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What accounts for the massive global popularity of action films and adventure literature? How do men and women respond to iconic screen stars such as Jackie Chan, Arld Schwarzenegger, Steve McQueen, and Charlton Heston? Action genres have been Hollywood's most profitable global exports for most of its history, their male heroes the subject of much fascination and derision. Bestselling literary thrillers, from The Hunt for Red October to Into Thin Air , have also contributed markedly to popular understandings of male activity. Action Figures takes stock of action narratives' many appeals and recognizes how contemporary crises of gender identity manifest themselves in popular commercial texts.
MARK GALLAGHER has taught courses in film history and theory, film genres, and Twentieth-century literature at Oberlin College, the University of Oregon, the University of Missouri, Georgia State University and Oklahoma State University, USA. His articles on film and television have appeared in Jump Cut, Velvet Light Trap, the Journal of Popular Film and Television, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, the Journal of Film and Video, and in other journals and anthologies.