Stan Lee, "Spider-Man!" Amazing Fantasy No. 15 (Sept. 1962)

Monday, December 27, 2010

New From Continuum

Do The Gods Wear Capes? : Spirituality, Fantasy, and Superheroes 
by Ben Saunders

Imprint: Continuum
Series: New Directions in Religion and Literature
Pub. date: 11 Jul 2011
ISBN: 9780826441980
192 Pages, paperback
World rights
Translation Rights Available

A consideration of the modern Superhero comic as an expression of spiritual desire, showing what Superheroes can teach about our most essential human needs.


Brash, bold, and sometimes brutal, superheroes might seem to epitomize modern pop-culture at its most melodramatic and mindless. But according to Ben Saunders, the appeal of the superhero is fundamentally metaphysical - even spiritual - in nature. In chapter-length analyses of the early comic book adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Iron-Man, Saunders explores a number of complex philosophical and theological issues, including: the problem of evil; the will-to-power; the tension between intimacy and vulnerability; and the challenge of love, in the face of mortality. He concludes that comic book fantasies of the superhuman ironically reveal more than we might care to admit about our human limitations, even as they expose the falsehood of the characteristically modern opposition between religion and science. Clearly and passionately written, this insightful and at times exhilarating book should delight all readers who believe in the redemptive capacity of the imagination, regardless of whether they consider themselves comic book fans.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements \ INTRODUCTION: The Power of Love \ 1. SUPERMAN: Truth, Justice, and All That Stuff \ 2. WONDER WOMAN: Bondage and Liberation \ 3. SPIDER-MAN: Heroic Failure and Spiritual Triumph \ 4. IRON MAN: Techno-Faith \ CODA: Modern Gods \ APPENDIX: Methods and Problems in Superhero Studies \ Notes \ Index


Ben Saunders is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oregon. He is author of Desiring Donne: Poetry, Sexuality, Interpretation (Harvard University Press, 2006) and co-editor, with Roger Beebe and Denise Fulbrook, of Rock Over the Edge: Essays in Popular Music Culture (Duke University Press, 2002).

Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives 
edited by Toni Johnson-Woods

Imprint: Continuum
Pub. date: 15 Apr 2010
ISBN: 9780826429384
368 Pages, paperback
World rights
Translation Rights Available

A collection of essays by an international cast of scholars, experts, and fans, providing a definitive, one-stop Manga  resource.


Once upon a time, one had to read Japanese in order to enjoy manga. Today manga has become a global phenomenon, attracting audiences in North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. The style has become so popular, in fact, that in the US and UK publishers are appropriating the manga style in a variety of print material, resulting in the birth of harlequin mangas which combine popular romance fiction titles with manga aesthetics. Comic publishers such as Dark Horse and DC Comics are translating Japanese “classics”, like Akira, into English. And of course it wasn’t long before Shakespeare received the manga treatment. So what is manga?
Manga roughly translates as “whimsical pictures” and its long history can be traced all the way back to picture books of eighteenth century Japan. Today, it comes in two basic forms: anthology magazines (such as Shukan Shonen Jampu) that contain several serials and manga ‘books’ (tankobon) that collect long-running serials from the anthologies and reprint them in one volume. The anthologies contain several serials, generally appear weekly and are so thick, up to 800 pages, that they are colloquially known as phone books. Sold at newspaper stands and in convenience stores, they often attract crowds of people who gather to read their favorite magazine.

Containing sections addressing the manga industry on an international scale, the different genres, formats and artists, as well the fans themselves, Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives is an important collection of essays by an international cast of scholars, experts, and fans, and provides a one-stop resource for all those who want to learn more about manga, as well as for anybody teaching a course on the subject.

