[MUSIC] I wonder if you could kind of from your vantage point in looking at this, the comics industry, at comics art as a medium. And then having taught so many students about this, if you could talk a little bit about the sort of 30,000 foot view of fandom and fan culture with comics. And how those kinds of networks interact with the individual relationships that we have with art. >> So, something I'm really wrestling with, I was teaching Endgame last semester. And one very, very, very articulate young woman started the class off. Her first comment was I really tried to think whether the MCU Is just fan fiction or whether it's its own thing. And I thought that was a really interesting point. And as much as we can say that Jon Favreau is a major mover of the Marvel cinematic universe and now the Star Wars franchise. I really think that the idea of Jon Favreau, not the person [LAUGH], just the concept of him, really asks us to think about the line between professionalization and fan culture and if that is a real line. I mean, so, Before the MCU, I think Hollywood adaptations of comics often used comics as a interesting idea generator. But really, they still said, well, these are low forms. We're not going to follow the comic book, goodness knows. We're going to just take the idea of Batman and we're going to get Jack Nicholson in here and we're really going to do this. Michael Keaton, we're going to do this and we're going to rewrite it and do it our own way. And it was nice that the Dark Knight Returns provided a kind of imagery a little bit, or an idea, motivating energy, but we're going to go do this our own way. But now, now there's a real sense that the comic design is what we're using. So what I'm wrestling with is that woman's question, is the MCU simply fan fiction? Is it simply an attempt to take, I would say The Ultimates by Mark Miller and Bryan Hitch, the aesthetic they developed. And the concept they developed, the kind of light Ionization that with a wink and a nod still moves forward with Jack Kirby's ideas. And I do have to say they're Jack Kirby's ideas, Jack Kirby's ideas. Now we could say, well then, yeah, there are fan riffing off Jack Kirby. And then Jack Kirby becomes the sacrosanct professional maybe. But that's a hard one too because Jack Kirby, by his own admission, his own pride is a self trained artist, who around 16 or 18 started working on Wow Comics. I'm not going to say the lowest of the low, but really it was a comics packager producing stories, knocking them out. And Kirby is just a brilliant, brilliant idea generating machine. One of his biographers, Charles Hatfield refers to him as a dynamo and he is. But that dynamic energy. I mean, I'm thinking this through as we talk. Kirby often said that he worked so hard because he had to make a living. He made a good living, but he worked hard and he just turned it out, he turned it out. He was coming up with Galactus over here and Black Panther over here and some New Gods. He churns that out. Romance comics. Okay, I'll do that. I guess from the 30,000 foot level, what you asked me, our current immersion, to me, blurs the line between fan fiction and professionalization. If your 30,000 view looks back through history, there are moments where the professionalization was separate. But in fact, even in those moments, that professionalization occurred in such a socially denigrated area of production. The professionalization is not what we would term it. >> I'm really compelled by your former student's question as well because, I guess, it surfaces for us the dynamics of who has the authority to essentially produce canonical works and who doesn't. And we often think that something like fan fiction exists kind of outside or maybe adjacent to the mainstream production of art. But the argument of the MCU ss compelling. The argument of 50 Shades of Grey is compelling coming out of the Twilight universe. Those lines of fan fiction or not are ways to approach artistic authority and who can kind of determine the canon of things, right? >> Chris, if you go back to the 14th century, right, and you go back to really the development of English literature in Englishm right? We're not going to call it a standardized English, but in English that people were speaking and now they were going to start writing stories in it. I mean, what did the great English authors do? They riffed off existing stories and transmuted them from French, sometimes Latin, Italian, into English. And what was that but fan fiction? [LAUGH] I mean, and what happened was they developed a community of fellow travelers and they shared their stories. And what it all comes down to is Karl Marx argues that production, consumption, and distribution cannot be separated. That in the final analysis, there really is no final analysis. That in some senses it can all be thought of as forms of production. That even consuming is a form of production. And I am very swayed by that when we begin to think about the relationship between producing fan work and consuming what we see as canonical mass produced commodities. And the reason is that it goes back to what I was trying to say, somewhat blunderingly about the relationship between the viewer and the reader and the art object. These things are nothing without us. So they need us to energize them. So the act of consumption in fact fulfills them as interesting things. And if you're a little Willie Cuskin and you're reading The Llizard, and you're really consuming this and you're getting it. How different is that from Jon Favreau consuming Star Wars and imagining it as a continued back story that needs to be told?