Issue 103 Editorial
Blockbusters and Superheroes
This issue began with a focus on blockbusters and superheroes, the familiar prototype product of contemorary global Hollywood for decades. More than a popular short hand, it signifies a business model, a re-organization of capital, production, marketing and distribution. But also, despite widespread critical approbration, these films have sustained intricate narratives across individual films to countless prequels, sequels, franchises and “universes”, with several generations of devoted fans. They have generated an aesthetic of cinematic spectacle, often mundane but still impressive, fused with constant technological innovation and capital flowing globally.
This model has been challenged by some box office failures, by the pandemic and, perhaps most of all, by the explosive growth of streaming services that threaten to change the model of media consumption and distribution.
The writers in this issue explore this world of media culture across a range of perspectives and themes: spectatorship and fandom, the representation of social relations, the historical generic lineages, the fixation on future dystopias, the interpretation of heroism and villainy, the disruptive ubiquity of streaming.
We have also included consideration of alternatives to the dominant media models: a close analysis of a film from classic Hollywood, a seemingly distant precursor, and an exploration of an Iranian film, an auteur’s work, still vital national and aesthetic variations.
This issue was designed by Sebastian Jagoe.
We are currently planning Issue 104 and will make a call for submissions soon.