Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

Posts Tagged "Disney"

The Peter Pan Mythos; Never Growing Up Means Never Standing Still

The Peter Pan Mythos; Never Growing Up Means Never Standing Still

By on Dec 5, 2013 in Featured |

            Flying effortlessly onto TIME 100’s List of The 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived, Peter Pan has carved out a slice of History. Generally speaking, the average college student of 2013 is probably most familiar with the Disney’s 1953 animated film Peter Pan, but that is certainly not the original appearance of the Peter Pan character. Peter Pan’s very first appearance was a side note in J.M Barrie’s 1902 novel The Little White Bird, which was conceived as a partly whimsical fantasy story and partly comedic social commentary, both with extraordinarily dark undertones. Peter Pan’s story started out as a just a few short chapters (Chapter XIV – XVIII) in the Little White Bird, a section which was later adapted into its own novel (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906). The Peter Pan story was transmedia from its very beginning as the very first authorized adaption of the story was Barrie’s 1904 play, Peter and Wendy (which was adapted to take the story back into novel format in 1911, Peter and Wendy).           Peter and Wendy is the origin of most of what is considered canon today, though it is Peter’s second appearance in literature and vastly different from his characterization in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. That Peter doesn’t age, that he can fly without fairy dust, that he lives in Neverland (that Neverland is a world wholly separate from this one); all of it comes from Peter and Wendy rather than from the original character conception. In his original incarnation, Peter is a half-bird infant (as supposedly all infants are half bird), and just barely 7 days old when he flies away (after hearing, and perfectly understanding, a discussion about his adult life) to escape the horrors of growing up by hiding out in Kensington Gardens, where a crow named Solomon tells him he is much more boy than bird and Peter learns that he cannot actually fly. With his belief in his flying abilities dispersed, he finds himself stranded in Kensington Gardens. He befriends the fairies of Kensington by promising to play reed panpipes at their balls (a perfectly natural skill for a seven day old baby to have). The original Peter would have...

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Mickey Mouse and Schizophrenia: Chronically Unstable Setting in Transcendental Fiction

Mickey Mouse and Schizophrenia: Chronically Unstable Setting in Transcendental Fiction

By on Dec 4, 2013 in Featured | 2 comments

Traditionally and by plain definition, transmedia storytelling follows the manifestations of a single narrative in multiple media forms.  This narrative tethers the different elements and pulls them into a composite blob that collectively comprises the world, the universe being built.  This definition is inclusive to many endeavors to tie multiple narratives into a cohesive, immersive story, but it simultaneously pushes more splintered examples of storytelling that spans various media into confused, ambiguous territory.  If a series of short stories that take place in a wide variety of realities and universes is connected by a set of recognizable and familiar characters, is the lack of a cohesive, overarching narrative really such an integral attribute of transmedia fiction that an exclusive line in the sand needs to be drawn here?  While such a question is inherently based in subjective interpretation and can’t be answered definitively outside of conformity to dry, restrictive dictionary definitions, I believe that these fragmented, inconsistently set narrative bundles tethered by a cast of recognizable personalities have a great deal of nuance and richness that can be revealed through analysis as a collective transmedia fiction.  That being said, no stories describe the kind of schizophrenic, protean transmedia experience I’m talking about better than brought to life by Disney- namely those of Mickey Mouse. When the iconic character that would eventually go by Mickey Mouse first made his public debut in Steamboat Willie in 1928, he entered the American imagination as a resident of a very distinct, cartoony world that was flexible, inconsistent, and dynamic from the beginning.  The mice were wearing clothes and operating a steamboat while farm animals remained simple and unintelligent, Mickey’s body could stretch for days, and personification of inanimate objects ran rampant- the physical possibilities of this rubber hose cartoon world seemed limited only by the gags Walt Disney and crew could come up with.  It was, after all, a cartoon- anything that could be drawn fell into the realm of the possible. Mickey quickly taught his viewers that, in order to enter his world, they wouldn’t merely have to suspend their disbelief, but turn it off entirely.  As his quick ascension to nearly world-wide fame and recognition indicated, this was not a difficult...

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