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Showing posts from April, 2011

Whedon talks Avengers, But What About After the Avengers?

Whedon talks Avengers filming day one | Moviehole

Joss Whedon's message about the first day of shooting on the Avengers marks a key moment in Marvel's ongoing cinematic campaign. Bringing the Avengers to the big screen will basically act as the culmination of several years of careful construction of Marvel's cinematic universe. If you doubt this fact, a quick look of the Thor trailer shows Iron Man, Hulk, and Nick Fury. While films outside Marvel Studios have had no indication of a shared universe, Marvel produced films are all about the shared universe. We should not assume success, indeed problems related to the cost and time associated with making special effect heavy films has emerged as a problem for DC and Marvel related films. The time and money associated with bringing superheroes to life on the big screen is considerable. Moreover, they still need to make a good movie, something that is no easy task. Still, the odds are in Marvel and DC's favor. They have…

The Cape's Endgame Offers Some Insights for the Neo-Pulp Moment

The Cape - Endgame - Video - NBC.com

The costumed crime fighter's return to primetime television with The Cape did not prove a draw for the television audience. For all the emphases on superheroes in popular media, those heroes, at least on television, have shied away from costumes. Non costumed crime fighting dramas (or melodrama) provide the function associated with superheroes, but not the comic book form. The "No capes" approaches frees television shows from the stigma associated with superhero. The recent furor over Wonder Woman's costume in the forthcoming pilot for a propose new primetime show this fall highlights the difficulties associated with making a costume work for the viewing audience.

Why then, the effort to return the superhero costumed hero to the small screen? What, if any clues can we garner from The Cape's demise about the traction offered by superheroes in the public's mind?


The Cape was a family friendly show about a wrongfully accu…

Iconic Memory and Symbolic Weight: What Do Superhero Comics Tell Us About Social Politics?

In the aftermath of yet another confrontation between Republicans and Democrats over budget policy and the promise of future conflicts, it is worthwhile to step back and consider the traditionalist appeal in the context of superhero comics. The “traditionalist appeal” in this context is the resurrection of classic characters in recent comicbook superhero stories. While the political debate rarely directly spills onto the comic page, the sense of the political environment does, and often with startling results. Whether pro-war sentiment associated with Captain America’s first appearance punching Adolf Hitler or a flurry of President Obama appearances, comics are not divorced from the political climate. Superhero comics and society inform each other, contextualizing values, delineating beliefs, and highlighting concerns associated with political debates. Thus, feminist critiques elicit change in the status and action of female characters, and concerns about racial equity trigger t…

Stan Lee, The Governator, and Comics as the Space for Narrative Bleed

Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to partner with Stan Lee and become "The Governator" in a new animated series highlights the influence of superhero comic culture on mainstream entertainment. Whatever the obstacles to attracting new readers to print comics, digital media continues to offer opportunities for creators to reach a global audience.

While innovative new ideas abound, established brands can and do find an audience. Teaming up with Stan Lee allows Schwarzenegger to use the superhero archetype to continue his unique brand. Superheroes are the perfect venue because these characters brings together values, ideas, and desire associated with the U.S. experience in a narrative form deceptive in its simplicity, yet powerful in impact.

Having seen StanLee at MegaCon, I know that he continues to be a creative and marketing machine. Still, this latest project emphasizes the unique space superheroes occupy in the modern cultural landscape. For Schwarzenegger, the mov…

Paul Cornell--"Lex Luthor is almost Tony Stark" He has a point!

Comics - News - Paul Cornell: 'Lex Luthor almost Tony Stark' - Digital Spy

Paul Cornell's run on Action Comic has been great. His comment that Lex Luthor is similar to Tony Stark is true, but also points to the subtle shifts in the characterization of Luthor in comics. I'm co-teaching HIS 235 American Graphic Media in the Fall with my colleague William Svitavsky, so I have begun the process of thinking through the course yet again. Luthor is great example of how comic characters link to historical context. First introduced in the 1940s, Luthor was a "mad scientist" that easily reflected concerns about technological innovation creating chaos.

A common concern since the mid-nineteenth century as U.S. citizens realized rapid industrial and urban change was driven by technological innovation. In this atmosphere critics charged that technology, then as now, was "de-humanizing." You need only reflect on how the public believed the telephone would lead …