My Superhero Census Abstract for Dragon*Con 2012

Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, ColossusAs I mentioned in my last post, I’m ecstatic to be presenting “A Superhero Census: Sex, Race, and Sexual Orientation in the X-Men, Avengers, and Justice League” at the 5th Annual Comics & Popular Arts Conference being held at Dragon*Con 2012.

Central themes of the X-Men comics include alienation, otherness, and being born different, but does the team actually practice what they preach? Are the X-Men really as diverse as they would like us to think? How do the demographics of the X-Men compare to that of  real world national averages and to other superhero teams such as The Avengers and the Justice League?

To determine this, I am currently conducting a superhero census consisting of every X-Men, Avengers, and Justice League team member to appear in their respective comic books released from January to June, 2012.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, CyborgEach team’s census data will be gathered from any and all comics released during the target dates whose title and story clearly indicate that the book is about the team in question. For example, the Justice League census will include not only the Justice League comic but also Justice League International, Justice League Dark, and any other Justice League one-shot, miniseries, or ongoing title.

From each comic, I am recording every appearing team member’s sex, race, and sexual orientation in order to calculate the team’s demographic breakdown. I will discus these findings in light of U.S. Census data and other statistical sources to determine how diverse these teams really are.

Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black WidowI will present and analyze these statistics as part of a discussion on the depiction of minorities and women in X-Men comic books and also mainstream superhero comics as a whole.

Although the presentation at Dragon*Con will only include comics released within the first 6 months of this year, I will be continuing the superhero census through the end of 2012. I’ll post the census’ 6 months findings after my presentation in September and you can expect the complete 2012 census results to be posted sometime in the beginning of 2013.

Once I know the exact date, time, and location of my presentation I’ll be sure to let you know. I hope to see you there!

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