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date: 25 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Since 2011, Marvel has introduced new characters to replace some iconic heroes. All of the replacements, called legacy heroes, are women and/or nonwhite characters (for instance, an African-American teenage girl is the new Iron Man). These new heroes addressed social issues such as racism and misogyny, in addition to fighting the usual supervillains. The legacy heroes expanded the idea of who could be a superhero beyond the standard white males who have always dominated the genre. This chapter details how the legacy heroes redefined the Marvel universe for a new readership and repositioned diversity and equality as heroic attributes. It addresses online critics who complained that Marvel was merely bowing to a climate of political correctness. Some readers feared that powerful white men were being systematically replaced. This chapter draws parallels between such fears and the legacy heroes being an addition to, not a replacement for, the Marvel universe.

Keywords: comic books, Marvel Comics, diversity, sexism, racism, superheroes

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