The Superhero & Reality

ENGL 108A - Spring 2016 - University of Waterloo

Dr. J. Andrew Deman

Lecture 1: May 4, 2016

Why does our culture love superheroes?

Walter J. Ong

  1. [2000 BC] Epic Hero. Patron saint of a region, accomplishes notable deeds, representative of state, gods. Greek hero for each region. Make their fame by doing something monumental.
  2. [1600] Mock-Epic Hero. Blown up version of the epic hero. Too ____. Slumbag to hero. Don Quixote. Comedy. Resulted from boredom. Deadpool. Needs epic heroes to get joke.
  3. [Early 20th Century] Anti-Hero. Lesser than reader. Lesser morals, weak, stupid. Tied to literacy levels. Batman -> Darker. The Punisher.

Heroism defined definitely throughout time. Shift with passage of time.Batman and Superman used to kill a lot, now they don't at all. Printing technology. Can't ignore medium. Superhero - part god (DC). Religious iconology. Humble beings -> Superhero (Marvel).

Lecture 2: May 4, 2016

Comics: An Introduction

@@Comics@@ Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.
Putting images next to each other. Some believe it's a specific style. Cartoon is a style. Cartoonists = Comic Artist. Try to be art or communicate something.
Problem: there are single-image comics. McCloud says single images can imply multiple images.

History of Comics

In the beginning

Telling stories through sequential images is really old. Older than literature. Cave drawings. Comics are a natural art form. People just do it, don't have to learn it. Language is artificial.

Peripheral Existence

Begins with Rodolphe Topffer (1799-1846). The father of comics. 6 panel layout in which people would be doing visually and underneath they would have text describing what was going on. 1 page story. It's a picture book in one page. Good comic book - no redundancy between text and image.

Most visible use: ##Political cartoons##.

William Blake - experiments. Wood cuts. Chisel image on wood and use as stamp. Songs of Innocence. Poems with paintings surrounding them. The pictures carry a great deal of the meaning.

Early uses for comics was an underground culture of pornography. Any visual medium is used for pornography. Entrenches certain perceptions of humans. Buried history - we don't have original comics because they were pornographic and illegal.

The Boom

Joseph Pilitzer and William Randolph Hearst were in a war for readership on their nespaper. Pulitzer debuted a comics page. Yellow-Shirt Kid. Talks with a card or his shirt talks. Hearst stole the artist. Pulitzer hired another person to draw the Yellow-Shirt Kid. ##Yellow Journalism## - journalism that tries to one-up the competition.

From there...

it exploded. Class becomes an issue. Graphic novels. Superhero genre. Comic Strips. Romance comics - aimed for women. Comics got censored in the 1950s. Comics got hijacked because they were corrupting youth.

How to Approach a Comics Text

Rule 1. Comics are not a genre, it's a form. Genre is a template - a series of expectations you have. The type of story of a comic does not matter. Problem: you can pick up a comic book and still have expectations. A lot of comics will play off of those expectations. They will play with them and then do something new with them.

Perspective. The Other to the linguistic Self. When you're looking at a different way of telling a story, it can give us perspective.

Comics Criticism

Comics Theory - borrowing ideas. M

Narrative Justification

Video games are just literature - a way to live that literature. Why should we consider it as conventional literture?

Biases: comics are for children, theyre about superheroes, lots of masculine fantasy, read and use as toilet paper/insulate your house. Associated with racism. Sensationalism - explosions, epic battles.

The Language of Comics: three languages.

Representation and Selection

Trying to convey a piece of a long line of images. Choosing one image to represent a lot of other images. NBA logo. Best angle and image. Choose which one is best of representing something. What happens in between, we assume. ##Motion## and ##Caricature##. Image captures everything it is. ##CAricature## Choice to include eyes, nose, ears, etc. Stephen Harper's nose. Justin Trudeau - hair. Reducing drawings to have their most representative features.


Gutter - space between panels of the comic. Between text (no images) and film (all imageS). Construct some images. Things happen between panels. Your brain fills in what happened. The reader animates what happens in comics.

Semiotic Structures

@@Micro-semiotic structure@@ - individual image. Analyzing just an image.

@@Macro-semiotic: the image in context. Thinking about the juxtapositions. You think about the image in contrast to the other images. Doesn't have to be panels next to it, can be last panel of the book.

2. Batman punching Joker. 1. Joker raised hands surrendering. 1 affects 2.


Where you place your camera is important in telling them how to feel. Look up at them. Look down at them. Maus - like youre in the crowd, dreading your turn.Louis Riel. Trial of Louis Riel. Watching from the side. You're in the jury. The author wants you to judge him.


Serialization: a story with a beginning, but no end. Comics can't be like novels. Too expensive. Early days of the novel - had to serialize. Mandate of each issues is to ensure next. Force syou to wrap something up. Sitcoms need resolutions. Limits artists to edit text as a whole. Novelists needs editing. You only get a first draft. You can't discover the story while you're writing it. Restrictions.

Lecture 3: May 9, 2016

Why do we like to read about people who are better than us?

In reality, we hate hearing about people who do things we haven't done yet. But we like reading about people who are better than us.

Not until the anti-hero where we want to read about people less than us.

Birthright quiz. MCCloud

The Epic Hero

Captain America. Is America. Joke: Captain America is how America sees America. The Comedian is how the world sees America. His character changes to reflect what he's representing. He represents the American people, not the government. Extremely nostalgic. Problematic when trying to representing and entire nation. Captain Cannuck. Tries to relate to Canadian values. Canada is not a unified nation - it has several different cultures. It only encapsulates broad general stereotypes.

You can't have a character encapsulate a city, and you can't have a character encapsulate a nation.

Why do we do this? Why do we want a character to represent a nation through simplification?

The Epic Tradition

There was literature before Gilgamesh, but we don't have any. It's the beginning for us.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

2000 BC. Samarion/Babylonian. Was on clay tablets.

Conversion Text. Tell the story of Gilgamesh and then alter things for my new empire. Takes all original ideas, and alters them to their ideas.

Subtheme: one of them wants to do this. they do it. "I'm scared." "Be strong."

Friendship, grief, mortal fear.

How does Gilgamesh Compare to Captain America, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.?

What you're fighting is a reflection of yourself. Dark version of yourself. This is who you could've been if you were selfish. Have to be equal in strength.


The Iliad.

He wanted an awesome, short life then he decided that he wanted a long, boring life. Glorifying battle - political purpose - celebrate violence - more effective soldiers who have no problem of killing.

Lecture 4: May 11, 2016

'splosions. Why do we, as human beings, enjoy seeing mass destruction as much as we fear it in reality?

Death in comics. Death sells books. Kill character, bring back to life, and repeat.

In Gilgamesh: First book - celebration of immortality. Second book - going to try and find a cure for death or understanding of what death is.

What does death mean in Gilgamesh?

Weeping because of death. In the end, he understands death.


Trojan injures Diamedes. Wants to defeat gods.


Transition to English.

mascunility, fear of death/conquest death, comeraderie, consequence. Beowulf sad that he has to go fight the dragon. He's an old man - better for him to lay down his life. All of our superheroes are not old.
Greed is dangerous. Don't look for things you don't deserve. Reward the people who help you. Superman could rob every bank, but he doesn't. The villain is the superhero who does rob the banks.
Beowulf has superpowers - walk under the ocean, rips arms off.

If the superhero is the epic hero, it's an adaptive version.

