Campus Life

Queer superheroes: Upcoming lecture to focus on development of Fantastic Four

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The story of the Fantastic Four is familiar; the 1960s-era anti-Communist space adventurers become superheroes after being exposed to cosmic rays. Ramzi Fawaz’s story about the popular superheroes is a little different.

In his speech, the assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin shows the development of the comic series as queer, with the transformation of the heroes allowing them to step outside the Cold War-era gender and sexual norms.

Using the mutated bodies of the heroes, the comics depict the “transformation of the bread-winning father, doting wife, and bickering male siblings of the 1950s nuclear family into icons of 1960s radicalism.”

This lecture is part of Fawaz’s research into how American superheroes came to “embody the political aspirations of racial, gender and sexual minorities in the post-World War II period.” Sponsored by the minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies and the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, the lecture will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, in 127 Moore Building on Penn State's University Park campus.

For more information, contact Colin Hogan at

Last Updated November 02, 2015