Skip to main content
Comic Book Superheroes: A Strategy for Cultural Incorporation
The SAGGSA Graduate Student Conference
  • Silvia F Sanchez, Florida International University
  • Robert E Gutsche, Jr, Florida International University
GC140, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University
Start Date
4-3-2016 11:00 AM
End Date
4-3-2016 11:15 AM
In July 2014, Marvel Entertainment announced that the white, blue-eyed character of Captain America would be changed to an African-American character, and the male character of Thor would be changed to a female character. Media discourse following these announcements, and the actual changes that underwent in the “Marvel Universe,” caused a commotion of both positive and negative reactions. This paper explores the portrayal of superheroes in comic books as a strategy for cultural incorporation, including the issues of hegemonic stereotyping, racial classification and gender embodiment. We analyze discourse in various media outlets, which are used as a traditional marketing device for indoctrination. The paper compares news in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today to Marvel corporate statements and text from sci-fi comics blogs, such as Comics Alliance, Newsarama, and The Beat. We argue this case provides further evidence of cultural incorporation that are embedded in comic books and used for indoctrination to dominant U.S. culture. Keywords: Cultural incorporation, indoctrination, stereotypes, race, gender, strategic communication, public relations, advertising
Citation Information
Silvia F Sanchez and Robert E Gutsche. "Comic Book Superheroes: A Strategy for Cultural Incorporation" (2016)
Available at: