The Logan Institute for the Study of Superhero Masculinities

A blog for film fans, comic geeks, and aca-nerds.



Anatomically Correct?

We have become used to the idea, rather recently, that our live action superheroes resemble those drawn on the page and in animations, in terms of their exaggerated physicality. Christopher Reeve’s Superman was certainly well-built and muscular, but his simple lycra onesie revealed only the general outline of the heroic man, not his constituent parts. Henry Cavill’s outfit, by contrast, ensures that the viewer is left in no doubt as to how and where his hard-won muscle groupings lie. Continue reading “Anatomically Correct?”

If Thy Eye Offend Thee

…PLUCK IT OUT.              MARK 9:48

The loss of an eye is a familiar disfigurement for a superhero, supervillain, or sidekick. Without even checking my sources I can call to mind Nick Fury and Odin (Marvel), Deadshot & Deathstroke (DC),  Xander Harris (Buffy), Madame Kovarian (Dr Who), Blofeld (James Bond), Alastor Moody (Harry Potter), and Molotov Cocktease (Adventure Bros.).

These very varied characters, from very varied sources, all have one thing in common; they received their wound or scar in some form of battle, except for Madame Kovarian about whom little is known. The wearing of an eyepatch covers the area for many characters, with cultural connotations of piracy and adventure – despite the distinct lack of reason or evidence for this link. However, the addition of this particular bodily injury to a character often has much deeper connotations: the result may be a dashing patch and tale of honour, but the eyes carry a lot of cultural weight. Continue reading “If Thy Eye Offend Thee”

Wounded Heroes, Scarred Villains

The wound is not just an ontological category, a thing, it is part of a process – from the initial blow or piercing injury to the body, through the healing stages, we still refer to the damaged area as wounded. A wound may bleed, gape, fester, heal; it is part of living flesh, a chapter of a story of the body. The scar, however, is dead flesh. A scar is an old wound, a finished process, unchanging. Continue reading “Wounded Heroes, Scarred Villains”

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