The Superhero Costume: Identity and Disguise in Fact and Fiction

Barbara Brownie, Daniel Graydon

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Costume defines the superhero, disguising and distinguishing him or her from the civilian alter ego. The often garish garb expresses a hero's otherness and empowers its wearers to seek a primal form of justice.
This book provides the first interdisciplinary analysis of the superhero costume and investigates wide-ranging issues such as identity, otherness, ritual dress and disguise. Analysis focuses on the implications of wearing superhero costume, exploring interpretations of the costumed hero and the extent to which the costume defines his or her role. Using examples across various media (comic books, film, and television) with case studies including The X-Men, Watchmen, real-life superheroes such as Phoenix Jones and Pussy Riot, and audience activities such as cosplay
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages180
ISBN (Print)9781472595911
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2015


  • costume
  • superheroes
  • cosplay
  • identity
  • disguise
  • fan-studies
  • popular culture
  • comics
  • Film Studies


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