ACMI Conversations

Superheroes, Ethics and Justice

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About the talk

From the Marvel and DC cinematic universes to small screen caped-crusaders and vigilantes, superheroes are more popular than ever. But how do superheroes reflect our place and power within society?

Whether it’s symbolic representations of asylum seekers and First Nations people on Cleverman, Jessica Jones battling PTSD or The Watchmen exploring the moral ambiguity of individuals with tremendous power, superheroes have the power (dare we say great responsibility?) to tell nuanced, reflective and universal stories.

Join us to discuss how our heroic representations hold a mirror up to contemporary views on ethics, justice and equality.

About the panel

Martyn Pedler

Martyn Pedler is a writer and academic who focuses on superhero stories. He's published chapters and presented internationally on subjects like how the Flash runs in a medium without movement and why Doctor Doom cried after 9/11. He's also been a longtime pop culture critic for Bookslut, Time Out Melbourne, Triple J Magazine and more. He is the writer of the 2012 feature film EXIT, and has several other screenplays in development.

Dr Liam Burke

Dr Liam Burke is the Cinema and Screen Studies coordinator at Swinburne University of Technology. He has written and edited a number of books on comic books and cinema including Superhero Movies, Fan Phenomena Batman, and The Comic Book Film Adaptation: Exploring Modern Hollywood’s Leading Genre. Liam is a chief investigator on the Superheroes & Me research project with ACMI. He recently directed the documentary short film @HOME, which was screened at a number of international film festivals and was broadcast on Irish television.

Brooke Maggs

Brooke Maggs is an award winning narrative designer and writer for games, VR and other creative industries. She is currently working on The Gardens Between, an adventure puzzle game, and Paperbark, a game about the Australian bush. Her personal projects include a science fiction novel for which she was short listed for the Ray Koppe Writer’s Residency and she is in the early stages of a superhero noir novel. Her interest in the superhero genre is moral ambiguity and she is drawn to superheroes who are extraordinary and flawed people