Superhuman strength, fully-human psyche
Our Superheroes, Ourselves, edited by Robin S. Rosenberg (Oxford University Press, $24.95)
Superheroes aren’t just about bashing on super-villains, breaking the laws of physics and wearing their underwear on the outside. Nor are they solely the obsession of basement-dwelling, comic-collecting nerds, as the box office receipts for this summer’s Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel will attest.
The essays collected in this book, edited by psychologist Robin S. Rosenberg, address the ways that we share—and extract—our identities from our superheroes, why we love them so, what we learn about justice from crusaders—caped and uncaped—for justice, and how our emotional and gender identities are altered by these contemporary mythologies. Far from being just another entry in the “cultural studies” academic literature, these essays demonstrate how our preferences in superheroes provide intriguing insights into our own, not-so-secret identities.