“Avengers Dissemble! Transmedia Superhero Franchises & Cultic Management”


Taylor A. “Avengers Dissemble! Transmedia Superhero Franchises & Cultic Management”. Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance [Internet]. 2014;7(2):181-94.


Through a case study of The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012) and other recently adapted Marvel Entertainment properties, it will be demonstrated that the reimagined, rebooted, and serialized intermedial text is fundamentally fan-oriented: a deliberately structured and marketed invitation to certain niche audiences to engage in comparative activities. That is, its preferred spectators are often those opinionated and outspoken fan cultures whose familiarity with the texts is addressed and whose influence within a more dispersed filmgoing community is acknowledged, courted and potentially colonized. These superhero franchises – neither remakes nor adaptations in the familiar sense – are also paradigmatic byproducts of an adaptive management system that is possible through the appropriation of the economics of continuity and the co-option of online cultic networking. In short, blockbuster intermediality is not only indicative of the economics of postliterary adaptation, but it also exemplifies a corporate strategy that aims for the strategic cooption of potentially unruly niche audiences.