1. Janet Wasko, “Critiquing Hollywood: The Political Economy of Motion Pictures,” in A Concise Handbook of Movie Industry Economics, ed. Charles C. Moul (New York: Cambridge UP, 2005), 18. [return to page 1]

2. Wasko, “Critiquing,” 8.

3. For example, Dan Hassler-Forest looks at the superhero as both a reflection and also a tool of neoliberal privatization of the once-public in Capitalist Superheroes: Caped Crusaders in the Neoliberal Age (Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2012). Richard Cooper argues that “Superheroes are a Bunch of Fascists” in Salon, November 30, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/11/30/superheroes_are_a_bunch_of_fascists/. And James Lamb argues that the casting of Black sidekicks in films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, 2014) rehearses tropes of white political and economic domination as old as the transatlantic slave trade in “Figures of Empire: On the Impossibility of Superhero Diversity,” The Hooded Utilitarian, May 12, 2015, http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/05/figures-of-empire-on-the-impossibility-of-superhero-diversity/.

4. Hassler-Forest, 97.

5. Will Brooker, Hunting the Dark Knight: Twenty-First Century Batman (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012), 79.

6. Martin Fradley, “What Do you Believe In? Film Scholarship and the Cultural Politics of the Dark Knight Franchise,” Film Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 3 (2013): 22, http://fq.ucpress.edu/content/66/3/15.

7. Chuck Tryon, Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2009), 30.

8. Eileen R. Meehan, “‘Holy Commodity Fetish, Batman!’: the Political Economy of a Commercial Intertext,” in The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media, ed. Roberta E. Pearson and William Uricchio (New York: Routledge, 1991), 56.

9. Ibid., 56.

10. Timothy Havens, Amanda D. Lotz, and Serra Tinic, “Critical Media Industry Studies: A Research Approach,” Communication, Culture, & Critique, vol. 2, no. 2 (2009): 236.

11. Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1981), 80.

12. Jerome Christensen, “The Time Warner Conspiracy: JFK, Batman, and the Manger Theory of Hollywood Film,” Critical Inquiry, vol. 28, no. 3 (2002), 591.

13 Scott Lash and Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2007), 6.

14. Derek Johnson, Media Franchising: Creative License and Collaboration in the Culture Industries (New York: New York UP, 2013), 88-89.

15. “Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v. Marvel Enterprises Inc. US,” 01-7983 (US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, January 14, 2002), FindLaw, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1136021.html.

16. Gus Lubin, “It’s Astonishing How Far Disney is Going to Bury the X-Men,” Business Insider, last updated April 6, 2015,

17. Chris Claremont, “Nerdist Comics Panel no.58,” Nerdist, 57:19, June 7, 2014, last updated September 21, 2014,

18. Tom Brevoort, “New Brevoort Formspring,” Tumblr, last updated July 31, 2015,

19. Kirsten Acuna, “Why these Two Characters are Allowed to Appear in Both the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Avengers’ Movies,” Business Insider, last updated April 30, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/why-quicksilver-is-in-

20. Gerard Jones, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 114-15.

21. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, “Superman’s Phony Manager,” November 1938, Action Comics 6, in The Superman Chronicles, vol. 1 (New York: DC Comics, 2006), 71-72.

22. Jones, 247.

23. Ibid., 249.

24. Daryl F. Mallett and Christina M. Stansell, “DC Comics Inc.,” International Directory of Company Histories, ed. Tina Grant, vol. 98 (Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 2009), 88-94, Gale Virtual Reference Library,
“AOL Time Warner Inc,” in International Directory of Company Histories, ed. Jay P. Pederson, vol. 57 (Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 2004), 35-44, Gale Virtual Reference Library,

25. Quoted in Philip S. Gutis, “Turning Superheroes into Super Sales,” New York Times, January 6, 1985,

26. Ibid.

27. Elizabeth Rourke, Christina M. Stansell, and Chris Herzog, “Marvel Entertainment, LLC,” International Directory of Company Histories, ed. Tina Grant, vol. 160 (Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press, 2014), 212-220,

28. Derek Johnson, “Will the Real Wolverine Please Stand Up?: Marvel’s Mutation from Monthlies to Movies,” Film and Comic Books, ed. Ian Gordon, Mark Jancovich, and Matthew P. McAllister (Jackson, MS: U of Mississippi P, 2007), 70.

29. Quoted in Jeremy Lott, “Smash! Pow! Bam! Why Superheroes Go Bankrupt,” Reason, October 2002,

30. Mike Budd,“Introduction: Private Disney, Public Disney,” in Rethinking Disney: Private Control, Public Dimensions, ed. Mike Budd and Max K. Kirsch (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2005): 1.

