Contributions by Phil Bevin, Blair Davis, Marc DiPaolo, Michele Fazio, James Gifford, Kelly Kanayama, Orion Ussner Kidder, Christina M.
Knopf, Kevin Michael Scott, Andrew Alan Smith, and Terrence R.
WandtkeIn comic books, superhero stories often depict working-class characters who struggle to make ends meet, lead fulfilling lives, and remain faithful to themselves and their own personal code of ethics.
Working-Class Comic Book Heroes: Class Conflict and Populist Politics in Comics examines working-class superheroes and other protagonists who populate heroic narratives in serialized comic books.
Essayists analyze and deconstruct these figures, viewing their roles as fictional stand-ins for real-world blue-collar characters. Informed by new working-class studies, the book also discusses how often working-class writers and artists created these characters.
Notably Jack Kirby, a working-class Jewish artist, created several of the most recognizable working-class superheroes, including Captain America and the Thing.
Contributors weigh industry histories and marketing concerns as well as the fan community's changing attitudes towards class signifiers in superhero adventures. The often financially strapped Spider-Man proves to be a touchstone figure in many of these essays.
Grant Morrison's Superman, Marvel's Shamrock, Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta, and The Walking Dead receive thoughtful treatment.
While there have been many scholarly works concerned with issues of race and gender in comics, this book stands as the first to deal explicitly with issues of class, cultural capital, and economics as its main themes.