“Here They Come to Save the Day” – The New Sincerity in 1990s American Superhero Comics
Keywords:New Sincerity, Nostalgia, Superhero comics, Post-irony, Post-postmodernism
AbstractAfter the success of postmodern superhero comics that deconstructed heroism in post-Vietnam, post-Watergate USA, mid-1990s comics experienced a resurgence in unabashedly heroic narratives. This coincided with David Foster Wallace’s call for post-irony and the emergence of New Sincerity, a post-postmodern trend that aims to break with cynicism. I will argue that these superhero comics are inherently nostalgic, drawing on tropes, storylines, and characters from the Silver Age comics of the 1950s and 60s. Discussing this dispute between postmodern cynicism and New Sincerity, a lens through which the current political and cultural landscape can be analyzed and dissected, will shed light on the origin and nature of two opposing narrative trends that have been increasingly shaping American culture, society, and politics.
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