Strange Visitor: The Subjective Identity of Superman

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Anderson, Edward J
narratology; Superman; comic books; identity; media studies; DC Comics
thesis / dissertation description
Strange Visitor examines one of the most enduring, iconic, seemingly-unified fictional characters of the 20th century in order to understand how the seeming unity of identification is a complicated, ambiguous process, constantly in refinement. The first chapter consists of methodology, concerning the ‘narrative’ (material) and ‘linguistic’ (fictional) subjects and their common root in subjectification through language. The second chapter applies the ideas from the first in a close reading of Alan Moore’s ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?’. There, I delve deeper into the question of the root of the Superman/Clark Kent identiary split while exploring how characters such as Lois Lane come to answer the question of Superman’s identity for themselves. The third chapter examines how we have discursively come to consider Superman as human the way we’re human, facilitated both by his responses to his world and our own responses to him and his adventures. The final chapter concerns how technology is allowing fictional characters to be made present more and more fully and what that will mean for those fictions that we know as we know others in our own world.