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Covich, Anna-Maria Ruth. "Alter/Ego: Superhero comic book readers, gender and identities." Thesis Master of Arts. University of Canterbury, 2012. 
Added by: joachim (1/9/13, 8:16 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (1/9/13, 8:18 PM)
Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Covich2012a
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Categories: General
Keywords: Empirical research, Fandom, New Zealand, Superhero
Creators: Covich
Publisher: University of Canterbury
Views: 17/810
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The academic study of comic books – especially superhero comic books – has predominantly focused on the analysis of these books as texts, as teaching and learning resources, or on children as comic book readers. Very little has been written about adult superhero comic fans and their responses to superhero comics. This thesis explores how adult comic book readers in New Zealand engage with superhero comics. Individual interviews and group conversations, both online and face-to-face, provide insights into their responses to the comics and the characters as well as the relationships among fans. Analysis of fans’ talk about superhero comics includes their reflections on how masculinities are represented in these comics and the complex ways in which they identify with superheroes, including their alter egos.
The thesis examines how superhero comic book readers present themselves in their interactions with other readers. Comics ‘geekdom’, fans’ interactions with one another and their negotiation of gendered norms of masculinity are discussed. The contrast between the fan body and the superhero body is an important theme. Readers’ discursive constitution and management of superheroes’ bodies, and their engagement with representations of superheroes are related to analyses of multiplicity in individual identities and current theories of audience reception and identification.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements (i)
Abstract (ii)

1. Introduction (1)
Why superheroes? (3)
Hypermasculine heroes (6)
The uncharted world of superhero fandom (9)
The Geek community (10)
Identification (11)
Thesis agenda (16)

2. Context (18)
A post-structuralist feminist approach (18)
Theorising ‘reception’ (20)
Fandom (23)
Comics fandom in cultural contexts (25)
Conclusion (28)

3. Research Strategies (29)
Developing research strategies (30)
Face-to-face discussions (32)
Online research (33)
Recruitment (35)
Participants (37)
The dynamics of group discussion (39)
Face-to-face discussions (39)
Internet discussions (43)
Analysis (46)
Conclusion (49)

4. Superheroes, alter egos, and fan identification (51)
Ad/dressing the Alter Ego (52)
Real life struggles and the fantasy narrative (58)
Identifying with the alter-ego (65)
Limiting realism in the fantasy narrative (69)
Conclusion (74)

5. Superhero comics and ‘geekdom’ (77)
Comics fandom at the margins (79)
Nerds, geeks, and fandom (82)
Subcultural capital, in-jokes and superhero expertise (86)
A gendered subculture (92)
Girl geeks – marginalisation and exclusion (95)
Conclusion (100)

6. Conclusion (102)

Appendices (109)
Appendix 1 – Participants (109)
Table 1: Modes of participation (109)
Table 2: Participant Genders (109)
Table 3: Participants by Focus Group (109)
Table 4: The Participants (110)
Appendix 2 – Interview questions (111)
A) Forum Topics (111)
B) Focus group and Interview script/topic guide (114)
Appendix 3 – Posters and fliers (115)
i) Advertising flier – Armageddon (115)
ii) Advertising Flier (116)
iii) Poster (117)
iv) Website homepage (118)
Appendix 4 – Information sheets (119)
i) Focus groups (online and face-to-face) (119)
ii) Interview (online) (120)
iii) Interview (face-to-face) (121)
iv) Forum (122)
v) Forum Info sheet (123)
Appendix 5 – Consent forms (124)
i) Focus groups (online and face-to-face) (124)
ii) Interview (online and face-to-face) (125)
iii) Forum (126)

References (127)
Added by: joachim  Last edited by: joachim
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