Video Games

Video games are well-suited to superheroes. Why were they bad for so long?

Batman Arkham Series broke this. Superheroes can be in video games. You can BE Batman.

The Mock-Epic

We have Deadpool, but he loves superheroes as much as he makes fun of them.

Lecture 5: May 16, 2016

[VIDEO] Kill Bill: Vol.2. Superman Dialogue. Pop culture critique of superheroes. Superheroes are the superhero and have an alterego. They have to put on a costume to become th esuperhero. Superman was born a superhero, he didn't have to become it. Clark Kent is the critique of human beings. He has to interpret human beings as weak and soft.

Birthright: Clark Kent is the main character, and not Superman.

Is Afternoon Contemplaion accurate?

Superman was one of the first, but then others did it better. It wasn't a good comic. Badly drawn, clunky dialogue. The illustrator was losing his eyesight. The mythology was spectacular. Superman set a template.

Contemporary History

Two creators:

Superman: Birthright

Smallville. Awesome moments. Sympathetic (the Marvel method). Inspires fear (post-Watchmen). Lots of Clark - a lot of his natural personality. Old Clark Kent was ONLY pretending to be a nerd.

Before WW2, it was all power fantasy. After WW2, balance between power and protector fantasy. You can't have Superman without a little bit of power fantasy. Power fantasy coming back as WW2 is moving further away. The further we are from global conflict, the more power fantasy. They contradict each other. Hard to have a powerful and non-threatening being. Satisfy both at the same time. Double think - have paradox in your brain, but not recognize it.

How do you think Superman stories can satisfy both at the same time?

Lecture 6: May 18, 2016

Afternoon Contemplation: How sexual is Superman?

Superheroes wear tights. It shows absically every single muscle. They're beautiful. They're doing things that are weird. We accept them in a superhero narrative. Course accusation: comics are a sexual fantasy. Sexy people fighting and rubbing against each other.

Next class: group discussion. 80 mins to produce response. Superman. quality over quantity. 2 par. 1-2 pages. point form - strong body of evidence, but not a lot of insight. Both is good. Quotation from the text.


Comics are sequential art.

Photo realistic (spectacle, realism, no embodiment, the character is clearly not you) -> Cartoony (something you can inhabit very easily because it looks like you) -> Language

Universal vs. Individual. Photo-realistic vs. Cartoon. Manga goes across range, American comics do not.


x-axis = relatibility through realism. How realistic or cartoony it looks.
y-axis = abstraction, non-iconic(doesn't refer to an actual thing) (semiotics - study of signs. Why when you see a red octagon, you stop.). (icon = resemblance). ("Shark" = symbol. drawing of shark = icon. index = association fire). Start abstracting. Weird shapes. Things that don't actually exist. Create visual metaphors. Superman's bicep -> extreme strength by distorting reality. The further up, the more distorted it is. All you've got left are shapes.

Cartman is far right. He doesn't have a neck. Proportions all wrong. Eyebrows on his hat.

Creater of Superman: why he created Superman. Motivated by sexual revenge. Lois Lane was based on a reporter at his high school. Lois Lane is an awesome reporter, but she's a fool. She is in love with Superman, and she can't see that the guy across from her is ridiculous. Segal's desire to make fun of her. If she could see that Clark Kent was superman, they could be together

##Mid-flight Embrace##. Micro-semiatic clues: embracing,

Macro-Semiotic Clues

Micro-Semiotic Moment - Shadows. Lois in light, Superman in dark. Shadow holding Lois in place. Shadow that makes no sense coming out of his crotch.

Shuster uses the two in his other works.

Lex Luthor

Symbol of Technology. He becomes corporate when we become scared of corporations. He becomes a politician when we become scared of our government.

The superman character dynamic is really challenging. He has to change, have a life, things have to happen in his life. has to be emblematic, doing the same stuff. People hated when Spider-man married Mary-Jane.We get bored. We have to allow them to have big life moments. They keep starting from scratch with reboots. Repetition and expectation become pleasure. Why do we avoid originality? Dramatic Irony - you know things that the characters don't - it's satisfying. Familiar. He can change the world really easily, but then the world would be unrecognizable. 911 - why didn't superheroes stop it?

1990s: Symbolic Death. Superman died. When we knew he was gone, we got really upset. Death of superman killed death.

[FILM] The Death and Return of Superman

Lecture X: May 30, 2016

Gender in Comics - Supergirl

Afternoon Contemplation: Why are comics readers predominantly male?

Creative Team

G. Willow Wilson (Writer)

Women's Comics History

Woman - what's wrong with me? Am I not feminine enough, am I not a comics fan enough?

Comics Sexuality

objective towards women.

Luce Irigarny - female depiction in a visual media will always be more sexualized than male. Female sexuality is tactile/touch, whereas male sexuality is visual. Male eroticism/porn - visual. Female erotica - tactile. Speaking through words, tactile sensation. Romance novels - graphic sex scenes - about sensation of touch - how they feel.

Predisposition tht puts owmen in a vulnerable place in being represented.

    Roger Sabin - The reason that comics don't work.
  1. Male creative teams - certain shared expereinces that men have, that women have whether biological or socially-constructed. Hard for men to write for the prespective of women. Writers can't get into that mindset. Marvel has been giving females a shot.
  2. Male-oriented eroticism (male gaze). Comics are very sexual. They're creating subsconsious sexual appeal.
  3. Female Values - that there are certain things that females like that males don't like.
      Female Values
    1. Reform over punishment - you teach bad guys how to be good. Men just want to hurt them.
    2. Self-sufficiency amongst women - they don't want to be rescued all the time, they want them to be heroes
    3. Relationships & character.
    4. Fashion, social status - Climbing social ladder. Interesting clothes. Fashion is a visual medium - it can work really well with comics. Costumes doing really cool things.

Wonder Woman. First, real superhero that people paid attention to. Got taken up by 2nd wave feminism as an icon. Hard for female characters to identify with male characters. Pushed out of the narrative. They start to identify as the man. She believed wonder woman was the antidote. Wonder woman is the iconic female superhero. She sets the template. Most famous female superheroes are the female version of the male superhero.

Problems with Wonder Woman. wonder woman has features that are not human. Big boobs, thin waist. She's drawn to be sexy. She wears a bustier, not functional. She wears high heels. Police + fire fighters are not allowed to wear high heels.

Created by Marston. He had sexual fetish that he thought everyone had. Pleasant capitivation emotions -> BDSM Vincilagnia. "Women enjoy submission." - he thought this was a universal thing. That was the basis of Wonder Woman comics. It suggests that wonder woman is and always was a sexual fantasy. As a superhero, she was always an object.

Female comics are innately tied to sexuality. All of the characters are naked. Marston's wife aided in the comics, but he took all the credit. J Krasinski took her out of her costume in a reboot. Gave wonder woman pants. LAsted 6 issues. Fan outrage. Bad sales.

If a female character is badass, do they have to be masculine? Buffy the Vampire Slayer - badass, and feminine. For thousands of years, if you wanna be badass, be masculine. We're not used to it. Can subsconsiously reject these ideas.

Ms. Marvel

How is gender treated in Ms. Marvel? She's self-sufficient. She gets help, but does not depend on any of them.

Lecture X: June 1, 2016

The double-standard in comcis. What can a male or female character not do that the other gender can.

McCloud Chapter 3

##The Gutter##

Lord of the rings. What does Gandalf look like? Books - old, kind face, etc. Film - Sir Ian McKellan. You can describe him exactly.

