athelind: (Default)
J.K. Rowling is getting sued by the clueless again. Yes, yet another plagiarism accusation. Making Light goes into great detail about the spuriousness of the claim, and the wretched quality of the claimant's allegedly-plagiarized work.

You don't really need to read all that. You'll find the meat of the whole issue before you even have to scroll down the page, when Ms. Hayden points out three things about such lawsuits. Her second point addresses something that comes up a lot in pop culture conversations:

“Non-writers think it’s the ideas, rather than the execution, that make a book. They’ve got that backward.”

I submit this as a Law of the Internet, on a par with Godwin's and Poe's: "Hayden's Second Law".

As I said, this comes up a lot. "Plagiarism", per se, is seldom invoked, but milder euphemisms abound: "derivative" is a popular epithet, and to many, "originality" seems the highest criterion for literary merit.

The career of the Gentleman from Avon indicates otherwise.

I should note that I'm guilty of this, myself; I've repeatedly tabled my own flailing attempts at writing because my characters, settings, or plot seem "derivative".

Addendum: just a few hours before I made this post, [ profile] foofers provided a technological example of "it's not the ideas, it's the execution" -- in this instance, whether the ideas got executed at all.
athelind: (Default)
The news in my last post has a lot of people worried about Marvel getting "Disneyfied". Funny, that hadn't really occurred to me.

I'd hate to see the intelligent, thoughtful storytelling of recent years compromised by a company who didn't respect the years of development and history of these characters. I'm not sure the store where I work could survive without merchandise aimed at the mature, sophisticated sensibilities of the modern comics audience.

I know, I know, when people hear "Disney", they still automatically think of the "wholesome" Mouse Factory of fifty years ago, as if the company had no idea how to tell exciting, entertaining action-adventure tales. But, seriously, folks: the modern Disney megalopoly has its tentacles in a lot more than happy, sappy, saccharine kiddie stuff. When I hear "Disney", I don't hear "Cartoon Company" anymore. I hear "Entertainment Powerhouse".

When I mentioned the effect this might have on the Marvel Studios movie series, it was almost entirely wondering if that side of the business would see a cash infusion that would re-accelerate the filming schedule (which has been pushed back a couple of times from the original plan of two big-name superhero pictures a year for three or four years).

Edit: [ profile] cpxbrex pointed out that Marvel owes its recent barrage of movies to "complex financing", and that this may have something to do with the acquisition deal.

A lot of folks, on the other claw, are worried about them somehow compromising the integrity of the properties.

Personally? I think that the megacorp that gave us movies like No Country for Old Men and Miracle at St. Anna won't bat an eye at Tony Stark's antics.

Edit: Since none of the other comics blogs I read have mentioned this at all, I've combined the last two posts into a single post on my comics blog, Kirby Dots & Ditko Ribbons. Scooped! You are all so totally scooped! Like Raisin Bran, you're scooped!
athelind: (Default)
That headline again:

Disney. Buys. Marvel.

Tempting as it is to just follow that with "'Nuff said", I have to wonder....
  • How will this affect Marvel Sudios and their ambitious "Avengers Cycle" movie plans?
  • Will Disney cancel the Gemstone Comics license, and start releasing Disney titles using Marvel's production and banner?
  • Conversely, will that matter if both companies continue to ignore newstand and grocery store distribution in favor of the hard-core fandom's boutique market?
  • What does this mean for Kingdom Hearts and Capcom vs. Marvel?
  • Will there be an even more vigorous crackdown on Marvel fanfic and games with "Character Creators" that let you "duplicate Marvel intellectual property", like City of Heroes and Champions Online?
  • Will Howard return to his original character design? Will he turn out to hail from Duckburg? Will he lose his pants?

If this doesn't fall through, it'll bring a symmetry to the comics world: both major comics companies will be owned by massive global media juggernauts.

Strange days indeed.

athelind: (Default)

Mallett just crammed so much about pop culture, high culture, and transformative art into four panels that I'm nigh-speechless.

