Night of the Owls: Defining Transmediality as an Analytical Tool for Reconstructing Comic Book Mythology

Tomasz Żaglewski

Abstrakt
In recent years, “transmedia storytelling” has become a handy term to describe certain types of popular narrative. While this term is now crucial to many areas of media studies, Żaglewski offers a challenge to the common, and often rather shallow, understanding of transmediality. He questions the very idea of transmediality and in particular its multimodal character. The basis for such an effort is modern comic book studies, and more specifically, the highly successful Night of the Owls story arc from the Batman universe. Żaglewski adapts the theoretical design of transmedial storytelling for at least two purposes: Firstly, he seeks to define the multi/transmediality of comics themselves, which can be seen in the unity of words and images. Secondly, he offers a new understanding of the enormous superhero-driven storylines that are an important feature of contemporary comic books (along with all of the associated retcons, reboots, crossovers etc.). Such story arcs are now presented as an important example of transmedial storytelling that takes place within a single (trans)medium. Exploiting a method that might appear to be paradoxical, Żaglewski opens up the definition of transmedial storytelling by limiting his discussion to a single medium: the comic book.
Słowa kluczowe: : Transmedia storytelling, transmedium, comic books, graphic storytelling, Batman, Night of the Owls
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