ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

ISSN: 1549-6732

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[cfp] Superheroes and Trauma (Collection)

Posted 13 Feb, 2006

Editors:
Vanessa Raney, Southern Connecticut State University
Peter F. Coogan, Fontbonne University

One can locate scholarship on the ideological and mythic status of superheroes in which the social and fantastic collide to offer interesting but primarily theoretical constructions on the privileging of norms in society. Our book collection hopes to contribute to this burgeoning field by examining more closely the role of trauma in the superhero saga, especially the ways that it gets encoded, transcribed, and received. Thus, we seek submissions focused on Marvel and DC style superheroes (that is, protagonists of the superhero genre only, not all super heroes: ordinary heroes who are super or superior like the way firefighters and policeman were depicted after 9/11) and trauma.

By looking to both the villains and the heroes, we intend to trace the onset of traumatic realism and the masculinity emboldened by it even when the subject is female. Does, for example, Mary Wollstonecraft's view of "masculine women" still hold as a standard for today's liberal woman as represented in the crimefighter or femme fatale? Are male heroes necessarily tragic because in their humanization, they must mask their subversions to feminine gestures of pain by concealing them in costume?

We do not wish simply to point to particular junctures of traumatism, but to grapple with their significance in a continual cycle that makes superheroes and villains both inside (unmasked) and outside (masked), both accepted (human) and reviled (suprahuman), both tragic (real) and stoic (imaginary), etc. Because we seek to separate the oppositions of supervillain and superhero, we are interested in papers that address any superhero or supervillain in any serialized comics or adaptations in film, television and novels from within and outside the United States. Essays should include an extensive foray into the psyches, histories, and redoubling into tragedy (whether compounded or relived), etc. of superheroes and villains.

We hope to publish perspectives from various fields, including English, Cultural Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology, etc., and approaches to the subject that are broadly inclusive. Collaborations are also encouraged (e.g, between a linguist and a traumatist); if you would like to be paired with someone, let us know and we will see what we can do to make it happen.

If interested in contributing, please submit a 500 word abstract with name, affiliation (school, other), mailing address, e-mail, and phone number to Vanessa Raney (raneyv2@southernct.edu or raneyv@juno.com) and Peter Coogan (PCoogan@Fontbonne.edu), Editors, no later than April 7, 2006. Notifications of acceptance will be made by July 15, 2006, with final papers due by Sept. 30, 2006.

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