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Hail Hydra

I've an essay in the Griffith Review: "Hail Hydra". It's on Marvel superheroes and the Marvel company, and how trust in the first doesn't mean trust in the second. You can read it here. Here's a sample:


The logic of superhero stories is rarely political, strictly speaking. Politics is about the organisation of society: who we are; who our enemies are; who rules whom; who controls what institutions or resources. Businesses like Marvel are interested in characters thumping or blasting other characters, often while looking beautiful. These fistfights or firefights can symbolise broader and deeper issues – but the symbols are used for close-up entertainment rather than wide-shot social and economic analysis. Captain America summed up this cinematic approach with his own ethos in Captain America: Civil War:

My faith’s in people, I guess. Individuals. And I’m happy to say that, for the most part, they haven’t let me down. Which is why I can’t let them down either.

Put another way: the studio’s writers have ‘faith’ in individuals too, and these individuals have yet to let their accountants down.

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