Transmedia Character Studies provides a range of methodological tools and foundational vocabulary for the analysis of characters across and between various forms of multimodal, interactive, and even non-narrative or non-fictional media.
This highly innovative work offers new perspectives on how to interrelate production discourses, media texts, and reception discourses, and how to select a suitable research corpus for the discussion of characters whose serial appearances stretch across years, decades, or even centuries. Each chapter starts from a different notion of how fictional characters can be considered, tracing character theories and models to approach character representations from perspectives developed in various disciplines and fields.
This book will enable graduate students and scholars of transmedia studies, film, television, comics studies, video game studies, popular culture studies, fandom studies, narratology, and creative industries to conduct comprehensive, media-conscious analyses of characters across a variety of media.
0. Transmedia Character Studies – An Introduction
SECTION 1 Foundations of Characters across Media
1. Characters as Subjective Consciousness Frames
2. Characters as Actants in Narrative Events
3. Characters as Social Representation
SECTION 2 Characters in Different Narrative Media
4. Embodied Characters in Film, TV Shows, and Cosplay
5. Cartoonish Characters in Comic Books and Animated Films
6. Interactive Characters in Video Games
SECTION 3 Foundations of Transmedia Character Analysis
7. Transmedia Characters as Networks of Character Versions
8. Serial, Pre-narrative, and Meta-narrative Characters and Figures
SECTION 4 Characters and Non-Fiction
9. Fictional Characters and Figures (Imagined to Exist) in Actual Contexts
10. Fictionalized and Non-Fictional Characters
Perspectives and Reflections: Transmedia Character Studies?
"This book is a brilliant contribution to the budding field of transmedia character studies, filled with erudite analyses and innovative theorizing. It is also a great read, perfectly conveying the authors’ enthusiasm for the memorable people that populate the imaginary worlds of our time. Kunz and Wilde expertly wield the tools of narratology to go beyond fiction, offering us a brand new lens to appreciate reality. Understanding how characters operate as communicative constructs offers invaluable insight as to the workings of our public life, our social media and even the way we relate to each other and our machines."
- Susana Tosca, Roskilde University, Denmark
"This book offers a wide-ranging, exhaustively researched, land authoritative analysis of characters that travel across a wide range of media. Pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines and methodologies, Transmedia Character Studies reflects on the many fascinating ways in which our media have become saturated with content driven primarily by iconic figures who seem to multiply endlessly while still remaining familiar and (more or less) coherent. Kunz and Wilde’s work will prove essential to all scholars of narrative media in the franchising age."
- Dan Hassler-Forest, Utrecht University, Netherlands
"By presenting an overarching theory of characters, Kunz and Wilde have made a deeply relevant contribution to media studies and narratology. Transmedia Character Studies explores the power that characters have in our culture today, by focusing on their fictional, embodied, and interactive qualities. This is a truly interdisciplinary work which combines literary studies, game studies, fan studies, and Japanology to demonstrate the growing importance of fictional characters, mascots, and avatars. From Mickey Mouse to Batman and Alexa, Transmedia Character Studies compares a wide range of characters to show the power that they have over narratives, and their audiences."
- Nicolle Lamerichs, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands