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Diversity in the Comic Book Universe with Debra Jenson

  Superhero stories have been called the myths of our day, helping us understand who we are and what unites us. Since Superman first leapt tall buildings with a single bound, the vast majority of the characters have been white, straight, men. Movies and television have consistently held to this standard, giving us Han Solo and Luke Skywalker to root for as they rescue Leia. However, in recent years we have seen new faces in popular franchises and behind the masks of our heroes,  creating a more diverse universe.


In her recent TEDxUSU talk, “The Comic Universe Belongs to Everyone,” USU Assistant Professor of Journalism and Communication Debra Jenson explains why these new faces matter and why it’s important when a hero looks just like you.

Debra Jenson studies communication and social justice groups, including the representation of marginalized groups in popular culture. Her work has previously focused on narratives around religious feminism and the American environmental movement. She is a regular contributor on ComicCon panels discussing diversity and the media we consume.

TEDxUSU events are organized by the USU Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and sponsored by USU RGS, the USU Caine College of the Arts, and Utah State University.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.