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Marvel Studios has provided some of the biggest worldwide cinematic hits of the last eight years, from Iron Man (2008) to the record-breaking The Avengers (2012), and beyond. Having announced plans to extend its production of connected texts in cinema, network and online television until at least 2028, the new aesthetic patterns brought about by Marvel's 'shared' media universe demand analysis and understanding.
The Marvel Studios Phenomenon evaluates the studio's identity, as well as its status within the structures of parent Disney. In a new set of readings of key texts such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the thematics of superhero fiction and the role of fandom are considered. The authors identify milestones from Marvel's complex and controversial business history, allowing us to appraise its industrial status: from a comic publisher keen to exploit its intellectual property, to an independent producer, to successful subsidiary of a vast entertainment empire.
Martin Flanagan is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Salford, UK. His work studies the forms of contemporary Hollywood entertainment, and he has explored the interface between Marvel comics and moving image media in articles for New Review of Film and Television Studies and Scope, and in the collections Web-spinning Heroics (2012) and Film and Comic Books (2007). His monograph, Bakhtin and the Movies: New Ways of Understanding Hollywood Film (2009), explores and situates superheroic narratives within wider Hollywood generic traditions.
Mike McKenny has covered the UK festival sector and provided feature articles for Film and Festivals. As a film programmer, he led community cinema Miniciné to win the national (UK) award for Best Film Programming in 2012. His academic training in Film and Business Studies has fostered a keen focus and understanding of business environments as they specifically pertain to modern entertainment organisations.
Andy Livingstone is a writer for Cinema 22 magazine and neophyte documentary filmmaker, working in Manchester's independent cinema scene. Areas of focus in his academic programme included transmedia and the marketing and genre placement of comic book adaptations, both of which subjects he considered in extended projects.
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Road to Marvel Studios
1. 'Films Lead Policy': Marvel's Industrial (R)evolution and the Birth of a Studio
2. An Organization of Storytellers: The Marvel Story, According to Marvel
3. 'Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes?': The Genre Tactics of Marvel Studios
4. Captains America
6. Star-Lord, Who?: Guardians of the Galaxy - Raiding the 'B-List' for New
7. 'A Little Old-Fashioned…': Marvel Studios and Pixar
8. Tie-ins, Tie-ups and Let-downs: Marvel's Transmedia Empire