It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

This semester was tumultuous for me, and I found others telling me how I should write myself into my research. I had people telling me that it would be more meaningful if I discussed my sexual orientation openly in my work regarding Tumblr because of the communities that converge there, further validating claims I was planning to make about identity in this space. I had people telling me that writing about my sexual identity as a black woman would show how progressive my work is, or that it would somehow make me a “better” feminist and identity scholar. In addition to being told to come out in my research, I was also struggling with my depression more so than I had for months. And at the same time, I was re-experiencing and trying to work through my own personal trauma. That’s what I think about when I reflect on this class, and it makes me cringe.

Our Skype session with Whitney Phillips helped me realize the extent to which my personal trauma has colored my experience in this course and in my work more generally. But more importantly, Whitney helped me realize that it’s okay to not be okay. She helped me realize that I’m not failing as an academic or feminist by not openly discussing my struggles or identity in my work. Although I can do so if and when I’m ready, my work should be evaluated on its own. My trauma is not validation for what I do and my work is not defined by it. It has fundamentally shaped who I am as a person and how I approach everything from personal relationships to research, and that’s okay, but my arguments can (and do) stand on their own and are no less powerful because of it. That’s the biggest takeaway for me.

Another related takeaway is the value of journaling during the research process. The blog posts encouraged me to stop, think, and make evaluations about whether the decisions I was making were really the best options for my project. Most notably, it helped me pin down my decision-making processes in a way that better allowed me to see where and how I make decisions in the first place. In this way, they helped bring me a sense of clarity in my approach to research more broadly. Given the emotional state I was in, this was also a therapeutic process and helped me work through my project by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable steps. Consequently, I plan to start keeping a diary for each of my research projects, using some of the prompts from this class to guide my thinking during the process. Not only will I use this to reflect on my approach to research, but I also intend to journal about how I process trauma during the research process, specifically. There were some days and weeks where working on any part of my project at all felt impossible, but the blogging helped. It really did.

This is What It Feels Like

Per my previous post, I mentioned that discussions of black/natural hairstyles regarding black superheroes and comic book characters has become a potential theme. Many users have taken issue with previous representations of black female characters in film adaptations, in part, because of films’ treatment of hair texture: Characters, such as Storm, have typically been depicted (in film) as having straight hair, whereas all of the black female characters in Black Panther sported black/natural hairstyles. Jumping off from this point, the political nature of black representation in media has also become a theme, several users insisting that people need to stop de-politicizing the appearance of black superheroes and comic book characters in popular media. The line of argument present in these assertions is that black representation in film is necessarily political given the long history of racism, slavery, and problematic representations in media within the United States. Relatedly, there is another theme that I’m having trouble articulating, although I anticipated its appearance. There have been a number of comments addressing both the unfamiliarity and excitement regarding the recent increase in representation of black(ness) and black people in media. Indeed, one user wondered whether “this” is how white people feel all the time. I think this theme could be incredibly rich, insightful, and emotional, and there’s a lot that needs unpacking here, but I’m unsure whether I have a language for doing so at this point.

One theme I hadn’t expected to find is the response to fan art regarding black superheroes and comic book characters. Many of these posts to which users are responding are fan art of black superheroes, and many of the comments inquire about buying prints of these images or state that they plan to save these pieces as screensavers on various devices. As such, I’ll need to expand my collection of literatures to include those regarding fan art. I found some helpful literature on the topic, such as Scott’s (2015) article calling for more robust theorization of fan art and its transformative potential in better understanding fan communities and its importance, more generally. I also plan to look on journal.transformativeworks.org, a website Christine told me about when we were discussing our projects together, to access more literature on fan art. Consequently, part of my action plan for the week includes digging deeper into literature on fan art to further address and support the theme I’m seeing about its connection to representation. I also intend to use a word cloud feature on a website (e.g. https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/) to better visualize my data and see what relationships and patterns are popping up that I have yet to notice. This may also help address the problem I’m having articulating the theme about the newness and unfamiliarity regarding a sharp increase in black representations that I can clearly discern, but to which I can’t quite put a language. I’m feeling more optimistic about my project, and hopefully the new literature and alternative coding methods will allow me to glean some additional insights.

