Peppard, Anna F. "Canada’s Mutant Body. Nationalism and (Super)Multiculturalism in Alpha Flight vs. the X-Men." In: Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 26.2 (93) (2015), S. 311–332.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Peppard2015
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Keywords: "Alpha Flight", "X-Men", Canada, Ethnicity, Geopolitics, Identity, Interculturalism, Nationalism, Superhero, USA
Collection: Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Among the many villains whom the X-Men have faced, Alpha Flight, a Canadian superteam under the supreme direction of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, is the only group directly affiliated with the national government of a supposedly trusted American ally. It is surprising that Canada is signalled out for this role, given the historically close and amicable relationship between Canada and the United States. This article, however, argues that within the context of the late-1970s, Canada does in fact make a very useful enemy for the X-Men. The late-'70s comic book battles between the X-Men and Alpha Flight present some obviously unrealistic portraits of Canadian politics and values, but they also reference real cultural conflicts concerning different visions of multicultural group identity. This article explores how the differences between the internationally comprised, vigilante, and heroic "American" X-Men versus the domestically multicultural, federally-regulated, and villainous "Canadian" Alpha Flight enact American anxieties related to the official multiculturalism policy that Trudeau promised in 1971 and finally incorporated into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Through their displays of immoral, aggressive, and ultimately self-destructive megaviolence, Alpha Flight's fantastically weaponized humans literally and spectacularly embody American fears that Canadian multiculturalism regulates identity in a way that prohibits a conscience-based, and thus sustainable, form of national unity. This article examines elements of truth in these comics' characterization of the Canadian model of multiculturalism, while also examining the ways in which they exaggerate and distort it to reify the idealized American model of multiculturalism embodied by the X-Men, and ultimately disguise the shared inadequacies of both models.
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