Sexed Glances: Politics of Representation in Superhero Comics
Identity and representation remain contested in popular media. Comic book characters are not just icons of themselves; they play the role of indexes as well as are used in other social schema. For a character, the syntagm comprises of multiple parts of their iconography, including costume, abilities, the place of their origin, their physicality to name a few. They are major ground for representing and transforming cultural images. Representation is assuredly one aspect in identification and a persistent mark of changing civil discourse for marginalized groups. This paper studies the umpteen transitions in the corporeal display of a few DC and Marvel Comic book superheroes. The goal of this study is to understand the myriad ways in which male and female superheroes’ bodies express not only their superpowers but also their gendered identifications. The comic reader’s ‘gaze’ upon the physicality of the characters creates an intersection of spectacle and narrative which cannot be separated from both the corporeal body and the costume of the superhero.