 

References

Scott, S. (2015). The Hawkeye Initiative: Pinning down transformative feminisms in comic-book culture through superhero crossplay fan art. Cinema Journal, 55(1), 150-160.

 

 

 

Figuring it Out and Feeling Better

After angsting about the ethical considerations regarding data collection in my project (per my last post), I have reached a decision and come up with a new plan. Talking with Adrienne helped me realize that asking individual permission to use every single comment I wish to use in my paper regardless of whether or not I intend to quote it directly was highly impractical and ultimately unnecessary. I have since decided to ask permission to use only the comments I wish to quote and to use the rest of my comments – collected through purposive sampling – for my thematic analysis. As such, I will still be able to address all three of my research questions (included below):

RQ1: What role does Tumblr play in the circulation of black superheroes/comic book characters?

RQ2: What role does the film Black Panther play in discussions of black superheroes and comic book characters on Tumblr?

RQ3: Which discourses are being drawn upon in the text and comments of the posts being circulated, and what do they tell us about the relationship between popular culture, superheroes, and black identity?

As for the data I’ve collected so far, I am excited to see themes and ideas emerging, some I anticipated before starting this project and others I hadn’t. For instance, the discussion of black hairstyles has become increasingly more prevalent as I continue to sift through comments. Many users have commented on the natural hairstyles of black (female) comic book characters as represented in posts about black superheroes, comparing them to representations of natural hair in Black Panther. A number of users have specifically compared Angela Bassett’s portrayal of Ramonda in Black Panther to previous film depictions of X-Men character Storm, played by Halle Berry, due to the starkly different portrayals of each characters’ snow-white hair. Many of these comparisons lamented that Storm’s hair was portrayed as straight rather than the kinky/natural look adopted by Ramonda.

McAllister (2006) is useful in addressing this in that he gets at the disparity and subsequent tension between comic books and how superheroes are represented in blockbuster films. This addresses my second research question and begins to address my third: Black Panther seems to offer more complex representations of black superheroes and comic book characters, and these more realistic portrayals – of traditionally black hairstyles, in this case – have created space to look back and critique representations that have fallen short (e.g. the X-Men franchise’s physical depiction of Storm). These critiques are simultaneously opening up discussion about the political nature of black representation in blockbuster films, evidenced by a number of other comments demanding that people stop depoliticizing black comic book characters. Nama (2009) and Singer (2002) address the subtly political nature of portrayals of black superheroes in comic books which will certainly be productive in my analysis, but it seems Black Panther has made this more explicit, thus meriting further consideration and unpacking. But, that is a post for another week!

 

References

McAllister, M. (2006). Blockbuster meets superhero comic, or art house meets graphic novel?: The contradictory relationship between film and comic art. Journal of Popular Film & Television, 34(3), 108-114.

Nama, A. (2009). Brave black worlds: black superheroes as science fiction ciphers. African Identities7(2), 133-144.

Singer, M. (2002). “Black skins” and white masks: Comic books and the secret of race. African American Review36(1), 107-119.

Hopeless?

I’ve been running into several problems throughout my data collection process, but two in particular have proved to be notable obstacles: The first is that many of the people whose comments I wish to use are not responding to my messages. Per my blog post on ethical considerations in which I decided to treat Tumblr (and the content produced by its’ users) as a semi-private space, I figured it would be best to contact the original posters of the comments I want  to use individually so that I can get their permission to use their comments in my research. However, some of the users whose comments I wish to use have since deleted their blogs and many others have failed to respond to my messages asking for permission. Given this predicament, I’m at a bit of a loss concerning alternative (and ethical) ways of using these comments.

My other problem is that I’m still having trouble with my sampling method. I tried consulting some qualitative research on Tumblr, but it was to no avail. Peterson (2014) researched Sherlock fandom and captured all of the text(s) from one specific blog and Dame (2016) analyzed the structure of tagging practices on Tumblr (akin to hashtags on Twitter) regarding transgender identity expression. Because I’m interested in pulling comments (of which there are tens of thousands) from specific posts, neither of the aforementioned sampling methods are useful. Then, I thought maybe I could “feel out” the relevant and comments by relying on my own experience and recognition, similar to what I did in my Master’s thesis. However, this feels a lot like cherry-picking, and I’m still left with a huge number of comments to sift through. The fact that I have to copy each comment one at a time and save it to a Word document since I haven’t found any software able to rip comments from Tumblr further frustrates this process. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m feeling a bit hopeless about this project and have seriously considered not using comments at all, focusing on posts instead. While I still think the comments are incredibly valuable and don’t want to give up on what I originally sought to do, I recognize that my current approach isn’t exactly working. I could probably still address my first two research questions without analyzing the comments, but I was really looking forward to doing all three (below).

