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Denson, Shane: "Marvel Comics’ Frankenstein. A Case Study in the Media of Serial Figures." In: Amerikastudien 56.4 (2011), S. 531–554.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Denson2011
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Keywords: "Frankenstein", Adaption, Intermedialität, Literatur, Serialität, Shelley. Mary
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This essay argues that Marvel’s Frankenstein comics of the 1960s and 1970s offer a useful case study in the dynamics of serial narration, both as it pertains to comics in particular and to the larger plurimedial domain of popular culture in general. Distinguishing between linear and non-linear forms of narrative seriality—each of which correlates with two distinct types of series-inhabiting characters—I argue that Marvel’s staging of the Frankenstein monster mixes the two modes, resulting in a self-reflexive exploration and interrogation of the comics’ storytelling techniques. Furthermore, I contend that this process sheds light on the medial dynamics of serial figures—that is, characters such as the monster (but also superheroes like Batman and Superman or other figures like Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes) that are adapted again and again in a wide variety of forms, contexts, and media. Though narrative continuity may be lacking between the repeated stagings of serial figures, non-diegetic traces of previous incarnations accumulate on such characters, allowing them to move between and reflect upon medial forms, never wholly contained in a given diegetic world. Accordingly, Marvel’s depiction of the Frankenstein monster leads to a self-reflexive probing of comic books’ forms of narrative and visual mediality, ultimately problematizing the very building blocks of comics as a medium—the textual and graphic framings that, together, narrate comics’ serialized stories.
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