Accomplice effect. You swung the axe - you are the murderer. Creates intimacy. Create these half-formed worlds. Vivid world, but require you to be engaged in it. ##Co-authorship##.

McCloud Chapter 4 - Time

Two characters saying something in the same image. Time has to pass. We figure it out by the direction we read.

Still image of someone running - add lines and it looks like it's moving.

Comics are still images that move.

Jane Comics - comic that won the war. Show show gender can be politicized. 1932. Similar to Blondie. Young woman trying to make it in the world of professionals. Adventures. Character-based. War broke out. US was given Superman. British were given Jane comics. Made Jane pornographic. Well-established character -> pornographic. The rights of women will be taken away when stuff goes bad (Margaret Atwood).

1975 - "Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema". Bases it on castration anxiety. (Freud - why women are afraid of women. If men sees a being without a penis, they think they could lose their penis so they avoid them.) She comes up with a theory of ##Fetishistic## (focusing on an aspect)##Scopophilia## (pleasure in looking) - treating women as something to look at, a spectacle. Not about what they do, or what they show, but how they show it. -> ##male gaze##. How women are represented for men. We have two ways of making this work: 1) ##Voyeurism## - power dynamics. If a woman comes into a classroom naked, most people would avert their gaze. If you were in a theatre, it says it's totally cool to look at the woman. Encourages you to look at her. How the camera looks at the woman. Butt shots. Women can't look back - like peeping Tom. You are free to look athem, but they can't see you. 2) ##Dehumanization## this person is no more, they are a spectactle - it's okay to look at them. Not important - they are just there to be looked at. You shouldn't feel bad looking at them because they're not worthy of anything else.
Male characters - have an ideal ego. Nothing dehumanizes Ms. Marvel. Male character is different than females. Males are not just a spectacle - Superman is not just handsome, he's a person.
Male character can endorse voyeurism. A male character will check the female out - saying it's okay to check her out. Male characters will treat the females as objects.

Superheroes have no respect for women's privacy. They always show up on their balcony without calling ahead or ringing the doorbell. Arms above head - exposed posture. Shows majority of her body in a vulnerable position. Batman is a spectacle, but not a sexual one.

Richard Reynolds

Superheroes in modern mythology - richard reynolds.

Villainess - if you have a male character that's beautiful, the villain is physically disfigured. For female characters, you don't see that. No physically unattractiveness, tend to look exactly the same. Villainess will be sexually aggressive -> femme fatale - female character who challenges heroes moral standing by the hero rejecting her. You can tell someone's evil if she's sexually aggressive. Seuality is a form of disfigurement. Teaches women to be sexually passive.

Exoticism - take national/racial traits and make her sexual. Josephine Baker - Belt made of bananas. La REvue Negre - the black review. Performed topless with skirt made of feathers or bananas.

Sexuality as Villainy

Homosexuality as a form of disfigurement. The Joker. Frank Miller regarded as homophobic. Androgyny is villainous as is homosexual desire. Villain characters are drawn with a feminine characteristic - eyeliner, long hair. Joker wears lipstick, refers to Batman as mon cher (my love). MAkes him homophobic to make you despise him more.

Homoeroticism - comics, men's health magazines, WWE. homoerotic, yet still very straight - opposed to homosexuality. Subversively homosexual (Fiedler) - dog whistles - appeal to homosexual audiences without heterosexual audiences knowing. Wertham wanted to get them banned due to the homoeroticism.

Characters who are symbols of masculinity - but drawn without a penis. Thor seems like he has no penis. Censorship thing. Most manly, but don't have a penis. Fantastic 4 - Ioan Gruffud's penis was too big. CGI'd away his bulge.

Fridging - Gale Simone. Hurts female character to motivate male character. Narrative level. Treated as expendable. Throwing a female character under the bus.

Costume, posture, positioning. Seeing how male superheroes would look if in female costumes. Comic Book Resources.

Documentary - Ink Alter egos Exposed.

2 lectures cancelled - X-men group dynamic stuff

AC: The Canadian Stereotype. Captain Canuck - gross canadian stereotype. Wolverine - conform to 1/3 of Canadian stereotypes. Canadian - usually stereotyped as masculine.

Death (Max Landis) - DPS death. Stereotypes.

Death in Comics

Max Landis - death has become irrelevant in comics. Everybody dies. DC TV was way more important than comics. TV was going to marry Clark and Lois. Comics decided to kill Superman.

You can't kill a superhero before Jean Grey. Comics were perceived as a children's medium. Gwen Stacy died, but she wasn't a superhero. Rule had to be broken because it contradicted another rule. Phoenix committed genocide. You're not allowed to have someone commit a crime and not get punished for it. You have to kill her. Editor should not have let a superhero kill a planet. Shocked the readership. When you read X-men, you feel the danger because you know they can die. Burn drew DPS. Clairemont didn't know about it. Burn thought dark phoenix was separate from Jean Grey. Clairemont said dark phoenix is an extreme version of Jean Grey.

Everybody starts killing superheroes. Death becomes meaningless.

Gilgamesh - Concern with death. Realm of the dead.

No death to nothing, but death, but since not permanent, there's really no death at all. Jean Grey was the death that mattered.

Captain Marvel - killed him with cancer. 2nd Robin - everybody hates him - phone number to kill robin -> meaningless.

We don't want our characters to change - death is a big change.

Jean Grey gets an Epic hero death - a transformation or obliteration. Greeks - treatment of corpse - disrespect would mess with your corpse. She's just gone, there's no corpse.

Wolverine = lethality. Angel: "I'm not comfortable with having a killer on the team." "Don't ask, you don't wanna know." Wolverine stabs his way up the Hellfire club. He has claws - what else is he going to do with them? Allows lethal force to be heroic. Allow murder to be heroism, and then hero is murdered - invite death into camp, but allowing Wolverine to be on their team. Wolverine tries to corrupt Colossus (moral). He throws Colossus at Dark Phoenix.

Kitty Pryde - a 13-year-old girl from the suburbs. The second they introduce mortality, they introduce a 13 year old girl. She's vulnerable. She's a sidekick - almost always children. (Batman and Robin lived in a gay wish fulfillment - batman's a pedophile. SNL - ambiguously gay duo.) Hard for teenagers to identify with fully grown men, so they give you a sidekick to identify with. Kitty is impermeable -> invulnerability.

Dark Phoenix as a metaphor.

"Power without restraint, etc. I must fight you Jean... Jean can't find the balance.

Preservation of self. Holding onto who you are. "I know you're in there." Death as a tool of martyrdom. Humans can act socially at the expense of their own self-interest. Jean loves her power, but knows it's wrong.

Race - Jokes were racist. Irish, Asian, African American. Comics made fun of racial minorities at the beginning. Anxiety. Racial tensions. Comics relieved tension. Comics were good for Asians to access American culture - popular among immigrants. Fanbase was comprised of people they were making fun of, so they stopped the racial jokes.
Issue: easy to interact with opposite sex, but can go for a long time without interacting with a racial minority. Racial representation can be trickier due to a lack of actual exposure. Easy to see a woman that contradicts women in comics. People see comics as a reality for racial minorities because there's no one to contradict it.
We're really good at forming patterns - looking at patterns and projecting it onto the future. Stereotypes are patterns that emerge that we look at and assume that's how it's going to play out. Simplification. Goldberg - We do this because of comfort - we feel more secure cause we can expect things, fear of unknown. Comedy. Laughter - there's no danger. Racial stereotype is funny because it's not funny to you. Because poeple expect the stereotype, they start to think that's how they should be. If someone expects you to act "Canadian", you might act more Canadian. It's convenient.