Table of Contents

Section One: The Industry
    The History of Manga - Jean-Marie Bouissou
    Manga in Asia - John A. Lent
    Manga in Europe - Paul M. Malone
    Understanding Manga Merchandising: An Australian Case
        Study - Jason Bainbridge and Craig Norris
    Shakespeare as Manga - Emma Hayley
    Globalizing from Japan to Hong Kong and Beyond -
        Wendy Siuyi Wong
    Manga and the Critics - Toni Johnson-Woods
Section Two: The Genres & Formats & Artists
    Overview of Manga Genres - Mio Bryce and Jason Davis
    Ryori Manga - Lorie Brau
    Shojo Manga at Home and Abroad - Jennifer Prough
    Beautiful Boys in Japanese Women's Comics - Mark
    Meanings of Manga - Neil Cohn
    The Aesthetics of Manga - Christopher Couch
    Visual Representations and Manga - Craig Norris
    A Look at Takahashi Rumiko, Watase Yu, Shinohara
        Chie, Hikawa Kyoko, Itsuki Natsumi - Mio Bryce
    Osamu Tezuka and Family: Early Pioneers of Manga -
        Wendy Goldberg
    Miuchi Suzue and Intertextuality - Rebecca Suter
    Miyasaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Manga
        into Anime and Its Reception - Marc Hairston
Section Three: The Fans
    Fandom in Germany, Italy and France - Bouissou, Pellitteri
        and Dolle-Weinkauff
    Scanlation - James Rampant
    American Otaku and the Search for the Authentic Text -
        Stacy Rue


Toni Johnson-Woods is President of the Pop Culture Association of Australia (PopCANNZ) and Senior Lecturer in the English, Media Studies and Art History School at the University of Queensland.

Thor: Myth to Marvel 
by Martin Arnold

Imprint: Continuum
Pub. date: 21 Jul 2011
ISBN: 9781441135421
256 Pages, paperback
World rights
Translation Rights Available

An exploration of how the legend of Thor has been adopted, adapted and transformed through history.


The myths of the Norse god Thor were preserved in the Icelandic Eddas, set down in the early Middle Ages. The bane of giants and trolls, Thor was worshipped as the last line of defence against all that threatened early Nordic society.

Thor’s significance persisted long after the Christian conversion and, in the mid-eighteenth century, Thor resumed a symbolic prominence among northern countries. Admired and adopted in Scandinavia and Germany, he became central to the rhetoric of national romanticism and to more belligerent assertions of nationalism.

Resurrected in the latter part of the twentieth century in Marvel Magazine, Thor was further transformed into an articulation both of an anxious male sexuality and of a parallel nervousness regarding American foreign policy.

Martin Arnold explores the extraordinary regard in which Thor has been held since medieval times and considers why and how his myth has been adopted, adapted and transformed.
Table of Contents

Introduction:Reverberations throughout History \ 1. The Giant Killer: Thor in Old Norse Mythology \ 2. Damnation and Resurrection: Thor from the Christian Conversion to the Enlightenment \ 3. The Romancing of Thor \ 4. Distant Thunder: Thor and the Nationalists \ 5. The God of War: Thor and the Fascists \ 6. Marvellous Thor \ Appendix \ Bibliography \ Index


Martin Arnold is Professor of Scandinavian Literature at Hull University. He is the author of The Vikings (Continuum, 2006).

New/Recent from McFarland

I was browsing the McFarland Publishing website last week and came upon the following:

Heroes of Film, Comics and American Culture: Essays on Real and Fictional Defenders of Home 
Edited by Lisa M. DeTora
ISBN 978-0-7864-3827-3
37 photos, bibliography, index
347pp. softcover 2009
Price: $39.95

These essays consider the way that heroes and the domestic spaces they defend have been represented in 20th and early 21st century popular forms, especially film, comic books and material culture. The authors work in various academic disciplines such as English, film studies, history and human geography, thus bringing a rich variety of theoretical vantage points to the reader in a single collection.

Topics covered include Tales of Suspense, Captain America, gender and popular culture during World War II, Iron Man and the military-industrial complex, Batman, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Ring, Ridley Scott, and many others.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction: Real Americans, Heroes, and Home Fronts

