WK 5 Readings

Cinema as a convergence meant that the film industry had to be redefined. Marvel is an example of how cinema was produced in the age of convergence, through cultural and critical practices. The reading (‘Cinematic Destiny: Marvel studios and the Trade Stories of Industrial Convergence’ by Derek Johnson) argues the fact that digital technology redesigns social practices, which then effects how films watched and consumed; and it also states that “convergence is not a uniquely digital or technological phenomenon but a reworking of media new and old, and thus the cinema of convergence must be understood in terms of collisions” (Johnson). When Marvel bid for creative independence within the film industry, it formed a convergence between the cinema and comic books, between not only cultures within Hollywood, but surrounding industries. Marvel now engages as a company, changing the way this enterprise will be seen through trade stories and production communities. Marvel is the main example of media convergence, as it is the merging of mass communication outlets, showing media through various digital media platforms.

The second reading ‘Media Marketing and the Evolution of Narrative Structure’ by Kendall Whitehouse, discusses this media convergence in more depth through the eyes of the Marvel enterprise. This reading started with the Avenger’s film, bringing in over $200 million at the box office opening weekend, however this was always going to be a big hit. They knew that bringing in characters from the different story-worlds, and bringing them together will make the consumers crazy, and that is exactly what they became. All of the films, such as Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, bring in a gross value of over $1 billion dollars. It is easy for this to be seen as a marketing ploy. They use the earlier films as teasers for The Avengers, and allow the cross-overs of characters to be noticed, to reach a wider target audience. However this reading suggests that any movie coming out of Hollywood at the moment, has nothing on comic books. This movie was going to be successful from the start, as it is based off comic books. Comic books are created with myriad narrative techniques, which the reading explains to be multi-issue story arcs, cross-overs, and multiple title tie-ins, which has opened the way for a new method of storytelling. The Avengers bring multiple superheroes into a single story, where is allows for techniques like the team-up and the crossover, where the reading implies that “the characters live in a universe larger than that told in each individual story. The characters inhabit a world in which the individual stories are only small slices”. As described in the tutorial post, the Marvel Universe has now become too expansive for individual readers to take in, and there are worlds inside another world, which allows the reader to explore the dimension that is their greatest interest. This is the advantage of having a transmedia story, they will watch one dimension, and then pick up on links to other characters and their story-worlds, so they will begin the cycle throughout the Marvel world. “The series presents a nearly unbounded narrative universe for the reader to explore”.

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