Gavaler, Chris: "The rise and fall of fascist superpowers." In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 7.1 (2016), S. 70–87.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Gavaler2016
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Keywords: Fascism, Superhero, USA
Collection: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Viewed in their original context, comic book superheroes express the paradox that democratic utopianism can be defended only through anti-democratic means. Superheroes were conceived in response to fascism, achieved massive popularity with the expansion of a fascist-fighting war, and began to wane not at the close of that war but at the earliest signs of victory. The rise and fall of fascism does not coincidentally parallel the arc of the Golden Age character; the ideology informs the hero type’s conception, market surge, and eventual renunciation. After the fall of Nazi Germany, Communism proved an inadequately dire threat to justify the figure’s continuation, and those few superheroes who survived the industry’s Wertham-led, anti-fascist purging in the mid-fifties did so because they had been divorced from their authoritative violence. The historical relationship between Golden Age heroes and fascism was distanced in the early sixties when Silver Age creators reproduced the formulas apart from their originating context. While superheroes are not exclusively a fascist phenomenon, and while their enduring popularity is a product of myriad factors, their origins remain imbedded in the genre and continue to define the hero type.
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