and the Triumph of Scottish Schadenfreude
Chris Murray

This article examines Denise Mina‘s treatment of Scottish identity and the gothic tradition in her run on Hellblazer, an American horror comic about an English occultist, John Constantine. Mina takes Constantine to Glasgow to confront the deadly “empathy plague” which forces victims to emphasise with others. Mina argues that the Scots revel in the misery of others, making them easy victims for this malady. However, this failing becomes a means for victory, as everyone is united in an outpouring of shameful joy at the story‘s conclusion. Mina‘s Scotland is a home away from home for Constantine – haunted, embittered and lost – and her image of Scotland mirrors representations seen in other Scottish Gothic texts.

Gothic Studies
The Urban Gothic of Fin-de-Siècle London and Gotham City
Erica McCrystal

Gothic literature set in fin-de-siècle London has often been argued to highlight duality. However, the urban Gothic truly flourishes through its liminality, which allows chaos and order to coexist. Texts such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray offer versions of a Gothic London that have the appearance of structure but are difficult to navigate. Likewise, the Batman franchise has embraced Gotham City as a setting that provides tensions between order and chaos. In Gotham, as in fin-de-siècle London, liminality puts pressures on apparent boundaries. While the urban Gothic initially developed through nineteenth century British texts, modern-day comics and films within the Batman franchise have allowed us to see how a multiverse normalises liminality and embraces multiple works to speak collectively about Gothic tensions. This article analyses the liminal nature of the urban Gothic in both cities side by side to argue that the urban Gothic’s liminal nature allows instability to reign.

Gothic Studies
Author: Neal Curtis

This book explores the concept of sovereignty through an analysis of superhero comics. Sovereignty is traditionally understood to be the legitimate monopoly on the use of force in a given territory. It is therefore a complex mix of authority, strength, law and violence, which are all used to a secure a physical and existential identity for a defined community. Another defining trait of the sovereign is the capacity to suspend the law and declare a state of emergency. Given that superheroes are themselves composites of authority, law and violence, while also being exceptional figures operating in a seemingly extra-legal space, they are perfect for working through the problems associated with the concept of sovereignty. However, rather than use superhero comics to simply illustrate the problems associated with sovereignty, the book argues that superhero comics—using a range of stories and characters from the Marvel and DC universes—explicitly engage with the themes in a critically reflexive and politically progressive way undermining the charge that they are simply conservative defenders of the status quo or dumb vigilantes. The book also argues that at the heart of superhero universes is a fundamental intuition about the contradictory nature of sovereignty, that it is at once both absolutely powerful and absolutely nihilating. The book claims that this intuition should inform our theories of what sovereignty means.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of the most popular novels in western literature. It has been adapted and re-assembled in countless forms, from Hammer Horror films to young-adult books and bandes dessinées. Beginning with the idea of the ‘Frankenstein Complex’, this edited collection provides a series of creative readings that explore the elaborate intertextual networks that make up the novel’s remarkable afterlife. It broadens the scope of research on Frankenstein while deepening our understanding of a text that, 200 years after its original publication, continues to intrigue and terrify us in new and unexpected ways.

Norse gods and American comics during the Second World War
Jón Karl Helgason

The most striking echoes of medieval Icelandic literature in contemporary American culture are several recent blockbuster movies from Marvel Studios in which the superhero Thor, brought to life by the Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, plays a prominent role. These films can be considered as adaptations of a series of graphic stories about the Mighty Thor and the Avengers that Marvel Comics started to release in the 1960s. The first tale, published in the magazine Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962, was created by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Larry Liber, but the

in From Iceland to the Americas
Facing the apocalypse in Watchmen
Christian W. Schneider

subverted and deconstructed most of the genre’s rules, creating something groundbreaking. As Douglas Wolk testifies, it was ‘obvious from the front cover of the first issue alone … that Watchmen was something revolutionary’, with an incredible influence on comics as a medium and as an industry. 4 Perhaps it is this revolutionary character, turning

in Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition
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Sovereignty and superheroes
Neal Curtis

Introduction: sovereignty and superheroes Stories of the super-powered beings we have come to call superheroes have now been written for over seventy-five years. In that time, vibrantly colourful tales of hope, courage and the search for justice have adorned the pages of innumerable comics that have filled countless shelves of news-stands and bookshops. Regularly derided and marginalised, these stories have nevertheless come to be one of the most dominant popular art forms. Supported by their ability to leap from the pages of comics into the cathode ray tube of

in Sovereignty and superheroes
Unearthing the uncanny in Alan Moore’s A Small Killing, From Hell and A Disease of Language
Christopher Murray

Alan Moore’s early work in the 1980s, such as Captain Britain , Marvelman and Swamp Thing , earned him a reputation as a clever innovator, producing reinventions of old characters, subverting their histories, remoulding them as ‘realistic’ or adding shades of characterisation uncommon in comics. In this sense he was a ‘resurrection man

in Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition
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Post-war British film stardom
Author: Andrew Roberts

The volume encompasses seventeen chapters, each devoted to an individual actor who represents a diverse aspect of post-war British cinematic stardom. The approach is one of a cinephile academic and although the time frame ranges from the 1940s to the 1980s, the focal point is the 1950s. It was in this decade that the film industry faced increasing competition from television and the involvement of Hollywood monies in UK-based pictures. By the end of that period, the ‘star system’ maintained by the Rank Organisation and Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) was being succeeded by independent productions using Pinewood and Elstree Studios and censorship was being relaxed. Many actors took the opportunity to escape, or even transcend, their previous casting limitations or stereotyping.

Of the subject matter, Jack Hawkins, John Mills, Kenneth More are ‘senior leads’, Laurence Harvey and Stanley Baker are ‘younger leads’ and the ‘leading ladies’ section contains chapters on Sylvia Syms and Diana Dors. ‘The comics’ details the work of Norman Wisdom, Terry-Thomas and Leslie Phillips. The careers of Sidney James, James Robertson Justice, Margaret Rutherford and Hattie Jacques are considered in terms of the art of the leading character actor and the work concludes with tributes to Peter Finch and Peter Sellers.

Subverting the Gothic heroine?
Laura Hilton

The character of Mina Harker née Murray has played a recurring, influential role in a variety of media, including film, television, stage, prose, comics, manga and videogames. 1 This chapter will compare the presentations of Mina in three different media: the original incarnation of Mina in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the interpretation of Stoker

in Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition