Chesya Burke, "Hero Me Not: The Containment of the Most Powerful Black, Female Superhero" (Rutgers UP, 2023)
Manage episode 375200899 series 2421448
First introduced in the pages of X-Men, Storm is probably the most recognized Black female superhero. She is also one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, with abilities that allow her to control the weather itself. Yet that power is almost always deployed in the service of White characters, and Storm is rarely treated as an authority figure.
Hero Me Not: The Containment of the Most Powerful Black, Female Superhero (Rutgers UP, 2023) offers an in-depth look at this fascinating yet often frustrating character through all her manifestations in comics, animation, and films. Chesya Burke examines the coding of Storm as racially “exotic,” an African woman who nonetheless has bright white hair and blue eyes and was portrayed onscreen by biracial actresses Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. She shows how Storm, created by White writers and artists, was an amalgam of various Black stereotypes, from the Mammy and the Jezebel to the Magical Negro, resulting in a new stereotype she terms the Negro Spiritual Woman.
With chapters focusing on the history, transmedia representation, and racial politics of Storm, Burke offers a very personal account of what it means to be a Black female comics fan searching popular culture for positive images of powerful women who look like you.
Katrina Anderson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware.
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