1. “A Labyrinth Without a Clew”: Husbands, Houses and Harpies in Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man and Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves
2. Beautiful Results: Whitman’s Democratic Vision and the Evolution of America in Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days
3. Defending the Heartland: Technology and the Future in The Phantom Empire (1935)
4. Temporary Heroes “In the Service of Mars”: Women in Uniform, Factories, and the Kitchen during World War II
5. Fighting for Home: Masculinity and the Constitution of the Domestic in Tales of Suspense and Captain America
6. “Axe the Axis” and “Bombers Aloft”: Militaristic Play During the Second World War
7. To Protect and to Threaten: Gary Cooper and the Gender Politics of High Noon (1952)
8. Hero of the Military-Industrial Complex: Reading Iron Man Through Burke’s Dramatism
9. Professional Killers at Home: Domesticity and the Deregulated Subject
10. The Teacher as Hero: Representations in Late Cold War Film and Culture
11. Terrorist, Technocrat, and Feudal Lord: Batman in Comic Book and Film Adaptations
12. Knocked Up, Not Knocked Out: Xena: Warrior Princess, Pregnant Action Hero
13. The Naked Hero and Model Man: Costumed Identity in Comic Book Narratives
14. Mommy, Baby, Ghost: The Technological Chain Letter and the Nuclear Family in The Ring
15. Waking Up the Mythic American Neo
16. Ridley Scott’s Epics: Gender of Violence
17. “Real Americans”: Inclusion, Difference, and Tolerance in Post 9/11 Nationalist Discourse

For Further Reading—TEEVRAT GARG 319
About the Contributors 323
Index 329

About the Author
Lisa M. DeTora is an assistant professor and assistant director in the English department at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

The Rise and Reason of Comics and Graphic Literature: Critical Essays on the Form 
Edited by Joyce Goggin and Dan Hassler-Forest
ISBN 978-0-7864-4294-2
20 photos, notes, bibliography, index
244pp. softcover 2010
Price: $35.00

These 15 essays investigate comic books and graphic novels, beginning with the early development of these media. The essays also place the work in a cultural context, addressing theory and terminology, adaptations of comic books, the superhero genre, and comic books and graphic novels that deal with history and nonfiction. By addressing the topic from a wide range of perspectives, the book offers readers a nuanced and comprehensive picture of current scholarship in the subject area.

Table of Contents

Joyce Goggin and Dan Hassler-Forest 1

Part One. Origin Stories: History and Development of the Genre
1. Of Gutters and Guttersnipes: Hogarth’s Legacy
Joyce Goggin 5
2. Ridiculous Rebellion: George L. Carlson and the Recovery of Jingle Jangle Comics
Daniel F. Yezbick 25
3. Suspended in Mid-Month: Serialized Storytelling in Comics
Daniel Wüllner 42

Part Two. What We Talk About When We Talk About Comics: Theory and Terminology
4 Balloonics: The Visuals of Balloons in Comics
Charles Forceville, Tony Veale, and Kurt Feyaerts 56
5. Remediation and the Sense of Time in Graphic Narratives
Kai Mikkonen 74
6. Brick by Brick: Chris Ware’s Architecture of the Page
Angela Szczepaniak 87

Part Three. Out of the Gutter: Comics and Adaptations
7. It Was the Best of Two Worlds, It Was the Worst of Two Worlds: The Adaptation of Novels in Comics and Graphic Novels
Dirk Vanderbeke 104
8. The 300 Controversy: A Case Study in the Politics of Adaptation
Dan Hassler-Forest 119

Part Four. Men in Tights: The Superhero Paradigm
9. The Last Action Hero’s Swan Song: Graphic Novelty or Never-Ending Story?
Andreas Rauscher 130
10. Extraordinary People: The Superhero Genre and Celebrity Culture in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Jonathan E. Goldman 142
11. Warren Ellis’s Planetary: The Archaeology of Superheroes
Karin Kukkonen 154

Part Five. Drawing History: Nonfiction in Comics
12. Reconsidering Comics Journalism: Information and Experience in Joe Sacco’s Palestine
Benjamin Woo 166
13. Comics, Trauma and Cultural Memory(ies) of 9/11
Christophe Dony and Caroline van Linthout 178
14. “Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting wippers”: A Barthesian Analysis of the Construction of Fact and Fiction in Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell
Julia Round 188
15. Graphic Black Nationalism: Visualizing Political Narratives in the Graphic Novel
James Braxton Peterson 202

About the Contributors 223
Works Cited 227
Index 237

About the Author
Joyce Goggin is an associate professor of literature, film and new media at the University of Amsterdam and Head of Studies at Amsterdam University College. Her primary research is on gambling and its representation in various media, though she has published on topics including film adaptation and Jane Austen, the tarot in literature, film serialization, The Gilmore Girls and addiction, and disaster capitalism.
Dan Hassler-Forest teaches media studies and English literature at the University of Amsterdam, where he is currently finishing his dissertation on superheroes in post-9/11 popular culture.