31. Quoted in David Ward, “Sega Plays Marvel Video Game,” Hollywood Reporter, May 1, 2008, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/,

32. Dwight Oestricher, “Marvel: Powerhouse Potential?” The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2002,

33. Dawn Wilensky, “Are you on the List?” License! vol. 8, no. 3 (2005): 16.

34. “The Top 150 Global Licensors,” License!, vol. 18, no. 2 (2015): 7, http://www.licensemag.com/license-global/top-150-global-licensors-1.

35. Ibid., 10.

36. Brent Lang, “Star Wars has Already Sold over $50 Million in Advanced Tickets,” Variety, November 19, 2015, http://variety.com/2015/film/box-office/star-wars-the-force-awakens-budget-1201645026/.

37. Maddison Connaughton, “Star Wars will Make its Real Money in the Mall, Not the Cinema,” Vox, last modifiedDecember 18, 2015, http://www.vox.com/2015/12/18/10606300/star-wars-business-explained.

38. Thomas Schatz, “New Hollywood, New Millennium,” Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies, ed. Warren Buckland (New York: Routledge, 2009), 30. [return to page 2]

39. Clare Parody, “Franchising/Adaptation,” Adaptation, vol. 4, no. 2 (2011), 214.

40. Peter Coogan, “The Definition of the Superhero,” in Super/Heroes: From Hercules to Superman, eds. Wendy Haslem, Angela Ndalianis, and Chris Mackie (Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2007), 22.

41. Jones, 147-48

42. Coogan, 23.

43. Detective Comics, Inc., v. Bruns Publications, Inc., et al., 111 F.2d 432 (2d Circuit, 29 April 1940), Cyber.Law.Harvard.Edu, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University,

44. Ibid.

45. Paul McDonald, Video and DVD Industries (London: British Film Institute, 2007), 150-51.

46. Jeff Ulin, The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content (Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2010), 161.

47. “Be HIP at the Movies,” Wayback Machine, Internet Archive, last modified July 27, 6,

48. Ibid.

49. Finlo Rohrer, “Getting Inside a Downloader’s Head,” BBC News: Magazine, last updated June 18, 2009,

50. Jason Mick, “Anti-Piracy Ad Creators Fined for Stealing Musician’s Work,” DailyTech, July 18, 2012, http://www.dailytech.com/AntiPiracy+Ad+Creators+Fined+For+Stealing

51. Aram Sinnreich, The Piracy Crusade: How the Music Industry’s War on Sharing Destroys Markets and Erodes Civil Liberties (Amherst, MA: U of Massachusetts P, 2013), 133.

52. Enigmax [pseudonym], “Rights Group Fined for Not Paying Artist for Anti-Piracy Ad.” TorrentFreak, last modified July 17, 2012,

53. “Be HIP,” 4.

54. See “5 Things You Need to Know about Residuals,” Above and Below the Line, last updated November 14, 2013,  http://aboveandbelow.media-services.com/2013/11/14/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-residuals/; “History and Governance,” Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans, last updated December 2015, https://www.mpiphp.org/about_us/theplan.aspx; and “Questions of the Day,” IATSE.net, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage
Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories, and Canada, accessed January 8, 2016, http://iatse.net/questions-day.

55. Steve Hulett, “A Brief History of Union Residuals,” TAG Blog, The Animation Guild Local 839 IATSE, last updated August 20, 2006, http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2006/08/brief-history-of-union-residuals.html.

56. Etan Vlessing, “ACTRA Talks Back On, but Digital Divide Gaping,” The Hollywood Reporter, last updated February 3, 2007, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/actra-talks-back-but-digital-129370.

57. John A. Lent, “The Unfunny Tale of Labor and Cartooning in the US and Around the World,” in The Routledge Companion to Labor and Media, ed. Richard Maxwell (New York: Routledge, 2009), 180-81.

58. Lopes, Demanding Respect: The Evolution of the American Comic Book (Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2009), 102.

59. “Order 80,” CPA Official Documents, The Coalition Provisional Authority, last updated April 26, 2004, page 1, http://www.iraqcoalition.org/regulations/20040426_

60. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 08-205 (Supreme Ct. of the US, 2010), pages 4, 38, and 40, SupremeCourt.gov, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf.

61. “Order 80,” 1.

62. Quoted in Patrick E. Tyler, “U.S. Says Bank Credits Will Finance Sale of Goods to Iraq,” New York Times, May 27, 2003, A14, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/27/world/after-the-war-rebuilding-us-says-bank-credits-will-finance-sale-of-goods-to-iraq.html.

63. Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (New York: Zone Books, 2015), 144.

64. “Order 81,” CPA Official Documents, The Coalition Provisional Authority, last updated April 26, 2004, page 16, http://www.iraqcoalition.org/regulations/20040426_CPAORD_81_

65. Nancy Scola, “Why Iraqi Farmers Might Prefer Death to Paul Bremer’s Order 81,” AlterNet, last updated  September 18, 2008, http://www.alternet.org/story/62273/why_iraqi_farmers_might_prefer_

66. Ibid.

67. Quoted in “Monsanto Critics Denied U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on Seed Patents,” Reuters.com, Reuters, last updated January 13, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-monsanto-idUSBREA0C10H20140113.

68. Fans may think of themselves as oppositional or anti-corporate, yet their playful fandom becomes what Dallas Smythe called “off-the-job work time,” unremunerated labor on behalf of shareholders they will never meet. See “Communications: Blindspot of Western Marxism,” Canadian Joural of Political and Social Theory, vol. 1, no. 3 (1977), 3.

69. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007).

70. “Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act,” United States Copyright Office, October 27, 1998, http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/s505.pdf.

71. Janet Wasko, Understanding Disney: The Manufacture of Fantasy (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2001), 86.

72. Derek Khanna, “The Conservative Case for Taking on the Copyright Lobby,” Business Insider, April 30, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/time-to-confront-the-copyright-lobby-2014-4.

73. Quoted in Timothy B. Lee, “15 Years Ago, Congress Kept Mickey Mouse out of the Public Domain. Will they Do it Again?” The Washington Post, October 25, 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2013/10/25/15-years-ago-congress-kept-mickey-mouse-out-of-the-public-domain-will-they-do-it-again/.

74. Toby Miller, Nitin Govil, John McMurria, and Richard Maxwell, Global Hollywood, (London: British Film Institute, 2001), 116. [return to page 3]

75. That is, DC and Marvel superheroes don’t use their powers to make a living by, say, winning athletic contests or mining gold from the Moon. At best, gaining superpowers allows them to start living the mansion of an already-rich team leader, seemingly rent-free (though the movies never provide such details).

Even Marvel’s Avengers, who ostensibly serve the US government, don’t apply to join the group in order to make a living. In Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston, 2011), Steve Rogers enlists in the Army before gaining his super-soldier powers, such that his later service extends this military career.

76. In the 1986 graphic novel Watchmen, Alan Moore violates this convention of the superhero genre in the terms of the Prometheus myth: the godlike super-scientist Dr. Manhattan creates technologies that change everyday life, such as rechargeable electric cars used by the Promethean Cab Company. Their slogan, “Bringing Light to the World,” makes clear Moore’s revisionist impulse. Watchmen (New York: DC Comics, 2005), chapter 3, page 22 [not continuously paginated].

77. Miller et al., 127.

78. Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management, 1954 (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), 38.

79. Ibid., 37.

79a. Matt Yockey, “Somewhere in Time: Utopia and the Return of Superman,” The Velvet Light Trap, no. 61 (2008), 31, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/232121/

80. Dave McNary, “Warner Bros. Wins Superman Case,” Variety, July 8, 2009, http://variety.com/2009/film/markets-festivals/warner-bros-wins-superman-case-1118005806/.

81. “Actor Mackenzie Gray,” YouTubevideo, 12:31, from The Rush broadcast on Shaw TV on June 19, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGasQcUukvM.

82. Ibid.

83. Joey Katz, “The Rewatch: Man of Steel,” Agnes Farta Weekly, last modified June 17, 2015, http://agnesweekly.weebly.com/blog/the-rewatch-man-of-steel.

85. The comics’ Doomsday results from a Kryptonian mad scientist’s attempt to create an unkillable super-being. See Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding, Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, volumes 2 and 3 (1994), DC Comics. 

86. David Aaker, Building Strong Brands (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 83-84.

87. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Purloined Letter,” 1844, The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings (New York: Penguin, 1986), 345.

88. David Bordwell, “An Excessively Obvious Cinema,” in The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960, by David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Janet Staiger (New York: Columbia UP, 1985), 11.

89. Slavoj Žižek, Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1992), 90.

90. These include, for instance, the full-page ads for Hostess snack cakes that once appeared in Marvel comics.

91. Kirk Boyle, “Children of Men and I Am Legend: the Disaster-Capitalism Complex Hits Hollywood,” Jump Cut. 51 (Spring 2009), 2, http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/jc51.2009/ChildrenMenLegend/text.html.

92. Žižek, 90.

93. Ibid.