Overview

It's easy to name a superhero--Superman, Batman, Thor, Spiderman, the Green Lantern, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rorschach, Wolverine--but it's not so easy to define what a superhero is. Buffy has superpowers, but she doesn't have a costume. Batman has a costume, but doesn't have superpowers. What is the role of power and superpower? And what are supervillains and why do we need them?
In What is a Superhero?, psychologist Robin Rosenberg and comics scholar Peter Coogan explore ...
See more details below
What is a Superhero?

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.99 List Price

Overview

It's easy to name a superhero--Superman, Batman, Thor, Spiderman, the Green Lantern, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rorschach, Wolverine--but it's not so easy to define what a superhero is. Buffy has superpowers, but she doesn't have a costume. Batman has a costume, but doesn't have superpowers. What is the role of power and superpower? And what are supervillains and why do we need them?
In What is a Superhero?, psychologist Robin Rosenberg and comics scholar Peter Coogan explore this question from a variety of viewpoints, bringing together contributions from nineteen comic book experts--including both scholars in such fields as cultural studies, art, and psychology as well as leading comic book writers and editors. What emerges is a kaleidoscopic portrait of this most popular of pop-culture figures. Writer Jeph Loeb, for instance, sees the desire to make the world a better place as the driving force of the superhero. Jennifer K. Stuller argues that the female superhero inspires women to stand up, be strong, support others, and most important, to believe in themselves. More darkly, A. David Lewis sees the indestructible superhero as the ultimate embodiment of the American "denial of death," while writer Danny Fingeroth sees superheroes as embodying the best aspects of humankind, acting with a nobility of purpose that inspires us. Interestingly, Fingeroth also expands the definition of superhero so that it would include characters like John McClane of the Die Hard movies: "Once they dodge ridiculous quantities of machine gun bullets they're superheroes, cape or no cape."
From summer blockbusters to best-selling graphic novels, the superhero is an integral part of our culture. What is a Superhero? not only illuminates this pop-culture figure, but also sheds much light on the fantasies and beliefs of the American people.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This collection is lively, insightful, thoughtful and often funny discussion of what exactly it means to be a superhero. What Is a Superhero? opens up the world of heroes to everyone and shows us what they truly mean in our lives." --New York Journal of Books

"What I loved was that none of the extraordinary essayists seemed able to restrict him or herself to WHAT IS A SUPERHERO without venturing into the WHY--why read them? Why write them? Why superheroes at all? And the consensus is a validation of all my hopes and suspicions about the genre: that like its cousins (opera, melodrama, Commedia dell'Arte and Greek myth, among them), the superhero genre has the ability to act as a cultural magnifying glass or perhaps funhouse mirror, connecting us to truths about our best and worst selves more viscerally than anything that can be accomplished by pure naturalism. Then, not content with just what and why, my favorite pieces braved the question of HOW too... I can't help but imagine my own craft will be deepened for having spent some time with these writers' reflections." -- Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Marvel's Avenge and Captain Marvel series

"This is a focused effort that advances understanding of comics from a psychological perspective. While the editors make clear that the book will not provide any definitive answer, the wide-ranging chapters push scholars to investigate superheroes and supervillains as cultural evidence about who we were in the past and are today. These two books are imprtant works in a burgeoning field." -A. W. Austin, Misericordia University, CHOICE

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199339525
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 854,349
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Robin S. Rosenberg is a clinical psychologist. In addition to running a private practice, she writes about superheroes and the psychological phenomena their stories reveal. She is editor of Psychology of Superheroes and Our Superheroes, Ourselves.

Peter Coogan is director of the Institute for Comics Studies, co-founder and co-chair of the Comics Arts Conference, and an instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies, and authored Superhero: The Secret Origin of the Superhero, a monograph on the development, history, and functioning of the superhero genre. He is a nationally known commentator on comics and superheroes, is a semi-regular pundit on the Major Spoiler Podcast, and is co-editor of this volume.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword
Michael Uslan

Introduction
Robin Rosenberg and Peter Coogan

Part I. Super and Hero: Powers and Mission

1. The Hero Defines the Genre, the Genre Defines the Hero
Peter Coogan

2. We Could Be Heroes
Will Brooker

3. What is a Female Superhero?
Jennifer Stuller

4. Straddling a Boundary: The Superhero and the Incorporation of Difference
Clare Pitkelthy

5. Save the Day
A. David Lewis

Part II. Context, Culture, and the Problem of Definition

6. Superheroes and the Modern(ist) Age
Alex Boney

7. Heroes of the Superculture
Richard Reynolds

8. Superhero by Design
John Jennings

9. The Experience of the Superhero: A Phenomenological Definition
Dana Anderson

10. What is a Superhero? No One Knows: That's What Makes 'em Great.
Geoff Klock

Part III. Villains

11. Why Supervillains?
Paul Levitz

12. Superheroes Need Supervillains
Frank Verano

13. Superheroes Need Superior Villains
Stanford Carpenter

14. Super and Villain: A bad guy with superpowers
Chris Deis

15. Why the Villain Needs the Hero
Andrew Smith

16. Sorting Out Villainy: A Typology of Villains and Their Effects on Superheroes
Robin Rosenberg

Part IV. Professionals Speak

17. More Than Normal, But Believable
Stan Lee

18. Making The World A Better Place
Jeph Loeb

19. Nobility of Purpose
Danny Fingeroth

20. Superheroes and Power
Dennis O'Neil

21. The Importance of Context: Robin Hood Is Out and Buffy Is In
Kurt Busiek

22. Superheroes Are Made
Tom DeFalco

23. Extraordinary
Joe Quesada

24. The Superprotagonist
Fred Van Lente

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)