German Responses to the June 2019 Mission of the Sea-Watch 3
form of DGzRS boats, which are on display in many businesses, particularly in cafes and bars, in Germany.
Also in the mix was a commitment to Europe – or rather, to a particular idea of Europe. When the Spiegel put an image of Carola Rackete on its cover, it did so with the headline ‘Captain Europe’. This should be read as more than a reference to the Captain America superhero movies. Those yearning for another, better Europe in which solidarity – which is regularly evoked in official EU rhetoric – is not a hollow notion, focus on what happens at its borders
A chess-player is not simply one who plays chess just as a chess piece is not simply a wooden block. Shaped by expectations and imaginations, the figure occupies the centre of a web of a thousand radiations where logic meets dream, and reason meets play. This book aspires to a novel reading of the figure as both a flickering beacon of reason and a sign of monstrosity. It is underpinned by the idea that the chess-player is a pluralistic subject used to articulate a number of anxieties pertaining to themes of mind, machine, and monster. The history of the cultural chess-player is a spectacle, a collision of tradition and recycling, which rejects the idea of the statuesque chess-player. The book considers three lives of the chess-player. The first as sinner (concerning behavioural and locational contexts), as a melancholic (concerning mind-bending and affective contexts), and as animal (concerning cognitive aspects and the idea of human-ness) from the medieval to the early-modern within non-fiction. The book then considers the role of the chess-player in detective fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to Raymond Chandler, contrasting the perceived relative intellectual reputation and social utility of the chess-player and the literary detective. IBM's late-twentieth-century supercomputer Deep Blue, Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1769 Automaton Chess-Player and Garry Kasparov's 1997 defeat are then examined. The book examines portrayals of the chess-player within comic-books of the mid-twentieth century, considering themes of monstrous bodies, masculinities, and moralities. It focuses on the concepts of the child prodigy, superhero, and transhuman.
Hunting the Dark Knight (2012); Adilifu Nama’s Super Black
(2011); Angela Ndalianis’s The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2009);
Matthew J. Costello’s Secret Identity Crisis (2009); Ben Saunders’s Do the Gods
Wear Capes? (2011); or Jason Dittmer’s Captain America and the Nationalist
Superhero (2013) – superheroes are still blighted by the accepted view they are
either dumb conservatives that blindly support the status quo or anti-social
vigilantes with little respect for democratic institutions; loners that get the job
done by any means necessary and thereby satisfy
definition of Gothic literature, the form is characterised by its
inherently transgressive nature, constantly violating any set
standard. 3 And
if there is one text transgressing limits, breaking into new
territory, then it is Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s graphic
novel Watchmen . Nominally still a superhero comic, the work
master of the house also
tells us that gender and the organisation of family relations play an important
part. It goes without saying that superhero comics reproduce the gender hierarchy and hetero-normativity that defines this patriarchal symbolic authority.1
As a phenomenon introduced just as the nascent consumer culture was emerging, it would be expected that superhero families modelled the nuclear family so
integral to modern, capitalist relations of production, but quite often superhero
families aren’t as normal as first appears.
Perhaps the most famous of these
Friend and enemy
The use of violence by the sovereign has primarily been used to secure peace
against the threat from hostile forces. This means that from Bodin to Schmitt
a significant attribute of sovereignty has been the capacity to name an enemy.
Given that Schmitt viewed this capacity important enough to devote a specific
study to it, and that the distinction between friend and enemy plays such an
integral part in the superhero genre’s grammar and syntax, this is the third way
in which superhero comics lend themselves to a study of sovereignty. Although
Emergency and bare life
The capacity to name and decide between friend and enemy is directly related
to the capacity to declare a state of exception, or what is more commonly called
a state of emergency. In many respects, this is the heart of sovereignty, and it
is a rather dark heart. It might also be said that this is the centre of superhero
universes, the exceptional condition out of which all stories emerge, or the black
hole into which all stories are remorselessly drawn. That the exception or state
of emergency is the norm within superhero universes is
The Gothic imperative in The Castle of Otranto and ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’
That said, reading Otranto alongside ‘For the
Man’ allows us to perceive the ways in which the latter work
draws on a set of narrative resources proffered by the Gothic in
order to provide an uncanny adaptation of Superman. Specifically,
Moore’s text adapts Walpole’s ‘blend’ of the
ancient and modern to investigate parallel superhero conventions
it is often opposed, it runs the same risk of casting many films into oblivion.
We should not, though, feel snootily superior to these early genre critics. With its focus upon genre, their work valuably opened up popular film to serious study at a time when it was generally disparaged. In addition, selectivity in genre criticism is not safely a thing of the past, but an ongoing problem (for further comment, see this chapter’s case study on the superhero film). Nevertheless, it is clear that attempts in the lineage of Bazin and Warshow to distil the
in opposition to the dissolute foreigners and forces of darkness that threaten annihilation.
In superhero comics, this version of the abyss can be seen in an array of villains, monsters and entropic forces that continually threaten to destroy worlds.
Annihilation may be temporarily held back but it cannot be stopped forever. Even
where death itself is defeated life becomes an all-consuming force, such as the tumorous Cancerverse that emerges at the end of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s (2010)
War of Kings story. Given that Hobbes (1994: 235) defined the sovereign in