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Sunday, July 12 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Comics Arts Conference #13: Great Power, Responsibility, Disability: Analyzing Disabilities in Superhero Comics

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Superheroes are socially constructed, as characters' strengths typically mirror what society holds sacred. This explains why a characteristic like superhuman strength has been recycled for countless superheroes. By the same mechanism, disabilities in superhero comics act as a reflection of social anxieties. This panel explores disabilities in superhero comics as a trope, which either accepts disability as a socially constructed weakness or rejects this notion in an argument for acceptance for the disabled body. Christopher Field (University of Nevada, Reno) examines Gail Simone's Batgirl as a socially progressive depiction where a necessary part of Barbara's recovery from PTSD lies in her acceptance of her disability. Anthony Fulton (Prince George's Community College) analyzes how DC's Knightfall uses Batman's paralysis as a reframing device, balancing his persona and code of ethics to forge deeper social relationships. Michael MacBride (Minnesota State University, Mankato) studies disability in the war effort in Yankee Doodle Jones and Captain America; by showcasing super soldiers, they suggest that "ordinary" soldiers are not sufficient for the war-to say nothing of the broken men who return. Heidi Williams (Tennessee State University) explores how Matt Fraction's Hawkeye immerses readers in ASL to form empathetic bonds between readers and deaf persons in a hearing-based society.

Sunday July 12, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm
Room 26AB

Attendees (89)