4th Global Conference (2020)
The 4th Global Conference on Superheroes invites inter-disciplinary discussion on superheroes and the notion of the super-heroic.
Friday 4th September, 2020
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Danny Graydon and Torsten Caeners
SESSION 1 – SUPERHERO CINEMA
1) Torsten Caeners (University of Duisburg-Essen): “Gone But Not Forgotten: Spectrality and the haunting of Tony Stark in Spider Man: Far From Home“
2) Svenja Kolpack (University of Duisburg-Essen): Days of Future… Past? Concepts of Time Travel in the MCU
3) Caleb Turner (University of Richmond, London): Super-Powers Assemble!: Heroic Team-Ups and The ‘Multilateral Monomyth’
SESSION 2 – SUPERHERO
1) Derya Ozkan (Izmir University of Economics): Genco: Superman with Limited Powers
2) Danny Graydon (University of Hertfordshire): This Looks Like A Small Job For Superman! The Centrifugal Importance of Kindness and Social Responsibility to The Man of Steel’s Enduring Cultural Impact
Saturday 05th September 2020
SESSION 3 – SUPERVILLAINY
1) Nico Gaspers (University of Cologne): The Supervillain-Genre: A Plea for A New Paradigm of Superhero Studies
2) Mikayla J. Laird (University of Hertfordshire): Beyond Time and Freedom: Darkseid, the Anti-Life Equation and 4th Dimensional perspective.
3) Robert Hyland (Queen’s University – Canada): The Joke’s On You: Narrative incoherence and unreliability in Todd Phillips’ Joker.
SESSION 4 – SUPERWOMEN
1) Jessica Hoffmann (University of Duisburg-Essen): Wonder Woman 2017: Grown Up War Hero and Naïve Teenager
2) Marco Favaro (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg/Università degli Studi di Verona): Antiheroines: Be a Superwoman in a (Super)Man’s World
3) Bruno Porto (Tilburg University): Translating Wonder Woman: Visibilities and Visualities
SESSION 5 – SUPERHERO OTHERNESS
1) Anke Bock (University of Augsburg): Hyper-Masculinity vs. Disability – Doctor Donald Blake alias Thor and their shared personality
2) James Taylor (University of Warwick): Tears of a Hulk and the Lonely Ranger: Configurations of Monster/Man in Television’s The Incredible Hulk
3) “Other Heroes: bridging Super and Hero in HBO’s Watchmen”
Conference Dinner / BBQ
Sunday 06th September 2020
SESSION 6 – PROBING THE BOUNDARIES
1) Freyja Alice McCreery (University of York): Westworld’s Super Androids: The Narrative and the Data Self
2) Rafael Alves Azevedo (Technical University of Dresden): “A place to teach and build something” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the redeeming qualities of communal experience
3) Matteo Barbagello (Independent): “Softening The Blow – Deconstructing real life through nightmares in Dylan Dog”
SESSION 7 – UNIVERSE DYNAMICS
1) Kirsten Baumgartner (University of Duisburg-Essen): “Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?” Producing Urban Complexity via Storytelling in Joker (2019)
2) Sarah Young (Erasmus University of Rotterdam): Learning Surveillance from the Superhuman
Closing Remarks and Publications
How to get to the Wolfsburg
- From the airport (Cologne or Düsseldorf are the closest airports), take the train to Duisburg main station (“Duisburg Hauptbahnhof”).
- From the main station you can take easily take a taxi which will get you to the Wolfsburg in about 10 minutes.
- You can also take the tram. Take the line 901 in the direction of “Mülheim” and exit at the stop “Monning” (“Haltestelle Monning”). The Wolfsburg is located on a hill so that you will need to walk up which will take about 10 – 15 minutes.
- If you arrive by car, take the A40 exit “Duisburg-Kaiserberg” and then follow the direction “Zoo / Universität Duisburg-Essen.” Parking is available for free at the Wolfsburg.
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
The Superhero Project: 4th Global Meeting
Friday 4th to Sunday 6th September 2020
Die Wolfsburg, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Germany
2020 marks twenty years since the release of X-Men, which sparked a re-emergence of the superhero on screen and led to a spectacular ascent towards being the most successful and globally popular genre in cinema history, with dozens of films produced and many billions of dollars earned in the last two decades – an aggressive dominance that shows no signs of receding.
In the last year, the titanic Avengers: Endgame provided the superhero film with its biggest-ever canvas and, sandwiched between Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home, brought Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a triumphant finish, after eleven years and twenty-three films. Yet, late in 2019, DC placed its most iconic villain centre stage in Todd Phillips’ Joker, which provided a truly striking take on Batman’s arch-nemesis, drawing on 70’s New Hollywood aesthetics and exploring issues such as mental health and social revolt. The James Gunn-produced Brightburn merged the superhero genre with Horror to generate a forbiddingly dark mirror of the Superman origin story. Meanwhile, on television, the full CW line of DC Comics shows ambitiously collided in an adaptation of the signature 1980’s event Crisis on Infinite Earths, which surprisingly provided actor Brandon Routh a belated opportunity to reprise the role of Superman.
Within the source medium of Comics, the genre continued to show great diversity and invention, along with experimentation: Gene Luen Yang and Girihu’s superb Superman Smashes The Klan took a famous storyline from the 1940’s Superman radio show and used it to view The Man of Steel via the immigrant experience, while in the mainstream comics, Brian Michael Bendis controversially dispensed with a core tenet of the superhero mythology, as Superman revealed his secret identity to the world. The Unstoppable Wasp was a light-hearted wonder, firmly focused on fun and easily accessible. After decades of being rooted in science, Immortal Hulk took a sharp turn into the realms of Horror and Grant Morrison’s take on Green Lantern vigorously resurrected the Silver Age of Comics. In Tom King’s Mister Miracle, the superhero is viewed through the lenses of mental health and political anxieties.
Soaring into its ninth decade, then, the superhero currently occupies a diverse, expansive and dominant space in modern popular culture. Perceived as a modern form of mythology or folklore, the characters signature emblems are among the most recognisable in the world, functioning as powerful, pervasive and vastly profitable brands. Yet, while still largely American in focus, the superhero has become increasingly international, capable of reflecting specific issues and operating as a powerful messenger of them - a power they have possessed since their inception.