Column: the Magic of the Black Panther

Within the world of fantasy, magic, superheroes, and villains, the latest installments made for television and movies have created much hype and are generating much excitement. The last two years have brought about some amazing and much anticipated programming that fit into these genres, from new Star Wars films to new renditions of Superwoman. “The world is changing…..” – Black Panther

During the past two years, there has also been some rather exciting developments in the shifting representation of the typical superhero, and this has brought about a wide variety of discussions and theories on the importance of representation in Sci-Fi, fantasy, and superhero genres. With the upcoming February release of Marvel’s Black Panther and the debut of the CW network’s new show Black Lightning, it seems that conversations about much-needed superhero diversity are happening everywhere

A record number of pre-sale tickets for Black Panther were sold last week and threads all over social media started the process of planning group trips to the show.

Witches, Entertainment and Time Magazine

On Oct. 28, Time magazine published an article called “Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in real life.”  It was part of the avalanche of articles on Witches and Witchcraft that typically appear in October. As suggested by the title, the article’s intent was to examine the social factors surrounding the popularity of TV witches. After publication, Time and the writer, Jennie Latson, were hit with a wave of backlash from Pagans and Witches.

Aronofsky’s Noah: Dark, Mythic, Biblical Environmentalism?

On Friday, March 28, Paramount Pictures will release Noah into U.S. theaters after a flood of controversy. Noah, dubbed a biblical blockbuster, was co-written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the award winning director of Black Swan (2010.) Noah has an all-star cast including Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connolley and Emma Watson.

Almost any time a biblical story is adapted to film, there will be controversy. Does the movie adhere to the original narrative? Does it represent its characters and thematics accurately?  Are the creative elements born of the spirit in the original text?

Representations of the Hollywood Witch: 1939-1950

Our last stop on this cinematic journey was 1937 with the release of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Up to that point, the Hollywood witch had already evolved from a turn-of-the-century “clown witch” to a stereotypical cartoon “hags in rags” and finally into an animated femme fatale. Throughout that early period, the witch was contained within the framework of fantasy.  Even those few outliers created a wall of separation between reality and the witch. MacBeth (1916) is just a retelling of a Shakespearian drama.  In the Witch of Salem (1913), the “witch” is a victim of hysteria. In film studies speak, the witch never threatens to enter into the viewer’s world.