Since the rise of Marvel in the 1960s there’s been books, courses and comic con panels about making comics the “Marvel way,” but with the success of Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, perhaps its time we start talking about making movies the Marvel way, and wouldn’t you know it, the annals of American higher learning is answering the call. That’s right nerds, starting in the summer of 2015, if your a student at the University of Baltimore, you too can learn all about the art of making Marvel movies, from a purely educational perspective of course. Now, the U of B ain’t exactly one of your top ten institutions for higher learning, but if you want to learn about comic book movies, maybe it should be.
According to a press release from the university, the new course is called “Media Genres: Media Marvels,” and it will aim to “examine how Marvel’s series of interconnected films and television shows, plus related media and comic book sources and Joseph Campbell‘s monomyth of the ‘hero’s journey,’ offer important insights into modern culture.” Sounds pretty dope, and according to U. Balt. it’s believed to be the first course of its kind in the country.
“Every generation has a modern media mythology that serves as a framework for entertaining as well as educating about ethics, morality, issues of race, gender, class, and so on,” said the course’s professor Arnold T. Blumberg. “For the past several years, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have served in that role for tens of millions. When I was younger, it was the first Star Wars series, which I saw in the theater. For me, that saga—along with many other science fiction stories—provided that essential exploration of the hero journey, the struggle of good vs. evil, in a mainstream pop culture context.”
If the name Blumberg is familiar, then you may be a fan of the G2V Podcast which he co-hosts. But in a professional capacity he’s an author and professor of pop culture studies, an adjunct faculty member in UB’s Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, and the former editor of the Overstreet Price Guide. This is kind of his life’s work in other words.
The course itself will look at how Marvel’s developed its series and its integrated shared universe in just six short years, from the first Iron Man movie in 2008 to its most recent, astounding success. “One thing we’ll do is dive into the impact of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, which proved two things: Mainstream movie audiences are not remotely tired of superhero movies; and Marvel Studios can now release a sci-fi adventure that actually features talking trees and raccoons,” Blumberg explained. “It’s not that they’re getting away with it—they’ve created a universe in which fans completely accept these developments, and they’re ready for even more.”
Through the course, Blumberg hopes to show how brand integration, extensive pre-planning and the creation of relatible characters has helped turned Marvel into a brand that both pays tribute to its historic past and builds a new audience for characters both beloved and unknown.
“The series maintains a consistent tone for its brand,” said Blumberg. “Just like the early comics had to ‘train’ their audience in the basic mechanics of comic book storytelling, with human characters transformed into heroes that spoke to a college-age readership and beyond, this cinematic series has been constructed to bring a mainstream movie-going public into a wild world of superheroes and science fiction. It started with a human emotional core delivered in the first Iron Man movie, and built out from there. The Tony Stark character is memorable in that he was someone who could readily comment on the insanity around him. This grounded the entire Marvel film canon, and is still recognizable in the Guardians film. I think relatability is one of the reasons why audiences continue to come out in great numbers for these films.”
So if you’re a student at the University of Baltimore, or are going to be a student at the University of Baltimore, it seems like a good time to put all that typically useless nerd-based knowledge to some practical use for course credit. I would advise however that you sign up quickly because the waiting list for this class is going to be a loooooooooong one.
Source: Cinema Blend