Friday, May 27, 2011

Local and national superheroes outside the United States

Until recently the superhero has been considered largely an American phenomenon. This edited book collection is designed to open up the realm of the superhero to further debate in a moment of heightened inter-cultural exchange and transcultural production and reception. As part of this series of debates we are seeking to investigate the relationship between American superheroes and those that have been produced in other local cultures.

Superheroes are becoming an increasingly visible part of cultures far beyond American borders. This is in part due to the ways cultures have historically produced their own superheroes in response to America’s screen incarnations of popular comic book figures. From the Fillipino superheroine Darna, who first appeared in film in 1951 and is among the first superheroines, to the Japanese television incarnation of Spider-Man (see:, the concept of the superhero has long been a part of global discourse.

This stated, these local, non-American superheroes have, until very recently, been hard to find. We argue that the digital shift in (re-)production, along with the Internet, now allow us as academics far greater access to information about locally produced superheroes than has been possible in the past. Whether legal or grey-market fan-subtitled in origin, the local superhero is becoming increasingly global. Moreover, the American superhero, long dominant in global screen markets is now more prominent than in preceding decades and this has potential consequences outside America that are, as yet, little discussed and understood. We hope that in posing the questions of: whose superheroes are being watched, and by whom?; and, what do superheroes mean when dislocated from their original national contexts?, that we will spark further discussions about global flows in superheroes, and about how superheroes are understood in myriad local contexts around the world.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Clarification

Following a couple of enquiries we would just like to make this clarification: our Call for Papers (see below) is for an edited collection which will be published in book form or as a special edition of an academic journal.

Thank you for your interest, and please check back for further updates, coming soon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Call for Papers

Not Just The American Way:
Screen Superheroes in National, International and Transnational Contexts

The figure of the superhero is primarily seen as an American one, dominated by Marvel and DC comics and their adaptations across multiple media. These superhero franchises operate across media networks within many of the world’s global markets, influencing local representations of heroism and being altered to meet local expectations of the superhero in turn. American culture and, indeed, American superheroes play significant roles in these phenomena and historically have often led the way in debates around the representations around superheroes in culture. However, super-powered and costumed heroes are not just American in origin; they appear in screen media across many cultures, whether as the anti-social teenagers of Britain’s Misfits, India’s alien-empowered Krrish or Japan’s Ultraman. This collection examines super-heroes and heroines as they travel around the world, exploring the figure of the superhero beyond the North American context. As such, we are interested in the local, international and transnational manifestations of superheroes, as well as in their reach beyond their originating contexts. Furthermore, we are seeking papers on the importance of the superhero to global media markets.

Potential subjects include, but are not limited to:
Local and national superheroes outside the United States
US superheroes in global markets
Co-produced superheroes
Transmedia franchising and the superhero
Superheroes on TV
Iconography and aesthetics
The reception of the superhero
Gender, sexuality and ideology and the superhero
Marketing the superhero internationally
Geographically dislocated superheroes
Cultural specificity of the superhero
Special effects and the superhero in film and/or television
Superhero adaptations
Industrial and narrative origins
The geography of superheroes
International cultural flows and exchanges in superhero phenomena

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent no later than 31st July 2011 to:

Please see the blog for this project at

The collection will be edited by Rayna Denison, Derek Johnston and Rachel Mizsei-Ward.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Call for Papers Release Date

This is just a quick note to let you know that the Call for Papers for this collection will be released on 20 May to a number of mailing lists. At the same time it will be posted here on this blog. At that point, please spread the word as broadly as you can.

The release of the Call for Papers will be followed up by a number of brief blog entries in which the editors of this project take a quick look at some of the potential areas which prospective contributors might explore further.