Science Fiction Film & Television

‘What am I looking at, Mulder?’

Licensed comics and the freedoms of transmedia storytelling

Science Fiction Film & Television (2013), 6, (1), 101–117.

Abstract

Licensed comics are conventionally discussed as merchandise, with little regard for their status as transmedia narratives. This article compares comic tie-ins to The X-Files (US 1993-2002), charting different strategies adopted by Topps Comics (license holders 1995-8) and DC Comics (2008-) in continuing the adventures of Mulder and Scully. Using primary interviews with Frank Spotnitz and Stefan Petrucha, this article repositions licensed comics away from the discussion of mimetics toward a study of the creative freedoms open to those producing these works. Licensed comics are defined by the tension between memory of a television series and the unique textuality of the comic book form. I conclude that the materiality of a comic book lends itself especially to the perpetuation of a franchise once it has disappeared from our screens.

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Pillai, Nicolas