Throughout the history of the genre, the superhero has been characterised primarily by physical transformation and physical difference. Superhero Bodies: Identity, Materiality, Transformation explores the transformation of the superhero body across multiple media forms including comics, film, television, literature and the graphic novel. How does the body of the hero offer new ways to imagine identities?  How does it represent or subvert cultural ideals? How are ideologies of race, gender and disability signified or destabilised in the physicality of the superhero? How are superhero bodies drawn, written and filmed across diverse forms of media and across histories?

This volume collects essays that attend to the physicality of superheroes: the transformative bodies of superheroes, the superhero’s position in urban and natural spaces, the dialectic between the superhero’s physical and metaphysical self, and the superhero body’s relationship with violence. This will be the first collection of scholarly research specifically dedicated to investigating the diversity of superhero bodies, their emergence, their powers, their secrets, their histories and their transformations.

chapter |13 pages

Introducing the Superhero Body

Edited ByElizabeth MacFarlane, Sarah Richardson, Wendy Haslem

chapter 1|21 pages

Women in Comics

Australian Centre for the Moving Image – Superhero Identities Symposium
Edited ByWendy Haslem, Elizabeth MacFarlane, Sarah Richardson

part |12 pages


chapter 2|12 pages

Poison Ivy, Red in Tooth and Claw

Ecocentrism and Ecofeminism in the DC Universe
ByVictoria Tedeschi

chapter 3|12 pages

“Let’s start with a smile”

Rape Culture in Marvel’s Jessica Jones
ByVerity Trott

chapter 4|15 pages

Empowered and Strong

Muslim Female Community in Ms. Marvel
ByWajeehah Aayeshah

part |21 pages


chapter 5|21 pages

Supervillainy at the Interface

Hollywood Supervillains and the Digital–Material Dialectic
ByJessica Balanzategui

chapter 6|21 pages

Against Impossible Odds

Supervillain Bodies in Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible and Matt Carter’s Almost Infamous
ByJulian Novitz

chapter 7|14 pages

Are Zombies Superheroes?

ByHenry Kamerling

part |18 pages


chapter 8|18 pages

When Superman Was Grown in a Tank

ByEvie Kendal

chapter 9|12 pages

Only Transform

The Monstrous Bodies of Superheroes
ByMichael Kobre

chapter 10|16 pages


When the Superhero’s Gender Play is Child’s Play
ByDiana Sandars

chapter 11|14 pages

The Prehistory of the Superhero

Filibus, Fantômas, and Judex
Edited ByWendy Haslem