Named in memoriam for the late Professor Logan of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, the Logan Institute for the Study of Superhero Masculinities was founded by postgraduate student Evan Hayles Gledhill in 2015 as a web resource for collating commentary on the topic of gendered superheroism, and an archive of original content from fans, scholars, and cultural commentators. It aims to examine gendered representations of the superhero in an interdisciplinary forum, and to encourage fans to develop their own critical perspectives on the superhero body.

Originating in the traditionally critically-maligned genre of the comic, labelled as immature entertainment for an immature audience, the superhero is an increasing presence in mainstream English-language film, television and print cultures. Associated for many with exaggerated fantasy, outmoded nationalism, and lycra jumpsuits, the superhero persona has been reinvented in the twenty-first century gritty realism and leather (though the nationalism seems to be a permanent fixture). The costumes, whether of lycra or leather, are still figure-hugging; gender is inescapably a crucial marker of the superhero body. The hero is, by definition, an ideal; an example set to the wider populace aligned with ideas of goodness and integrity. The gendering of the superhero is, therefore, also a gendering of the wider ideals which they represent.

What are these ideals? How are they inscribed onto the bodies of our heroes? And just why would anyone care anyway? Keep reading to find out.

If you have feedback, complaints, a really good joke, or want to contribute to the site, please contact Evan : e.haylesgledhill@pgr.reading.ac.uk

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