Marvel Comics into Film

Essays on Adaptations Since the 1940s


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About the Book

Marvel Studios’ approach to its Cinematic Universe—beginning with the release of Iron Man (2008)—has become the template for successful management of blockbuster film properties. Yet films featuring Marvel characters can be traced back to the 1940s, when the Captain America serial first appeared on the screen.
This collection of new essays is the first to explore the historical, textual and cultural context of the larger cinematic Marvel universe, including serials, animated films, television movies, non–U.S. versions of Marvel characters, films that feature characters licensed by Marvel, and the contemporary Cinematic Universe as conceived by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. Films analyzed include Transformers (1986), Howard the Duck (1986), Blade (1998), Planet Hulk (2010), Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013), Elektra (2005), the Conan the Barbarian franchise (1982–1990), Ultimate Avengers (2006) and Ghost Rider (2007).

About the Author(s)

Matthew J. McEniry is an assistant metadata librarian at Texas Tech University and describes digital manuscripts for online discovery.
Robert Moses Peaslee is an associate professor and chair of Journalism and Electronic Media at the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. His work has been published in several journals and he is coeditor of two previous essay collections on comics.
Robert G. Weiner is a popular culture/humanities librarian at Texas Tech University. His work has been published in the Journal of Popular Culture, Public Library Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, International Journal of Comic Art and Popular Music and Society.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Matthew J. McEniry, Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4304-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2411-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction (Robert G. Weiner, Robert Moses Peaslee, and Matthew J. McEniry) 1

Part 1: Myth

“Yeah? Well, MY god has a HAMMER!”: ­Myth-Taken Identity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey) 10

“The terms of the contract have changed”: How Ghost Rider Carries on Goethe’s Faustian Tradition (Jacob Garner and Thomas Simko) 20

Transformers: The Movie: Making Modern Mythology the Marvel Way (Jason Bainbridge) 27

You Can’t Stop Her: Elektra ­Re-Configured (Daniel Binns) 39

Part 2: Licensed Properties

Dare to Be Stupid: The Fetishization of Heavy Metal and the New in Transformers: The Movie (Eric Garneau) 52

Science Fiction in G.I. Joe: The Movie: Its Influence, Origin, Introduction and Development (Liam T. Webb) 60

Conan the Destroyer of a Franchise? Analyzing and Evaluating the Adaptive and Narrative Features of Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer and The Horn of Azoth (Rodney Donahue) 72

Part 3: The Japanese Connection

Marvel and Toei (Jesus ­Jimenez-Varea and Miguel Ángel Pérez-Gómez) 84

Japanese Characters and Culture in Marvel’s American Films (Stephen Miller) 94

Part 4: Setting Up the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Sowing the Seeds: How 1990s Marvel Animation Facilitated Today’s Cinematic Universe (Liam Burke) 106

The Death of the First Marvel Television Universe (Arnold T. Blumberg) 118

Frozen in Ice: Captain America’s Arduous Journey to the Silver Screen (David Ray Carter) 129

The Primetime Heroics of Small Screen Avengers: Finding Sociopolitical Value in Marvel TV Movies (Jef Burnham) 138

Part 5: The Attempt of Progressivism in the Marvel Universe

Damsels in Transgress: The Empowerment of the Damsel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Joseph Walderzak) 150

Elektra: Critical Reception, Postfeminism and the Marvel Superheroine on Screen (Miriam Kent) 165

Gods and Freaks, Soldiers and Men: Gender, Technologies and Marvel’s The Avengers (Jeremiah Favara) 177

An Archetype or a Token? The Challenge of the Black Panther (Julian C. Chambliss) 189

Part 6: Genre Studies

The Daywalker: Reading Blade as Genre Hybridity (Naja Later) 200

Body vs. Technology: Iron Man: The Rise of Technovore and Cyberpunk Culture (Vanessa Gerhards) 212

On Your Stupid Earth: The ­De-Gerberized Duck (Rick Hudson) 224

Part 7: The ­Anti-Hero

Punishing the Punisher: Can Hollywood Ever Capture the Essence of the Character? (Cord A. Scott) 232

Hulk Smash Binaries (D. Stokes Piercy and Ron Von Burg) 241

From Comic Book ­Anti-Hero to Cinematic Supervillain: The Transmedia Extension of Magneto (Joshua Wucher) 250

About the Contributors 261

Index 263

Book Reviews & Awards

• “One kick-ass textbook”—Flick Attack

• “A blast to read”—Bookgasm

• “Wonderful…interesting history…belongs in every library that has a strong film collection, and in the hands of every serious film student…well worth reading”—ICv2