University College Birmingham Marvels 25th Anniversary Analytical Essay

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Essay 2 – Marvels Analytical Essay (150 points)

For essay 2 you will be closely examining and analyzing the graphic novel Marvels by Kurt

Busiek. Marvels is somewhat unique within the superhero genre as we get to examine the world

of superheroes through an outsider’s perspective. Being able to view this world through our

Everyman type narrator, lets us closely examine the more ethical dilemma of the superhero’s role

within normal society.

Please choose ONE of the following options as the focus of your essay:

1. Many times within the graphic novel, we see great amounts of destruction caused by the

heroes that directly impacts the civilians. This pushes the society to question whether the

heroes/marvels are causing more harm than good. Discuss the impact of collateral

damage within the novel. Should the heroes be held accountable for the destruction that

they cause, even if they are working to stop a greater threat to humanity?

2. The graphic novel also paints very differing pictures of suggestively the same types of

characters. This is something the narrator also questions throughout the graphic novel.

While certain heroes/marvels are feared due to their immense powers, others are

celebrated and cheered on by the society. Examine what makes a hero/marvel celebrated

within the society depicted in the graphic novel. What is different about the heroes

backed by the people as opposed to those condemned by the public?

3. There are many differing perspectives within the graphic novel. One of the main

differences that we see is the reaction to superheroes from the various generations within

the book. Much of the older generation seems to fear the heroes and are wishing for the

world they once knew, before superpowers were widespread. We then have the younger

generation, represented by Phil Sheldon’s daughters, who have a more optimistic view of

the superhero world. Examine the difference between these two viewpoints. In regards to

generational gaps, what is the graphic novel suggesting about acceptance of those with


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