The ambiguous role of science and technology in Marvel superhero comics: From their ‘Golden Age’ to the present-day

Alessandro Muscio
University of Foggia
Thursday, 23 March 2023 - 11:00

Science and Technology (S&T) is a key aspect of superhero comic books. Comics reach a vast audience and are rife with scientific references. They represent a valuable resource for communicating the value of science in popular culture. The Marvel universe has evolved exponentially since its birth in 1939, breaking into the cinema industry and reaching new audiences. However, a glance at some popular Marvel characters raises some concern about the part played by S&T in superhero stories and the debatable effects of S&T on superhero characters. In this paper, we analyse the use of S&T in the Marvel universe (1632 identified characters), to investigate whether comics books favour or impede the diffusion of S&T and to determine whether S&T has a positive or negative connotation in comics. In line with the existing literature, we argue that comics' use of science can influence public perception of and acceptability of scientific discoveries.

In the seminar, Alessandro will also summarize another of his main research lines: gender and PhD entrepreneurship.



Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n

Short CV: 

Alessandro Muscio is Full Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Foggia (Italy). He has over 20-years of experience in academic research and policy evaluation. The majority of Alessandro’s academic research work is in the area of innovation policy, research and innovation, Industry 4.0 and the entrepreneurial university. He is also interested in the role of media in promoting science and innovation. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics of Production and Development from Insubria University (Italy) and a Master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Sussex (UK). He was Marie Curie Fellow in Science & Technology Policy Studies at SPRU - University of Sussex.  He was also Assistant Professor at LUISS Guido Carli in Rome.

Alessandro worked as Science & Technology Policy Specialist at Technopolis Group in Brighton, and as associate researcher in the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), based in Brussels.  He is is board member of the European Future Innovation System Centre (EFIS), Brussels. As part of his professional activity, he carried out several studies in the area of research and innovation for the European Commission (EC) and national government agencies. He was the rapporteur of the EC Policy Support Facility “Specific Support to Tunisia” and carried out for the World Bank initiative “Europe 4.0: Addressing the Digital Dilemma” an analysis of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation based on “enriched” Horizon 2020 data. He was also national expert in the EC Regional Innovation Monitor and National Expert in the programming committee of HORIZON2020: “Europe in a Changing World – Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies".