Anke Bock

Arbeitstitel: The Superhero in the American Comic and the Varieties of Evil

My dissertation project focuses on the American supervillain whose character-ization is directly dependent on the accompanying superhero. The villain figure is extremely complex and correlates with the hero’s portrayal. The mutual rela-tionship between the two is therefore the basis of my analysis. In its course, I will develop a catalogue of different types of heroes and villains, which serves to categorize and compare various depictions. The object of inquiry is the Ameri-can comic predominantly of the so-called Silver Age.1 This era comprises roughly the 1960s and is the birthplace of many popular heroes of today’s mov-ies like The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man or The Fantastic Four. As the titles adumbrate, the Silver Age is also called the Marvel Age. Stan Lee’s publishing house left its mark on the medium comic, the genre of the superhero comic and the characters depicted. This is the reason why my focus lies primarily on Marvel comics but also considers the ones published by the other great comics publisher DC. The characterization of hero and villain is analyzed against the backdrop of the political, social, (pop)cultural, scientific and religious contexts of that time. Therefore, my project examines the varieties of evil, their portrayals and functions in the contexts of the comics’ time.