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.


  1. I wondered if you would be interested in a presentation on Luc Besson's adaptations of stories (comic strips) into films. I am thinking of Adele Blanc-Sec and maybe Arthur and the Minimoys, on an aesthetics point of view, I am from France and am interested in the subject of colour in cinema (my specialty for my Phd).
    If it can be of interest to you, I would send you an abstract.
    Best regards

  2. Regnault,

    Thank you for your interest in this project, and this does sound like an interesting idea. Send your proposal to If you have any further questions, direct them to that email address and we can hopefully answer them.

    Derek Johnston (for the editorial team)