2018 had a lot going on, media-wise. We started Marvel’s endgame with Avengers: Infinity War, Jodie Whittaker took up the mantle of the Doctor, and an actual, unmistakable Science Fiction film won Best Picture at the Oscars. On top of that, Black Panther made all of the money, Neflix’s reboot of Queer Eye premiered, and the new title in the Smash Bros. series was released with a new storyline aspect that shocked much of the fan community.
Over here, in this small corner of the internet, we’ve gone a few new places, visited some old (and some really old) favorites, and played with some new ideas that will be carried through to the new year (I keep promising to normalize the schedule, maybe 2019 will be the year that it happens!). In addition to talking about stuff I like, which is this blog’s main purpose, I talked about a few things I didn’t (and explained why), and a few things that I like, but maybe with an asterisk. We also talked shop on the actual building blocks of story and some academic concepts that create the stories that we like to talk about.
So let’s talk about them just a little more.
A lot happened this year in comics, from the major Marvel films, to the first Aquaman movie, to the highly anticipated sequel to The Incredibles. Here, we talked about the big two, and some of the things that created the current landscape of the MCU and the DCEU.
Richard Brody caught a lot of flack for his review of Avengers: Infinity War. While I feel that it is not an entirely invalid criticism, it is a mostly invalid criticism. And aside from its novelty in terms of the world of superhero films, there is actually quite the historical precedence for films of this nature. The serial film and the epic film, both waning genres of film that had almost died by the start of the 21st century, have been given new life through the MCU. Perhaps Endgame will mark a watershed that brings the genres back for other studios as well.
Over at the other comics company, the DCEU is… floundering, even with the mixed reviews and positive audience reactions to Aquaman. They’re still making truckloads of money, but Warner Brothers wants them to make even more truckloads– on par with the MCU. A lot of people are just not connecting with the Nolan/Snyder tone of the movies and how it’s altered the Son of Krypton. People aren’t just expecting the Bruce Timm Superman, they’re thinking of the Dean Cain Superman, or the Christopher Reeve Superman, or the Grant Morrison Superman. If one of the most recognizable superhero symbols in the world means “hope”, shouldn’t there be a little bit of that hope in your movie, Snyder?
Old series continued and new series began this year. I had a lot of fun with these.
Bringing in another post to the “Breaking Genre” series, I actually very much like the movie Inception. It’s fun and there are some genuinely creative moments in it, but come on guys. It’s not surrealism. And while it has its moments, I’m not sure that it was trying to be. It was trying to be artistic, sure, but the hard dream logic is suspect, and while the parallels to film-making is a compelling interpretation, I’m not certain if it was intentional. I still enjoy the film, but perhaps it is not quite as deep as people make it out to be.
Disney Character Profiles
I took a look at three different and highly popular Disney Characters — Snow White, Belle, and Mickey Mouse — and discussed their origins, how their cartoons were made, and what makes them such icons both within the Disney brand and without. It’s always interesting to study the histories of individual characters, it shows how storytelling changes over the years. In the case of Mickey, it shows how a company changed over the years as well. I’ll eventually get to all of the Princesses, but there are other characters that would be interesting to look at, like Mowgli, Basil, or Prince John.
Yeah, those “weekly readings” posts that I definitely put up every week. Heh. I got a whole bunch of books for Christmas, so it’ll be right back at it after the New Year. Prepare yourself for the philosophical pondering of robot sentience, a time-displaced New Englander, and spice. So spice. Much flow. (Are doge memes still cool? Ah, whatever.)
A lot of the academic posts on here are really popular. I like writing them, so there will be more coming.
“What Is..?” Writing Series
The “What is..?” series of posts is meant to be as much analytical advice as it is writing advice. Because to some extent, writing and analysis should be a practical thing. Not necessarily in the “this is how you build an IKEA shelf” kind of practical, but in a “do both of these things at the same time so that you make both your writing and your analysis stronger” kind of thing. Writers should engage in criticism, Critics should engage in writing. The author might be dead, but considering a creative choice from the perspective of a creator (not necessarily the creator, just a creator) gives analysis a certain insight. And while you shouldn’t write for the critics, understanding the academic frameworks can help shape and inform your writing.
We’ve covered a lot of critical frameworks and academic buzzwords over the course of the year, from Marshall McLuhan, to postmodernism, to British Romanticism. My favorite of these was actually The Sorting Hat School of Literary Analysis— which more or less showed how a school of literary analysis is born, through close reading and a set framework. Feminist theory does this, as does Marxist theory, Queer theory, and Psychoanalytical theory. These are scaffolds from which analysis is built, and don’t always agree with each other, but show different aspects of a story, like the blind men with the elephant. They show parts that reveal the whole, because while there is room and reason to write with analytical framework in mind, only a select few books are so esoteric that they are specifically intended to showcase a specific analytical framework. They exist, don’t get me wrong, but they’re fewer than they seem.
We’ll be starting of with some adventures in space, time, and towels, but we’ll also be going back to the weekly readings, we’ll have a bunch more Disney stuff, a bunch of non-Disney stuff (it’s still out there, I swear!), and more advice and analysis of popular media.
And, again, hopefully fewer hiatuses. ^-^;
What posts did you like this year? Anything you’d like me to look at in the future? Let me know in the comments! Also like if you can, and subscribe– or follow us on Facebook!— so you can fulfill your 2019 resolution to read more by reading my blog! Happy New Year!