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cic2007-02-16-01.jpgOnly last week, in the course of my month-long consideration of Dr. Peter Coogan’s book Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre (MonkeyBrain Press, 2006), I hypothesized that despite the surface realism of the television series 24, its hero Jack Bauer is what I called a megahero. That is my name for what the late literary critic Northrup Frye called the hero of romance, by which he meant a tale of extraordinary adventure. According to Frye a romance hero is “superior in degree to other men and to his environment,” and “moves in a world in which the ordinary laws of nature are slightly suspended” (Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, pgs. 33-34).

After I posted last week’s column, I purchased the new issue of TV Guide (Feb. 12-18, 2007), which contained a special section on 24, including a “guest column” by Kiefer Sutherland, who plays Bauer. Sutherland writes about Jack, “Sure, there’s a superhuman element to his character, too. . . .” It’s great getting one of my ideas confirmed, and so quickly!

Before starting my critique of Dr. Coogan’s book, I was working my way through Neal Gabler’s recent biography of Walt Disney (see “Comics in Context” #158, 160-161). You may recall that Gabler contends that Disney had little interest in his feature films following World War II; the major exception was Mary Poppins (1964).

Last weekend Turner Classic Movies showed two of Disney’s live action films for the first time: 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954), based on the novel by Jules Verne (whose name, unless I missed it, oddly never appeared in the movie) and The Absent-Minded Professor (1961). I hadn’t seen the first one since childhood, and I believe I had never seen the second.

Something that struck me about Leagues was that it didn’t conform to the popular image of a Disney movie. Yes, there was a cute animal, Esmerelda the seal, and since it was a Disney movie, it made certain that Esmerelda escaped the destruction of the Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s submarine, at the movie’s end. But, following Verne’s novel, the movie unhesitatingly portrays Captain Nemo, played by James Mason, as a mass murderer, ramming and sinking ships. The film’s narrator, Professor Aronnax, played by Paul Lukas, seems intended to be the point of view character for the audience, and Aronnax never wavers in his condemnation of what today we would call Nemo’s terrorist attacks.

Yet the movie allows the audience to understand and empathize with Nemo’s own point of view. He only attacks warships or ships carrying munitions. Moreover, he was once a prisoner of an unnamed nation which murdered his wife and children. (In a previous column I speculated that Captain Nemo, who rules beneath the waves, was a partial inspiration for Namor the Sub-Mariner, the noble prince of an undersea kingdom who also attacks a warlike surface world. See “Comics in Context” #22.)

Furthermore, Aronnax admires Nemo as a creative genius who designed the Nautilus, discovered its power source, which in the Disney version is obviously nuclear energy, and mastered the ocean depths. The film invites the audience to marvel at Nemo’s wonders, as well. Ned Land, the sailor played in the film by Kirk Douglas, is presented as a more conventional adventure hero, with more brawn than brain, and he condemns Nemo as a killer. Aronnax disapproves of the killings, but argues that Nemo must be persuaded to share his secrets with the world. During the movie’s titanic battle between the Nautilus crew and a giant squid, Land finds himself saving Nemo’s life, much to his own surprise. It seems we are meant to agree with Aronnax’s opinion of Nemo; even Land does, subconsciously. When the unnamed nation’s armed forces attack and fatally wound Nemo at the film’s end, surely our sympathies are with him, and the movie gives Nemo the last word, repeating his prophesy that some day, when the world is ready for them, humanity will rediscover his secrets. Nemo is a creative visionary who was ahead of his time.

On seeing Leagues and Absent-Minded Professor on successive evenings, I realized that both movies are about misunderstood creative geniuses, even though one is a science fiction drama with an antihero who meets a tragic end, and the other is a science fiction romantic comedy. Both Nemo and the latter film’s Professor Brainard are technical innovators, like Walt Disney himself. When we meet Nemo, he no longer has a family and is entirely devoted to his mission. Professor Brainard is so intensely dedicated to his scientific research that he neglects his personal life, and repeatedly fails to attend his own wedding. Gabler’s book depicted Disney as similarly neglectful of his marriage, and instead devoting most of his energies to his creative work at the studio. The unnamed nation imprisons Nemo and kills his family in a vain effort to force him to reveal his secrets to them (notably his discovery of nuclear energy). In Gabler’s book, the darkest moment in Disney’s early career came when his distributor took his star character, Oswald the Rabbit, and most of his staff away from him. The villain in Absent-Minded Professor is Alonzo P. Hawk, the head of a finance company. Having made a large loan to Professor Brainard’s college that the school cannot repay, Hawk threatens to foreclose and take possession of the campus. Subsequently, Hawk steals Brainard’s Model-T Ford which contains his discovery, flubber, which enables the car to fly. In Gabler’s biography one of Walt Disney’s foremost nemeses is the Bank of America, which made loans to the Disney company and then restricted his freedom of action in running his own studio.

