“Let’s start with a smile”: rape culture in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Research

3 Citations (Scopus)


The superpowers of heroes and villains have often been used as metaphors for wider cultural attitudes and issues. From symbolising alienation and the struggles of puberty, to finding strength and dealing with oppression, superpowers have been a trope used for exploring sensitive issues with a broad, mainstream audience. Netflix’s superhero 13-episode season of Jessica Jones is a prime example of exploring rape culture, an issue that has traditionally been ignored or suppressed, with a mainstream audience with renown success. Many of the intricacies of this exploration can be found where the Netflix series diverges from the original comic book strip in which Kilgrave is known as the Purple Man. This chapter examines Jessica Jones’ supervillain Kilgrave and compares his representation to that of the Purple Man in the original Marvel Comics to help outline the ways in which the Netflix adaptation constructs a narrative critical of rape culture for a contemporary audience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuperhero Bodies
Subtitle of host publicationIdentity, Materiality, Transformation
EditorsWendy Haslem, Elizabeth MacFarlane, Sarah Richardson
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429022289
ISBN (Print)9781138389892
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Comic Studies

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