by Ben Saunders
Series: New Directions in Religion and Literature
Pub. date: 11 Jul 2011
192 Pages, paperback
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
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 -
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
Scanlation - James Rampant
American Otaku and the Search for the Authentic Text -
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
Pub. date: 21 Jul 2011
256 Pages, paperback
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).