Crime and justice are central themes in superhero comics. As vigilante figures with a moral mandate, superheroes conventionally affirm the status quo, protecting the social order by acting outside the law. Rarely antithetical to popular sentiment, they still enable conflicting positions on crime and justice. They articulate these positions through counternarratives that unfold within, rather than against, the master narratives of the genre and that encourage a controversial reception by making connections between the fictional storyworld and real-world contexts. Situated at the intersection of comics narratology and criminal narratology, this chapter investigates the interaction of master narratives and counternarratives in the superhero genre with a focus on a recent instalment of Batman (“A Simple Case”, Batman #44, November 2015), a story about police brutality and gentrification, and its reception (online articles, reviews, blog entries).
Stein, Daniel (2020). „Conflicting Counternarratives of Crime and Justice in US Superhero Comics.” Conflicting Narratives of Crime and Punishment. Ed. Martina Althoff, Bernd Dollinger, and Holger Schmidt. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 139-60.