by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

About Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is Professor of American and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her books include Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime and Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities. With Ramzi Fawaz and Shelley Streeby, she is a co-editor of Keywords in Comics Studies.


Writers, artists, inkers, editors, and readers of comic books and comic book adaptions leave an indelible imprint on cultures across the globe. Popular film adaptions of classical comics characters and narratives, including Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Avengers, and the X-Men series, yield immense profit because of an ongoing yearning to witness strength, perseverance, and heroism in the face of social struggle, political uncertainty, and the many forms of global cruelty and wickedness. Small-screen televisual and digital adaptions of wildly popular comic book series, from the earliest iterations of Superman and Batman to the twenty-first-century installments of The Flash, Black Lightning, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Batwoman, and Supergirl, underscore that widespread interest in heroic narratives and increasingly diverse representations of heroic power in comics media remains an enduring impulse over decades of cultural production and across multiple visual platforms.