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As one of the biggest and most successful film franchises of all time, Marvel’s approach to developing an interconnected film universe has seemingly revolutionized the way superhero films are being made. Creating a shared universe with elements that crossover and interconnect individual films (culminating in perhaps the ultimate “team-up” film, The Avengers), this approach to filmmaking changed the way characters and storylines are developed. Marvel’s foresight has resulted in a long-term plan for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which at this point consists of three distinct phases, each of which is to conclude with an Avengers film.

With that said, there has been relatively little exploration of how this approach to filmmaking  affects both the stories being told and the way they are being consumed by audiences. This collection seeks to investigate these issues, but in a way that mirrors the approach that Marvel has laid out for its properties. To that end, this edited collection is the first in a proposed trilogy of books, each volume of which will explore a distinct phase of the MCU and dissect how the characters evolve, how storylines grow, and how the success of the franchise continually expands the scope of the stories being told. Specifically, this proposed collection will look at Phase 1 of the MCU, which is comprised of the following films:

Iron Man (2008)

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Thor (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The Avengers (2012)


Chapters within the book will be broken up into four sections:

1. Character analyses – with chapters dedicated to the four primary Avengers (among others)

2. The structure/methods for interconnecting the films (Fury, the tesseract, S.H.I.E.L.D., etc.)

3. Cultural and societal issues brought up through the films (power, greed, gender roles)

4. The exploration of the films from non-diegetic/industry perspectives


Please note: the chapters contained in the collection will focus exclusively on events in Phase 1 of the MCU, so discussion of development or events from subsequent films should be avoided.

Chapters should be 5,000-7,000 words (MLA format, no footnotes or endnotes please) that fit into one of the above sections. Article abstracts (500+ words) and a brief CV should be submitted by December 15, 2014 to Dr. Kristin Barton at Submissions with detailed outlines or in draft form will be given stronger consideration. Completed essays must be submitted by May 15, 2015. Brief queries are welcome should there be questions about appropriate submission topics. Selected authors will be notified by the end of December 2014, and please note that invitation to submit a full essay does not guarantee inclusion in the volume. A contract for this book through a university press is pending a review of proposed chapters.

Dr. Kristin Barton