Brookline Booksmith wishes you and your loved ones a happy and safe Thanksgiving. While our store will be closed for the holiday, we welcome you to shop online!
American culture has long represented mixed-race identity in paradoxical terms. On the one hand, it has been associated with weakness, abnormality, impurity, transgression, shame, and various pathologies; however, it can also connote genetic superiority, exceptional beauty, and special potentiality. This ambivalence has found its way into superhero media, which runs the gamut from Ant-Man and the Wasp’s tragic mulatta villain Ghost to the cinematic depiction of Aquaman as a heroic “half-breed.”
The essays in this collection contend with the multitude of ways that racial mixedness has been presented in superhero comics, films, television, and literature. They explore how superhero media positions mixed-race characters within a genre that has historically privileged racial purity and propagated images of white supremacy. The book considers such iconic heroes as Superman, Spider-Man, and The Hulk, alongside such lesser-studied characters as Valkyrie, Dr. Fate, and Steven Universe. Examining both literal and symbolic representations of racial mixing, this study interrogates how we might challenge and rewrite stereotypical narratives about mixed-race identity, both in superhero media and beyond.
SIKA A. DAGBOVIE-MULLINS is an associate professor of English at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Her publications include the book Crossing B(l)ack: Mixed Race Identity in Modern American Fiction and Culture.
ERIC L. BERLATSKY is a professor of English at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he also serves as the associate dean of graduate studies and directs the Ph.D. program in comparative studies. His books include The Real, the True, and the Told: Postmodern Historical Narrative and the Ethics of Representation and the edited volume Alan Moore: Conversations.