Two Misericordia University professors recently published a book profiling the evolution of race in comics.

“All New, All Different? A History of Race and the American Superhero” examines the complex relationship between the evolution of the American superhero and the racial attitudes it accompanies. The book covers the last 80 years — from Superman’s debut in 1938 through the Civil Rights movement to complex contemporary issues.

Residents of Kingston, Patrick L. Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of English, and Allan W. Austin, Ph.D., professor of history, decided to combine their interests of American identity in the United States and their love of comic books — a lifelong passion for both.

“Given our shared childhood interests as well as our scholarly work on race and identity, the book, in retrospect, seems like it was always mean to happen; we just didn’t know it until we started writing seven years ago,” Austin said.

The book is in addition to the course taught at Misericordia University, “Race and Graphic Narrative in the Postwar United States,” which was established more than a decade ago. Their goal is to broaden how students view the effects popular culture has on society.

“My hope would be that the book helps people see that what comics have done regarding racial attitudes in the (United States) goes beyond a development from poor and even explicitly racist depictions to better ones,” Hamilton said.

A paperback copy of “All New, All Different? A History of Race and the American Superhero” can be purchased on Amazon for $34.95.

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Listen up

Misericordia University professors Allan W. Austin, Ph.D., and Patrick L. Hamilton, Ph.D., host the weekly podcast, “Even More Mashed-Up,” which addresses popular culture in television, movies, comic books, toys and more. The free podcast is available at and on iTunes.


‘All New, All Different? A History of Race and the American Superhero’

  • Author: Patrick L. Hamilton, Ph.D., and Allan W. Austin, Ph.D.
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Pages: 393
  • Price: $34.95 paperback/$20.49 Kindle