The Minstrel Show - White actor dressed up really nice, smart. Put on shoe polish, messed up hair, act like idiots. Most popular.

Comics and Blackface. Mickey Mouse - minstrel show. Mickey Mouse is african. Simmian mouth - from orangutans - visual stereotype to show irish - Homer simpson - stupidity. Hook nose - jewish people - transformers film (megatron - hook nose) - originally meant evil means jewish. Buffoonery - minority characters are in a service role - just followers.

Chris Ware - Cartoony style evolves out of symbols of specific races.

1970s-1980s - wanted to be progressive with anti-racism. Luke Cage - first came out - falling back on racial stereotype. Looks like he's in jail. Chest exposed - mojo zone - more animalistic. Vice - dice and cards. He's just a guy from harlem, yet he's a symbol for slavery. Chain for belt, ring things around wrists. Oversized features - gorilla. Looks like a monkey. Fat Southern sherriff. Indiscriminate, random violence coming out of an african-american community. "For hire" - first to work for money.

Black Panther - Associated with african-american unity. Playing with stereotype. He's not African-American, he's African. Safari stereotypes - black character is a predatory creature. a servant. White character solves all problems. Techno-Cannibalism - technological jungle because black panther can't see beyond jugnle.

X-men - racial and ethnic essences. Colossus - russian - red and yellow colors of soviet union. His power is steel. Nightcrawler - German, elves, demons, etc. Storm - exoticised, very sexual, powers are primitive, no pupils - dehumanize. Angel is white, blond, wealthy, perfection. Wolverine - not a stereotype, not polite, most lethal, squints, wears kimono, japanese, red and white, sun. Wearing a feather. Banchsee - irish, smokes pipe, leprachauns. Stereotypes become embedded, can't see them.

X-men opened up the international market for comics. It's imperfect, but it tried to be racially progressive.

Lecture X: June 20, 2016

AC: Why does our culture hate due process while our politics hold it sacred? Due process - trial by jury of peers. If lose, can appeal. Innocent until proven guilty. Our culture finds them boring as hell. Even legal dramas have to spice it out. They won't show you how long the process is. 90% are settlements. Court costs a fortune - people plead guilty.

JSTOR - db of journal articles. Google Scholar. source about an issue you're discussing, even if it doesnt talk about comics. 3. how are comics trying to be sexy 4.

The Dark Knight Returns

Frank Miller

Frank Miller (1957) - Born in Maryland, middle-class, suburban. Portrays dirty, gritty cities. He was an insane comic book fan - a lot of comic book writers weren't comic book fans. Had letter published at 16. Very outgoing. Brave artist. He would go harass people. He wanted to be an artist. Joe Orlando was very mean to him (in Watchmen). He was hired as a fill-in artist. Was assigned to Daredevil in 1979 which was about to get cancelled. Writer quit and Miller begged to be the writer and took over in 1981 as writer and illustrator. He introduced Elektra. Daredevil was a really crappy Batman. Miller made him better. Made Wolverine a ninja. Ronin - cyborg ninja. 1986 - elite artist. He could have anything he wanted. The Dark Knight Returns - He wanted to tell an adult, non-canonical Batman story in prestige format (glossy, sold in book stores). Won a lot of awards. It's not Batman canon. Predicted Jason Todd's death, Carrie has been absorbed into canon.
Sin City, 300, Big guy and rusty the robot (similar to big hero 6), etc.

Known for combining film noir. Japanese manga elements - ninjas and samurais. Noir crime drama, ninjas and samurai, a superhero. Suffered a creative decline in 2005. Allegations: too manly, mysogynistic, violence, homophobic, islamophobic, bitter, cynical. Talking butt of 2005 - comics image. Close up of her butt and a speech bubble coming out of her butt. Notes describes the talking butt - let's give the little monsters what they want. The turning point of his career. Daredevil standing on a dead dog - impersonation of Miller by Moore. His reputation made TDKR's reputation suffer.


History of Batman: 1939. Detective Comics 207. Bob Kane - plagurized a lot, exploit other people. Bill Finger - uncredited for the main parts of Batman. Originally, a detective (mystery). He was more Sherlock Holmes. Once Superman came out, he became a superhero. Zorro + Sherlock Holmes + The Phantom. Revenger's Tragedy (genre) - character who is wronged and they pursue revenge, but it's about self-destruction and not letting go. Bruce Wayne would be better off letting go, but he can't. Emphasis on villains as foils - all opponents tend to reflect Batman, a darker version of him. The Joker says Batman is kind of crazy - dressing up as a clown vs bat. Catwoman - ninja-like like Batman and has a lot of fun -> Batman has fun. Twoface - dual-identity. Batman stories are mainly about the villain, but in doing so, is about Batman. Antithesis to Superman - one is brightness, hope and the other is darknss, pragmitism, practicality. Works as an anti-hero. Adapts well to video games.

Mock-epic hero. Parody of epic hero. Old man Batman trying to live a young main's existence. Batman is absurd in how heroic he is trying to be. Riding on a horse - awesome, silly. Man out of time, shows how he's necessary. Comedy element: mutant leaders. Batman is fighting them, then employs them. Batman is a fascist - an individual who asserts control with violence, no questions asked. Miller gives you Hitler Batman.


1988 - the Killing Joke - Alan Moore. 2 years earlier. Explore Bruce Wayne's dual-identity as antagonistic.

Bruce Wayne goes out for a walk - walks to downtown core. Seeking for Crime alley. REfers to Batman as "him" as opposed to "me". "Me" to "your (batman is now talking). Bruce Wayne goes for a walk looking for trouble. Batman is calling out for him. He's always taking that revenge - every criminal he fight sis the one who killed his parents. Voice of Batman takes over. Batman telling Bruce Wayne to hit this guy. Batman is like a disease, it's destroying Bruce Wayne. He goes home and he shaved his mustache. Batman shaved his mustache and Bruce Wayne didn't notice. Loss of sense of self.

Bruce Wayne is fighting it, but only one can dominate at a time. Bruce Wayne fighting it and knocks over a statue. "You cannot escape me." Rain - baptism - rebirth. Somehow is naked. Batman is saying that BW is just a vessel, the shell to the soul of Batman. Batman is the part of BW that is alive. All BW has is anger. What is Miller's message? Human complexity, anti-hero - this guy has problems and needs to see a counsellor, reflection.

Two-Face is actually One-Face. Vertical juxtoposition. Batman talking about Two-Face, but actually talking baout Batman. Venere and disguise and how insufficient it is. Batman is not a disguise, it is an aspect of BW that he can't control. Batman is in Two-FAce's position. Bruce Wayne is dead. Batman has won.

First Chapter: Batman becoming Batman again. Murder of Bruce Wayne.

AC: Why do we like our heroes dark & brooding? Where in an earlier age, we preferred our heroes to be awesome and virtuous.

Superman vs. Batman


Militia-run city vs. Government-run city. Needs to bring Batman in because he's doing a better job than the government. Batman takes it onto himself to do the government's job. Batman is not an obvious hero - he is as much a crazy person. What is Miller saying about vigilantism (pro or against)? Downfall - self-motivation - they do what they want (most motivations are personal - revenge for his family, mid-life crisis). We have real vigilantes. Why are they there?