In other words, Captain Nemo and Professor Brainard each embody aspects of Walt Disney himself. So, Mr. Gabler, is it really true that Walt Disney had little to do with his live action movies except for Poppins? The stamp of Walt the auteur, expressing his own personality through his lead characters, is clear in both Leagues and Absent-Minded Professor. (TCM’s own article about Leagues demonstrates that Walt Disney was very much personally involved in the film.)

Watching Professor Brainard bounding up and down in his flubber-soled shoes, I found myself thinking about Spring-Heeled Jack, a character from “penny dreadfuls” in Victorian England, who wore boots containing steel springs that enabled him to make superhuman leaps into the air. Dr. Coogan admits that Jack “very likely can be considered the first hero character to fulfill the core definitional elements of the superhero” (Superhero p. 176). Coogan’s primary criteria for a superhero are mission, powers, and identity. Spring-Heeled Jack had a mission, as what Coogan calls “an all-round do-gooder” (p. 175), his boots provided him with artificial super-powers, and he scores three out of three in the “identity” requirements of codename, costume and dual identity.

Indeed, the only persuasive reason that Coogan can give for not considering Jack to be the first superhero is that “he did not inspire the imitation and repetition necessary to initiate a genre” (p. 176), as Superman did over a century later. Hence Spring-Heeled Jack’s adventures remained an “anomaly” in his own time (p. 177).

Maybe the difference is that super-powers are usually based in science fiction, and the more technologically advanced world of the 1930s was therefore more conducive to the popularity of the superhero concept. Perhaps Jack’s “spring-heels” were too much of a gimmick; Superman’s powers bore more mythic resonance because they were innate. Besides, while Superman also traveled via superhuman leaps (before he was upgraded to flying), he also had more impressive powers like super-strength. There seems to be an archetype of a leaping or bouncing man underlying Spring-Heeled Jack, but, significantly, it reemerges in characters who are comedic or partly comedic, like the Legion of Super-Heroes’ Bouncing Boy, Looney Tunes’ baby kangaroo Hippety Hopper, Marvel’s Frog-Man and Leapfrog characters, and, yes, the Absent-Minded Professor. Even the Hulk’s repeated leaping, like a big green frog, looks undignified compared to Superman’s flying.

I’ve lately received some e-mails with relevance to my recent columns. For example, Roy Thomas informs me that despite what it says on the boxes our copies of Marvel Vault, the book we co-authored for Becker and Mayer, the book is still only in its first printing.

Peter Coogan has been sending me e-mails about my columns on his book. Not surprisingly, he disagrees with my contention that the Spirit is a superhero, and says that the Spirit “is just a masked pulp detective in comics.” I see Coogan’s point, and certainly Spirit stories more often resemble film noir than conventional superhero sagas.

But if Spring-Heeled Jack is not a true superhero because he did not inspire any imitations or variations, then can’t we apply similar logic to the Spirit? If the Spirit had been created before Superman’s debut, then he would fall into the same category of pulp-style masked vigilantes as the Green Hornet, DC Comics’ original version of the Sandman, and even Zorro. But did the debut of Superman and the early comic book superheroes radically alter the public perception of masked heroes? Would the newspaper readers of the 1940s have perceived the Spirit as one of the new breed of superheroes, or as a pulp-style hero?

The newspaper syndicate for which Eisner did The Spirit certainly insisted that the character conform to the new genre. By Eisner’s own admission,
“They wanted an heroic character, a costumed character. They asked me if he’d have a costume. And I put a mask on him and said, ‘Yes, he has a costume!’” (The Jack Kirby Collector #16). So the mask, and presumably the iconic blue suit, became signifiers of a superhero costume.

