Episode 30: A Serial per Medium

Over a month with this blog and I have reached thirty posts. I lke to think this shows some sort of discipline or better writing but I figure I should wait until reaching 100 posts before I can start singing some praises for myself. As part of convincing  my professorial committee that my research makes sense, I need to give them my reading lists with how they connect to my overall theme and why each item is worth looking at. Yesterday’s post basically did that with my list of critical theories. Today, it’s tme to do that with my primary list of literary expertise, contemporary serials accross each medium.

Webcomics: My specialty and what makes me awesome amongst the aspiring academic community for doing research in something people never thought possible or practical. Obviously going to talk way too much about Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew. With 858 comics online (as of today and more being updated) divided over 4 books, two print only prequels, another book of extras, and a bunch of extras coming my way thanks to the kickstarter over almost a decade it’s just plain awesome. Out of the 30 or so books, OOTS covers almost a quarter of my official entries and trust me it’s worth talking about. I dedicated pretty much a whole chapter to it in my MA thesis and there is still a lot to discuss, or so I keeo trying to convince my academic superiors.

Movies: There are a lot of movies out there that have sequels prequels and rehashings that can ork themselves into my work. but if I want to stay true to my nerd cred then there is only one series of movies that deserves my particular form of serial analysis. And that has to be Star Wars and all six movies. Fun fact, it wasn’t until a few years after the first Star Wars movie came out in theaters that it was officially dubbed to be Episode 4 (oh how I love retcons). The plans of a third trilogy depicting the lives of Admiral Solo, Jedi Master Skywalker, the Solo children in their teens, the new Jedi Academy, and the evil Yuzghan Vong are still a pipe dream for many fans like myself, even as Lucas has said that it will never happen. Still both trilogies  show some very interesting aspects of how serials work, espcially since the movies draw a lot from old comics like Flash Gordon. Really want to avoid the Expanded Universe just for sheer length of material.

Comic Books: Unless it’s specifically stated as a one shot: every comic in existence can qualify. Trying to do only a few of these to avoid suspicion. Since I’m writing on it for another project, I figure I’ll go with the classic and talk about Batman. There are way too many installments in some pretty different alternate realities and reimaginings. Best bet is to go with something fairly well developed that does some craziness with continuities. Batman Year One rebbots the story, provides a flashback and redefines characters in ways that stay iconic from there on out. The movies and tv show are to be avoided for obvious reasons, must resist urge to make fun of shark repellant. Cartoon show and videogame are still fair game due to overall awesomeness. In addition, I’m including Watchmen by Alan Moore, which was a 12 series comic originally and now sold as compendum/graphic novel.

Graphic Novels: No they are not the same thing as comics, maybe I’ll explain it later. I need to include Maus because it won a Pulitzer and those made graphic novels serious and accepted amongst “serious” readers. Maus has a sequel but it often gets bundled up as The Complete Maus which puts some interesting aspects as to how serials should be made/published. Also adding in some of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which is huge so I need to be selective.

Web stuff: Did you know that Steven king wrote a novel little by little online about ten years ago. Suppossedly it’s not technically finished yet. Still trying to figure a final official tally on these. There are also a lot of small shows online, like Felicia Day’s The Guild. Still trying to sneak in Joss Whedon’sDr. Horrible’s Sing-along-Blogbecause it was in three parts and the sequel is soon to come out, we all hope.

TV: If I wanted to go for longevity then i had to go with one of those weird daytime soap peras that have been on for decades. Wresting would also be interesting to look at. One show I love but probably won’t make the final cut is How I Met Your Mother, continuity through flashbacks, flashforwards, and overall narration issues makes it a cool show on just another legendary level. The one which I am definitely pushing for is 24 because the real time aspect makes it so that pacing and content have a level of immediacy and verisimilitude. That and I think the second half of the show wasn’t even written while the first episodes started airing. All eight seasons would be interesting to explore but maybe the first one is the only one worth studying completely.

Books: Need to hit the traditional medium in the most fantastic way possible. The best book serial that has basically defined a generation of readers is definitely the Harry Potter series. People came together and discussed the books like crazy, waiting for the new ones to come out with fervor and patience. Now I’m sad to admit that I’ve only seen the first four movies and haven’t read the books so this will be a treat. Probably sneaking examples of Terry Pratchett in there as well because anything DiscWorld is worth gushing over in academic formats.

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