Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero

Metaphors, Narratives, and Geopolitics


Nationalist superheroes—such as Captain America, Captain Canuck, and Union Jack—often signify the “nation-state” for readers, but how do these characters and comic books address issues of multiculturalism and geopolitical order? In his engaging book Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero, geographer Jason Dittmer traces the evolution of the comic book genre as it adapted to new national audiences. He argues that these iconic superheroes contribute to our contemporary understandings of national identity, the righteous use of power, and the role of the United States, Canada, and Britain in the world.

Tracing the nationalist superhero genre from its World War II origins to contemporary manifestations throughout the world, Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero analyzes nearly one thousand comic books and audience responses to those books. Dittmer also interviews key comic book writers from Stan Lee and J. M. DeMatteis to Steve Englehart and Paul Cornell.

At a time when popular culture is saturated with superheroes and their exploits, Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero highlights the unique relationship between popular culture and international relations.

  • Temple University Press; November 2012
  • ISBN 9781439909782
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Captain America and the Nationalist Superhero
  • Author: Jason Dittmer
  • Imprint: Temple University Press

About The Author

Jason Dittmer is Reader in Human Geography at University College London. He is also author of Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity and coeditor (with Tristan Sturm) of Mapping the End Times: American Evangelical Geopolitics and Apocalyptic Visions.