Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

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Slender Man: The Internet Births a Monster

Slender Man: The Internet Births a Monster

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

The story of the fictional monster “Slender Man” is a familiar one for individuals who have perused the semi-underground areas of the internet over the last four years or so. Beginning as an exercise in creating authentic-looking pictures of paranormal activity on the “Something Awful” forums, Slender Man’s murky origins and initially misleadingly realistic internet presence have lead to a large, online, cult following that have simultaneously carved the monster’s mythology and questioned his actual existence. Well-received horror video games featuring the iconic Slender Man raised knowledge and popularity of the monster, but also largely ended the eerie presence of reality Slender Man possessed in his more obscure, internet-only days. Despite the aura surrounding Slender Man disappearing over the last year or so, his presence has not entirely vanished. A following, fully aware of Slender Man’s internet-based origins, still believes that the monster may actually exist in some form, a testament to the myth’s authenticity. Regardless, the rise of Slender Man as an internet icon remains an intriguing, valuable case-study of the multi-media, multi-author permeation of a monster mythos. Times have changed for “The first great myth of the web.” Just a few years back, an internet search of “Slenderman” would have led to remarkably inconclusive results. Different wiki sites and various outlets treated Slender Man as most would Bigfoot; not proven, but just look at the evidence! Various blurry images and videos claiming to feature the monster were strewn about the internet and referenced to with an air of authenticity. Even more pervasive, many of these pictures enhanced their sense of reality by placing a fictional watermark on the image such as “City of Sterling Libraries, Local Studies Collection.” Fictional media stories referencing past events such as a local fires, assumedly Slenderman’s doing, also worked at carving a uniquely realistic framework for Slender Man to operate in. Most incredibly however, various pieces of even deeper false history were strewn throughout the internet to corroborate the reality of such fictional events. One photo caption reads: “Two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day on which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as ‘The Slender Man.’ Deformities cited as film...

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Kpop: Transmedia Marketing Like You’ve Never Seen Before.

Kpop: Transmedia Marketing Like You’ve Never Seen Before.

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

  South Korea is the pinnacle achievement of multi-media internet communications in the modern world. Nearly all communication in South Korea is almost entirely dependent on the digital world and as broadband has developed, newer forms of communications are beginning to dominate. Even as a country with a comparatively small population, South Korea boasts the second largest number of bloggers in the world. That number is surpassed only by the United States (Choi). Mobile phone usage to access blogging platforms, social networking sites, and multi-media sharing sites in South Korea surpasses nearly every other country on earth. According to a global study by the Financial Times nearly three-quarters of the total South Korean population is heavily reliant on mobile phones and multi-media communication as a part of daily life, surpassing Western Europe, the United States, and even Japan (Katz). That number has only continued to grow dramatically in recent years and covers both Korea’s cities and its rural countryside. The current reality of the situation is that South Korea is a fully wired world, the State’s citizenry is continually bombarded with digital media. This flood of media extends through pictures, music, blog posts of rants and manifestos, videos and video games, and it bleeds into the real world in the form of trends in everything from fashion to political opinions. The wired world phenomenon has created a new structure of interpersonal relationships that blurs the line between the virtual and the physical (Choi). Such an overwhelming mix of cyberspace and the world’s physical reality has become the norm and it means that typical advertising schemes are proving to be much less effective than they were when a singular ad at the bus-stop was the only thing people waiting for the bus had to look at.   For many of South Korea’s industries, this has posed a serious problem. Adapting to the sudden demand of the market that a productbe everywhere at once, all over the internet, has been difficult for the slower-moving companies, especially the ones like grocery stores that had never before needed to advertise. Now, nearly every industry is clinging to the one industry tht boomed under the new pressure: Kpop.     The Kpop Industry evolved right alongside...

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The Marvel Universe

The Marvel Universe

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

The Marvel Universe has grown a lot since its beginning in the 1950s.  What started as a series of comic books would become one of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world.  Marvel has since expanded to explore mediums such as comic books (of course), short films, feature films, video games, and a television series all based on characters from the Marvel Universe.  While certainly ambitious, having so many entertainment outlets marketed more towards the mainstream can cause inevitable problems with canon.  In addition, new stories that aren’t based on the original comics can disappoint more die-hard fans.  My goal is to discuss how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded and how it branches away from the original roots of Marvel Comics. I am not very familiar with the original comic books, so most of my experience comes from the movies and doing my own research. I do know though that comic book plots can be very complicated, with official canon, non-canon issues, issues dealing with hypothetical plots, and even crossovers with the DC Universe.  People who aren’t completely invested in these plots would naturally be confused.  It is my belief that these intricate plots are streamlined for film to appeal to audiences and fit all of the plot points into a 2-3 hour window. However, film adaptations for anything tend to get mixed reactions out of fans.  The most common complaints I’ve come across are that the adaptations are either too true to the comics and less appealing to the casual moviegoer, or they deviate too far from the source material in an effort to please the average, non-comic book reader. One example I can remember is people complaining that Spiderman didn’t use webshooters in the 2002 film Spider-Man, but instead shot webs out of his wrists directly. Another I found had to do with the order of events that will lead up to the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and eventually Ant-Man, namely that Ant-Man is directly responsible for the events that happen in Age of Ultron and should go first.  Lots of these complaints are easily shrugged off by people who don’t know about the comics, but comic book fans feel as if their beloved...

