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Are There Any More at Home Like You?: Rewiring Superman

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Increasingly in contemporary media practice, texts are deployed across a range of different platforms, often simultaneously. Many theorists assume that these platforms are distinct forms, whereas theories of remediation and heteroglossia suggest more fluidity and exchange between literature, theatre, cinema, radio, television and videogames. This article examines the adaptation of the comic book character, Superman, and traces the origins of the Superman comic book narratives into their current transmedia state. Such adaptations can alter the status and authority of pre-existing versions of a text. In Superman's case, an adaptation can eventually become canonical and act as a source text, rewiring previous versions into a dialogical sphere of influence. In addition, some canonical texts can undergo a process of disconnection and can be discounted entirely. This article proposes an approach that is medium non-specific, but one that is text specific when examining the complex rewirings between parallel versions of a text.
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Keywords: adaptation; heteroglossia; remediation; rewiring; transmedia; videogame

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bournemouth University.

Publication date: 2008-06-03

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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