Comics and webcomics: super-heroes, over-heroes and poser-heroes


Abstract


This article aims to analyse the superhero subgenre in comic books and webcomics. First, the study focuses on the characteristics of hero, superhero and antihero categories. Then we briefly describe some contemporary aspect of the history of the stories in superhero comics to propose the inclusion of two new sub-categories: the over-hero and the poser-hero. The theoretical foundation is based on authors such as: Moya (1977; 1994; 2003), Eco (1993), Mix (1993), Beirce (1993), Bloom (2002; 2003), McLauglin (2005), Knowles (2008), Irwin (2009), Mazur; Danner (2014), among others. The literature specializing in comic books and philosophical perspectives functions as analytical and theoretical support for the interpretation of themes taken from the superhero universe.With the advent of computer graphics and the internet, comic books have conquered new formats, new technologies and new audiences from a democratized distribution. In addition, two factors are important to understand the relevance of webcomics to the history of comics. First, as comics in print are scanned, the comics/webcomics distinction is not exclusive. In this text, we discuss about heroes and superheroes that can be found and read in both printed and digital formats. Second, webcomics have enabled many artists to achieve more visibility for their work through social media. From this perspective, we argue that the notion of webcomics evolve from the notion of comics. In the field of studies and research on sequential art, pop culture and other media the superhero subgenre is widespread. However, in the context of philosophical theorization, for a long time, the productions were limited to the perspective of superheroes from impassable conceptual and methodological approaches. From the 1970s to the mid-1990s, the analyses of comic books and, particularly, about the superhero subgenre suffered from the same kind of modeling approach that in many ways led to the same result. This is because, whether critical reading is favorable or unfavorable to superheroism, none of the cited theoretical-methodological contributions gave theoretical primacy to the sequential art, being merely relegated to the condition of object of study. Our proposal here implies subverting this scenario from the proposition of reading comics and webcomics as philosophy and as poetic theory. From this perspective, we will widely use arguments, contexts, and influences from comic book characters and sagas to review, deflect, and redirect some elements of the comic itself. In other words, we will draw our arguments indistinctly from philosophy or literature and comics and webcomics, without establishing any sort of hierarchy between them, in order to propose that the genre of superheroes itself evolved, and, besides heroes, superheroes and antiheroes, we now also have over-heroes and poser-heroes.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n19p249

Keywords: Comics; Webcomics; Pop Culture; Superheroes; Pop Philosophy

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