RQ1: What role does Tumblr play in the circulation of black superheroes/comic book characters?

RQ2: What role does the film Black Panther play in discussions of black superheroes and comic book characters on Tumblr?

RQ3: Which discourses are being drawn upon in the text and comments of the posts being circulated, and what do they tell us about the relationship between popular culture, superheroes, and black identity?

For now, I think I might step away for a few days and then consult my peers about it. Perhaps some different perspectives will help me work through these issues.

 

References

Dame, A. (2016). Making a name for yourself: Tagging as transgender ontological practice on Tumblr. Critical Studies in Media Communication33(1), 23-37.

Petersen, L. N. (2014). Sherlock fans talk: Mediatized talk on tumblr. Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook12(1), 87-104.

 

Wish I Had More Time and More Money

This week I chose to test out NVivo, the same software reviewed last week. Because it costs money to use, I did the 14 day trial period the program offers. While I found this software and its features helpful, there was – and still is – a huge learning curve for me. Using digital qualitative analysis tools is already a new concept to me, and I typically have trouble using anything other Microsoft Word on a computer. Even installing software is an unfamiliar process to me. Such as it is, these problems compounded to make for a somewhat frustrating experience, but I do feel it’s worth the effort.

After installing NVivo, I watched several tutorials about the program to understand the options available and how to use them. Once I watched the videos, I began my first task: Importing some of my data. NVivo’s NCapture feature, which converts webpages to PDF files, isn’t compatible with Tumblr’s website, or at least not with capturing the comments on posts. So, I had to copy and paste the comments into a Word document first and import them into NVivo that way. From my dataset, I selected 20 particularly interesting comments to use in this trial run. Once the data was in the program, there were a plethora of options for sorting, organizing, and coding. However, I was most excited to use the word cloud feature to examine my data in a more visual way. I selected all of the comments, fiddled with the categorization options for sorting words, and ran a word query. The image below was the result of this process. Although I’m pleased with this result, I admit that it was less transformative than I had anticipated. But, that could be because I used such a small batch of comments on a Tumblr post with tens of thousands of threads. The word query feature may work better with larger and/or lengthier datasets with a more targeted direction, such as transcripts of participant responses to a specific interview question.

I found NVivo helpful overall, and experimenting with this software has encouraged me to take a digital approach to data collection and analysis rather than my typical analog approach (painfully detailed in my previous blog post). The word query and the storage features were useful in organizing and further conceptualizing my data as a whole. I’d love to use the word cloud feature again once I have more data, but I may not use NVivo for my current project. The learning curve is a struggle for me, and for continuous access to the software, I need to pay for it ($99 for two years provided Temple has a license for it). For now, I think I’ll utilize word cloud functions on other (free) websites and organize my data on a flash drive dedicated solely to this and similar research projects. That said, I will likely revisit NVivo sometime in the future when I have the money and time to better understand the program and navigate its intricacies.

NVivo

The digital qualitative tool I’ll be reviewing is NVivo. I have zero experience with these kinds of tools and no idea where to start, but NVivo has been mentioned several times in our classes and was one of the first options to pop up in my initial search. The reviews had good things to say, and its wide range of features seems to be a good fit for my project as well as my future academic endeavors. One feature of NVivo that would be, by far, the most helpful to me is the ability to store and categorize information. Thus far in my academic career, I have not stored any of my data outside of the platform from which I’ve retrieved it. In one of my projects last semester I took screenshots of the tweets I was analyzing and kept them in a folder on my phone. Before that, however, I would bookmark the sites and return to them later, using the “ctrl+f” function to find specific quotes/tweets/comments. When it came time to sort the data according to my themes, I’d do it in a notebook. Because of my disorganized methods, it has sometimes taken me hours to find a specific quote (this happened several times when working on my Master’s thesis). As it stands, my storage and sorting method is practically nonexistent. Consequently, NVivo’s various sorting capabilities will revolutionize the way I keep and access my data. The sorting functions allow me to drop all of my data (screenshots, quotes, excel columns, etc.) into the program. From there, I can create folders to further organize everything. Once I start developing themes in my work, I can then label these folders for each theme and sort my data – Tumblr posts and comments, in this case – accordingly, even copying comments that speak to multiple themes into those respective folders.