Fascist symbols. Liberals are whiners and the conservatives are hypermilitaristic violent thugs. Throws Batman right in the middle of it. Miller gives us a flawed Batman.

Making fun of Batman. Miller is playing with your own sense of thrill with thrift justice. Making you think vigilantism is wrong and feel it's awesome at the same time.


Bruce Wayne is the manliest we've seen, maybe more manly than Gilgamesh. Trials of masculinity - come out and face me. Asserting dominance over strategy. Bruce Wayne that kind of wants to die. Barrel-chested. Superman is emasculate even though he's the most powerful being of the universe. (Flag that becomes Superman - suggesting that all he is is a flag, Ronald Regan refers to Superman as a son, talking down to a god like a dog).

What is he doing with the concept of manliness? If he's legitimately depicting manliness as a value or is he taking it to extreme? Making fun or supporting manliness. Assertion of will - not selling out. Polarizes Superman/Batman - balance - making fun of both sides - one is very manly, one is not manly at all. Female Robin - nobody interprets her as female. Carrie chooses subordinate role. She always disobeys him. Batman's dead without her. Batman sees her as Jason.

superman vs. batman

Batman is criticizing Superman for blind trust in authority. The government is afraid of Batman, but not Superman. We need some form of balance. Most of us are law-abiding except for when you don't want to. Ex: Torrenting. Citizen's ability to tnot give their conscious to another force - slave morality. Superman has slave morality (Nietzsche) - you do not have morality. If you only act according to laws or institutions, you are not making moral choices at all, you're just a slave. We have to in some cases give ourselves to someone else. Freedom from. Batman goes too far doing what he wants. Superman only follows rules. They are extremes, neither of them are appealing.

Batmans scares them. We have all this power, we have to hide it. Batman acting in a way that has consequences to all superheroes. superman parallel to the people who censored comics.

A Superman who might be a coward, a Batman who might be a maniac. Both of them suck. No simple superheroes.

Robin: marginal figure. Inbetween. No dementia, but following his footsteps. Young, resourceful, intelligent, capable. She is Jason Todd to Bruce Wayne, he doesn't see her as anyone else. Unhealthy. Crazy eager to accept Robin. What need does Carrie Kelly fill for Batman?
Survival - he's old. he nees her. He got one killed, why does he make the mistake again? Denial of past - he wants to be young again. Through Carrie Kelly, he can pretend JAson Todd didn't get killed. Restoring the past.

Superman characterizes Batman as a co-god. Batman sees it as a man vs. God conflict. "It's way past time you learn what it means to be a man." Batman goes to great lengths to beat the crap out of Superman. He's resentful of the concept of gods. Why does Batman need to teach Superman a lesson? Teaching Superman a lesson - teaching him fear as Superman has too confident. HUmans are flawed - help Superman ask better questions. Pure pride - smiles a lot - that he can beat the god.

Fellowship of superheroes - both had a responsibility to superheroes. Both viewed each other as the traitor. Bruce wayne: don't trust anybody, enforce your own will.

Mid-life crisis: Batman is obsessed with his age. When he's doing well, he says he's feeling young. If he's not, calls himself an old man.


Greatest villain in comic book history. Joker only exists because of Batman. When Batman's gone, Joker doesn't exist. Exists to fight Batman. Joker develops his plan once Batman returns. If it's always balanced out, then what's the point? Joker is batman's antithesis. Joker erases any good that Batman does. Balanced universe.

Joker's desire. So many smiles, so many faces, all the same. He wants all of them smiling even when they're the same. Uniformity vs. Inidivduality. Stablility. Batman sees people as being special. Joker doesn't see them as special. Dead people - good. Smily face is all that matters, not what made them smile. They all look like him now. The world in his image. Batman does the same - mutants wearing bat on face. Life is not special.

Miller - homophobic. Distorted history to make a homophobic comment. Joker's homosexuality as a part of his villainy. Tunnel of love - Batman and Joker - mutual love for each other. Joker understands the BatmanJoker relationship that Batman doesn't - he watns to teach Batman. Miller's Joker is not crazy - has a sense of purpose. Batman provides realness of his deeds. If Batman doesn't exist, no ones keeping score.

In order to be good, Batman has to allow people to die. Batman understands that the choice to not kill the Joker is his choice to kill other people. Categorical imperatives (Kant) - rules are unbreakable. Moral relativism - nothing is balck and white, nothing is absolute, you have to adjust. Superman and a baby - kill this baby and i will spare this planet, or b, i will kill everyone on this earth and this baby. But superman doesn't kill, so he can't kill the baby. Kant - don't kill the baby - the principle is more important. Batman's rule doesn't make sense - you know if you kill Joker, you will spare the lives of other people - would you kill the Joker or preserve the rule? (22 vs. 8).

The paradox: Batman is really good at punching stuff. Joker kills himself in a manner that is described as supernatural - he broke his own neck - it cannot be done. Plan A: make batman as bad as the Joker, doesn't work. Plan B: make it look like Batman broke his rule. Why break his own neck and not kill himself another way? Intimate death.

Lecture X: Jun 27, 2016

AC: If you were all-powerful, how long could you keep your morality? Forever - 0 (Superman) | Slow Decline - 24 | Rapid Decline - 6 | Gone - 2

HG Wells - The Invisible Man. Breaks into mall to get warm. Hungry - eats something at mall. Few weeks - murdering people.

The world messes us up. Seeing the darkness of it makes us dark.


Watchmen is about a broad net of how any form of power is bad - not good for you or the world.

Alan Moore (1953). A writer who likes to fail. Take a good premise and takes it really far until it collapses. Likes to alienate audience. North Hampton - Northern England. Best known for 2000AD - British comics anthology. Swamp Thing. Batman: The Killing Joke. V for Vendetta. Watchmen. League of Extraordinary Gentlmen, Lost Girls, From Hell.

Deconstruction. Deconstructed text calls attention to how meaning is constructed through processes of self-awareness. Marge points out that Maggie hasn't aged in 20 years. Looking at how the thing is operating in order to make us think about how that thing works. Watchmen has a lot to say about comics and superheroes. Satire - desire to make better - pointing out flaws to improve it & Parody - open mockery - pointing out the flaws to say it sucks. Let's look at tropes surrounding superheroes.

Mapping the Allegory.

Wrote Watchmen with Charleton characters. Moore changed characters a bit. Dr. Atom. The Question - rorschach. Nite Owl - blue beetle.

What is the point of the superhero? There isn't.

Lecture X: June 29, 2016

AC: Pick your team - Ozymandias - saves the planet - 6, Rorschach - righteous - 20, Dan & Laurie - tried, but outside of their realm, abandon, do nothing - 3

Rorschach is a paradigm. Admirable. Super heroic moments are Rorschach moments. Rorschach wants to survive - always fighting. He wants to die for a reason. He's got nothing, but he fights the hardest. Batman without the one rule.

Ozymandias has the biggest impact. He's at the center of everything. Outwits a god. Greater Good. Horrible hard decision that has to be made. He did it because it had to be done. Gambling on what he's creating and profits from it.

[Video: Alan Moore Watchmen]. Political/sexual interpretation of superheroes. Vigilante psychopath.

