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Before the Law: Limits, Malice and The Immortal Hulk


This article uses Kafka's short story 'Before the Law' to offer a reading of Al Ewing's The Immortal Hulk. This is in turn used to explore our desire to encounter the Law understood as a form of completeness. The article differentiates between 'the Law' as completeness or limitlessness and 'the law' understood as limitation. The article also examines this desire to experience completeness or limitlessness in the work of George Bataille who argued such an experience was the path to sovereignty. In response it also considers Francois Flahault's critique of Bataille who argued Bataille failed to understand limitlessness is split between a 'good infinite' and a 'bad infinite', and that it is only the latter that can ultimately satisfy us. The article then proposes The Hulk, especially as presented in Al Ewing's The Immortal Hulk, is a study in where our desire for limitlessness can take us. Ultimately it proposes we turn ourselves away from the Law and towards the law that preserves and protects our incompleteness.

Published: 2020-11-21
Pages:172 to 184
Section: Symposium: Drawing the Human
How to Cite
Curtis, N. (2020). Before the Law: Limits, Malice and The Immortal Hulk. Law, Technology and Humans, 2(2), 172-184.

Author Biography

The University of Auckland
New Zealand New Zealand

Neal Curtis is Associate professor in Media and Communication at the University of Auckland. His most recent books are Idiotism: Capitalism and the Privatisation of Life (Pluot Press, 2013), Sovereignty and Superheroes (Manchester University Press, 2016. He has a new book entitled Hate in Precarious Times: Mobilizing Anxiety from the Alt-Right to Brexit due out in early 2021 wth IB Tauris/Bloomsbury.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074