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Jahlmar, J. (2017). Dystopian Chaos, Dystopian Order: Differing Ideological Reinterpretations of the Masked Vigiliante in Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Moore and Lloyd's V for Vendetta. In: Francesco-Alessio Ursini, Adnan Mahmutović & Frank Bramlett (Ed.), Visions of the Future in Comics: International Perspectives (pp. 136-151). Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dystopian Chaos, Dystopian Order: Differing Ideological Reinterpretations of the Masked Vigiliante in Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Moore and Lloyd's V for Vendetta
2017 (English)In: Visions of the Future in Comics: International Perspectives / [ed] Francesco-Alessio Ursini, Adnan Mahmutović & Frank Bramlett, Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland, 2017, p. 136-151Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the 1980s, the comics’ field in the US, and in particular the superhero genre, was revolutionised by among others Frank Miller and Alan Moore. Jahlmar investigates how Miller, on the one hand, and Moore, in collaboration with David Lloyd, on the other, offer radically different, yet equally ideological reinterpretations of the masked vigilante archetype in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and V for Vendetta (1990) respectively. The underlying components in these analyses are dystopian chaos and dystopian order, and the assumption that these categories play into generic expectations in the dystopian genre. Miller’s, and Moore and Lloyd’s reinterpretations of the masked vigilante are diametrically opposed, and Jahlmar argues that this opposition is made possible by the two storyworlds evoked in the respective texts, set in fundamentally different futures.

In Miller’s text, dystopian chaos, in the form of rampant criminality, the culture of fear, and the looming threat of nuclear Armageddon, breeds an inherent narrative need for order and consequently allows Batman/Bruce Wayne to become an extreme version of the conservative superhero, at the very least, a figure with crypto-fascist leanings. On the other hand, in Moore and Lloyd’s text, dystopian order, in the form of a de facto fascist government in England, allows for a traditional villain – in structural and ideological terms – like V, to become a hero, and for his acts of terrorism to be understood on some levels through the generic expectations on any opposition to totalitarianism in dystopian fiction in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland, 2017
Keywords
Batman, dystopia, fascism, Dirty Harry, discontinuity, storyworld, superheroes, vigilante, masked vigilante, worldmaking
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
HUMANITIES, Literary studies; HUMANITIES, English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-11839 (URN)9781476668017 (ISBN)9781476629360 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Jahlmar, J. (2015). “Give the devil his due”: Freedom, Damnation, and Milton’s Paradise Lost in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman:Season of Mists. Partial Answers, 13(2), 267-286
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Give the devil his due”: Freedom, Damnation, and Milton’s Paradise Lost in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman:Season of Mists
2015 (English)In: Partial Answers, ISSN 1565-3668, E-ISSN 1936-9247, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 267-286Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In their collection Milton in Popular Culture (2006), Laura Lungers Knoppers and Gregory M. Colón Semenza have established the importance of Miltonic intertextuality in popular culture, while recognizing the importance of William Blake to the field. Blake’s definition of Milton as “a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it” in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793) lies at the centre of a main concern of Milton criticism since the poem’s original publication. The debate between Satanists and anti-Satanists goes back even further than Blake and the Romantics, and this central ambivalence is representative of the “discontinuities” and “irresolvable complexities” which Peter C. Herman and Elizabeth Sauer (2012) argue are the focus of interest of the New Milton Criticism.

Following this strand of critical thought, this article proposes to show how the introduction of Miltonic intertext into Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, in issues 21–28, serves to structure the series’ theme of change and death — which involve questions of freedom and teleology, free will and damnation — through a critical dialogue with, and creative rewriting of Miltonic theodicy in the epic poem. Gaiman draws upon the ambivalent theological dimensions of Paradise Lost not to present his own concept of good and evil but rather to discuss the freedom to change and the damnation inherent in the inability to change as part of the human condition.

Keywords
Canon, Comics, Intertextuality, John Milton, Neil Gaiman, Sandman, Satan
National Category
Specific Literatures General Literature Studies Specific Languages
Research subject
HUMANITIES, Literary studies; HUMANITIES, Cultural studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7733 (URN)10.1353/pan.2015.0015 (DOI)000356464900006 ()
Available from: 2015-06-15 Created: 2015-06-15 Last updated: 2019-05-13Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-2941-6918

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