    Intelligent design - what the world is. what does reality mean, life mean, etc. End quotes. Deeper philosophical discussion.
  1. Character
  2. Form
  3. Theme

Veidt and Manhattan as Christ figures. Moore is no Christian, he's a pagan. All english literature has christian symbols whether the author wants it or not.
"Judge of all the Earth" - end of chap 3. Manhattan on Mars contemplating the fate of all mankind - will he be saviour or destroyer or indifferent. The story is about if they convince god to intervene - but didn't actually do anything. From Genesis.
Godlike power. He can do anything. Limit is his own imagination.
Resurrected from the dead - reconstructed from nothingness
Walks on water - Jesus.
Creator of life - says he thinks he;ll create some.
=> suggest Manhattan as a god. Is he a god? Detached. More like Pagan god - more human, non-transcendant - interacts with humans. Indifferent - maybe powerless - so powerful that he's powerless. No following - most people are scared of him.

Is Veidt a God? God through Manhattan. Desires to be a god. Armageddon to save humanity. Reverse - sacrifies other humans to save himself and humanity. Could just be a power grab - I want to be the one who does this.

Veidt asks "did I do the right thing?" As soon as he is in the presence of someone powerful, he needs reassurance. Manhattan is a scientist. Veidt is a philanthropist.

Veidt's belief is Causality - complex cause and effec reltionship but can be actively controlled. order but not yet determined. Fate is far more related to our existence than we think it is. Dr. Manhattan says everything is predetermined. To express causality - repetition - the key to predicting the future. Veidt uses history to drive his goals - Alexander the Great. Ultimate plan depends on breaking cycle. Why does Veidt have to take drugs and wander in the desert? Puts him in touch with fate with universe.

Rorschach as the Idealist - "Nothing is hopeless. Not while there's life." - foreshadows Jon's return to earth (lures him back), rorschach's demise (death of hope). Doesn't believe in fate - no plan. "Us" - does not hold himself about humanity. Chaos. Mal - psychiatrist - Rorschach destroys Mal - dark pessimism, but need to be a superhero


Comedian - every superhero express admiration for the comedian, understanding. LAurie follows his footsteps in the end. Very human. Free - does what he wants. Strong will - doesn't care about others.

Determinism -fatalism. Fate. Everything is predetermined. Fatalism - extreme determinism. No causality. Allows murder of bystander, kennedy, world-ending. Laurie is saying that he can alter history, then he arrives and he does nothing.

Superman is full of crap. Manhattan's feelings have been hurt. Beauty in mars - someone with a complex life, needing something simple. Earth is too complicate for him.

Veidt is full of crap too. Wanted to pummel the comedian. Profiting off the atrocity that he created.

Text's Structure and Symbols -
Tiger, Tiger poem - looking at a tiger that's perfectly symmetrical. Symmetry is a symbol for heroism. Tiger is a horrible killing machine - why would you create something like that. Chapter 5 - mirror. Everything balances. Rorschach - perfect but horrifying - symmetry in face. center of chapter - ozymandias.
Repitition - smiley face, hiroshima lover's shadow, visual motif on cover throughout chapter, panel structure (zoom out effect), laurie becoming her father. Order and meaning in this universe. Every small background clock is 11:55. The only time that matters is the doomsday clock.
Pirate story - john - alienation from humanity. rorsachah - heroic intents eleading to moral degradation. ozymandias - plan floated on the back of atrocities. nite owl - exposure to greater horrors of the world, in over his head. silk spectre - attachment to everything she hates.
Quis custodiet opsos custodes - grafitti in background - who will watch the watchmen? who will control the people of power. It's always cut off in images. Universe is trying to ask the question, but is incapable of it.
Chaos - the comedian - least funny character. Veidt's hero Alexander - lateral thinking - thinking outside the box. 11:22 - nite owl and rorschach know that the villain will do it at midnight - but adrian did it at 11:22 - didn't obey the structure.
A watch has structure and order. Don't have a proper ending. Watchmen suggesting that the world has order with meaning, but also is full of chaos and is meaningless.
What are they trying to say? We don't know!

Lecture X: July 4, 2016

AC: How would you describe the nature of people's relationships with a deity or deities?

Politics of Superman. Manhattan is a weapon of mass destruction - big thing in the 1980s. Manhattan project - atomic bomb project. Manhattan is a bomb - lynch-pin in geopolitics. This is a bomb you can talk to. Atomic bomb needs to get laid - need to keep Laurie happy. Vietnam war - America lost a war. Why don't the Vietnamese get a superhero? Superman Red Son - what would happen if superman landed in the USSR - communist superman. From Vietnamese perspective, it's not fair. America wins the war because they have a superhero.

Laurie becomes a major player in global politics. Laurie is a government asset. What happens if Manhattan becomes attracted to a Vietnamese woman? Edward VIII - fell in love with an American who was twice-divorced - couldn't be king so he gave up the throne (The King's Speech). Personal relationships producing large-scale collateral damage. Humanization vs. dehumanization. A superhero is a human bomb where their personal lives can affect global things. Most comics don't recognize this. Heroic or ignorant - recognizes that she has to be there for manhattan or just doesn't know.

Social anxiety. Manhattan makes people nervous. Powerful things make us nervous. People resent this protection. We hate cops. Machivallian pawn of Veidt. Superman is dumb, we all suffer for it. Veidt only had to make one person sad and pouty for his plan. Emotional individuals are dangerous to the people they protect, but we also celebrate that humanity. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - who will watch the watchmen. If you put someone in a position of power, what power are they accountable to? Need checks and balances. Why is nothing better? Dr Manhattan is changing everything. Superman can't or else the world would be unrecognizable. Why didn't Manhattan fix the world? Why is the world still shitty? Manhattan isn't the one making decisions. He's just a tool. Hippy movement - maybe the war needed to happen. Detached from his morality. Hard to sympathize with people with stupid, petty problems. Would just leave. He leaves.

Pirate comics in Watchmen world. Suggesting that if we had real superheroes, we wouldn't want them.

Why put power in the hands of the meekest character? Inherits the earth. Leaves a world without superheroes. Superheroes can't really exist.

Feminist subtext of Watchmen. Tactics of self-referentiality = deconstruction. Moore is always referencing them - that they're objects.

1st silk spectre - became a hero just to further her modelling career. Saying that most superheroes are just pinups. A lot of women in comics are there just to be beautiful. 100% ok with the Tijuana bible. Almost raped by the comedian. Why did she have a consensual relationship with him after? Mental illness, internal victim blaming. Why she's okay in being a sex object even though she wants to be a real superhero. She thinks that's all she's good for. She passes it onto her daughter.

2nd silk spectre - never wanted to be a superhero. Put into a revealing outfit at 16. Lori sees herself as a sex object as well. Uses her sexuality. Becomes masculine at the end.

After Egos exosed - Episode 1 - The Evolution of Comics. Comics Code. Writers/Artists thought it was the darkness that made DKR and Watchmen successful. Kingdom Come - superhero comics have lost their way

Lecture X: July 11, 2016

AC: Why does our culture not value comedy? Our culture thinks comedy is at best a distraction.

test: lecture content, short answer, 50 questions/marks?

Creative Team: Brian Posehn. Born 1966 - Character actor/comedian. Deadpool - First big comics gig.
Tony Moore - Born 1978. Known for detail and aesthetics. Done a lot. He's slow - takes a long time to draw. Famous artist and random comedian guy. Successful run. Took Deadpool in a more slapstick direction.

Passion projects - comics don't make money.

