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Marco Favaro - What if... Superheroes kill? Evolution of Superheroes and Antiheroes during the Post-heroic Age

posted on 29.06.2020, 18:24 by Marco FavaroMarco Favaro
03/07/2020 11:00 Room 2 #whahsp

The antihero embodies competing values; he is the symptom of a crisis, and he exasperates it. During the 1980s these characters have their greatest success in superhero comics. The so-called Dark Age follows a profound crisis in American society, marked by the Vietnam War, the fear of nuclear conflict, but also by alternative cultural and social movements. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, together with Alan Moore’s Watchmen, are the graphic novels that represent this transformation.Today, the western world faces a new crisis. Economic uncertainty, mass migrations, encounters and clashes with different cultures, terrorism, pandemics: our worldview and our truths are wavering. Superhero universe mirrors all of these. Antiheroes become more and more numerous, and superheroes lose a clear definition. Marvel’s Civil War is probably the most emblematic example.We are witnessing a new proliferation of antiheroes, and even superheroes are changing. The classic superheroes have begun to kill. Their relationship with the mask, with society, becomes much more problematic and "anti-heroic".I will refer to Nietzschean concepts, such as the mask to distinguish the superhero and the antihero. Comparing Dark Age’s antiheroes with contemporary films and comics I will show how our perception of “heroes” has changed.



Marco Favaro is a PhD Student at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. He works at his project “The Mask of the Antihero. Evolution of the mythology and philosophy of the superhero in comics and graphic novels, from the Dark Age to the present” in cooperation with the Università degli Studi di Verona. He studied philosophy at the University Roma “Tor Vergata” and he got his master’s degree at the Freie Universität Berlin. He wrote his thesis on J.P. Sartre’s L'Être et le néant. He also studied for two semesters at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg. He speaks fluently German, English and Italian.