Superheroes, Orphans and Origins: 125 Years in Comics
Many of the most inspiring characters in comics and graphic novels began their epic journeys as orphaned or abandoned children. In these stories, the loss of a parent inflicts challenges that even superpowers cannot easily resolve. For over a century and millions of readers, the comic strip is a space in which this narrative has been continuously reimagined. Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 Years in Comics offers a richly illustrated and thought-provoking exploration of the representation of orphans, foundlings, adoptees and foster children in sequential art. Surveying 125 years of creative practice and an international cast of characters, this book examines how care-experience is depicted in early comic strips like Little Orphan Annie, celebrated superhero narratives including Superman and Batman, and popular Japanese manga, among other examples. The complex issues and identities that feature in these stories are considered from a variety of perspectives, ranging from art historical to activist. Contributing authors include Lemn Sissay, MBE and award-winning artists Carlos Giménez and Lisa Wool- Rim Sjöblom, all drawing inspiration from their own experiences in care. Bringing together critical essays, candid conversations and outstanding artwork, this book encourages a new way to experience comics. This book is published on the occasion of the first major exhibition to focus on the representation of care experience in comics, produced by the Foundling Museum in London (April – August 2022).