A refugee from his broken planet who saves earth (more than once), Superman was sent to America as his father's final act before dying. Does this make him the ultimate immigrant success story? Disillusioned with a crime-filled world, Bruce Wayne seeks guidance from a shaman and transforms himself into the flawlessly moral Batman. Through a series of close readings of DC and Marvel comics, Marco Arnaudo explores the influence of religion and myth on superhero stories as well as their relationship to the classical epic and baroque style.
Superheroes embody the most positive and inclusive aspects of American culture. Arnaudo asserts that, amidst the exciting action, tender love stories, and tales of self-sacrifice, superheroes are role models for tolerance and moral decision making. Translated for the first time into English, The Myth of the Superhero looks beyond the cape, the mask, and the superpowers, presenting a serious study of the genre and its place in a broader cultural context.
Marco Arnaudo is an associate professor of Italian and director of graduate studies in Italian at Indiana University. He has published several books in Italian, including Il trionfo di Vertunno: Illusioni ottiche e cultura a letteraria nell'Etadella Controriforma.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Myth and Religion2. Ethics and Society3. Epic and NeobaroqueConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex