Articles on comic books normally follow the fanboy trope: fan castings, lists, interviews and breaking news. As comics become a more legitimate medium and create bigger paychecks for everyone involved, a wider variety of people are jumping into the discussion, including business professionals and academics.
Kendall Whitehouse, director of new media for the University of Pennsylvania's much lauded business school, Wharton, recently posted an essay on his blog discussing the ways that comic book storytelling has changed the game in more ways than one. The essay also explains how the evolution of comic book storytelling directly led to the success of The Avengers.
On heroes crossing over:
Akin to the team-up is the guest appearance or character crossover — when one superhero appears in the comic book title of another character. When Spider-Man was given his own comic in 1963, Marvel’s most popular superheroes at the time, the Fantastic Four, made a guest appearance.
On expanding the narrative:
Many of these individual techniques – such as the multi-episode story and the story as window into a larger world — are found in other media, of course. Movie serials and television series excel at multi-chapter storytelling. J.D. Salinger’s tales of the Glass family evoke a larger narrative universe of which his tales are but fragments. Many other examples in film, television, and the written word could be cited. Yet comic books have honed and extended many of these techniques to a greater extent than most other forms.
The essay is a great read for anyone interested in comic book movies, or comic books in general. Film fans that don't know the history of superhero comics should find it especially interesting.
Check out Kendall Whitehouse's blog for the full article.
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