CFP: The "Other" in Superhero Comic Books (4/30/06; MWPCA/MWACA, 10/27/06-10/29/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Wandtke, Terrence
contact email: 
twandtke@judsoncollege.edu

CALL FOR PAPERS (Please circulate)

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Panel for the 2006 Midwest Popular Culture Association / Midwest
American Culture Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN, October
27-29

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Panel Title: "The 'Other' in Superhero Comic Books"

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Deadline for submissions: April 30, 2006

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Many scholars have highlighted the way superheroes (as trademarked
commodities) are connected to prevalent attitudes of mainstream
culture--think of Superman and Batman selling war bonds during the
1940's. However, the hero has always been a sort of "other," above and
outside the confines of society per se. Despite the superhero's
existence as a trademarked commodity, the superhero is not an exception
to this rule--think of Superman as an alien, Batman as a vigilante, and
Wonder Woman as a woman in a man's world. And the "otherness" of the
superhero has only been accentuated in a post X-Men and Watchmen era
(with superheroes often rejected by society). With these ideas and
others in play, this panel will explore otherness in superhero comic
books.

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

--The secret identity as outgrowth of Victorian split mind and the
Freudian consciousness/unconsciousness; the superhero estranged from him
or herself; superheroism as insanity

--The male orientation of superhero comic book readership as a
controlling force; the way that dominant orientation has been supported
or subverted

--The Jewish background of superhero creators and the ways in which
their cultural heritage was encoded or effaced

--The impact of Fredric Wertham's interpretation of superhero's place as
other and the attempts to bring the superhero into mainstream, from the
self-regulation of the comics code to parodies of superheroes

--The Thing, the Hulk, and Spiderman as monstrous, cultural outsiders
(also seen in more contemporary creations such as Concrete and Hellboy)

--The mutanthood of the X-Men as a flexible metaphor for racial and
sexual otherness

--Handicaps as both superpowers and metaphors for superpower with
Professor Xavier and Daredevil

--The racial other represented in the post Civil Rights Era with black
superheroes such as the Falcon and the Black Panther

--An(other) political discourse seen in works like the Dennis O'Neil and
Neal Adams Green Arrow and Green Lantern and Alan Moore's V for Vendetta

--Supermen as god-like others ranging from savior stories in Alan
Moore's Miracleman and "the death of Superman" series to the alternative
mythologies of Jack Kirby's New Gods and Neil Gaiman's Sandman

--Supermen as fascist rulers and villains with the ominous tones of
Warren Ellis' The Authority and Matt Wagner's Grendel

--Revisionist takes on racial and sexual otherness such as Brian Michael
Bendis' Luke Cage and Rick Veitch's Brat Pack

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Please submit a 300-word proposal to Terrence Wandtke at
twandtke_at_judsoncollege.edu. 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, 2006. Please include
your affiliation and contact information.

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Dr. Terrence Wandtke

20th Century Literature, Film, and Popular Culture

Judson College

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Received on Tue Jan 10 2006 - 09:34:02 EST

cfp categories: 
twentieth_century_and_beyond