Superheroes and the Afterlife examined in new book

American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife

 

Superman died… and came back. Captain America died… and came back. Superheroes frequently die, and they always come back. American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife answers: Why?

The new book, coming this November from comics studies scholar and graphic novelist Dr. A. David Lewis, claims that superheroes’ immortality “has less to do with sales, nothing to do with spandex, and everything to do with American selfhood.” His examination of nearly twenty-five years of modern comic books arrives at a surprising answer: Superheroes keep dying and returning in order to safeguard how readers culturally define themselves.

“Taken together,” says Lewis, “all these tales may be able to unlock a new and overdue model for reading narratives and constructing identity.”

Reading these comics, in short, may make audiences come to a broader understanding of their own existences, one that supports religious plurality and healthy, robust personal identities.

Called “beautiful and sophisticated” by Rice University Professor of Religion Jeffrey J. Kripal and “captivating, insightful, and incredibly thought-provoking” by award-winning comics writer Mark Waid (Flash, Kingdom Come, Superman: Birthright), The Superhero Afterlife promises an evolution in U.S. comics studies and the analysis of superheroes.

A. David Lewis holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies focusing on religion and literature from Boston University and is a Faculty Associate with MCPHS University. He is the co-editor of both Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels and Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age. He is also a graphic novelist and founding member of Sacred & Sequential.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, the book will soon be available worldwide in print hardcover (ISBN: 9781137465603) and as an e-book.

• Follow Dr. Lewis online at Twitter and Tumblr

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• Visit his web site – www.captionbox.net – for the latest information on his work

Published by

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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