Rob Liefeld - Deadpool's creator. No training when he started. Weird imagesm proportion, etc. Delusional. People hate him for his art, but he's a really nice person. Comics lost 90% of its revenue but still survived - sold all rights to properties to studios --> first wave of superhero movies. Co-create with Fabian Nicieza. First appearance in New Mutants #98. A second X-men. Not the Deadpool that we know now. Just a random bad guy. Accused of ripping off Deathstroke (Slade Wilson).

Problem of comics: significance of 1sts. Most valuable of comics is the first appearance of a character, artist, or writer.

Every marvel first will have a spiderman appearance in it. Now it's Deadpool. Inconsistent character. Fox owns Deadpool twice.

Dead presidents - most slapstick version of him.

Dead Presidents - thoughts? American satire. Neoconservatism.

Anti-hero. Here, he's a mock epic-hero. In film and other, he's anti-hero. Epic hero (Gilgamesh) - people get sick of it -> mock-epic hero -> anti-hero.
Mock-epic hero - tradittionally unheroic person made hero. Or just an exaggerated hero. (Batman from TDKR)
Anti-hero - lower standing than the reader. Morality - doesn't feel the need to do right. Can be unintelligent, unathletic.

Can have elements of any one. Peter parker - lesser, but mask -> mock-epic hero.

Holden Caulfield - JD Salinger - Catcher in the Rye. Misinterprets things, can't form relationships, angry and no where to take it. American anti-heros: usually socially lesser - isolated and lonely.

Flynn Effect - our society is getting more intelligent. The world used to be simpler. Each genereation goes up 20 IQ pts.

Anti-hero - amoral protagonist.

Comics Anti-hero. Miracleman - unethical. Watchmen and Dark Knight have anti-heroes. Dan Dreiberg - anti-hero.
Violence (defining characteristic)- The Punisher - he was just a villain and spiderman had to shut him down. Punisher becomes a hero, but an anti-hero. Wolverine - anti-hero - uses claws on people, stabs people. Daredevil.
2004 - Deadpool becomes funnier, Squirrel girl. Not just violence.
now - heroes with tragic flaws.

Rejuvinates a stale genre or signalling the end (mock). Deadpool doing things that no one has ever done anymore. Is Deadpool offering a new direction, or wanting to save the superhero genre? He creates a more joyful experience - he's having fun while getting mutilated. Reference comedy/humour. Recontextualizes violence - making the violence fun. Maybe end of genre or new beginning.

Geek character, not nerd character. Geek - cultural. Nerd - asocial/intelligent. Deadpool loves all geek cultures. Most murderous, but playful, and a loser.

The Fourth wall. Theatre - ceated by Denis Diderot 1700s. The imaginary wall between the audience and performers. Sacred illusion. Moliere. "Breaking" the fourth wall - Peter Pan - Tinkerbell is dying - and Peter Pan asks boys and girls to clap. Now it's popular. In literature - no wall - but there is self-awareness that it's being read --> ##metafiction##.

Comics are performance - Comics & Sequential Art - Will Eisner. What you are seeing is a performance.

What does Deadpool gain when he knows you're there. It's funny. Self-critical/aware. Feel closer to the process of telling the story. Remind you it's just a story. Verfrendung - we like attachment - afraid of direct emotion - prefer text than phone/facetoface. It's just a story - just enjoy it, distance.

Lecture X: July 13, 2016

AC: Why is love sacred but sex profane? Murdering in the name of love -> forgiven.

Deadpool and Comedy


Biologists think comedy = comfort. Tiger. If no tiger, go hahaha. Comedy surrounds tension (anxiety or fear) to make it work. ##Gallow's Humour## - hanging people. These people being hung were laughing and making jokes. Comfort themselves in the time of anxiety. When you make a joke in the most inappropriate times.

Comedy & Tragedy entirely separated. Greek Tragedy. ##Satyr## - Tragedy, Tragedy, Tragedy, Satyr. Tragedy - high-born people suffering for 3 plays then have a silly stupid comedy to leave people in a good mood. 8 hours in the theatre. Satyr gets cut off historically.

Christopher Marlowe - famous playwright. Dr Faustus. Comic scenes. Allowed audience to laugh. It worked. The audience laughed harder being surrounded by so much tragedy. Enhanced tragedy.

Shakespeare - Macbeth.

How can comedy enhance tragedy? Contrast effect - conscious of shifts. Comedy is communal - laughtracks - attachment - create a sense of fellowship. Callousness - become numb to it - sensitivity will break. Sense of hope.

comic strips - funny pages. Great divide between superhero comics and funny pages. Exceptions: Plastic Man, The Tick, TMNT.

Deadpool doesn't have to be comedy. In a group dynamic, he's always comic relief. In his own book, he's often serious. Our Deadpool is dedicated to comedy. ##Slapstick## - Physical comedy based in exaggeration - to the point of superhumanness. 16th century Italy. Stick cut in half, hit people on stage. Deadpool - superhero slapstick - you can destroy him and it will be funny. New extremes for slapstick. He tends to deflect emotional things. NEed a little comedy to kepe things light, but we also need those strong, emotional attachments. Deadpool isn't grounded.

the Double-Act. Comedy duo, but not always a duo. Vardville. The comic and the straight man. Straight man sets things up. Straight man can respond with outrage or exaustion - they can't laugh. Whatever the comic does, the straight man doesn't find it amusing. Lois - stragiht man, Peter - comic. Stragith man can make the joke if it's a sarcastic comment. (Key and Peele.) Comic relief at times. The comic is funnier through contrast with the straight man - ##comic foil##. Preston, Ben Franklin, Dr. Strange - the straight man. Deadpool and Cable - Cable is a serious, depressing character. Characters serve as Deadpool's straight man. Comedy is hard.

The Sacred and the Profane - Emile Durkheim 1912. Religion work by categorizing things as sacred or profane. They tell us that that thing is sacred or profane. According to Durkheim, they tell us how to thing and your world becomes similar. Politically-motivated - in your best interest. Sacred things tend to be things that serve the community (at the expense of personal freedom). Profane tend to be personal. Religion is a basis of human civilization - brought us together. Any group that gets together will have stuff that's sacred and stuff that's profane. GoT viewing party - how to use coasters - give over free will to your laws for the overall interest of the party. Schools telling you what is sacred/profane. Taboos. Comedy thrives in taking down the sacred and revelling in profane. It can be a revelation - offers us a more complex, honest view. Comedy can create truth.

what sacred or profane thing does Deadpool recontextualize? The Presidents - our founding fathers - treat them as infallible. Death - curse of immortality, he doesn't deal with death, channeled in a new light, undermining our own death. History - reveal things about presidents. Magic - silly - Necromancer isn't Gandalf. Superhero comics/tropes - making fun of them. Modern society.

Lecture X: July 18, 2016

AC: Why is it hard to translate comics superheroes into film? Comic books are storyboards.

The Dark Knight Returns - best comic book adaptation.

Integration into reality

Phoenix Jones. Escalation. Recklessly. Copycats. A guy being attacked - Phoenix Jones mixed martial artist - intervened. Supersuit - symbol. Uses pepper spray. 12 witnesses said he started pepper-spraying people at random. That's not what happened.

Guardian Angels - 144 countries internationally. Red berets. Police are separated from the streets. Guardian Angels step in - mediate - talk people down. They carry weapons - almost never guns - batons. People don't like the existence of them. Police are insulted. People want to believe they're mentally unstable. Phoenix Jones is not crazy.

