Never-Ending Battles: Aging and the American Super-Hero 公开

Webber, Tim (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hh63sw148?locale=zh
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Abstract

Super-heroes were never designed to grow old. Today, they have far outlived their original purpose as children's entertainment to become cultural relics of a bygone era, present day celebrities of the screen, and beacons of what tomorrow may bring. Due to the narrative weight that decades of stories across media have created, the modern super-hero comic book must maintain the status quo established by previous stories, move ahead long-running narratives, tell mature stories with these characters and address the complex continuity formed in the wake of a lifetime's worth of adventures. Accordingly, the main function of any super-hero story is to provide the illusion of change without altering the character in any meaningful way. In order to deal with concepts of aging in this context, creators turned to setting stories in alternative realities, including those created by super-hero stories in other media, where they are free to kill or change characters in any way they please without affecting the main narrative. In order to deal with themes of maturation within the main comic book narrative, creators introduced younger characters, who were meant to make the comic book world more accessible to younger readers. Over time, these ‘access point' characters gradually grew older while the adult characters around them stayed the same age. This process repeated itself every few years so that by the late-1980s, the Batman franchise featured a major character from every age bracket in some form of media or alternate reality, creating a full generational cycle that gave readers of any age bracket a potential ‘access point' character of their own. While some characters were allowed to age and others allowed to die, these changes were almost always temporary, as a super-hero's continued survival and youthful longevity have become some of these characters' defining qualities.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Part I: The Never-Ending Battle……………………………………………….... Page 01
Part II: Paper People…………………………………………………………….. Page 10
Part III: Forever Young………………………………………………………….. Page 25
Part IV: Younger Than Yesterday ………………………………………………. Page 36
Part V: World of Tomorrow ……………………………………………………. Page 47
Works Cited ……………………………………………………………………... Page 52


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