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Persons of Mass Destruction: The War on Terror in Mark Millar's Ultimates Comic Books
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. CUNY Graduate Center, USA.
2016 (English)In: Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture (1900 to Present), Vol. 15, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents a reading of how the comic book series Ultimates represented and critiqued the War on Terror.

At the beginning of the millennium, Marvel Comics launched its Ultimate Marvel line with Ultimate Spider-Man, the first of many reimagined versions of their most popular superheroes. The publisher’s intention was to update its characters for the new millennium and to win new readers, who might be intimidated by the dense continuity that Marvel’s comics were mired in, after decades of continuous publication. Among the revitalized properties was The Avengers, a superhero team originally introduced by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, a legendary Marvel duo, in September 1963. The new Avengers series was  handed to Scottish writer Mark Millar who would shepherd it through over half a decade and turn it into a highly political warning through allegory, concerning American foreign policy.

This development did not come from nowhere. Shortly after the Ultimate line launched, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 occurred. As a result, three important changes in American society emerged: America entered a War on Terror, the government implemented policies and passed bills that were designed to institutionalize the calamity and state of emergency, and political rhetoric and media representation helped inspire a culture of fear and securitization (see Rozario). A new foreign policy was also introduced, which quickly became known as the “Bush Doctrine”; it centered on the US “prevent[ing] any nation or combination of nations from challenging its military preeminence” and stressed preemptive strikes, noting that the US would not wait until it had “absolute proof” of danger from weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) before striking (Herring 943-944). Millar used Ultimates to speak out against these ideas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 15, no 1
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Comparative literature; Humanities, English literature; Humanities, Visual Culture; Humanities, History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-54663OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-54663DiVA, id: diva2:949482
Available from: 2016-07-20 Created: 2016-07-20 Last updated: 2016-07-20Bibliographically approved

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Lund, Martin

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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