Blogging A to Z Day 15: Marvel Cinematic Universe

What is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might ask? It’s the shared movie universe inhabited by all of the Marvel Studios movies – but not necessarily by the movies made by other studios. So in are the Avengers and their solo movies, and out are the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Spider-Man. Kind of. And more recently, this is a shared universe also with two television shows, keeping fans entertained between movies.

In an era when so much of movie talk is about re-boots, re-makes, sequels, and adaptations, the Marvel Cinematic Universe just seems to blend right in. And there are plenty of folks who worry that the money the movies are making are going to kill the comics that they are based on – making the comics the secondary focus, rather than the primary.

So instead today, I want to approach this from the other direction. Because while on the one hand these movies might seem like they’re all something old, made new again to turn a profit – on the other hand, they are showing a whole new way of storytelling and franchise building, which has turned out to be both good and bad!

Piece by piece, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown. The little teaser moments connecting the movies, people like Nick Fury and Agent Coulson (first name Agent), were great for the fans. Sure, it also maybe left us skeptical, and the radical departure from the direction they were heading in Iron Man 2 shows that they are learning and adapting.

Since The Avengers, and its run as the third biggest box-office film of all time, their plans have really grown. At this point, we know what their films are going to be between now and 2019. And if that’s not enough, the TV shows have been getting better – with Agent Carter this year being a particular treat.

Agent_Carter_Official_Logo

There have been shared universes before, between shows, between movies. Star Trek springs to mind. However, Star Trek had a pattern of TV show and then movies. And some periods of multiple shows on at once. Marvel is pulling off something different – a show springing from the movies, and then returning to movies, then back to show.

One of their perceived competitors, DC, is not trying this. They have a separate TV and movie universe going on right now (check out all the great Arrow reviews here on Sourcerer!). Totally different from one another. And then we’re seeing all sorts of other studios trying to create franchises that work like Marvel’s – with multiple movies being made at once, with different teams, in a shared cinematic universe. Shared universes are great and all, but Marvel’s doing something more.

They’re doing a complete, gigantic, all-in shared universe. It’s definitely influencing their comics. It’s definitely making them money. But it’s also definitely entertaining fans and generally just a great time. So while it’s something old, it’s also something new – something hard to duplicate, and so very fragile. Will it hold up over time, as these further movies come out? I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

This post was by @CompGeeksDavid of the Comparative Geeks and regular Sourcerer contributor. For more A to Z geekery, check out Comparative Geeks

Worth a Look — IDW Publishing

Good day, everyone! For this entry in my newly revamped season two here at Sourcerer, I want to take a step back and have a look at one of the larger comics publishers that isn’t one of the big boys, and isn’t quite indie, but has a lot of potential—IDW. The company originally arose in 1999 as a ploy to capitalize on popular merchandising, but it has grown into a fairly strong competitor in the comics market in the years since. True, it doesn’t have a lot of its own unique properties currently, but as I said, it has a lot of potential.

IDW’s first unique comic series was 30 Days of Night in 2002, which many of you probably remember foremost as that vampire movie set in Alaska that starred Josh Hartnett. Aside from this, most of IDW’s most recognizable properties have all been older licensed intellectual properties including Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, and even (shudder) My Little Pony. They’ll also be launching a new Jem and the Holograms series this year.

30 Days of Night cover image by Ben Templesmith

Among those licensed properties, the Star Trek line has some of the most interesting stories currently running. The ongoing Star Trek series launched shortly after the 2009 reboot film and actually operates with some input from the movies’ writers. Further, some of its material has even influenced the direction the movies take, making it an intriguing (and canonical) print foray into this newer growing Star Trek universe. One storyline I must read and review one day for Sourcerer is the one currently running—the crew of Kirk’s Enterprise encounter Q (of Next Generation infamy), who, aware of the changes in the timeline brought on at the beginning of the 2009 film, actually sends the Enterprise into the future of the old timeline to Deep Space Nine during the Dominion War. If you can’t see how awesome this concept potentially is, there’s no help for you.

IDW has also been stepping it up with its imported line of comics, particularly its European forays. Most notable is a series that begins its US publication in April called The Infinite Loop, a French science fiction comic book about time travel and same-sex love. It looks pretty interesting and I’ll definitely be checking it out when I’m able.

That’s about it for this week. As a reading recommendation, I’d suggest digging something up that’s been published by IDW and giving it a shot, especially given its recent (and promising) move to San Diego. Given the span of IDW’s licenses, you stand a good chance of finding something you’ll like. See you all again soon. Go out and support your local comic shops!

Time To Get Naked With Star Trek: the Dark Side of Exploration

– The Extremis Review is a nice find. They also do comic reviews and some other things; this is a part of an ongoing series on Star Trek.

Julian R. Munds

Trek Through Trek– Part VII

By: Julian Munds

Star Trekis famous for its optimistic vision of the future. It depicts a humanity that is without prejudice, without irrational thought and without greed. Trek is known for its idealism, particularly with its focus on exploration, wether scientific or cosmic; but exploration is not always an ideal experience. For every beneficial great discovery that takes place, there is an equal chance of complete disaster. The Naked Time shows the dark and frightening side of what the Enterprise seeks to achieve on their five year mission. This episode is the dark side of exploration.

Exploration is in humanity’s DNA. From the very beginning we were wanderers on this Earth. Out of our birth on the continent of Africa to our jaunt across the dry Bering strait, it is a human compulsion to reach beyond the horizon. However, not always are the…

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