Just as a single example: Hollywood gets lambasted for "running out of ideas" whenever they remake an old movie or adapt a TV show, but I don't think I've ever heard the same accusation when we see Yet Another Movie about King Arthur, Robin Hood, or Sherlock Holmes.

athelind: (Default)
After a few months of hiatus, I've resumed updating [ profile] legacy2020, the journal for my Mutants & Masterminds campaign set in an alternate DC Universe.

As I've mentioned in the past, it's given me an insight into the "fanfic" impulse. While most of it's just fun, I've found that the wholesale rewrite of 70 years of comic book history makes a good springboard for analysis of the original source material. Those interested in comic books, gaming, and fanfic might find it amusing; I'd rather enjoy getting some discussion going about timelines, characters, and story decisions, both in my game setting and the original "canon".

Unfortunately, since I also plan to use the journal to communicate information to my (only) player, I need to friends-lock posts that might reveal key story elements (including the two most recent ones). If you want to read the Sooper Seekrit Spoilers, please drop a comment in the introduction post, so I can add you!
athelind: (Default)
I should note, incidentally, that some people assume that the term "fanfic" is perjorative. That is not my intent in this matter.

When the Second Law says "indistinguishable", it means indistinguishable -- functionally identical in all important respects.

Alan Moore's Watchmen is a superhero story of unparalleled excellence.

It is also pure, unadulterated fanfic, in all but a single respect -- and that respect is that Moore recieved a paycheck from the corporate entity (a legal fiction of no literary relevance) that the copyright (another legal fiction of no literary relevance) to the characters upon whom the graphic novel was based.

EDIT: Thinking about it, with the possible exception of V for Vendetta, all of Moore's major works are fanfic.
athelind: (Default)
The popularity of franchise fiction rests not only in the stories that are told, but in the stories that could be told in the franchise's setting. The more fertile the ground for exploration, extrapolation and personal interpretation, the more enthusiastic and enduring the fandom.
athelind: (Default)
I've realized that "Running the Asylum" is really Snark's Second Law of Fanfic. The first dates back thirty years:

"Star Trek novels exist because Paramount realized they weren't getting a cut of the fanzine market."

The previous entry has been adjusted accordingly.

On the other claw... is that just a specific example of the "Sufficiently Established Franchise" rule? It certainly set the stage for the incorporation of fan writers into the Official Canon.

On the gripping hand, it could be said that Star Trek fell prey to the Second Law in the second season of the original series, when they accepted a script from an unpublished college student who sent in a pile of unsolicited script submissions...
athelind: (Default)
From FurryMUCK, this morning:

[ profile] normanrafferty tries to remember the review he read of 'Torchwood'. "I think it said, 'Is it possible for something to be new material and fan-fiction at the same time?'"

Oh, you betcha. Let's codify this, in fact:

Snark's First Second Law of Fanfic (a.k.a. "Running the Asylum"):
A sufficiently established franchise is indistinguishable from fanfic.

When a fictional franchise has lasted long enough to induct its fandom into the ranks of its professional creators, the distinction between Canon and Fan Fic erodes. The new wave of creators start sneaking Fanon into official sources. Ret Cons abound. Writers will revisit old stories, instilling far more self-indulgent detail into the retellings than ever appeared in the original.

In short, the Inmates are Running The Asylum.

Sometimes, this can bring fresh, new life to the franchise. Other times, the same kind of in-fighting that erupts in fannish circles will play out between creative teams -- but now, the factions are all armed with Canon.
athelind: (Default)
Over in his journal, [ profile] scarfman observed:

Just because a character can do anything, just because he has no physical limits, doesn't mean he's an uninteresting character. It just means you have to do stories about what he won't let himself do ... or, about the circumstances when he will let himself do that.

You just have to
be a good writer.

That got me thinking.

In the Inter-Crisis Universe, especially toward the end there, Batman had taken over from Superman as the "character who could do anything". He was better at everything than anyone else, in any human field of endeavor, and in many or most superhuman fields, as well: you couldn't beat him, because He Was The ********* Batman, and he'd Find A Way. He was never wrong, and he never had to turn to outside expertise -- other than the data-mining he farmed out to Oracle, because sitting in front of a computer had become so commonplace that it was no longer Cool Enough For The Bat.

On another note entirely, this is an excuse to plug one of my favorite webcomics. )

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