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Go Nagai’s Contributions to Transmedia

Go Nagai’s Contributions to Transmedia

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

If you live in the United States, it is unlikely that the name ‘Go Nagai’ will ring any bells. Nonetheless, many people throughout the world, from Spain, Latin America, France, and most notably, Japan, grew up with his characters. Uncle Go, as his fans call him, is responsible for many of the genres and tropes we see in anime and manga today. He is credited with popularizing the mecha genre with his 1972, super robot series, “Mazinger Z”; the protagonist of his manga “Cutey Honey” was the first heroine in a Shōnen (manga marketed to a young, male audience) series and one of the first magical girls; And, his manga, “Abashiri Ikka,” and “Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko,” pushed the boundaries of censorship for their time, resulting in greater creative freedom for manga artists. However, Go Nagai’s work is also notable in how it applies to transmedia. While many of his manga, like Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko, remained on print, many more enjoyed success through anime adaptations. Nevertheless, these anime adaptions almost always differed from their manga counterparts. One notable series that saw this change was Mao Dante. Published in Kodansha’s “Bokura Magazine” in 1971, Mao Dante was a unique manga for its time. Drawing inspiration from Christianity, Mao Dante told the story of the demons’ battle against the malicious, Christian god. The demons in the manga were the people of Sodom, who had been transformed into hideous creatures through God’s wrath. God, in the manga, is an invading mass of energy who wishes to use the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as vessels to materialize himself. When those people fight back, however, he creates a new lineage of mankind by altering the evolution of apes and using them as his vessels. The survivors of Gomorrah (God destroyed Gomorrah in a way that did not transform its people into demons) became the Satanists, while the demons became dormant, waiting for a moment when the newly evolved humans would forget about God, so they could kill the invader and his vessels once and for all. After the manga was canceled, due to “Bokura Magazine” closing its doors, Go Nagai was approached by Toei Animation to do an anime adaptation of the series. However,...

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Structured Language in Fictional World Building

Structured Language in Fictional World Building

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Superman are all examples of fictional worlds that have begun in one medium and have evolved into massive multi-platform experiences. Halo has video games, books, wiki-cites, even talk of a movie has surfaced on multiple occasions. Assassin’s creed has also expanded from video games to include multiple apps, wiki-cites, and a very successful book series. But the there are two fictional worlds that stand head and shoulders over every other; two successful transmedia campaigns that beat all others in the sheer size of content and following—Star Wars and Star Trek. Most extreme fans can pick out the minute details of how the worlds are polar opposites; how each expanse separates the two series even more. But when you look at everything on the large scale, the similarities are vastly evident. Both started on screen (TV and movie respectively), both expanded into novels, and with the rise of the internet, both are widely popular of this third platform. Eerily similar, but Star Trek has expanded into one world that Star Wars has fought and struggled to make headway in—the real world. Sure, both have massive followings at comic con and both are still very popular Halloween costume choices. But both of these still maintain a sense of false-hood. Language however is the most successful world building tool that is pivotal to bridging the gap between fantasy and reality. You can dress up as Darth Vader, but you’re still speaking Modern English. You’re no longer in a Galaxy far far away, you’re just a human in a costume of a fake world. Dress up as Captain Klaa and talk in Klingon however and you’re living in the Star Trek world. There’s nothing tying you to reality. You have successfully immersed yourself in a fantasy world. You have escaped Earth and are now somewhere lost in space. Apart from Tolkien’s Elvish, no pop-culture language has taken such a stronghold in the American consciousness. It’s hard to imagine anyone who knows anything about Star Trek not knowing about the language Klingon. The ability to immerse oneself in an artificial language is a goal that Star Wars has been trying to accomplish for quite some time now. In film, foreign...

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A Soundbridge: An Audio Format for a Visual Memory

A Soundbridge: An Audio Format for a Visual Memory

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

This class has opened my eyes to things. Has made me realize the near infinite amount of interconnections that weave together this massive system of multi-media entertainment. However, it has also offered up many questions. I understand the basic definition of transmedia media, but I feel it is so broad that it leaves out a great deal of possibilities, yet, paradoxically, so narrow to suggest that there is a chance that certain things may not count, even though they should. With that in mind, I present the question, is a soundtrack transmedial? If a song makes distinct references to a certain event, be it real or from a fictional work, is it not breaching the gap of media mediums? What if there are no lyrics but hearing the song reminds you of the very scene from the film it was used in? Does Lux Alterna from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack count as transmedia simply because it’s haunting strings hearken back to the dilapidated lives of the characters of the film? Does the Pokemon battle theme music count as a cross platform / multimedia piece not simply for it’s use in multiple games, films, and shows, but for the simple fact that hearing it puts you back in the mindset of a Poke-master? A goofy idea no doubt but no less one that you are reminded of when hearing those eight bit toons through small speakers. You can almost feel the D-pad under your left thumb and the A/B buttons under your right when it plays on someone’s phone as their ringtone. So do these things count as transmedia if the main media they play through isn’t exactly a tangible / physical one, but rather best understood as a collection of memories in one’s head? In a way, music often works as the bridge between mediums. Many films recycle themes regardless of how different the subject matter is. In doing so, one is often reminded of the original use of the piece. While the film Vantage Point used the theme of 300, “To Victory” in its trailer, 300 itself used Nine Inch Nails “Just Like You Imagined” in its own trailer. As NIN songs have been used again...

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