Abjuring, as I always do, the ideological definition of anything, here's my shortest possible definition of the superhero figure in terms of its being both "super" and "heroic:"
"The superhero is a hybrid figure, in which the reader's feelings of awe and admiration for the spectacle of heroic endeavor are melded with those feelings typically called "the sense of wonder" by science fiction, fantasy and related genres."
In short, this may be the closest I can get, in a project I'm contemplating, to describing the two forms of the sublime I've detailed here-- the dynamic sublime and the combinatory sublime-- without invoking Kant and thus immediately causing the casual reader to check out. The same thing for my specialized terms of "awe," "admiration," and others that I've used in more complicated contexts.
I may ring in some alterations here or there, but I'll probably hew closely to this basic formulation from now on.
1 hour ago