Superheroes 1/3 – Marvel’s Civil War and the USA Patriot Act

Today we looked at a history of superhuman registration acts in the Marvel Universe, and we studied Reed Richards in particular: how did he go from anti-registration in 1990 to pro-registration 2006 (in Civil War)?

Here’s the power point for notes: history-of-superhuman-registration-acts-in-marvel

At the end of class we connected the events of post-9/11 America (detailed in the power point) to specific images, ideas and quotes in Marvel’s Civil War. How much does this book act as an allegory to modern times?


Today we also began discussing your final research paper for this course. For Thursday, come to class prepared with a topic idea and some cursory research on that topic. I will hold individual meetings during the period. This will be a homework grade.

Here are some ideas for choosing a topic:

Focus on a specific superhero
–How have they changed over the years and why?
–Use a lens (gender, feminism, Freudian, etc.) to study a superhero or group of superheroes

Study a specific story arc that spans multiple issues (like Civil War or the Death of Superman)

Connect story arc or character to our world
–Allegory, symbolism, religion, history in comics/graphic novels


Superheroes 12/20 – Utilitarianism and Deontology

Today we looked at two competing philosophies appearing in Civil War: utilitarianism and deontology. Here are the class notes: deontology-consequentialism

Then, we read the-ones-who-walk-away-from-omelas. Post the answers to the following two questions in the comments before Thursday:

1) Explain how this story can be both deontologist and utilitarian. As always, back up your opinions and ideas with quotes from the text.

2) Are you more of a deontologist or a utilitarian? How would your guiding philosophy inform your beliefs about whether or not you would stay in or leave Omelas?

Superheroes 12/13 – Starting Civil War

Today we started Marvel’s Civil War. We only read the first few pages, so if you missed class today it will be easy to catch up on Thursday. We also started class with a power point asking some very black/white philosophical and moral questions – variations of which will appear in the themes of the book. intro-to-moral-philosophies-in-civil-war

Remember, your annotated bibliography for V for Vendetta is due on Monday.