The University of Baltimore is trying to teach the success of the MCU

Illustration for article titled The University of Baltimore is trying to teach the success of the MCU

6 years after Iron Man, it's still quite baffling to see just how Marvel's Cinematic Universe has gotten so big and so popular - but a new Media Studies course at the University of Baltimore next year is going to try and find out the hows and whys of the success Marvel has had with an interconnected universe.

Media Genres: Media Marvels will run in the spring semester of 2015 and takes a look at the 9 Marvel movies and Agents of SHIELD, in an attempt to understand how Marvel's brand has grown and become a pop culture icon for the modern era in such a short space of time - and how Cap, Star-Lord, Black Widow and pals all echo Jason Campbell's monomyth of the 'Heroes' Journey' and what that reflects on modern culture:

"Every generation has a modern media mythology that serves as a framework for entertaining as well as educating about ethics, morality, issues of race, gender, class, and so on," Blumberg says. "For the past several years, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have served in that role for tens of millions. When I was younger, it was the first Star Wars series, which I saw in the theater. For me, that saga—along with many other science fiction stories—provided that essential exploration of the hero journey, the struggle of good vs. evil, in a mainstream pop culture context."


The course will be taught by Arnold T. Blumberg, a comic book historian and adjunct faculty member at Baltimore's Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.

[University of Baltimore, via Bleeding Cool]

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The Homework Ogre

Given that the thinkpieces attempting to do the same are more or less endless, I guess a university-level course was pretty much inevitable.

I understand that people want to figure out how MCU became such a phenomenon so that they can repeat it (see also Harry Potter knockoffs, WoW clones, stillborn social networks), but I'm not sure there's going to be a solid answer beyond "quality product, hitting at the right time in the cultural zeitgeist." If prodigies were easy to repeat, they'd appear all the damn time.