Carr is Associate Professor in the Communication and Information Science programs at UW – Green Bay, and is also part of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty. His research focuses on issues of representation in popular culture (particularly superhero media and video games) and our media economy. In April of this year, he published The Transmedia Construction of the Black Panther: Long Live the King with Lexington Books. In October, along with his colleague and mentor Dr. Meta Carstarphen, he also published Gendered Defenders: Marvel’s Heroines in Transmedia Spaces, a co-edited volume of essays exploring feminist theory and symbolism in Marvel’s superheroines. He is also the host of Serious Fun on the Phoenix Studios podcast network
There is no denying that comic book superheroes are a major part of our cultural moment, and lately stories of caped avengers and supervillains have aspired to greater social relevance, from The Batman’s meditations on systemic inequality to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s exploration of America’s painful history of racial injustice to The Boys’ satire of corporate America and its unending ability to profit off of these stories. But are superheroes truly a genre that can speak to lived experiences and challenge the status quo, or ultimately another platform through which such inequality is implicitly or explicitly reinforced? This discussion examines two recent essays on our relationship with superhero narratives in light of the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and seeks to explore the potential and pitfalls of mapping the fight for social justice onto these masked crusaders.
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