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The Digital, the Arts, and the Humanities

127 5 Wattstax and the Transmedia Soul Economy Th e action itself is the art form, and is described in aesthetic terms: “A very imaginative deal,” they say, or, “He writes the most creative deals in the business.” —writer joan didion, 19731 I enjoyed every bit of Wattstax. Th e people were being themselves, and I felt like I was there in the movie. Some parts of it just brought tears to my eyes because it was so beautiful. —mother in chicago, 19732 When the soul music label Stax Records joined forces with Wolper Productions to make a documentary about the

68 2. Racial Iconicity and the Transmedia Black Athlete You know God made Black beautiful. God made Boobie beautiful, Black and strong. And when Boobie knocks some fools out, Boobie gonna knock ’em out with black Nikes on his feet. Ain’t that right? And I’ma smile when I do. Yeah. Yeah. I’m distinguished now. —big k. r. i. t.’s “Hometown Hero” In 2010, critically acclaimed rapper Big K. R. I .T. released the single “Hometown Hero” from his mixtape K. R. I. T. Wuz Here.1 The track explic- itly samples and remixes the cinematic football player, James “Boobie

comparatively new and evolving fi eld of visual broadcasting. As Neil Verma has noted, by the 1940s, Corwin’s radio work was already associated with a clear and distinctive style that was singled out for 5 CORWIN ON TELEVISION A Transmedia Approach to Style Historiography Shawn Vancour 128    SHAWN VANCOUR commentary in trade literature and alternately praised or parodied in popular magazines. Th is “Corwinesque” style, Verma contends, was defi ned by (1) a ten- dency to embrace and actively foreground creative risks (seen, for instance, in Corwin’s self

2 Saturday Morning Television: Endless Consumption and Transmedia Intertextuality in Muppets, Raisins, and the Lasagna Zone At the ideological level, the goal [of cinema] is to reinforce the unified subject as an intermediate step in reproducing a certain social world. This is not the definitive work of television. Its function is more directly linked to consumption, which it promotes by shattering the imaginary possibility over and over, repeatedly reopening the gap of desire. Beverle Houston, "Viewing Television: The Metapsychology of Endless

18 WHY AN INDUSTRIAL TRANSMEDIA HISTORY? There are many histories of the American comic book in print. They tell both truth and lore, often detailing the backstories of fans’ favorite char- acters and creators. This is not one of those histories, in three important ways. First, it offers a reperiodization. Most popular accounts look to the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages to break down the development of the comic book. Each of these eras refers to a stage in the evolution of the superhero, many of which were conceived and developed during the Golden Age of


Contents List of Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xi introduction: sporting blackness and critical muscle memory on screen 1 1. historical contestants in black sports documentaries 28 2. racial iconicity and the transmedia black athlete 68 3. black female incommensurability and athletic genders 106 4. the revolt of the cinematic black athlete 141 conclusion: the fitness of sporting blackness 175 Notes 183 Bibliography 227 Index 241


Contents Preface ix 1. Foreplay and Other Preliminaries 1 2. Saturday Morning Television: Endless Consumption and Transmedia Intertextuality in Muppets, Raisins, and the Lasagna Zone 39 3. The Nintendo Entertainment System: Game Boys, Super Brothers, and Wizards 87 4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Supersystem and the Video Game Movie Genre 121 5. Postplay in Global Networks: An Afterword 154 Appendixes 173 Notes 213 List of Works Cited 233 Index 247