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Comics And Transmedia In The Marvel Age (1961-1987): Doctor Doom As Hyper-diegetic Hero
Since he was created for 'Fantastic Four' #5 (1961) Doctor Doom has been a recurring character in every aspect of Marvel's transmedia universe. He has been the main villain in all four live action Fantastic Four films (including the unreleased Roger Corman movie of 1994), featured in almost every Marvel cartoon series, from 'The Marvel Superheroes' in 1966 to the current 'Avengers Assemble' and has appeared in video games, trading cards, toy ranges and even hip hop tracks. In the core Marvel comics universe he has appeared in over a hundred separate series, but until the current 'Infamous Iron Man' series has only ever headlined one, short-lived, ongoing series of his own ('Doom 2099', 1993-1996).
My research seeks to show that Doctor Doom's lack of his own series or dedicated creative teams has allowed him to evolve as a prototype of 'open source' characters, developed by numerous creators with no predetermined path, but managing to retain the core concepts of his character throughout. It will also propose that the shared 'universe' of Marvel comics in the period 1961-1987 is an early example of the shared world multiple author storytelling which has become the source material for the hugely successful 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' of the 21st century. Further, it will argue that Doctor Doom's emergence from the hyper-diegesis of the Marvel storyworld makes him a key case study for how such characters develop, and a counterpoint to the current focus on Batman as exemplar of transmedia characterisation. In this way I hope to challenge received narratives about the origins of this mode of storytelling, and to build on existing academic work on transmedia and convergence theory, thereby offering a new model of 21st century transmedia theorising based in 20th century comics seriality.
posted 8/1/2018 by Mark Hibbett
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