April 4, 2014

Behind the Mask, Part 2: The Evolution of a Genre

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #15

Last week, we defined the superhero. However, superheroes have evolved greatly over the last seventy years. The Adam West Batman of the 1960s now only vaguely resembles Christian Bale's Batman of The Dark Knight, to say nothing of the rise of the anti-hero in Alan Moore's classic, Watchmen. How do we reconcile these heroes and their many iterations? Dr. Peter Coogan, the founder of the Institute for Comics Studies and lecturer within American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, returns to trace the evolution of the superhero genre. He explains how superheroes are both a reflection and product of America's shifting modern mythology.

Behind the Mask, part 2: The evolution of a genre by Hold that thought. Audio: Free stock Music: Heroic Struggle, Villain vengence, passing over, The report, hacking the mainframe. archive.org: The adventures of the lone ranger (1951).