Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature; Batman (Fictitious character); Coover, Robert; Morrison, Grant;


Contemporary superhero comics carry the burden of navigating historical iterations and reiterations of canonical figures—Batman, Superman, Green Lantern et al.—producing a tension unique to a genre that thrives on the reconstruction of previously established narratives. This tension results in the complication of authorial and interpretive negotiation of basic principles of narrative and structure as readers and producers must seek to construct satisfactory identities for these icons. Similarly, the post-modern experimentation of Robert Coover—in Briar Rose and Stepmother—argues that we must no longer view contemporary fairytales as separate (cohesive) entities that may exist apart from their source narratives. Instead, through strategies of Revision, we might carve out processes of identity construction that embrace the inherently fragmentary nature of canonical icons. We might better approach the postmodern superhero—as exemplified by Grant Morrison’s recent reconstruction of the Batman mythos—as an entreaty to reconsider the identities of our superheroes as fragmented, non-cohesive concepts, bridging centuries of diverse literary production. Current superheroes are little more than contemporary enactments of the tension between current selves, past selves and potential future selves. The illustration of superheroes as negotiators of indecipherable selves illuminates the interactive dynamic between comics and comic readers who also participate in conscious and unconscious dialogue with historical enactments of the self (this being the process of growing up) and must also learn to construct identity via the accumulation and navigation of fragmentary selves.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Jim O'Loughlin

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iii, 62 pages)



File Format