Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Film Studies


Dr. Michael Raine


This thesis highlights the industrial strategy of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment in adapting their comic book properties to the screen, engaging in an analysis of how these studios appeal to a mainstream audience by harnessing the enthusiasm of comic book fans. It proposes that the studios’ branding strategies were based in establishing their products as authentic representations of the source texts, strategically employing what Suzanne Scott calls “fanboy auteurs” – filmmakers with strong connections to the comic material – in order to lend credibility to their franchises. Situating the comic book films of Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan as exemplary case studies, it proposes that these figures mediate fan interests and studio authority. Finally, this thesis traces how this industrial strategy has changed to accommodate unofficial modes of fan activity inherent to participatory culture.