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Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero

From Superman and Batman to the X-Men and Young Avengers, Supersex interrogates the relationship between heroism and sexuality, shedding new light on our fantasies of both.

Series: World Comics and Graphic Nonfiction Series

December 2020
Not yet published

Available for pre-order.
This book will be available in November 2020.
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400 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 b&w photos, 45 b&w illus. |

From Superman, created in 1938, to the transmedia DC and Marvel universes of today, superheroes have always been sexy. And their sexiness has always been controversial, inspiring censorship and moral panic. Yet aside from jokes and innuendo, accusations of moral depravity, and sporadic academic discourse, the topic of superhero sexuality is like superhero sexuality itself—seemingly obvious yet conspicuously absent. Supersex: Sexuality, Fantasy, and the Superhero is the first scholarly book specifically devoted to unpacking the superhero genre’s complicated relationship with sexuality.

Exploring sexual themes and imagery within mainstream comic books, television shows, and films as well as independent and explicitly pornographic productions catering to various orientations and kinks, Supersex offers a fresh—and lascivious—perspective on the superhero genre’s historical and contemporary popularity. Across fourteen essays touching on Superman, Batman, the X-Men, and many others, Anna F. Peppard and her contributors present superhero sexuality as both dangerously exciting and excitingly dangerous, encapsulating the superhero genre’s worst impulses and its most productively rebellious ones. Supersex argues that sex is at the heart of our fascination with superheroes, even—and sometimes especially—when the capes and tights stay on.


Anna F. Peppard is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow in Brock University’s department of communication, popular culture, and film. She has published widely on representations of gender, race, and sexuality in popular media, including comic books, television, and sports culture. She is a regular contributor to the podcast Three Panel Contrast.


Supersex has what no other current title has: a multidisciplinary, multifaceted, and intersectional exploration of superheroes and sexuality across media.”
Carolyn Cocca, author of Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation

“This collection of essays is long overdue and very welcome. Well researched and thought-provoking, Supersex provides an enjoyable read and effective observations about gender and sexuality.”
Joan Ormrod, author of Wonder Woman: The Female Body and Culture