Existence of real-world superheroes - scary or sensible? Who watches the police? Vulnerability to corruption. He chooses a symbol we all know - to let us know that he's here to help. Might be terrifying or awesome.

Watchmen documentary

Integration into film

First superhero film - Captain Marvel 1941. Ripoff of superman. Now Shazam. Then we get Batman, Superman, Captain America. Short movies. 15-20 mins. Aimed at children, not to be taken seriously. Batman 1960s Adam West series - a joke.

Auteur-Driven - not reflective of trend, but of personal interest. Someone comes along and changes everything. Auteur directors were fans of comics. Fan directors trying to make great works of art. Richard Donner - Superman - sparked first wave of serious, entertaining, good superhero films. Tim Burton - Batman - Michael Keaton (comedic actor). Christopher Nolan - Batman. Joss Whedon - Avengers (thinks in comic book structures).

Now not auteur-based. Marvel good at getting good directors. Does okay even if sucks.

1980s-1990s sell-off - comics lost 90% of business. Sold off film rights. Lead to bad films. And rights not relinquished. Spiderman, X-men, fantastic four. Bad choice, but necessary. Kept Marvel, DC afloat.

Marvel Rennaisance - Begins with Iron Man and Incredible Hulk. Marvel Studios. Iron Man really successful. Draws attention of Disney - incredible infrastructure. Dominant. Warner Bros + DC - justice league.

Batman - The Dark Knight

How does this movie hold up? Hasn't aged too badly. Comedian connection. Special FX - good. Only supehero film to ever win an Oscar in a major category - Heath Ledger. Regarded as one of the best superheroes of all time.

Challenges: batman is a ninja - does not belong in reality. What did he do to make you see Batman on screen and not laugh? Lots of conflict/tension in setting. This is a setting that needs a superhero - police are corrupt, people trying to kill DAs. Believable Bruce Wayne. Film focuses on the villain - what he's saying starts to make sense. Harvey Dent - becoming a villain.

Themes: You die a hero, or ou live long enought os ee yourself become a villain. Heroism is not sustainable. You eventually become corrupted. Batman in DKR has been in it too long. Testing morality - Batman doesn't killa nyone - he surveils people but that's still wrong. Joker is often right. Anarchy: Joker is an agent of chaos. This is symbolic as he is not. Everything is well-planned. He presents himself that way. Some poeple just want to watch people burn. He doesn't have a purpose - only purpose is to bring down Batman. Batman trying to make Harvey Dent the hero, Joker trying to make Harvey Dent the villain. Joker wins. True form of anarchy is love: anarchy just means "without rules". True anarchy: Don't need a system to tell us to do stuff. Boat - both choose to die because they can't kill.

Lecture X: July 20, 2016

Test: 50 questions. Short answers. Quizzes but not multiple choice. Primarily from lecture. If it was important enough to be on the board, it can be on it. Not author bios unless it was related to texts. Might ask who drew major texts.

Transmedia properties

Trying to bring the superhero in reality.

Cosplay. Weird as a culture. Tends to be associated with half-dressed women. Refers to the art/craft of replicating a supehero/fantasy character into the real world. The point is accuracy. Doesn't matter how creative you are. It's the comic that's sacred, trying to bring it into reality. Comic-con. Fanexpo. SDCC: 1970s - 113 people. Now 180k. First was in '63 - 13 people - by Len Wen.

Unsettling or awesome?

Costume/cosplay - "##lovemark##". Expression of adoration for character. Nielsen box. Lovemark - any sort of fan expression of adoration for a media property. Not just how many people are watching, but how many people are passionate about it. Firefly would not be able to be cancelled today. Data mining through the internet. Not about their achievement, but their long-term potential. Cosplay is a huge lovemark. Experience of becoming your own superhero. Alan Moore - Nite Owl is cosplaying.

Gender concerns - distinction from reality and representation is important. Comics don't represent women very well - represent oversexualized objects --> bringing those into reality. Slave Leah Bikini contest - lots of cat-calling, hooting. Olivia Munn.

Empowered by technology. Plastic surgery. Herbert Chavez - 19 surgeries to look like Superman. Extreme cosplay. People trying to become superheroes. Men have muscle implants (not real muscles).

Crossplay - dressing up as a superhero of the opposite gender. Transvesitism to enter conventions.
Gender Bender - characters creating a feminized version of a male superhero, or a masculine version of a female superhero. Altering costume to masculinize/feminize. Allow us to think harder.
Genderfuck cosplay - actively messing with gender. Force audiences to confront their preexisting ideals. Political. Deisgned to confuse the audience to a point where they're looking for some gender, but they can't find it. Call to our need to find gender. Can't tell if masculine or feminine.

Become a political tool.

We do a lot of cosplay on a smaller scale. Superman tshirts. Superman hair swoosh. Halloween costumes.

Action Figures. Term coined by Hasbro. They are dolls. Adult-oriented collectable action figures - Todd Macfarlane - Image comics, Spawn. Comics investment. A comic is more valuable the older they are. People buying comics like they were stocks. It's okay to have action figures as an adult. but the toys are not to be taken out of the box - which is ironic. Is this different from cosplay?

Video Games. Superhero video games have sucked for a long time. Roger Ebert: "Video games can never be art." Computer is an ##Expressive Medium##. Old media are limited by letters. If you read a text, it's the same from start to finish no matter how many times you read it. Video games have different directions - there's input from you. Janet Murray suggests that we have an entrenched viewpoint - we can't accept new media.

Computer can do as an art form (representational computers):

Narratology vs. Ludology. Ludologists - all they care about is the mechanics of the game. First person shooters. Side-scrolling platformers. focus of game studies should be on the rules of a game. ##Narratology## - narrative and can therefore eapply existing literary models. Setting, plot, characters, etc are all important. But it should be both.

Superhero - ergodic literature - work-path. Ergodic - requires you to do something. Non-ergodic - requires no effort - book. checkpoints - point a to point b - non-ergodic. But now, you can affect the outcome of the game - ergodic. Supermario Bros - it's a long walk. Superhero games give an ergodic twist to a non-ergodic nature. Let's you BE Batman. You get to make choices. You can live as a superhero. Arkham Cities - closest you can get to being Batman.

Cartoons - share a parallel evolution with comics. Windsor McCAy - Gertie the happy dinosaur. Credited for creating the first animated character with personality. Walt Disney - Juggernaut of comic - famous for comics/cartoonists (mickey mouse - depression). Osamu Tezuka - the sensei of manga - Astro boy, indirectly created the Lion King. Paul dini - wrote arkham series video games, creator of Harley Quinn. Hayao Miyazaki - Studio Ghibli. Great masters of animation were comis artists.

The Dini-Verse. Bruce Timm - creative force of Dini-verse. Paul Dini. DC owns in animated series. 1992 - Batman - best animated show. Black background. Superman 1996. Batman Adventures 1997. Justice League Unlimited 2004. Influenced Superhero cartoon rennaisance. How come animated superheroes hven't replace comics?

So what is the superhero?

A figure that evolves from the epic hero, yet contains important aspects of both the mock-epc hero and the anti-hero. Superman - still gilgamesh.
an expression of our desire for power, but also for our desire to live in a world where power is teeated responsibly and justice is simple. Something our culture bombards us with yet something that our culture tels us is juvenile, even meaningless. We see superheroes everywehre, yet there's a stigma. Superher is an aspiration figure. Something we want to be. They tell us to be good citizens. Messages. Complex cultural represtantation that satisfies certain essential needs as they arise from our culture.