Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes (Paperback)

Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes By Jeffrey A. Brown Cover Image
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Description


Impossibly muscular men and voluptuous women parade around in revealing, skintight outfits, and their romantic and sexual entanglements are a key part of the ongoing drama. Such is the state of superhero comics and movies, a genre that has become one of our leading mythologies, conveying influential messages about gender, sexuality, and relationships.
 
Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes examines a full range of superhero media, from comics to films to television to merchandising. With a keen eye for the genre’s complex and internally contradictory mythology, comics scholar Jeffrey A. Brown considers its mixed messages. Superhero comics may reinforce sex roles with their litany of phallic musclemen and slinky femme fatales, but they also blur gender binaries with their emphasis on transformation and body swaps. Similarly, while most heroes have heterosexual love interests, the genre prioritizes homosocial bonding, and it both celebrates and condemns gendered and sexualized violence. 
 
With examples spanning from the Golden Ages of DC and Marvel comics up to recent works like the TV series The Boys, this study provides a comprehensive look at how superhero media shapes our perceptions of love, sex, and gender.

About the Author


JEFFREY A. BROWN is a professor in the Department of Popular Culture in the School of Critical and Cultural Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His many books include The Modern Superhero in Film and Television and Panthers, Hulks and Ironhearts: Marvel, Diversity, and the 21st Century Superhero (Rutgers University Press).

Praise For…


“It’s a bird, plane. . . No, it’s actually a phallic-bulged Man of Steel, ultrasonic orgasming Black Canary, jester in hot-pants Harley, vanilla romancing Spidey, a gay lip-locking Iceman, queer Batcave encounters, and out-and-proud Young Avengers. With his usual superhuman infrared analytic prowess, Jeffrey Allan Brown makes visible to the human eye a superhero universe that at once feeds straight fanboy wish fulfillment fantasies of square-jawed virility and radically troubles mainstreamed norms of love, sex, sexuality, and gender!”
— Frederick Luis Aldama

"From porn parodies to Bat man-caves, from hidden Hulk phalluses to robots in revealing negligees, Jeffrey A. Brown demonstrates convincingly that superhero narratives are filled not just with superfeats, but with supergender."
— Noah Berlatsky

"We know that superhero comics are concerned with masculinity, but Jeffrey Brown makes a powerful case for understanding superhero comics as also foundationally about love and sex. Perhaps this accessible text with its impressive breadth will finally put to bed the idea that these works are only selling adolescent fantasies about manhood. Creators and fans consistently use superhero comics to explore very adult ideas about intimacy. Adding one more important volume to his prolific body of work, Brown yet again demonstrates that he is a skilled reader of gender in popular culture."
— Rebecca Wanzo

"Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes examines a full range of superhero media, from comics to films to television to merchandising. With a keen eye for the genre’s complex and internally contradictory mythology, comics scholar Jeffrey A. Brown considers its mixed messages. Superhero comics may reinforce sex roles with their litany of phallic musclemen and slinky femme fatales, but they also blur gender binaries with their emphasis on transformation and body swaps. Similarly, while most heroes have heterosexual love interests, the genre prioritizes homosocial bonding, and it both celebrates and condemns gendered and sexualized violence."
— Forces of Geek

"Smash Pages Q&A: Jeffrey A. Brown: The pop culture scholar discusses his latest books on superheroes, diversity and gender"
— SmashPages

“It’s a bird, plane. . . No, it’s actually a phallic-bulged Man of Steel, ultrasonic orgasming Black Canary, jester in hot-pants Harley, vanilla romancing Spidey, a gay lip-locking Iceman, queer Batcave encounters, and out-and-proud Young Avengers. With his usual superhuman infrared analytic prowess, Jeffrey Allan Brown makes visible to the human eye a superhero universe that at once feeds straight fanboy wish fulfillment fantasies of square-jawed virility and radically troubles mainstreamed norms of love, sex, sexuality, and gender!”
— Frederick Luis Aldama

"From porn parodies to Bat man-caves, from hidden Hulk phalluses to robots in revealing negligees, Jeffrey A. Brown demonstrates convincingly that superhero narratives are filled not just with superfeats, but with supergender."
— Noah Berlatsky

"We know that superhero comics are concerned with masculinity, but Jeffrey Brown makes a powerful case for understanding superhero comics as also foundationally about love and sex. Perhaps this accessible text with its impressive breadth will finally put to bed the idea that these works are only selling adolescent fantasies about manhood. Creators and fans consistently use superhero comics to explore very adult ideas about intimacy. Adding one more important volume to his prolific body of work, Brown yet again demonstrates that he is a skilled reader of gender in popular culture."
— Rebecca Wanzo

"Love, Sex, Gender, and Superheroes examines a full range of superhero media, from comics to films to television to merchandising. With a keen eye for the genre’s complex and internally contradictory mythology, comics scholar Jeffrey A. Brown considers its mixed messages. Superhero comics may reinforce sex roles with their litany of phallic musclemen and slinky femme fatales, but they also blur gender binaries with their emphasis on transformation and body swaps. Similarly, while most heroes have heterosexual love interests, the genre prioritizes homosocial bonding, and it both celebrates and condemns gendered and sexualized violence."
— Forces of Geek

"Smash Pages QA: Jeffrey A. Brown: The pop culture scholar discusses his latest books on superheroes, diversity and gender"
— SmashPages


Product Details
ISBN: 9781978825260
ISBN-10: 1978825269
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: November 19th, 2021
Pages: 244
Language: English