ISSN: 20509790
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: June 2015
OPEN ACCESS: ‘X marks the spot’: Urban dystopia, slum voyeurism and failures of identity in District X
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Authors:  Martin Lund 
DOI: 10.1386/jucs.2.1-2.35_1

Keywords
Marvel Comics,mutantcy,blackness,homelessness,identity formation,slums,Alphabet City,urban representation

Abstract
This article studies the ‘imaginative mapping’ of a real-world neighbourhood in one comic book series: lower Manhattan’s Alphabet City in writer David Hine and artists David Yardin and Lan Medina’s District X (July 2004–January 2006). In contrast to a long-standing claim to ‘realism’ in Marvel’s use of New York City, this article argues that the real Alphabet City – at the time a contested and rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood – is nowhere to be found in District X, replaced by a voyeuristic fabrication, a sensationalistic node of concentration for middle-class fears about urban decline and blight amid prosperity and contemporary discourses about drugs, crime and homelessness that reproduces long-standing cultural representations of the neighbourhood as different and inferior. In doing so, the series polices a boundary of identity, empathy and imagination and tells readers that force in favour of clearing out radical difference in the neighbourhood and making it into a space fit for ‘normal’ people is natural, rational and logical and in the best interest even of those who might be displaced by gentrification, disproportionately incarcerated in the name of ‘law and order’, or put at risk of their lives in dangerous shelters. This article is published Open Access under the following licence: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC).
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