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Superman the persistence of an American icon

Superman [electronic resource] : the persistence of an American icon / Ian Gordon.
9780813587523 (hardback)
9780813587516 (pbk.)
New Brunswick, New Jersey : Rutgers University Press, 2017. (Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 2015)
Physical Description
1 online resource (pages cm).
Local Notes
Access is available to the Yale community.
Description based on print version record.
Access and use
Access restricted by licensing agreement.
"Recognized the world over Superman is a figure that has retained an enormous popularity for some 80 years. Aspects of the story, such as his Kryptonian origins, are so familiar to his audience that they require little explanation. But aspects of Superman's creation and authorship are often mythologized, and the reasons for his iconic status and long-term popularity little examined. Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon studies the origins of the character, his rapid success, and rise to an American icon. The book argues that Superman cannot be understood simply as a comic book character, indeed by 1940 he already appeared in several forms of media, but must be understood in his totality. His popularity cannot be tabulated by adding up all the instances of his appearance over the years, but rather lays in the way each appearance reinforces and calls on other appearances. Producers of Superman comic books, television series, and films have been aware of this and used nostalgic memories of earlier versions to appeal to audiences. Indeed one form of pleasure to be derived from any recent version of Superman is to recognize the source material or referents and take satisfaction in being in the know. This book analyzes the long-term success of Superman through a discussion of his mythology and ideology. It shows that his creation and authorship is a more complex issue that generally understood and it emphasizes the part played by his audience in shaping Superman's character, and the market for Superman goods"-- Provided by publisher.
"After debuting in 1938, Superman soon became an American icon. But why has he maintained his iconic status for nearly 80 years? And how can he still be an American icon when the country itself has undergone so much change? Superman: Persistence of an American Icon examines the many iterations of the character in comic books, comic strips, radio series, movie serials, feature films, television shows, animation, toys, and collectibles over the past eight decades. Demonstrating how Superman's iconic popularity cannot be attributed to any single creator or text, comics expert Ian Gordon embarks on a deeper consideration of cultural mythmaking as a collective and dynamic process. He also outlines the often contentious relationships between the various parties who have contributed to the Superman mythos, including corporate executives, comics writers, artists, nostalgic commentators, and collectors. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of Superman's appearances in comics and other media, Gordon also digs into comics archives to reveal the prominent role that fans have played in remembering, interpreting, and reimagining Superman's iconography. Gordon considers how comics, film, and TV producers have taken advantage of fan engagement and nostalgia when selling Superman products. Investigating a character who is equally an icon of American culture, fan culture, and consumer culture, Superman thus offers a provocative analysis of mythmaking in the modern era"-- Provided by publisher.
Variant and related titles
Project MUSE - UPCC 2017 Complete.
UPCC book collections on Project MUSE.
Books / Online
Added to Catalog
March 16, 2017
Comics culture.
Comics culture
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments
Introduction Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon
1 Superman Mythos and History
2 Ideology and Morality
3 Superman: The Object of Nostalgia
4 Production, Authorship, and Ownership
5 Readers and Audiences
6 Superman the Brand and Beyond
Also listed under
Project Muse.

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