User name:
Remember me 
View Article  Superpower vs Supernatural: Black Superheroes and the Quest for a Mutant Reality


"Comic books can be understood as a visualization of oral folk culture in the US. Well beyond stereotype, these tales are informed by white supremacist visuality, circulating in mainstream culture as overdetermined narration. In this experimental article, the choreography of the panel and the choreography of the epidermis are explored in order to excavate the continuing problem of black superhero character development. Both white and black renderings of a superpowered black body are shown to have a limiting yet fulfilling perspective on blackness: that it is supernatural and therefore impossibly powerful. This supernaturalness is further explored as a site of antagonism to linear narration and fantasy-driven character development. The conflation of black everyday life with a supposedly fictional one reveals a central problem in white supremacist visioning of ‘the real’. "

article by:  Anna Beatrice Scott

published in: Journal of Visual Culture Vol 5(3): pp293-314



1 Attachments
View Article  Seduction of the INNOCENT

"Gardening consists largely in protecting plants from blight and weeds, and the same is true of attending to the growth of children. If a plant fails to grow properly because attacked by a pest, only a poor gardener would look for the cause in that plant alone. The good gardener will think immediately in terms of general precaution and spray the whole field. But with children we act like the bad gardener. We often fail to carry out elementary preventive measures, and we look for the causes in the individual child. A whole highsounding terminology has been put to use for that purpose, bristling with "deep emotional disorders," "profound psychogenic features" and "hidden motives baffling in their complexity." And children are arbitrarily classified - usually after the event - as "abnormal," "unstable" or "predisposed," words that often fit their environment better than they fit the children. The question is, Can we help the plant without attending to the garden?"

Chapter 1 click here

article by: William Wertham


View Article  How to become a superhero


"We analyze a collaboration network based on the Marvel Universe comic books. First, we consider the system as a binary network, where two characters are connected if they appear in the same publication. The analysis of degree correlations reveals that, in contrast to most real social networks, the Marvel Universe presents a disassortative mixing on the degree. Then, we use a weight measure to study the system as a weighted network. This allows us to find and characterize well defined communities. Through the analysis of the community structure and the clustering as a function of the degree we show that the network presents a hierarchical structure. Finally, we comment on possible mechanisms responsible for the particular motifs observed."


article by: Pablo M Gleiser

published in: Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment (2007)

View Article  POW! ZAP! CRASH! : Aggression in Comic Books and biases in Social Information Processing


"This work examines the effects of violent media on aggression. It’s thought that widespread exposure to violent entertainment media contributes to high levels of violence and aggression in modern societies (Anderson & Bushman, 2002) and that violent themes may have negative impact on individuals functioning (Kirsh & Olczak, 2000). The study uses 128 subjects in a Between-Subjects design. The subjects are a convenience sample recruited from both a university setting and from on-line comic book message boards. The study, which uses Extremely Violent Comic Books (EVCB) to prime the aggressive network, examines the effects of ambiguous provocation stories on perceptions of overt and relational aggression. According to the General Aggression Model (GAM) the long-term effects of exposure to violent media is primarily the eventual automatization of aggressive knowledge structures (Anderson & Bushman 2001).  The results indicate that long term exposure to comic books has no effect in the development of a hostile attribution bias. There are no differences between comic readers and non-comic readers. Earlier studies find that each gender perceives similar levels of violence but prefer different ones. In this study subjects perceived the same amount of violence with no sign of the classic effects predicted by the earlier research. What the data does support is the contention that short term exposure to EVCB causes a short term hostile attribution bias. It’s found that aggression is affected by situational factors such as exposure to violent media and by personal factors such as trait hostility.

Earlier work suggests that females respond more aggressively to relational ambiguous scenarios than males do. It’s also suggested that males responded more vigorously to ambiguous scenarios involving overt aggression. This study confirmed the high scores for females’ responses to relational scenarios but did not confirm the effect for males’ responses to overt scenarios. The studies have problems with lack of variability of aggression response factors, sabotage, unrepresentative sampling and self selection bias. Solutions are proposed to make the experiment more efficient and potential areas for future research, particularly between specific personality factors and trait hostility, are suggested. A discussion on the positive effects of comic books, the history of censorship and the effects of potential stigmatisation on both readers and the medium itself. In the end the ultimate conclusion of the work is that anything can cause associations of violence and that processing ambiguous situations is related to both personality based variables (hostility) and environmental factors (violent media). These personality variables are a much stronger predictor of violent thoughts and behaviours than short-term exposure to violent media is.

article by: John Munro