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[cfp] The Superhero Revised in Comic Books, Film, and Television (Conference Panel)

Posted 29 Jan, 2005

Panel for the 2005 Midwest Popular Culture Association / Midwest American Culture Association Conference in St. Louis, MO, October 14-16.

Panel Title: "The Superhero Revised in Comic Books, Film, and Television"
Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2005

From the time of their advent in the comic books of the 1930's, superheroes have been a distinctive part of the American experience. Some critics have suggested that the enduring presence of superheroes in comic books, film, and television grows from the desire to retain the classic heroic archetypes. Others have suggested that superheroes are extremely malleable commodities that easily reflect and reinforce culture. With these ideas (and others) in play, this panel will explore the changes made to the superhero in general and particular throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Iconic superheroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain America transformed by various writers and artists throughout the decades as comic book characters
  • Well-known comic book heroes such as Spiderman and the Hulk and not such well-known comic book heroes such as Blade and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as translated to film and television
  • Radically revised superheroes such as Frank Miller's Dark Knight or Grant Morrison's New X-Men that violate conventional rules of the superhero genre
  • Outsider heroes such as Batman, Daredevil, and Elektra treated as the new favorites for recent big-budget Hollywood productions
  • Alternative continuity versions of superheroes from titles such as Marvel's What If? and series such as DC's "Elseworlds" (and even television's Smallville) exploring alternative stories with triumphant and tragic ends
  • Anti-heroic superbeings such as Alan Moore's Watchmen and Warren Ellis' The Authority that often work in post-modern ways to question their own stories
  • Relatively ordinary people living in superheroic worlds as in Kurt Busiek's Marvels or Brian Michael Bendis' Alias and offering metanarratives on the meaning of superheroes

Please submit a 300-word proposal to Terrence Wandtke at You may include the proposal within the body of the e-mail or attach as a Word document. You may also mail a hard copy to Terrence Wandtke; Division of Communication Arts; Judson College; 1151, North State Street; Elgin, IL 60123-1498. Your e-mail or hard copy proposal must be received by April 30, 2005. Please include your affiliation and contact information.



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