The Superhero Multiverse focuses on the evolving meanings of the superhero icon in 21st-century film and popular media, with an emphasis on re-adapting, re-imagining, and re-making. With its focus on multimedia and transmedia transformations, The Superhero Multiverse pivots on two important points: firstly, it reflects on the core concerns of the superhero narrative—including the relationship between ‘superhero comics’ and ‘superhero films’, the comics roots of superhero media, matters of canon and hybridity, and issues of recycling and stereotyping in superhero films and media texts. Secondly, it considers how these intersecting textual and cultural preoccupations are intrinsic to the process of remaking and re-adapting superheroes, and brings attention to multiple ways of materializing these iconic figures in our contemporary context.
Lorna Piatti-Farnell is professor of film and popular culture at Auckland University of Technology, where she is also director of the Popular Culture Research Centre.
Part I: Across Platforms and Formats
1.¬From Cinematic to Podcast Universe: Wolverine: The Long Night and the Multiplication of the Marvel Multiverse
2.The Multiverse Paradigm and the Reinvention of Legion
Whitney Hardin and Julia Kiernan
3.Frictions, Factions, and Fatalities: Adapting DC Comic Characters into Video Games
4.“I feel like I'm getting my Wonder Woman back,”: Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, Fans, and Authenticities in the DC Extended Universe
5.Postmodern Parody in Animated Superhero Cinema
James C. Taylor
Part II: Transformative Meanings
6.Reanimating Witchcraft: Creating A Feminist Embodied Experience in Marvel’s Scarlet Witch
7.Resurrecting the Hero: Disrupted Histories, Ghostly Returns, and Gothic Transformations in MCU’s Captain America
8.Challenging Typical Ideas of Heroism and Toxic Masculinity in Alias and Jessica Jones
9.Super-heroine Objectification: The Sexualization of Black Widow Across Comic and Film Adaptations
10.An ‘Extra-Ordinary’ Adaptation: Exploring Time and Trauma in The Umbrella Academy
Carmel Cedro and Blair Speakman
11.Battle of the Black Superheroes: Or, Why Blade Will Never Live in Wakanda
Part III: Transnational Dialogues and Evolving Political Contexts
12.From “Bat-Manga” to “Attack on Avengers”: Transnational Superhero Adaptations Between Japan and America
13.Kamen Rider, Masked and Unmasked: Tales of Transcultural Transformation
14.Spider-Man, The Panopticon, and The Normalization of Mass Surveillance
15.Adapting Judge Dredd: Civic Guardian or Hyperviolent Cop?
16.All the President’s Supermen: Political Appropriations of Superhero Rhetoric
About the Contributors
Blitzed with cascades of superhumans that zip like quicksilver betwixt and between print, podcast, videogame, as well as big-tent and smartphone silverscreens, virtuoso comics scholar Lorna Piatti-Farnell, and her league of extraordinary cultural critics, invite us to take a critical pause. From incisive analyses of transmedial recreations of Wonder Woman, Scarlet Witch, Blade, Captain America, Spidey, and Jessica Jones as well as the Umbrella Academy and Power Ranger teams, we’re finally handed the roadmap we’ve been longing for: insight, understanding—knowledge. The Superhero Multiverse wakes us to long and deep histories of class-, race-, and gender-based societal traumas. It shouts from rooftops the emancipatory power of superhero narrative performativities!
This collection of 16 essays “follows in the footsteps of existing scholarship in the field ... and focus[es] on the textual and cultural impact of the superhero icon on transmedia production, with an emphasis on re-adapting, re-imagining, and re-making” (p. 2). The volume considers an array of topics in an accessible, intelligent manner. This includes analysis of the dramatic podcast Wolverine: The Long Night, engagements with streaming programs such as The Umbrella Academy and Jessica Jones, and considerations of Batman across cultures. Focused almost exclusively on contemporary iterations of the superhero, often beyond the confines of the printed page, this volume will appeal to students and scholars of popular culture. Recommended. Undergraduates through faculty and general readers.