Depictions of superheroes in the past several years have lauded the reassessment of gender and racial inequality, among others. Films, such as Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Panther, and televised series, such as Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, portray confident, empowered women, African-American, and LatinX characters. Though we acknowledge that such portrayals do represent positive reassessment on behalf of studios, we should also ask if the same truly constitutes momentum beyond a nascent movement or “lip service.” To what degree do depictions of women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and so on, in discourse about contemporary superhero cinema truly connect with contemporary social movements and provoke socio-cultural conversation and/or change?
Potential topics for the proposed collection to be published in an online, open-source format with Lever Press include but are not limited to:
- Female superheroes in film and television.
- African-American, LatinX, and other superheroes of color in film and television.
- LGBTQ+ superheroes in film and television. For example, the upcoming Batwoman series.
- Since the majority of current portrayals are founded in characters that first appeared in a print format, papers that compare cinematic representations to earlier representations are welcome.
- The degree to which contemporary portrayals of superheroes connect to such social movements as Black Lives Matter or the #MeToo Movement.
- Cross-cultural, global representations of superheroes in film and television.
- Papers dealing not just with principle but also ancillary characters. For example, the representation of the Hand acolytes in The Defenders,
- Papers focused upon application of Disability Studies. For example, Daredevil.
Of particular interest is the degree to which contemporary portrayals of superheroes actually have provoked quantifiable social, cultural, and philosophical change.
Please send a 250 to 500 word proposal to Peter J. Ingrao at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 2, 2021. The finished collection will be published digitally in an open-access format by Lever Press.