Thursday, September 10, 2009

In honor of Marvel and Disney's unholy union

I struggled to write about Marvel and Disney for a while. I couldn't come up with anything concise... I think I had too much to say, seeing as I wanted to talk about Warner Bros, Nintendo, Capcom, continuity, Kermit the Frog, universe building, multiple authorship, narrative tropes of soap opera, crossover complications, managing histories, economics of fiction, video games, and Natalie Portman.

So instead of composing a messy statement on the consolidation of the key properties of my childhood imagination, I decided to create an elaborate chart.

Here's the gist... this is a diagram of important universes, organized by ownership. That's the organizing principle for fiction, after all... settings, used as organizational nets for intellectual property owners to their manage characters. In honor of Disney's buyout of Marvel, I focused on universes containing multiple franchises, created by multiple authors, under umbrellas of particular media companies. And of course, there's a bit of a Jesse-bias in there. If I'd had more time, I might have included the Star Wars universe, Sesame Street, and the Final Fantasy multiverse. I know there are a thousand million others... but I had to maintain some perspective here.

Enjoy. Click for larger view.

You think creating, collecting, and maintaining universes is difficult... try being a fanboy, amassing universes over a childhood of media exposure, and having to keep them all straight!


Garreth said...

What! No Dungeons and Dragons!? You think you can just write it off now that Gary Gyax is dead. Well, my level 14 Palidin, Parislon Lightning Sword, will bring you to justice. There! At the shores of the Selintan River, just outside the gates of Greyhawk, his vorpal blade shall unencumber your body of its useless head!

Seriously though...that chart's great fun. It must have been a blast making it. Well done. You go up a level!

symbot said...

Haha, I left out a LOT of universes... there's such a bizarre relationship between universes, franchises, and narrative spaces. Star Wars and Star Trek are great examples of franchises I couldn't fit in here -- cause they're single franchises, each within a single universe, but they contain multiple narrative arcs (different times and places, etc). I think I need a different graphical style for those. Maybe a circle with smaller circles inside it? Innovative, I know :)

D&D is more like a bunch of universes within a single franchise! I guess maybe I should make more of an effort to distinguish "container" from "contained" and make it so franchises can be nested within universes and vice versa.

Thanks for commenting! I'll change the link to your blog very soon.