Chris Comerford is a Communications tutor and cultural studies researcher specialising in online fandom and screen audience studies. His work has been published in Refractory, Peephole Journal, IM: Interactive Media and Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, as well as the edited collections Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law (2015), and Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives (2018). In addition, he serves as an editorial board member of the Heroism Science journal.
Audience and reception studies
Comerford, C 2016, 'Ambiguous Heroism: Anti-Heroes and the Pharmakon of Justice', Interactive Media, no. 11, pp. 1-13.
This paper identifies several key anti-heroes and their capacity for questioning how complicated, ambiguous forms of heroism are represented and negotiated in contemporary popular culture. Specifically, the paper uses as case studies three characters at different positions on the anti-hero spectrum – Doctor Who’s eponymous protagonist, the DC Comics superhero Batman, and 24’s anti-terrorist agent Jack Bauer. The paper questions ways in which these texts and their protagonists articulate complex notions of contemporary justice, morality and ethics, achieved partly through their fictional enactments and interrogations of justice and how justice is constituted. The paper attests that these characters complicate audience notions of law and justice, and how the conceptual challenge of the ‘good’/‘evil’ binary results in a more nuanced understanding of this particular form of heroism.
Comerford, C 2018, 'Personal heroism through fact and fiction: Safeguarding truth and freedom in the utopia of star trek and the whistle-blowing of Edward Snowden' in Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives, Routledge, New York, pp. 86-100.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This chapter scrutinizes popular perceptions of heroism through the act of personal truth-telling. It does so by conducting an analysis of a real-world example through the lens of one from popular culture; namely, the whistle-blowing of clandestine US surveillance programs by former NSA worker Edward Snowden for the former, with the egalitarian values and moral certitude of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation for the latter. Through the work of utopian scholar Fredric Jameson, the chapter also locates the value of using an older text to articulate a newer example through a process of reverse historicization.
Comerford, C 2015, 'The hero we need, not the one we deserve: Vigilantism and the state of exception in Batman Incorporated' in Giddens, T (ed), Graphic Justice Intersections of Comics and Law, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 183-200.
Establishing the medium of graphic fiction as a critical resource for interdisciplinary legal studies, this collection is the first to address the intersection of comics and law.