113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

America’s Obsession with Superheroes

Session Chair: 
Michelle Stonis, California State University, Long Beach and Glendale Community College
Session 5: Friday 5:40-7:10pm
McKenzie (PMCC)


  1. Jan Goggans, University of California Merced
    When Maxine Hong Kingston rewrote the Mulan superhero of ancient lore for her novel/autobiography The Woman Warrier: A Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, she turned the myth upside down in many ways.  She articulated a strongly feminist stance and moved Mulan's  into working class California's Central Valley, a place still considered the "armpit of California.  How did Hong Kingston translate her heroine from a warrior to a working class heroine?
  2. Kristin M. Tamayo , California Polytechnic University, Pomona
    The static image of the superhero becomes challenged and redefined with the introduction of Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’ Malley’s (2005) graphic novel series' protagonist who confronts familiar forces of darkness—love and loss. Pilgrim thus transforms into a modern and original superhero, fighting to save himself from himself.
  3. Cameron Green, University of Wyoming
     In 1966, William Dozier brought Batman and Robin to life in the serial television series Batman. The serial starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. The show also hosted an A-list villain guest stars like Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, and Vincent Prince. Pop! Pow! Bang! The Best-Worst Superhero on Television, analyzes the popular culture created by Batman, Batmania and its relationship to the Cold War.
  4. Samantha Banks, University of Alabama
    This paper evaluates Mystique of the X-Men franchise, and how this character echoes notions of moral ambiguity in America. This character’s arc in the X-Men films argues that the transition present is a cycle repeated during unpopular wars. I argue Mystique is used in the films to represent American disenfranchisement.
  5. Susan Kirtley, Portland State University
    Susan Kirtley, author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass (University Press of Mississippi, 2012), will serve as respondent for the session.
Session Cancelled: