CFP: Gender and the Superhero Narrative

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Female creators and readers have always been a part of the (what has typically been considered) all-male enclave of superhero comics and other media. Visibility, however, has long been a problem. Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in comics which take a more nuanced and progressive approach to gender. Fans of the genre have shown themselves to be willing to engage in discussions around sexual politics and identities. The place for gender in the superhero genre today is something of a battleground. This book seeks to provide a platform for some of the most important voices in comics scholarship to drive the debate. 

Editors Michael Goodrum (Firefly Revisited),Tara Prescott (Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman and Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century), and Philip Smith (Firefly Revisited, Reading Art Spiegelman) request abstracts on the creators, characters, readers, and fan communities who engage with questions of gender and the superhero. We are interested not only in the present controversies and debates on gender and the superhero genre, but also in the question of how we got here. Possible topics might include:

  • Reading the Superbody
  • Superhero merchandising and other paratexts
  • Reactions to the introduction of a female Thor
  • GamerGate and the Superhero
  • LGBTQI representation in Comics
  • Ms Marvel
  • Fan communities “writing back” (The Hawkeye Initiative and Aaron Diaz’s Justice League, for example)
  • International and non-anglophone Superheroes

Please direct any questions and 500-600 word proposals to  by December 30, 2015. Final pieces will be 10,000 words.

Hawkeye Initiative