We generally watch films passively – not critically. The purpose of this guide is to encourage more active engagement of the documentary. I have never been a fan of providing students with guides prior to any activity for fear that they will focus only on the pertinent portions identified in the guide and ignore everything else. The questions included in the guide are intended only as points of reference for class discussions of the documentary.
The documentary pursues a critical engagement of the manner in which Black masculinity is represented in comic books featuring the first Black superheroes. Consequently, many of the questions focus on issues of representation, race, masculinity, and the influence of racial/ historical contexts on the first Black superheroes. This is not THE study guide. As the filmmaker, I am probably far too close to the material to develop a comprehensive guide. This is simply a initial point of entry for your class discussions. If you want to share some good questions, please submit them (along with your name and institutional affiliation if you want to be credited) to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will create a list of “community questions” and update them every few weeks or so.
Additionally, the documentary should not be the only source for this study. The documentary shares scholarly space with a number of academic domains including African-American Studies, hip hop studies, gender studies, popular culture studies, communication, American studies, media anthropology, as well as ethnic and racial studies. Drawn for your own area(s) of interest to use the documentary in your work.
This guide reflects only the documentary. I have not developed questions for the more than forty video clips available on the site. Many of these clips should be useful to your class discussions.