes that emerged following the success of Superman. Responding to the demand created by Superman, small, independent art studios began creating one costumed hero after another, hoping to sell them to publishers like National Comics, All-American Publications, Timely Comics, and a host of others. Within months, characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Plastic Man, the Human Torch, the Vision, the Sub-Mariner, the Shield, the Whizzer, Black Condor, the Ray, and countless more graced the pages of comic books the nation over. These costumed heroes embodied frustrations with the modern world in significantly different ways, focusing more intently on urban crime and street violence, and employing the racialized aesthetic of the American Gothic as an important element for constructing heroic identities. Ultimately, the superhero was transformed from a mechanism for inclusion into the broader American experience into a symbol of the nation itself.

Keywords:   costumed heroes, superheroes, urban crime, street violence, American Gothic, heroic identities, American experience, comic books

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