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Barker, Martin

Entry updated 15 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic.

(1946-2022), UK academic and scholar of media and cultural studies at the University of the West of England, the University of Sussex and (from 2001) Aberystwyth University, where in his last years he was professor emeritus. He began to publish studies of genre relevance with A Haunt of Fears: The Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign (1984), which explored the religious and political machinations behind the titular scaremongering of 1949-1955 which led to a UK government ban in 1955; extracts from then-controversial Comics are included. The similar exaggerations of the later UK "video nasties" censorship campaign against violent Horror films are critically examined in The Video Nasties: Freedom and Censorship in the Arts (anth 1984), which Barker both edited and contributed to. He wrote about various aspects of children's Comics, including racism (see Race in SF), in Comics: Ideology, Power and the Critics (1989) and Action: The Story of a Violent Comic (1990).

Several later works study the response of audiences and others to specific Cinema productions including: Judge Dredd (1995) directed by Danny Cannon; Crash (1997) directed by David Cronenberg, based on Crash (1973) by J G Ballard; the three-part 2001-2003 adaptation of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955 3vols) directed by Peter Jackson; and Alien (1979) directed by Ridley Scott [for book titles see Checklist below]. Barker also oversaw an international research project on the audience for the George R R Martin-based Television series Game of Thrones (2011-2019). His influence on media studies was considerable; his passionate attacks on censorship are remembered. [DRL]

Martin Barker

born 20 April 1946

died 8 September 2022

works (selected)


nonfiction works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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