Additionally, NVivo has visually-oriented features that would be extremely helpful to me. There are word cloud and mind map options that represent words and phrases visually. I’ve included examples of each below this paragraph, the word cloud being a cluster of relevant and/or most used words and the mind map being a sort of spider-web of related ideas/concepts (Go Geometry, 2018; Lucid Chart, 2018). In this way, I can see relationships between concepts and data differently and in potentially new and insightful ways. This will be incredibly valuable when examining the data for potential themes. Currently, my coding process is very linear since I scan and/or scroll through the comments in my notebook or on the websites looking for what may jump out at me. Using NVivo’s word cloud and mind map features will allow me to explore concepts visually, seeing relationships among concepts that I may not have otherwise noticed. Coupled with the ability to store and organize data in a more efficient way, NVivo will likely be a useful tool for my research. How I examine data and develop themes could change drastically in using this program, and I’m looking forward to testing it out next week!

Word Cloud Example
Mind Map Example

 

References

Go Geometry. (2018). Cloud computing word cloud. [Graphic illustration]. Retrieved from http://www.gogeometry.com/software/cloud_computing_word_cloud.htm

Lucid Chart. (2018). Climate change mind map template. [Graphic illustration]. Retrieved from https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/templates/mind-map/climate-change-mind-map-template

 

Where I’m at Now

My project is coming along, but it’s still in the preliminary stages. After doing some initial searching on Tumblr, I realized that there are varied and rich discussions about black superheroes in general, especially in relation to Black Panther characters. I previously stated that I would be looking at black female superheroes as they are discussed and circulated through Tumblr, but have chosen to broaden my scope to black superheroes after these “test runs.” Since I am using the release of Black Panther as a jumping off point, I think this approach is a better fit for my study.  This slight shift in focus is reflected in my updated research questions:

RQ1: What role does Tumblr play in the circulation of black superheroes/comic book characters?

RQ2: What role does the film Black Panther play in discussions of black superheroes and comic book characters on Tumblr?

RQ3: Which discourses are being drawn upon in the text and comments of the posts being circulated, and what do they tell us about the relationship between popular culture, superheroes, and black identity?

Some of the tags I’ve been using to search for posts include “black superheroes,” “black dcu,” and “black comics.” After typing in the tags, I look through the “top” category, which pulls up the most popular (i.e. the most liked, reblogged, and recent posts) posts that contain those tags. While there’s no shortage of relevant posts, the problem I’m running into is choosing which and how many comments to examine in my project. Many of these posts have tens of thousands of comments, some with hundreds of thousands. I’ll (hopefully) be able to address this issue by drawing on relevant literature concerning my methodology, such as Tumblr-related qualitative research (Dame, 2016; Peterson, 2014). These studies can help me develop a sampling method that works for my project. Other work, such as Opperman’s (2018) article, can help me address ethical concerns in collecting data and writing up research that comes from Tumblr, providing guidelines for writing about a space that is simultaneously public and private.

Additionally, I will be drawing on literature about (black) superheroes. Kirkpatrick and Scott (2015) discuss a special issue of Cinema Journal that includes studies investigating representation and diversity in comic books. I plan to read through this issue to familiarize myself with literature on superheroes and racial identity. Similarly, Singer (2002) and Nama (2009) write about black superheroes in comic books, noting both positive, empowering representations as well as harmful stereotypes. Relatedly, McAllister (2006) gets at the disparity between comic books and how superheroes are represented in blockbuster films. Some of the comments I’ve seen as I scroll through Tumblr address differences between the comics and movies, particularly with regard to representation. Moreover, some users have been discussing the commodification of (black) identity in comics and movies alike, and I feel McAllister’s (2006) article can give me an “in” here. I’m still sifting through the literatures, but I think this is a good start.

