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Remembering the Holocaust in American Superhero Comics

Pettitt, Joanne (2018) Remembering the Holocaust in American Superhero Comics. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 10 (1). pp. 155-166. E-ISSN 2150-4865. (doi:10.1080/21504857.2018.1431800) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:89396)

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This article considers the representation of Holocaust memory in Uncanny: X-Men and Superman. I argue that these comics may be read in relation to what I call ‘mythologised’ Holocaust memory, by which I mean a reduction of the complexity of the genocide so that it may be used as a basic, paradigmatic symbol of good versus evil. Such reduction allows the Holocaust to be employed as an archetype for other acts of violence and atrocity, undermining its historical specificity and complexity. Just as important as this mythologised memory is the appropriation of the Holocaust as a fundamentally American concern, and as viewed through a fundamentally American perspective. As I aim to show, the X-Men franchise is more successful in confronting the ways in which Holocaust memory has been appropriated, especially in the American context. However, it ultimately fails to add sufficient nuance when dealing with the atrocity. Similarly, Superman – one of the most explicit ‘All-American’ heroes, second perhaps only to Captain America – shows, but fails to acknowledge or criticise, this American appropriation and is thus complicit in the construction and simplification of American Holocaust memory.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/21504857.2018.1431800
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Joanne Pettitt
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 15:09 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2021 11:39 UTC
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