CFP: [Film] Heroes: Edited Collection

full name / name of organization: 
Dr David Simmons

CFP: Heroes edited collection
Investigating Heroes: Truth, Justice and Quality TV

(Deadline 01/09/2008)

Editor Dr David Simmons

Heroes has proven to be one of the breakout Television hits of 2006/2007.
In a climate in which many examples of ‘Quality’ genre television have
found themselves facing cancellation in spite of their devoted fan base/s,
Heroes appears to have managed to establish a foothold in the contemporary
TV landscape, being commissioned for both a second and third series
(alongside a host of merchandise). Part of the show’s appeal seems to lie
in its ability to straddle the divide between the demands of genre and
mainstream audiences by employing superhero/comic book trappings in an
ostensibly realistic milieu. Indeed, to put it simply comic book fans can
recognise and appreciate the references and self-referential nature of the
show while a more mainstream audience is able to engage with the broader
concept of ‘ordinary’ people dealing with the extraordinary circumstances.
  As a result it is possible to suggest that Heroes (like the X-Files,
Buffy and, most recently, Lost) has transcended the limitations of its
genre in terms of audience demographics to become that rare thing, a cult
show that receives both high ratings and critical genre acclaim.
Investigating Heroes: Truth, Justice and Quality TV seeks to explore the
important issues surrounding Heroes, in terms of its content, marketing and
reception. In particular, the book will investigate the show’s fusion of
‘cultish’ and mainstream trappings into a cohesive and successful whole.
It will look at how Heroes has managed to combine supposedly’ lowbrow’
elements (comic books, superheroes) with a Quality TV form that prizes
factors such as moral ambiguity, depth of characterisation and liberalism.
  Finally it will analyse what this blending process suggests about the
current hybrid state of genre and Quality television.

While we have a number of confirmed contributors already I am currently
soliciting abstracts of 350 - 500 words for essays to be included alongside
these in an upcoming volume to be published as part of I.B.Taurus’
Investigating Cult TV series.

Possible topics of discussion might include:

Heroes and the superhero - Connections to Comic books/graphic novels in
terms of stories, characters, presentation. Links to other revisionist
comic book texts e.g. Watchmen, Unbreakable, X-Men etc. The involvement or
lack thereof of comic book writers/artists (Tim Sale, Jeph Loeb etc). Use
of heroic archetypes, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung etc

Heroes and representation - The nuclear/non-nuclear family unit. Fathers.
Race: the shows depiction of both white and non-white, ethnic ‘superhero’s’
and its nomination for an ‘image award’ by the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People. Depictions of Female sexuality. Crisis in
masculinity. Homo-sociality.

Heroes and ideology - The threat of the ‘nuclear’ destruction of New York
and its links to 9/11. The Company and its connection to the contemporary
‘war on terror’. Evolutionist/Darwinist theories.
Heroes and ‘Quality TV’ - Serial Narrative. The hybridising of cult, genre
and Mainstream TV. Heroes as a multi-media experience; web comics, graphic
novels, novels. Heroes fandom.

Final essays should be approximately 6,000 to 8,000 words, referenced in
MLA endnote style.

Please attach a short biography or a resume with your abstract, and email to

With the word “Heroes” somewhere in the subject line
I look forward to reading your abstracts

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Received on Fri Aug 01 2008 - 07:09:02 EDT