 

References

Dame, A. (2016). Making a name for yourself: Tagging as transgender ontological practice on Tumblr. Critical Studies in Media Communication33(1), 23-37.

Kirkpatrick, E., & Scott, S. (2015). Representation and diversity in comics studies. Cinema Journal55(1), 120-124.

McAllister, M. (2006). Blockbuster meets superhero comic, or art house meets graphic novel?: The contradictory relationship between film and comic art. Journal of Popular Film & Television, 34(3), 108-114.

Nama, A. (2009). Brave black worlds: black superheroes as science fiction ciphers. African Identities7(2), 133-144.

Opperman, M. (2018). Intentionally public, intentionally private: Gender non-binary youth on Tumblr and the queering of community literacy research. Community Literacy Journal, 12(2), 65-71.

Petersen, L. N. (2014). Sherlock fans talk: Mediatized talk on tumblr. Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook12(1), 87-104.

Singer, M. (2002). “Black skins” and white masks: Comic books and the secret of race. African American Review36(1), 107-119.

Pretty Sure it’s Online

After thinking through my project a few more times (i.e. my research questions and object of study), I believe my project is primarily – if not wholly – online. I have narrowed my aims to the textual analysis of popular posts regarding black superheroes on Tumblr following the release of Black Panther, paying special attention the discourses being drawn upon. An important point to note is that I am not studying the Internet or Tumblr as a “thing” that people use, such as Miller and Slater’s (2000) approach to online studies. They study the Internet as a thing that can be used, examining how Trinidadians use it to perform and practice their culture across geographical distances (Miller & Slater, 2000). Here, the Internet is being studied the way radio or television might be. While many people on Tumblr are certainly using it this way, I’m conceptualizing it differently. For the purposes of my project, I’m approaching Tumblr as a space where discourses about black identity, superheroes, and popular culture converge and circulate. In this way, I’m drawing on Boellstorff’s (2008) view of the Internet as mediated spaces where culture is made and re-made, able to be understood in its own context.

That said, a portion of my project could potentially be offline. I hope to interview Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics in Philadelphia, but whether this interview constitutes an offline aspect depends on the type of interview we might do. At this stage, I may do an informational interview with her to provide additional background information and support for my project in terms of comics and (black) superheroes, more generally. While I am not necessarily doing human-subjects research – my focus is concerns posts and subsequent discourses on Tumblr – the search for background on these topics does not suddenly make it so. boyd (2015) also drew upon sources (e.g. talking with students informally and doing less formal research on teen culture) aside from her formal interviews with teens to help round out her study on a group with which she was not part of/unfamiliar. Since I am in a similar position regarding topics (e.g. comics and superheroes) that are outside of my wheelhouse, I find this supplemental and contextual element useful for my study. However, should the informational interview with Ariell Johnson prompt a more formal interview that I incorporate into my analysis, then my project will have an offline component.

 

References

Boellstorff, T. (2008). Method. Coming of age in Second Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

boyd, d. (2015). Making sense of teen life: Strategies for capturing ethnographic data in a networked era. In E. Hargittai and C. Sandvig (Eds.), Digital research confidential: The secrets of studying behavior online (79-102). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Miller, D. and Slater, D. (2000). Conclusions. The Internet: An ethnographic approach. New York, NY: Berg.

 

Ethical Considerations

One ethical dilemma I’ll need to consider in my project is managing the lines between public and private space on Tumblr. Tumblr is a space that I personally find more private than some other social media sites. For instance, it is difficult to find someone’s blog unless you know their username. This is similar to the newsgroup names in the Pollock (2009) study; where Pollock (2009) defined these sites as “public” because he was able to access them, he first needed the name of the particular newsgroup to do so. In both cases (Tumblr and the newsgroups), these preliminary steps to gain access indicate there may be something more private about the space. Convery and Cox (2012) discuss the difficulty in defining the private and the public online, and suggest respecting participants’ understanding of the space when doing research. When I analyze the Tumblr posts, I may not identify the usernames of those whose comments I’ve selected nor provide personal details where unnecessary.

