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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
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2941-6918
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, 136-151 p.Chapter 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. 136-151 p.
Keyword [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-11839ISBN: 9781476668017 (print)ISBN: 9781476629360 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-11839DiVA: diva2:1161011
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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