Yet Eisner went further and gave the Spirit a superhero-style origin, complete with a “death” (via suspended animation) and resurrection, thereby metaphorically putting him on a superhuman level.

If there had been no comic book superheroes, would the Spirit have been entirely the same character? Would Eisner have given him the science fictional origin involving suspended animation, the cemetery lair, the dual identity, or even the codename? Might the Spirit have been more like Eisner’s later, similar character, John Law, who lacked mask and codename, and worked as a policeman? Did anyone ever ask Eisner this?

Eisner did as little as he needed to make the Spirit look like a superhero, and yes, Spirit stories typically resemble film noir more than conventional superhero tales. But to my mind, anyway, the Spirit just meets the minimum requirements to be considered a superhero. Just as Buffy is a Displaced Superhero operating in the supernatural horror genre, maybe the Spirit is a Technical Superhero, whose stories include a wide number of genres, from comedy to noir mystery, and even outright superhero stories like Darwyn Cooke’s Batman/Spirit comic.

With regard to whether the TV series Heroes is in the superhero genre, Dr. Coogan wrote to me that “All Heroes has to do is show one costume and employ one codename.” I don’t know if that’s sufficient if most of the super-powered characters don’t use costumes or codenames. If only one of the Heroes dresses in a costume, he may come off as an eccentric. In the superhero genre, wearing a distinctive costume is typically presented as a reasonable choice.

One of the Heroes, Hiro Nakamura, is a superhero comics buff and perceives himself as a superhero. The Wikipedia entry on the character observes that Hiro is “the one character that aspires to the pure heroism of comic book crime fighters.” In other words, he is the only one who has the same kind of sense of mission that conventional superheroes have, but so far this makes him an anomaly in the cast of characters.

Coogan contends that Hiro’s future counterpart “has a costume” that isn’t doesn’t “strictly” conform to genre expectations, “but it’s clear that Hiro intends it as a superhero costume.” But a “declaration of intent” isn’t always sufficient. This “costume” consists of a black overcoat. According to Coogan’s book, the superhero costume should express the character’s biography, powers, and/or identity, and should have a “chevron,” an insignia that stands for the superhero identity. All that Future Hiro’s overcoat expresses is that he develops better fashion sense. I can’t accept this as a true superhero costume any more than I do Neo’s long black coat in The Matrix.

Coogan also points out that a new character on the show, Hana Gittleman, who first appeared in comics on NBC’s Heroes website, has a codename: “Wireless.” Now this does seem to be a real move towards the direction of conforming to superhero genre conventions.

Thinking further about this, I realized that Heroes’ first season may be one long origin story for the principal characters. Perhaps it is evolving slowly but surely into what would clearly be recognized as a superhero series, with the Heroes fulfilling Coogan’s major criteria. Maybe the true test is to see how many of the Heroes will have adopted codenames and a selflessly altruistic sense of mission by this point in the second season.

I doubt that Coogan would consider the Captain Nemo of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to be a superhero. “Nemo” is an alias, meaning “no one,” and is a kind of codename, but Moore and O’Neill dress their Nemo in conventional garments from India, not a superhero-style costume. Nemo’s sense of mission in League seems inadequate: he angrily quits the team by the end of Volume 2. While Coogan makes clear that advanced technology can fill his criterion of super-powers, Nemo’s primary “powers” reside not in his body or his personal weaponry and equipment, but in his vehicle, the Nautilus. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s supreme annotator Jess Nevins says that “Nemo was the archetypal Man With The Machine, the inventor/engineer character who created scientifically advanced machines and used them on their adventures.”

But would the Captain Nemo of the Disney movie and Verne’s novel qualify under Coogan’s definition of supervillain? On his “Fantastic Victoriana” website, Jess Nevins places Nemo in the context of 19th century Romanticism: “The ostracized Romantic genius is unappreciated, his talent unvalued, and his intellectual and spiritual values rejected by the soulless materialistic society which does not appreciate his naturally superior talents.”

