Gender and the Superhero Narrative
Contributions by Dorian Alexander, Janine Coleman, Gabriel Gianola, Mel Gibson, Michael Goodrum, Tim Hanley, Vanessa Hemovich, Christina Knopf, Christopher McGunnigle, Samira Nadkarni, Ryan North, Lisa Perdigao, Tara Prescott, Philip Smith, and Maite Ucaregui The explosive popularity of San Diego's Comic-Con, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One, and Netflix's Jessica Jones and Luke Cage all signal the tidal change in superhero narratives and mainstreaming of what were once considered niche interests. Yet just as these areas have become more openly inclusive to an audience beyond heterosexual white men, there has also been an intense backlash, most famously in 2015's Gamergate controversy, when the tension between feminist bloggers, misogynistic gamers, and internet journalists came to a head. The place for gender in superhero narratives now represents a sort of battleground, with important changes in the industry at stake. These seismic shifts-both in the creation of superhero media and in their critical and reader reception-need reassessment not only of the role of women in comics, but also of how American society conceives of masculinity. Gender and the Superhero Narrative launches ten essays that explore the point where social justice meets the Justice League. Ranging from comics such as Ms. Marvel, Batwoman: Elegy, and Bitch Planet to video games, Netflix, and cosplay, this volume builds a platform for important voices in comics research, engaging with controversy and community to provide deeper insight and thus inspire change.