Marvel Studios’ approach to its Cinematic Universe—beginning with the release of Iron Man (2008)—has become the template for successful management of blockbuster film properties. Yet films featuring Marvel characters can be traced back to the 1940s, when the Captain America serial first appeared on the screen.
This collection of new essays is the first to explore the historical, textual and cultural context of the larger cinematic Marvel universe, including serials, animated films, television movies, non–U.S. versions of Marvel characters, films that feature characters licensed by Marvel, and the contemporary Cinematic Universe as conceived by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. Films analyzed include Transformers (1986), Howard the Duck (1986), Blade (1998), Planet Hulk (2010), Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013), Elektra (2005), the Conan the Barbarian franchise (1982–1990), Ultimate Avengers (2006) and Ghost Rider (2007).