Friday, 4 October 2013

Cop 3 Introduction (Key Practitioners)

Over the summer I have been reading texts in preparation for the extended essay element of our 'Context of Practice 3' module. Through beginning to study a combination of both academic texts and graphic novels, I am starting to realise some key practitioners that will prove important in realising my current working title: 'The Politics of Superheroes.'

Firstly, the university professor and author 'Dan Hassler-Forest' has produced a body of essays investigating comic books and graphic novels. I purchased his latest book 'Capitalist Superheroes: Caped Crusaders In The Neo Liberal Age', which focuses on post 9/11 politics, and its relationship with the trending superhero movie genre. The book raises various issues, examples being disaster capitalism in response to the attacks and the representation of the traumatised hero, the 'victimisation' of America portrayed through the trend in the origin story (9/11 allegedly launching America into a new age), and the concept of surveillance culture within the 'Neoliberal City'. Hassler-Forest writes with a very analytical style, linking relating political and cultural theories seamlessly with the entertainment genre that is the Superhero movie. His insights will be crucial in exploring the political connotations behind the superhero phenomenon. To gain further insight, I will follow 'Dr. Dan's' word press:

A second practitioner is renowned comic book writer 'Alan Moore'. He has produced a celebrated body of work within the comic book genre, his most famous being the 'Watchmen' series. He is recognised as a left-wing writer. This contrasts with the alleged right-wing writings of 'Mark Millar', another hugely influential figure in the genre, recognised for works such as 'Kick-Ass' and the Marvel 'Civil War' series. Over the summer I read Millar's 'Superman: Red Son', a re-imagining of the classic tale where Superman lands in Soviet Russia, and is raised as a communist by Joseph Stailin. By comparing and contrasting some of the works of these two writers, whose views lie on both ends of the political spectrum, I can accomplish a broad understanding of some of the themes that appear in Superhero narratives.

I partake in these studies as a person who is relatively new to the superhero genre. I was original enticed by the idea of political undertones within superhero narratives, through Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Christopher Nolan is a recognised conservative, ideologies which are apparently presented in his movies. With the awareness of political agendas often glorified through this popular action genre, I look forward to analysing both film and texts to produce an analytical and informative study.

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