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Peppard, Anna F. "“Is that a monster between your legs or are ya just happy to see me?”: Subjectivity, sex, and the superbody in the Marvel Swimsuit Special." The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies. Ed. Frederick Luis Aldama. Routledge Companions to Gender. London, New York: Routledge, 2021. 90–105. 
Added by: joachim (9/8/21, 10:06 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (9/8/21, 10:14 AM)
Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Peppard2020b
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Marvel Swimsuit Special", Body, Gender, Superhero, USA
Creators: Aldama, Peppard
Publisher: Routledge (London, New York)
Collection: The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies
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Within the tremendous growth of comics scholarship since the turn of the century, many scholars have embraced the dramatic spectacle of the superhero body—or “superbody”—as a key aspect of the superhero genre’s meaning. In this chapter, I use the somewhat unlikely example of the Marvel Swimsuit Special (1991–1995) to highlight and unpack the contradictory—and often coextensive—ability of the comic book superbody to communicate sexist and subversive messages. Because it includes nearly equal numbers of male and female pinups and presents iconic characters as newly sexualized, the Marvel Swimsuit Special offers a vital opportunity to consider the complexity of superbodies as subjects and objects of desire. Through an analysis of representative images from all five specials, this chapter argues that by eroticizing recognizable mainstream superheroes and stripping them of (most) narrative context and clothing, Marvel Swimsuit uniquely exposes the gender and sexual ideologies and tensions superheroes do—or might—graphically embody, and the implications of that embodiment.
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