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Superman

The Persistence of an American Icon

Ian Gordon (author)

ISBN: 9780813587523

Publication Date: Feb 2017

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

Explores Superman's status as an American icon and examines how a fictional character has managed to sustain that pre-eminent standing for almost eighty years. Superman is shown by Gordon to be an amalgam of factors including myth, memory, nostalgia, intellectual property regimes, authors, readers, fans, collectors, comics, radio series, movie serials, television shows, animation, toys, and feature films.
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In Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon, Ian Gordon explores Superman's status as an American icon and examines how a fictional character has managed to sustain that pre-eminent standing for almost eighty years. Explaining how this super hero became an icon of American culture is not simply a process of establishing some essential hallmarks of the character and then tracing these signs in each new incarnation of Superman. Instead, Superman is shown by Gordon to be an amalgam of factors including myth, memory, nostalgia, intellectual property regimes like copyright and trademark, authors, readers, fans, collectors, comic books, comic strips, radio series, movie serials, television shows, animation, toys and collectibles, and feature films. 

Superman is a mythos because of the sheer amount of material and the competition over which memories are essential to the character. And what we need Superman to represent has been affected by the country's needs in times of poverty, war, prosperity, and other challenges. Gordon shows that an understanding of Superman requires us to address the way these factors figure into any negotiation of this character; he therefore analyzes Superman as a process, rather than as a fixed phenomenon. In this way, Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon answers the question of how a comic book character became and remains a symbol of American culture, thus contributing to a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Illustrations 30 color illustrations
Pages 200
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 28 Feb 2017
Publisher Rutgers University Press
Series Comics Culture
Subject/s Literary studies: general   Anthologies (non-poetry)   Literary companions   Popular culture   Gender studies: men   Fiction   Film theory & criticism  
Ian Gordon is an associate professor of history at the National University of Singapore. He has written several books, including Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, Comics and Ideology, and Film and Comic Books.

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