Another ethical consideration is how and whether to identify myself as a researcher. Since I’m already part of this space, I’m uncertain about whether my actions are considered “lurking.” I want to be mindful of researcher deception here. While my analysis of the posts is text-based and not human subject research, the nature of the space feels more private to me, so I don’t want to be intrusive. Identifying my status as a researcher on my blog or via text post may be helpful toward this end, but it may not reach the people whose comments I’m examining. Relatedly, I will also need to consider where and how I make information about my study available. It wouldn’t feel right to me to go into these semi-private spaces, take material for my study, and then not share it with participants. I feel similarly about interviewing Ariell Johnson with Amalgam Comics – and possibly store regulars – and not contributing to the community which made my study possible and who might greatly enjoy, benefit, or be affected by my conclusions. As such, I plan to make my work available either on Tumblr or a website I’ll create.

Pseudonyms – or real names, instead of usernames – might be useful here as well. Because Tumblr is a semi-private space, I intend to offer participants a choice concerning how they are named in my study should I interview any users. However, unlike Bruckman, Luther, and Fiesler (2015), I will not leave the decision up to my participants in every case each time. While I don’t foresee a situation in which I need to override what the participant wants, I want to leave that option available. Given my presence on Tumblr, I want this project to be a little more collaborative than studies I’ve done in the past. In disclosing my role as a researcher, making my work available to the respective communities, and having my participants name themselves, I think I can begin to address the more pressing ethical concerns in my project.

 

References

Bruckman, A., Luther, K., and Fiesler, C. (2015). When should we use real names in published accounts of Internet research? In E. Hargittai and C. Sandvig (Eds.). Digital research confidential: The secrets of studying behavior online (243-258). MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Convery, I. and Cox, D. (2012). A review of research ethics in Internet-based research. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 6(1): 50-57.

Pollock, E. (2009). Researching white supremacists online: Methodological concerns of researching hate ‘speech’. Internet Journal of Criminology, 1-19.

 

Black Female Superheroes

Given the rapid expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, superheroes (and superhero movies) have become a cultural phenomenon in the United States and other parts of the world. With the release of Black Panther earlier this year, discussions of black superheroes and increased representation have become prevalent on social media websites, discussion forums, and news sites alike. In particular, Tumblr is one social media site where these kinds of discussions take place and where lesser-known superheroes are identified and shared. Many of these superheroes are black, and circulation increased dramatically after the release of Black Panther. As a Tumblr user, it is within this space that I began discovering black female characters/superheroes (i.e. non-mainstream characters) in comic books. For this research project, I intend to explore the representation of black female characters/superheroes in comic books (DC, Marvel, etc.) and the discourse that surrounds them as it occurs on Tumblr. I’m primarily interested in how these characters are shared and discussed among users on this website.

Regarding data collection, I will backtrack previous posts, tracing the most popular (e.g. those with the most likes, reblogs, and comments) by searching hashtags (or “tags,” as they’re known) with key terms (e.g. “#black superhero” etc.). I will use textual analysis to examine the comments and text that accompany each post. I would also like to interview users who have passed along and/or liked the posts I backtrack, be it via individual interviews or focus groups. To access these participants, I will either recruit users who comment on the posts in question or possibly recruit students at Temple University who use Tumblr and are familiar with these kinds of posts. To do so, I may recruit from classes I have access to and use a preliminary questionnaire to ensure the participants meet my criteria. Additionally, I plan to interview Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics in Philadelphia. She is a black woman who runs a local comic book store that offers an inclusive variety of comics featuring superheroes and characters from traditionally marginalized groups, and I feel that she can provide some valuable insight to my project. My research questions are as follows:

RQ1: What role does Tumblr play in the circulation of black female superheroes/comic book characters?

RQ2: How does the circulation of black female superheroes/comic book characters on Tumblr shape and reflect discourses about black identity?

RQ3: Which discourses are being drawn upon in the text and comments of the posts being circulated, and what do they tell us about the relationship between popular culture, superheroes, and black identity?

I can get at my inquiries regarding RQ2 and RQ3 through my textual analysis of the posts I backtrack on Tumblr and that of RQ1 and RQ2 through the interviews with Ariell Johnson and Tumblr users/posters who comment on the posts being shared. This mixed-methods approach will yield rich results that can provide a better understanding of how popular culture, superheroes, and black (female) identity intersect and what it means in a larger context.