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Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes Paperback – October 1, 2011
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"This well-conceptualized, well-written book is enriched by Nama's witty turns of expression, occasional corrections of earlier errors and omissions, and fascinating background material." (Choice)
"Throughout, Nama takes a refreshingly nuanced approach to his subject. Nama complicates the black superhero by also seeing the ways that they put issues of post-colonialism, race, poverty, and identity struggles front and center." (Rain Taxi)
About the Author
Adilifu Nama is an Associate Professor at California State University Northridge. He is the author of the award-winning Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, the first book length examination of the topic. Throughout his books, various articles, and presentations, Nama has explored how race and media intersect in television, film, and hip-hop music with a critical eye toward contextualizing black representation along with black racial formation.
Top customer reviews
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Adilifu Nama does a good job of summarizing the various black superheroes which managed to break through that barrier: Luke Cage, Falcon, Black Lightning as mentioned above, Storm, and Spawn. There's some interesting stories absent about these characters and I think we could have investigated some of the characters more thoroughly. For example, we have a good amount of talk about Cloak and Dagger's interracial relationship but almost none about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. The book also stops just before the introduction of Miles Morales, which seems like it would have been an excellent place to stop the book.
While the book begins with an introduction that explains it'll primarily follow the characters of DC as well as Marvel comics, it loses this focus roughly halfway in. It talks about the Spawn, Icon, and a number of other characters while not discussing the Milestone legacy at all. The absence, for example, of Static and his cartoon show seems like a big absence. Still, he manages to not only discuss the timeframe of individual heroes but how they fit into the larger cultural framework. I especially liked the discussion of the Blade movies.
Overall, the book is quite entertaining but a bit on the shallow side. I recommend it for individuals who want to understand the cultural relevance of black superheroes to the community as well as some of their missteps.