I’m a huge fan of both Marvel movies and fantasy novels. One thing I’ve been considering lately, though, is the amount of genre-mixing that goes on in both spheres.
Marvel especially thrives at the box office because of how it mixes genres. But one thing that ended up surprising me as I researched the topic was the fact that, in fantasy, genre-mixing isn’t a new invention, but began with the master of the fantasy genre himself. (Yes; I’m talking about Tolkien).
Thanks to Thoughts on Fantasy for publishing my latest article!
If you aren’t much of a superhero movie fan (or even if you are), the upcoming slate of movies Marvel alone is trying to push out may seem rather exhausting. 10 more films in the next three years with plans through 2027? It’s no wonder you have people like Spielberg predicting superhero films will go the way of the Western and burn out in the near future.
Yet, despite all the films churned out by Marvel and DC, moviegoers keep purchasing tickets without any signs of stopping. Superhero stories are a (relatively) narrow genre—and yet many viewers (such as myself) regularly see two to four superhero films a year, despite the criticisms Marvel’s received for weak villains and paint-by-number three-act stories.
How has Marvel been able to keep selling tickets without running into genre fatigue? There are multiple reasons, but there’s one I’d like to focus on: Marvel keeps the genre feeling fresh by mixing it with other genres. This is a skill that not only budding novelists can be taking advantage of—but a skill some of the best fantasy authors today are using to craft unique and brilliant stories.