“The Call to do Justice”

Superheroes, Sovereigns and the State During Wartime

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This paper maps superheroes as signifiers of substantive justice and their relationship with the state across two Coverian nomoi, World War II and the “war on terror”. It is argued that the central concern of most superhero narratives is justice, exploring both what it means and how it can best be articulated. This “call to do justice” (to borrow Douglas Litowitz’s phrase) becomes even more important during wartime where superheroes become agitators for cultural change, appropriating the sovereign decision during states of exception even as they resist co-option by the state itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-763
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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