Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

Posts Tagged "transmedia fiction"

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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“Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray” questions about authorship

“Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray” questions about authorship

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

For my Oscar Wilde Seminar this semester I’ve been working on an essay that deals with an interesting concept; adaptation.  In my essay, I look at the Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray with the aim of evaluating its effectiveness as an adaptation. One of the points that has been really fascinating to think about however has been the question of authorship.  A graphic novel is a text that has many contributors to get it off the ground and make it into an effective vessel for narrative.  If there are many people contributing to the creation of the narrative and the artifact that conveys it who then do we call the author? All of them? None of them? Is Wilde still the only author? First lets consider some of the hands that go into producing a graphic novel: we’ve got a “writer”, an “artist”, a “colorist”, a “letterer” and one or more “editors”.  Ok so of this list let’s remove the editors, they don’t really go into “producing” the narrative they really are more involved in the process of “refining” it. Now For this particular text this leaves the writer: Roy Thomas, the artist: Sebastian Fiumara, The colorist: Giulia Brusco, and the letterer: Dave Sharpe.  Each of these individuals contributes to the way a reader experiences the adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray.  However, does that really let us say that they are authors in their own right? Thomas is the adaptive writer; it’s his job to take Wilde’s initial text and generate from it a version that is usable in comic form.  In the introduction to the trade hardback of Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray Thomas states that the “aim was to tell Wilde’s story, in the author’s own words wherever possible.” Thomas set out not to retell Wilde’s story but rather to adapt what existed into a form that was readily usable in the comic form.  This resulted in the truncation of many of the longer philosophical dialogs but still, Thomas added very little “text” to Wilde’s initial work while converting it into a form that allowed the rest of the team to build a comic around it. Fiumara, Brusco and Sharpe have...

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Canonicity and Storytelling in RPG’s

Canonicity and Storytelling in RPG’s

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

Some months ago now, as I was perusing the Dragon Age Facebook page, the DA team had posted a wonderful piece of fan art by a Deviant Artist named Alteya who’s other work can be found Here. I was initially very impressed with the piece of art, but what truly astonished me was the amount of controversy that this seemingly innocuous piece of art had managed to create.  This depiction of a fan’s Hawke caused out cry about what constituted the “canon” Hawke in Dragon Age II. On one side of argument, we have a collection of players (mostly, if not exclusively male) that insist that Hawke is canonically male.   On the other side, which is much less polarized by gender, arguing against the notion of male Hawke as being canon or the notion of their being a canon at all. screenshot taken of fan discussion on Dragon Age Facebook page screenshot taken of fan discussion on Dragon Age Facebook page screenshot taken of fan discussion on Dragon Age Facebook page screenshot taken of fan discussion on Dragon Age Facebook page This got me thinking, did I believe in the idea of a canonical version of the story?  My immediate answer was “no” but then I stopped to think about it.  If we treat the game as a text, then the text has multiple narratives it can tell and each of those narratives have a host of different readings.  The game itself adapts and changes based on the decisions a player makes at the time of character creation and more so throughout gameplay.   My favorite initial character set up of “Female” “Mage” Hawke leads to different sorts of narratological interpretations then a friend of mine’s set up of “Male” “Warrior” Hawke. If we consider the narrative as a sort of nebula of possibilities, each decision we make impacts the potential outcomes. At the outset, we narrow our narrative’s potentiality fairly significantly. The choice of mage vs. non-mage is rather important, it dictates which of your Hawke’s siblings survives and how your character will be perceived (as much as the game is capable of handling such things) in the world.  Mage Hawke is just going to logically be more sympathetic...

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Imaginary Media

Imaginary Media

By on Dec 5, 2013 in Featured |

Jussi Parikka’s What is Media Archaeology? is a search into the different genres of media today, as well as digging into past forms of media before technology had advanced to the level at which it is in the new millennium. One fascinating subject which Jussi Parikka discusses in What is Media Archaeology? is the concept of Imaginary Media. As Parikka discusses in the chapter, Imaginary Media is many things and is represented in many ways. It is certainly related to Media Archaeology in regards to how it is a practice of “doing old media”. Imaginary Media takes a look at past forms of media and cultural uses of technology and “imagines the possibilities of other pasts and futures”. In other words, observing the ideas and uses for technology people came up with and looking at why ideas were kept and maximized upon, and why others were discarded. How would the narrative of media history be different if people pursued other media and technological endeavors? Parrikka explains that this study is unique because it is “outside linear media history.” What kind of alternate futures would be possible if different technology were pursued and made useful by past cultures? Likewise, Imaginary Media is also a study of the communication of society. It looks at the aspirations and dreams of a time period and society to push the boundaries of technology. For example, time machines, tele-porters, early versions of the cell phones and transmittance, anything that was imagined on Star Trek in the 1960s or in War of the Worlds at the turn of the 20th century or in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is Imaginary Media. The sacred and profound theory behind this is how the visionary, creative imagination of science fiction writers seem to inspire the coming true of this technology. In the Star Trek episodes of the 1960s, viewers saw William Shatner, speaking into his mobile device to send messages of intelligence back to the Enterprise. Thirty years later, cell phones were the mainstream. We should be able to get a look at more modern science fiction movies like The Matrix and see where society is headed in the realm of Imaginary Media. There is also a paranormal side related to the concept of Imaginary...

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The World of LARPing

The World of LARPing

By on Sep 27, 2013 in Featured | 1 comment

In the world of modern transmedia fiction, there are several different facets of a fictional world which an avid fan can delve into, whether it be books, games, movies, TV shows, etc.–but none take the concept of total immersion in a fictional world quite so far as “LARPers”. LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Play, and for those who truly invest themselves in a fandom, LARP is not just a way to contribute to their fandom family, but it allows them to temporarily part from reality and actively participate in the fantasy world to which they’ve so fully dedicated themselves. To participate in Live Action Role Play, one acquires or makes the costume and equipment for their favorite character, whether it be a medieval mercenary, Aragorn, or even a Teletubby (hey, you never know), and then they congregate with other die hard fans to act out scenarios from their chosen fandoms while assuming the personality traits, appearance, and actions of their favorite character, thus taking the elements of the fictional world and its characters into their own hands. LARPing may seem rather outlandish to someone who has never heard of it, but many LARPers are people who appear to be fairly “normal” according to standard social conventions–that is, they hold down steady, sometimes even high-profile, jobs and don’t spend all their time reading Lord of the Rings fanfiction on the couch in their mother’s dark basement. LARPing is just another fascinating, yet curiously little known and under-documented, aspect of the fandom universe, and it’s a Big Deal.   Most tend to think of LARPing as merely a grown-up version of make-believe or escapism, but who’s to say these are bad things? According to Aeon Magazine columnist Damien Walter, it is human nature to escape the grimy reality of our lives, because “we hunger for an escape so complete it borders on oblivion: the total eradication of self and reality beneath a superimposed fantasy.” Complete immersion in a fantasy world is essentially a coping method that some people use to grapple with the grueling or otherwise monotonous grind of daily life. Additionally, PhD student and gaming expert, David Owen, claims that LARPing is actually healthy for this very reason,...

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