Winner of the 2012 CLAGS Fellowship Award for Best First Book Project in LGBT StudiesIn 1964, noted literary critic Leslie Fiedler described American youth as new mutants, social rebels severing their attachments to American culture to remake themselves in their own image. 1960s comic book creators, anticipating Fiedler, began to morph American superheroes from icons of nationalism and white masculinity into actual mutant outcasts, defined by their genetic difference from ordinary humanity. These powerful misfits and freaks soon came to embody the social and political aspirations of America s most marginalized groups, including women, racial and sexual minorities, and the working classes. In The New Mutants, Ramzi Fawaz draws upon queer theory to tell the story of these monstrous fantasy figures and how they grapple with radical politics from Civil Rights and The New Left to Women s and Gay Liberation Movements. Through a series of comic book case studies including The Justice League of America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The New Mutants alongside late 20th century fan writing, cultural criticism, and political documents, Fawaz reveals how the American superhero modeled new forms of social belonging that counterculture youth would embrace in the 1960s and after. The New Mutants provides the first full-length study to consider the relationship between comic book fantasy and radical politics in the modern United States."
"Much that s previously been crackling and exciting in the burgeoning field of comics studies has investigated the innovations of comic book form, or engaged with narratives of autobiography and realism that most closely mimic the prestigious kinds of storytelling recognized in literary novels. Now comes the sharp, smart, theoretically savvy exploration of the bombastic content of superhero comics, which Ramzi Fawaz s exuberant tour de force reveals that we trivialize to the detriment of our understanding of sexuality and race in postwar America, and of the ways we use fantasy to make and re-make the meanings of both. Among hypertrophic giants and mutations that grant world-conquering powers, Fawaz finds world-making that embraces universal difference as the basis for affiliative politics and puts the cosmic back into cosmopolitan and queerness galore."-Darieck Scott, author of "Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary"