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Mythology & Superheroes: The American Monomyth

Professor Matthew Kapell joins me to discuss superheroes, mythology, and the American Monomyth.

What is a myth? Are superhero stories considered myths? Does America have a central myth, and how do superheroes contribute to it?

Matthew Kapell has taught a wide range of subjects, including film studies and human genetics, at colleges and universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. He recently began teaching anthropology at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He serves as the editor for the academic book series Studies in Gaming published by McFarland Publishers. His published works cover various topics such as gaming, film, television, media, genetics, human biology, literary studies, African legal history, and the history of Detroit. In 2016, his book titled “Exploring the Next Frontier: Vietnam, NASA, Star Trek and Utopia in 1960s and 1970s Myth and History” was published by Routledge Press (NY and London). Additionally, his 2013 book, co-edited with Andrew B.R. Elliot, “Playing With The Past: Digital Games and the Simulation of History,” was recognized as a foundational text in the study of how games incorporate history by the journal History and Theory.

You can find his books here.

The book we discussed is “The Myth of the American Superhero” by Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence. To support a local bookshop and this show, you can purchase it through our affiliate link.

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.
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