This reminds me of Coogan’s three categories of characters from 19th and early 20th century fiction that are forebears of the 20th century superhero: the “science-fiction superman,” beginning with Frankenstein’s monster in 1918; the “dual-identity avenger-vigilante” and what Coogan calls “the pulp ubermensch,” beginning with Tarzan in 1912 (p. 126). Concealing his true identity behind an alias, Nemo fits the second category, striking out at the warships of the nations of the world. Coogan links the first and third categories of philosopher Friedrich Nietzche’s concept of the ubermensch, which Coogan defines as “a revolutionary figure, operating beyond the traditional notions of good and evil, following his will to power, and embodying the master morality while abandoning the slave morality of Christian teaching and platonic ideals” (p. 130). Now consider this speech by Nemo that Nevins takes from Verne’s novel: “I am not what you call a civilized man! I have broken with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right to assess. I therefore do not obey its laws. . . .” Nemo isn’t physically a “superman” but his “machine” enables him to exercise the power of one.

Whereas Coogan limits the definition of superheroes to characters in the superhero genre, he contends that supervillains exist in numerous genres, and predate the creation of the first superhero. He divides supervillains into five basic types, while noting that a particular character can belong to one or more of these types.

First is the Monster, a type including Grendel from Beowulf, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, and even beasts without any aspect of humanity, such as the Nemean Lion and the Lernaean Hydra from the Twelve Labors of Hercules.

Second is the Enemy Commander, a category in which Coogan includes not only Darth Vader but also historical figures such as Xerxes, the Persian king at the Battle of Thermopylae (who figures in such disparate works as Herodotus’ Histories and Frank Miller’s 300). Coogan considers John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost (1667) as “the very model of the enemy commander supervillain” (p. 63). Coogan even maintains that Americans think of real life figures Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden as supervillains.

Third is the Mad Scientist, a self-explanatory category that Coogan traces back through Dr. Victor Frankenstein to what we might call “mad alchemists” like Doctor Faustus (as in Christopher Marlowe’s play, published in 1604).

Fourth is the Criminal Mastermind, a type prominently represented by Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Professor Moriarty, who debuted in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Final Problem” (1893).

The fifth and final category is what Coogan somewhat awkwardly calls the Inverted-Superhero Supervillain. By this Coogan means the familiar kind of costumed supervillain that we see in comics; indeed, he says that this is the only category of supervillain that is limited to the superhero genre. Like superheroes, the “inverted-superhero” type of supervillain can be identified by mission (an antisocial one), powers, and identity, expressed through codename and costume. Coogan identifies the Joker and Catwoman, who both debuted in Batman #1 (1940) as the first true “inverted-superhero” supervillains. Actually, that honor should go solely to Jerry Robinson’s creation, the Joker. In Batman #1 the Catwoman appears as “the Cat,” a comely female thief who is a master of disguise. This character later evolved into the Catwoman, complete with full costume and cat-themed weaponry and equipment. But in her first appearance, she’s a more ordinary sort of criminal that one could easily find in a conventional detective story.

Captain Nemo would fall under the headings of Enemy Commander (leading his own one-ship navy, the Nautilus) and Mad Scientist (as its inventor). But we should note that Verne’s and Disney’s Nemo is more precisely of a character type that Coogan does not discuss: the supervillain as antihero. The Sub-Mariner fit into the same category when he was revived in Fantastic Four #4 (1962). Of course, Milton’s Satan is one of the greatest antiheroes in literature.

Coogan proposes that Ian Fleming, the creator of villains such as Blofeld, Doctor No, and Goldfinger in his James Bond novels, “might be called the poet laureate of supervillainy.”

There is one more recent character in both popular literature and film who is such a towering figure of what Coogan calls “supervillainy” that I am astounded that he never receives a mention in Coogan’s book. Who else but Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who was created by novelist Thomas Harris in his book Red Dragon (1981, released as a film as Manhunter in 1986 and under its original title in 2002), became a pop culture icon in The Silence of the Lambs (published in 1988, released as a film in 1991), and has reappeared in Hannibal (published in 1999, released as a film in 2001) and currently in Harris’s new novel Hannibal Rising, and the 2007 film thereof. The American Film Institute’s 2003 poll of movie professionals, critics and historians named Dr. Lecter as the greatest villain in film history. (in the Online Film Critics’ 2202 poll about great movie villains, Dr. Lecter placed second, after Darth Vader.)

Dr. Lecter would fit two of Coogan’s categories of supervillains; the Monster (as a cannibal) and the Mad Scientist (as a psychiatrist).

Whereas Coogan listed three main criteria for defining a superhero, he lists seven for determining who is a supervillain. Let’s go down the list and see how Nemo and Lecter fit.

