Is the age of the superhero dead? – Blog, Liverpool Museums

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Is the age of the superhero dead?

29 June 2016 by Alison

Comic Con Batman

Image courtesy of MCM Expo Group

Ever since Jon Daniel’s Afro Supa® Hero exhibition opened in May, I’ve been fascinated by some in the media questioning whether the age of the superhero is dead.

In a recent Guardian interview with Roland Emmerich, the German Film Director made his views on the subject clear: “When you look at my movies it’s always the regular Joe Schmo that’s the unlikely hero. A lot of Marvel movies, they show people in funny suits running around. I don’t like people in capes. I find it silly when someone dons a superhero suit and flies. I don’t understand it.”

Who better then to ask about the enduring popularity of the superhero, and about the future of the genre than MCM Expo Group? MCM Expo Group are responsible for hosting the largest and most popular Comic Con pop culture events and Memorabilia Collectors shows in the UK…“In May, we welcomed 133,156 popular culture fans into a weekend of exploration and self-expression as MCM Comic Con took over London. Following months of thriving online anticipation, international relationships (blooming between distant individuals with closely shared passions) were realised and celebrated as groups descended to pledge allegiance to their comic, TV, movie, and video game heroes. Reporting from amongst the most varied sea of capes, masks, and costumes, we are inspired to believe that the age of the superhero is far from dead!

“Just as Jon Daniel has conceptualised the Afro Supa® Hero in the latest FREE exhibition at the International Slavery Museum drawing upon his connections with different political, fictional, and musical figures, so modern fans appear to breathe life into their idols by renegotiating how they are portrayed and perceived.

“In panels from both the writing and acting worlds, visitors confidently discuss their interpretations of characters and challenge how special guests choose to portray them. Such agency in stating what brands our favourite superheroes as so relatable and aspirational to each and everyone of us helps to make them that more meaningful. Even amongst the mainstream love for multi-million pound franchises like Iron Man, we see people from diverse backgrounds each admiring different values and qualities to reflect their own identity.

Comic Con cosplay

Image courtesy of MCM Expo Group

“Fans at our events can even inhabit their version of a superhero through cosplay. With our conventions providing a safe space, hundreds craft impressively detailed costumes to share with like-minded people. Despite the roll call of characters from various cultures, ethnicities and origins, the atmosphere is guaranteed to be charged with a united feeling where uniqueness is applauded. The ultimate compliment is being asked for a photo when embodying your idol!

“Supporting diversity, we have also worked with Shape History to raise the issue of why LGBT superheroes are missing or desexualised on screen, premiering a trailer imagining realistic representation. This erasure of Iceman, Mystique, and Catwoman’s full identities drew a buzzing debate amongst both attendees and panellists from Gay Times, Wired, and Attitude Magazine. The emotive response from fans was overwhelming, illuminating how comic books are not just a hobby but a field for social commentary and change. Long may they live and thrive!”

Fancy a trip to MCM Manchester Comic Con? Then enter our great Afro Supa Hero Comic Con competition. We are offering TWO lucky winners the chance to win a pair of ‘Weekend Priority Entry’ tickets to the event in Manchester on 30th and 31st of July.

Closing date for entries is: Monday 4 July at 5pm.
For details of how to enter the competition, plus full terms and conditions visit: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/exhibitions/afro-supa-hero/competition.aspx

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