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Disability Media Studies$
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Elizabeth Ellcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479867820

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479867820.001.0001

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Prosthetic Heroes

Prosthetic Heroes

Curing Disabled Veterans in Iron Man 3 and Beyond

(p.129) 5 Prosthetic Heroes
Disability Media Studies

Ellen Samuels

NYU Press

Ellen Samuels examines Iron Man 3 (Shane Black, 2013), arguing that this film’s representations of veterans and disability reflected the social context in which increasing numbers of disabled veterans were returning to the U.S., with their futures uncertain. Drawing on veterans’ longstanding cultural roles as “heroes” or “villains,” this superhero film ultimately positions cure as both violent and mandatory, suggesting little cultural tolerance for veterans’ ongoing disabilities (specifically, PTSD and amputations) and the resources that such conditions would require. Bringing a disability studies reading to a Hollywood blockbuster, this chapter demonstrates the pervasiveness and power of disability narratives.

Keywords:   superheroes, veterans, film, PTSD, amputation

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