University of the Arts London
M Kent - Secret Wars.mp4 (546.07 MB)

Miriam Kent - Protecting People and Country and Serving Doom Above All Else: Alternate Reality and Military Femininity in Captain Marvel & The Carol Corps

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posted on 2020-06-29, 15:42 authored by Miriam Kent

01/07/2020 10:00 Room 1 #prognp

Militarized superheroine Captain Marvel is a site of discursive struggle typical of popular media representations of military women (Tasker 2011). This paper discusses how limited comic series Captain Marvel & the Carol Corps (DeConnick, Thompson and Lopez 2015), part of Marvel crossover event Secret Wars, further makes use of gendered military themes through its representation of an alternate Captain Marvel. Offering ‘a new, hybrid narrative space’ (Johnson 2017: 130), the event represented significant—though not necessarily permanent—interventions into both Marvel’s continuity and modes of representing characters from marginalised backgrounds. Through superhero comics’ reliance on revisionism, intertextuality and pastiche (Hyman 2017), Carol Corps presents alternate versions of Captain Marvel and a supporting cast of female pilots.

Resistance to totalitarian rule was elaborated through the representation of superheroes as transgressing boundaries throughout Secret Wars (Curtis 2017). The inclusion of Carol Corps’ portrayal of specific military femininities towards this endeavor is therefore noteworthy. As part of this alternate storyworld, the militaristic attributes of these characters were arguably further naturalised, although often queried, through the narrative’s critique of patriarchal totalitarian rule. Simultaneously, the series doubled up the fantasy setting in which military femininity can be “safely” articulated (Tasker 2017: 502). This paper therefore asks how far and to what end Carol Corps provides a meditation of superheroic military femininity in a postfeminist media landscape.



Miriam Kent has a PhD in Film Studies with a focus on Marvel superheroes and she has taught a wide range of Film, Media and Gender Studies courses. She has published on superhero media with an interest in gender, representation and adaptation. Her previous work has appeared in academic journals and edited volumes, including Feminist Media Studies. Her monograph Women in Marvel Films is forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press.