This lecture traces the conceptual etymology of “superman,” drawing connections to eugenics, Darwin, 19th century hero philosophy, the American revolution, and contemporary politics.

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where he teaches fiction, creative writing, and comicsHe has published  two non-fiction studies, On the Origin of Superheroes: from the Big Bang to Action Comics No. 1 (Iowa 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), and two novels, Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School for Tricksters (Southern Methodist 2011).

  • Heroism v. Evil December 13, 2017 srkohliAlthough I was unable to attend Chris Gavaler’s lecture on Superheroes, I encountered the idea of heroes and superheroes in my personal research project on the Origins of Decision, and ...
  • Superheros and their origins December 12, 2017 ssrabi20When I knew we would be talking about the origins of superheroes in class I assumed we would be talking about the creation of Superman, Spiderman and such superheroes who ...
  • Superheroes December 12, 2017 amcola20In class I first heard that we were going to have a speaker that was going to come in and talk about the origins of superheroes through learning about Walker’s ...
  • Superman December 12, 2017 vjones20When I first heard that we were going to be talking about the origins of superheroes, I was ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the review of something I ...
  • Putting the Super back in Superhero December 12, 2017 cmajgaarOn the 21st of November, Chris Gavaler graced us with his presence to discuss with us the origins of superheroes. In class we spoke extensively on the idea that eugenics ...
  • Superheroes November 28, 2017 cmhall20The origin of superheroes is a fascinating story. One must begin with the idea of the superhero, and what exactly defines a superhero. As a social phenomenon, it has become ...
  • The Villainy of Superheroes November 28, 2017 Jonathan TaylorProfessor Gavaler made a number of interesting–to say the least–points in his discussion of the societal impacts of super-heroic imagery. Particularly interesting is how he mentioned that societies all over ...
  • The Human in Superhuman November 27, 2017 Haley AndonianHaley Andonian “On the Origin of Superheoes” Lecturer: Chris Gavaler November 27, 2017   In his book On the Origin of Superheroes: From the Big Bang to Action Comics, Chris Gavaler discusses the little recognized ...
  • Superheroes and Gender November 27, 2017 Amber ChurchwellChris Gavaler, a professor from Washington and Lee, teaches an entire course about superheroes. Professor Gavaler did a wonderful job explaining how the original superman came to be from important (if ...
  • The Point of Popularity November 25, 2017 Walker GriggsThis past week, Chris Gavaler came to speak with us about the origins of superheroes. While we spoke at great length, both during and after class, my response to his ...