Comic books have picked up popularity as a method for scholars to gain insight as to how society confronts problems. The purpose of my research is to investigate the masculinity of the vigilante and how it hinges on their use of violence and sexuality. The three heroes I will analyze Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and Nite Owl. Each portrays their masculinity through sexuality and violence differently. To accurately understand the concepts aforementioned, it is imperative the reader look to the gutter of the comic. The gutter as defined by Scott McCloud is when the “Human imagination takes two separate images and transforms them into a single idea” (McCloud 66). In his chapter “blood in the gutter” McCloud explains, violence often happens inside the gutter to protect reader’s sensibility. However, violence is not the only thing that happens in the gutter, anything deemed perhaps too risqué also happens in the gutter. Therefore, much of the character’s sexuality will also take place in the gutter. Readers must use their imagination to create closure from the gaps that the gutter leaves. When the gutter is taken into consideration most of what defines a hero’s masculinity takes place there.
The first character I want to discuss is Dr. Manhattan and how his sexuality and use of violence play into his performance of masculinity. Dr. Manhattan cannot understand the human conceptions of sexuality or the true repercussions of violence; therefore, he uses the ideology of society to go