First, as with the superheroes, is Mission, which in the supervillain’s case is “selfish” and “anti-social.” Nemo has turned his back on society, and certainly the nations of the world regard his mission to destroy warships as antisocial. (But we may sympathize with his mission to some extent, and consider him to be an antihero.) In Hannibal Rising, the young Lecter embarks on a mission of vengeance against the men who murdered–and devoured–his sister. In his review of this novel in The New York Times Sunday Book Review (December 31, 2006), film critic Terence Rafferty points to “the doctor’s strong avenging-angel impulse, which since The Silence of the Lambs has sometimes manifested itself as a grisly kind of gallantry. In both Silence and Hannibal, he often functions as the protector, rescuer and champion of Clarice Starling, the comely young F.B.I. agent who strangely interests him.” Rafferty contends that real life serial killers murder merely to satisfy their sexual desires, and not out of a sense of mission. Rafferty asserts that Harris’s backstory for Lecter, as his sister’s avenger, “emphasize[s], by the very similarity to superhero origin stories, the character’s utter impossibility, his pure does-not-occur-in-nature absurdity.” Lecter isn’t a realistic character.

Thus Rafferty inadvertently acknowledges that Lecter is what Coogan would call a “supervillain.” Lecter is not “one of us,” not what Frye would call a high or low mimetic character. Despite the surface realism of Harris’s novels, Lecter is a villain of what Frye calls the mode of romance, in which the rules of strict realism do not apply. Indeed, the rules of strict psychological realism are inapplicable to Lecter. That’s not Harris’s mistake; that’s the point.

When he is not avenging his sister or aiding Clarice, Lecter has no ongoing mission, but Coogan points out that “It is possible, and even typical, for a monster to act without malice. Destructiveness comes out of its nature. . . .Most monsters express a force of nature in their destructiveness.” That seems to me to be a reasonable description of Lecter.

Second, there is Criminal Artistry: “The supervillain’s dream reaches far beyond the acquisitive scheme of the ordinary crook.” Lecter definitely sees his crimes as art: specifically, he regards cannibalism into gourmet dining. Nemo may not regard his sinking of warships as art, but he is portrayed both by Verne and by Disney as an artist: both the novel and the film repeatedly portray him playing the organ. The portrayal of the extraordinary villain as having an interest in high culture is familiar. In the film of The Silence of the Lambs Lecter waves his hand to a recording of classical music, as if conducting, during the scene in which he murders his guards, and in Hannibal he has settled in Florence as an art historian.

Rafferty perceives that “In Silence, Harris [added] a pitiless aesthetic objectivity to the list of Hannibal’s improbable properties: his taste is so impeccable it seems demonic. But the decisive leap in the evolution of Hannibal Lecter turned out to be his, let’s say, appreciation of Clarice Starling, whose beauty meets his high standards and whose tantalizingly inchoate sense of herself arouses his clinical curiosity.” So Lecter’s interest in Starling is driven not only by sexual urges but by his aesthetic sense and by his scientist’s pursuit of knowledge.

Third is mania, or fanaticism: “The blindness that comes from a maniac singleness of purpose permits the supervillain to not see the inhumanity of what he does or to perceive what he does as beneficial to the world” (p. 82). Nemo: check. Lecter: check.

Fourth is “the wound”: “This grandiose self-aggrandizement arises from a sense of victimhood, originating in a wound that the supervillain never recovers from” (p. 83). Coogan states that supervillains are “in love with the story of their wound, unable to get past whatever happened in their past and turn their energies toward healing or redemptive therapy” (p. 84). In the Disney film Nemo is haunted by the death of his family.

Of course, there are also superheroes who are driven by psychological “wounds.” Take the Punisher, who embarked on his vigilante career because gangsters slaughtered his family. Coogan believes that the Punisher is a superhero only in stories in which he interacts with other superheroes. Often characters like Spider-Man collaborate with the Punisher on specific missions. But it seems to me that the Punisher becomes a supervillain in stories in which the superhero refuses to tolerate the Punisher’s killing of criminals, such as Frank Miller’s Daredevil #183-184 (June-July 1982).

