A Study on Repetition and Multiplicite of Superhero Comics

슈퍼히어로 코믹의 반복과 다양체적 형식에 관한 연구

  • 박세혁 (홍익대학교 애니메이션 전공)
  • Received : 2012.08.01
  • Accepted : 2012.09.28
  • Published : 2012.09.30


American superhero comics are being produced in numerous different forms for multiple, and cross-platform media. In cinema, films based on superhero comics top the list of all time box office records. The same phenomenon of the 'Invasion of Superhero' is duplicated in Korean box office 2012, however, the korean fans are not familiar with the superheroes from the publication which provides the original source of characters and stories for other superhero related media products. Based on observing the multiple and vastness of world building characteristics of superhero comic, this paper attempts to associate the continuous creative nature and the infinite repetition of superheroes and comic texts with the identity of superhero on ontological level. First, chapter 2 examines how one superhero exists in multiple and different worlds individually by utilizing the concept of 'multi-universe' or 'multiverse' in comic texts. Initially, duplicating a superhero on multiple settings and series destroyed continuity and allowed contradiction and paradox confused narrative as a whole, but it also gave chances for comics to be more vibrant and experimental with their stories and characters. Chapter 3 analyzes the superhero comic texts in the light of repetition, concept developed by french philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and make the argument that the superheroes and texts are not repeated to generate surplus of source for economic utilitarian purposes, but it is, first and foremost, a repetition of creativeness and capability. Many concepts introduced by Deleuze in his early masterpiece, $\acute{e}$rence et R$\acute{e}$p$\acute{e}$tition> are taken to support this argument. Mainly, his critical views on generality of the identity and his effort to replace the Plato's system of representation with vibrant creative, and renewal energy of r$\acute{e}$p$\acute{e}$tition. According to Deleuze, repetition is similar concept, if not identical, to what Nietzsche called the 'eternal return' which allows the return of the Overhuman or the Superhuman, and he extends his idea that the returning Overhuman is the singular simulacre which opposes the generalization of identity, in the likes of Plato's Idea. Thus, the superhero's identity is ever changing, ever returning, and ever renewing Overhuman. The superhero must be repeated to fully actualize his/her existence. Also, based on Deleuze's reading of Bergson's texts on the Virtual, the superhero, for example Superman, is actualization of his/her multiplisit$\acute{e}$, the internally multiple, and differentiated variations from itself. These every Supermans' multiplisit$\acute{e}$ shares common memory, past, and duration, thus the Virtual of Superman. Superman becomes himself only by actualizing the movement and differentiation from these multiplisit$\acute{e}$ in his virtual on the surface of reality. On chapter 4, a popular Korean comic book character Oh, Hae-Sung's r$\acute{e}$p$\acute{e}$tition and multiplist$\acute{e}$ are analyzed, and makes comparison to that of Superman to distinguish the repetition from r$\acute{e}$p$\acute{e}$tition, and multiplicit$\acute{e}$ from diversity.


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