Politicizing the superhero genre: The case of Watchmen (HBO, 2019)
Keywords:superhero genre, Watchmen, racial violence, Tulsa race massacre, political television
The HBO limited television series Watchmen (2019) represents a politically engaged superhero television show, marking a shift in recent efforts to render the genre more inclusive in terms of gender and race. Specifically, in mixing fictional and real events surrounding racial violence, such as the 1921 Tulsa massacre, Watchmen inscribes the potential of the superhero genre to tackle prescient political issues and social anxieties, that became even more poignant in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd protests. The present paper explores Watchmen’s deep resonances with contemporary social and political issues, not only at the level of representations, but also at the series’ production context, and argues that the show marks a key moment in the politicization of the superhero genre.
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