Batman is unquestionably a superhero, and yet he is famously driven by the “wound” of the murder of his parents. Rafferty compares Lecter to Batman: “In Hannibal Rising, Harris. . . .gives his popular fiend the kind of ‘origin story’ that comic-book writers bestow on their impossibly righteous superheroes: how, say, a certain caped crusader against crime acquired his steely resolve and cool paraphernalia.” although he has repeatedly attempted to give up his superhero career, Spider-Man is forever driven by his own “wound,” his guilt over his failure to prevent the murder of Uncle Ben, to return to his crimefighting mission. Even Superman has been interpreted as being dedicated to making sure that his adopted world, Earth, does not suffer destruction as Krypton did.

Various reviewers, including Rafferty, have objected to Hannibal Rising on the grounds that revealing Lecter’s past and delving into his motivations reduces him as a character. Rafferty believes that Dr. Lecter’s power as a character resides in his “fundamental and impenetrable opacity.” I haven’t read Harris’s new book or seen the film adaptation. But Coogan’s analysis of the importance of the supervillain’s “wound” persuades me that by providing Lecter with an origin, Harris is simply following the logic of developing a supervillain.

Fifth is “monologue and soliloquy.” As Coogan acknowledges, “monologuing” is a term invented by Brad Bird’s 2004 superhero movie The Incredibles (See “Comics in Context” #62) to refer to supervillains’ familiar trait of talking at great length about their own alleged greatness. As Coogan notes, Fleming is the great master of villains’ monologues. Coogan points out that the villain respects the hero, and tells him about his life or his master plans, in order to win the hero’s” respect and approval–the respect and approval he s missed in his early life” (p. 69).

Nemo qualifies here: he allows Professor Aronnax to live because he respects Aronnax’s intelligence and believes that the professor can appreciate the significance of his achievements. Although Dr. Lecter famously insists on “quid pro quo” with Starling, he dominates their conversations. Here, too, Lecter perceives Starling as someone he can respect, and someone who can respect him, in contrast with the doctors and lawmen for whom Lecter feels utter contempt.

As Coogan points out, “soliloquy” and “monologue” are theatrical terms, and therefore are further indications of the “artistic” side of the supervillain’s crimes: “they are impresarios, putting on a show of sorts, and the heroes who oppose them are their audience” (p. 89).

Coogan distinguishes between the “monologue,” delivered to the hero, and the “soliloquy,’ delivered to unspeaking underlings or “without an audience.”
Ah, but there is always an audience: the readers of the story, or the watchers of the film or TV show.
This made me realize that there are other forebears of the modern supervillain whom Coogan has missed. What about the soliloquies of Shakespeare’s Richard III and Iago, as well as some of his lesser villains, all of whom are descended from the “vice” figure of medieval drama, who likewise addressed the audience? Are Shakespeare’s great villains the forefathers of Doctor Doom and his ilk?

Obviously, I am not yet finished with the topic of supervillains, and will continue my own version of monologuing in the near future.

The second New York Comic Con will be held at Manhattan’s Javits Center from Friday, February 23 through Sunday the 25th. I’ll be doing signings of the Marvel Encyclopedia and The Ultimate Guide to the X-Men at the DK Publishing booth on Saturday from 2 to 3 PM and on Sunday from 11 AM t 12:30 PM.

On Saturday from 5 to 6, I’m supposed to be moderating the convention’s “Behind the Panels: The Classic Age of Comics,” featuring Golden and Silver Age greats Murphy Anderson, Arnold Drake, Irwin Hasen, Carmine Infantino, and Jerry Robinson.

But the biggest news is that I am the co-curator of “Stan Lee: A Retrospective,” an exhibit surveying his entire career, that opens on the weekend of the New York Comic-Con and runs through July 3. The opening reception, which Stan Lee will attend, is at 8:30 PM on the evening of Friday the 23rd. The reception is a benefit for the Museum, and tickets are still available (see www.moccany.org). After the opening, you can visit the exhibit on Fridays through Mondays at the regular admission fee. And for the next few months the Museum is also still holding “Saturday Morning,” curator Matt Murray’s wonderful retrospective of the history of Saturday morning television animation.

-Copyright 2007 Peter Sanderson


One Response to “Comics in Context #165: The Supervillain Defined”

  1. Brian Miller Says:

    I know Peter Coogan and he has read my recently published book on the super villain condition. I invite you to take a look at my book and if you’d like I could send you a free e-book copy of my work. I like your intuitions about the super villain and you may find my work to your liking.

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