Please join us for a film screening and discussion with Director Johathan Gayles. White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books critically examines the earliest representations (1965-1977) of Black masculinity in comic books and the troubling influence of race on these representations. Within the last several years, many scholars have critically engaged comic books as a legitimate source of scholarly interest and critique. Indeed, comic books represent a genre within popular culture that is older than the television. Thinking critically about the manner in which Black men were first portrayed in hero serials provides insight into broader societal conceptions of the Black man as character, archetype and symbol. Through interviews with prominent artists, scholars and cultural critics along with images from the comic books themselves, it becomes clear that the Black superheroes that did eventually emerge are generally constrained by stereotypical understandings of Black people and Black men in particular. From the humorous, to the offensive, to the tragic, early Black superheroes never strayed too far from common stereotypes about Black men.
Jonathan Gayles, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of African-American Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A., Psychology), Winthrop University (M.S., School Psychology) and the University of South Florida (Ph.D., applied anthropology). His primary areas of interest include the anthropology of education, educational policy, Black masculinity, race and ethnicity as well as critical media studies.