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Super Black

American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes

By Adilifu Nama

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

I must thank those who have provided timely advice, steadfast support, and engaged interest during the lengthy and time-consuming process of bringing a book to a conclusion. Thanks go out to Sohail Daulatzai and his brother Yusef for the much-needed, deep discussions about basketball that allowed me to clear my mind for each...

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pp. 1-8

Circa 1975, when I was five or six, my father took me to a toy store. I went straight to the section where all the superhero action figures were on display, enclosed in window-boxed packaging. They were eightinch toys made by the now defunct Mego Corporation. Prior to this....

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Chapter 1 Color them Black

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pp. 9-35

Scores of readers have used superhero comics to vicariously defy gravity and bound over skyscrapers, swing through the Big Apple with the greatest of ease, stalk the dark streets of Gotham, or travel at magnificent speeds throughout the universe on an opaque surfboard. Yet...

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Chapter 2 Birth of the Cool

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pp. 36-66

In 1976, in Superboy #216, DC Comics introduced Tyroc to the world, and what an introduction it was. With his oversized Afro, tiny elf shoes, bare legs, and skimpy, white leotard, Tyroc looked like a life-size Tinker Bell without wings. Despite the goofy outfit, Tyroc reflected the remarkable transformation America was experiencing...

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Chapter 3 Friends and Lovers

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pp. 67-88

Black characters in television and film have historically played the man standing next to the man. Films such as Play Misty for Me (1971), Silver Streak (1976), 48 Hrs. (1982), The Last Boy Scout (1991), Men in Black (1997), and, of course, the television series Miami Vice (1984–1989)...

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Chapter 4 Attack of the Clones

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pp. 89-125

Even though the race-reversal trope has a checkered past, beginning as it did with the blackface minstrel tradition, American pop culture is littered with contemporary examples of whites transforming into black folk. Films such as Black Like Me (1964), Watermelon Man (1970), Soul...

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Chapter 5 For Reel?

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pp. 126-154

On 2008 The Dark Knight became the benchmark for serious film adaptations of comic book superheroes. Heath Ledger’s unnerving performance as the Joker and his posthumous Oscar for best supporting actor certainly contributed to making the film a Shakespearian tragedy...


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pp. 155-164


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pp. 165-170


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pp. 171-180

E-ISBN-13: 9780292735453
E-ISBN-10: 0292735456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292726543
Print-ISBN-10: 0292726546

Publication Year: 2011