As the History Channel’s first foray into scripted TV drama, Vikings follows semi-mythological Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok as he brawls with other burly Viking dudes, smirks at his awesome shieldmaiden wife, and kidnaps lithe young monks from English monasteries.
With a dynamite premise like that, it’s no surprise that Vikings became super popular within seconds of its first episode airing last year. It basically typifies the History Channel ethos of being ~kind of~ educational, but ending up as slightly trashy yet super addictive entertainment TV.
The four main components of Vikings are:
1) Muddy battle scenes where the frame rate is slowed down so much that it’s like watching a slideshow of hunky Nordic men grappling with each other.
2) Random detours into an undergraduate lecture on Norse mythology.
3) Awesome and completely made-up punk Viking hairstyles.
4) A three-way marriage between two hot, muscular Vikings and their Christian slave.
We’ll give you one guess as to which of these points inspired Vikings’ Tumblr fandom.
Over the past 14 episodes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has developed from being a disappointingly bland addition to the Marvel universe, to something engaging enough to wring a tear or two from those reluctant fangirl/fanboy eyeballs. And they can drop the “Marvel” from the beginning of that title because at this point, it’s pretty damn obvious where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming from. Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier both had (or will have) tie-in episodes, and various Marvel comics universe characters are beginning to come out of the woodwork.
There may not be room for hints of Deathlok, Victoria Hand or weird Extremis experiments in the background of the current big three Avengers franchises, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is picking up the slack. This week’s episode (spoiler alert!) even saw the appearance of a new alien that fans are already speculating may be a Kree.
Of course, a blue torso in a tank doesn’t necessarily tell us anything. This guy could be Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, or one of the naked Space Jesus dudes from Prometheus, or an entirely new Marvel species altogether. However, the show’s new “Uprising” subtitle may be a hint at an upcoming retelling of the famous Kree-Skull War or Secret Invasion storylines, both considered to be epics of the Marvel universe.
A TV/movie adaptation of either of these comicbook arcs would be a major undertaking, but by no means an impossible one. Taking into account the number of characters Marvel will bring to the big screen over the next few years, they should have enough manpower to handle a major crossover like this once everyone’s finished with Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. Of course, right now this is all little more than speculation. [READ MORE]
Author Neal Pollack has had a pretty diverse career so far. He’s published literary satire, crime fiction, and a popular parenting memoir called Alternadad. On top of that, he’s recorded spoken-word poetry and gotten into the Jeopardy! hall of fame. And as of this year, he’s started publishing fanfic on Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.
In partnership with various authors and media franchises, Kindle Worlds allows writers to publish and profit from fanfiction without facing copyright lawsuits. When it launched in May 2013, only a few media properties were available (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars, all teen TV series owned by Warner Bros.), and the service seemed to be aimed at “amateur” writers who wanted to try their hand at making some money off their fanfic.
Now, Amazon is actively courting professional authors to participate in the various “worlds” of its for-profit fanfic service.
Neal Pollack’s latest work is a 50-page ebook called The Abnorm Chronicles: Escape from the Academy, which is currently hovering around No. 4 on Kindle Worlds’ Young Adult bestseller list. It was inspired by Brilliance, a sci-fi novel by Marcus Sakey, but it isn’t strictly what you’d call fanfic. “Transformative work” would be a more accurate term, since Pollack isn’t an active participant in Abnorms fandom. In fact, he first heard of it when Amazon asked if he’d like to take on what he describes as a “commissioned assignment” to launch the Abnorms fanfic universe on Kindle Worlds. [READ MORE]