By Julie, cold but cozy in Somerville
As I confessed in the comments when Jessie asked “To Binge or Not To Binge“, I am a Marvel fan. Movies and TV. Iron Man. Captain America. Thor. Agents of Shield. Agent Carter. The Avengers.
I am late to discovering this universe, and often need to be brought up to speed on backstory. A simple Facebook post asking “what is Captain America’s shield made of and why don’t they just shoot his ankles” brought forth several explanatory comments, including some citatations to different articles and explanations. There is an entire Marvel Encyclopedia. I am tempted.
Aside from the visceral thrill of super hero movies, these movies and TV shows are a great learning tool for me as a writer. Here’s what the Marvel world has taught me:
- The best characters are complicated. The good guys are good guys, but they have struggles. Some of them walk a fine line, but usually end up on the right side.
- You can create your own universe, but you still need to follow the rules you set up. Go outside the construct without explanation,and there needs to be a good reason, or reprecussions.
- Story arcs are important. Apparently, the Marvel world of films has three phases. Each movie stands on its own, but knowing the other films helps inform the experience tremendously. The TV shows interweave with the movies. It all, surprisingly, makes sense. Also, threads are left hanging, to be resolved (or not) later.
- The stories are well plotted. Each film is a little different, depending on the character, the screenplay, and the director. But they all move along at a satisfying clip.
- The ride is thrilling. That is tougher to pull off in a book, but not impossible.
- There is humor. Humor helps a lot.
Pulling all of this off, at this scale, is no small feat. It has been done before (any Babylon 5 fans out there?) and will be done again. Certainly a cozy series can’t have a visit by Captain America, but maybe it can be elevated by using a little Asgardian power plotting, a Stark Heart, Black Widow moves, and Avenger’s magic.
In fact, Marvel movies remind me a lot of cozy series (familiar characters, compelling stories, consistent settings) without the superpowers.
But don’t be surprised if Ruth Clagan (the protaganist in my series) wears a cape at some point.
Have any of you watched Agent Carter yet? I am greatly enjoying it!