190 words about Marvel
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I opened the homepage of a big website recently and it was all Marvel. There were thinkpieces about why the new Marvel mattered so much, and videos listing the best Marvel moments, and updates about the exact time new Marvel would be available so you could come back to talk Marvel in the comments. The site was not actually “Marvel.com”; it was supposedly about culture in general. Yet most of the analysis in its articles was comparing Marvel to Marvel, or explaining how much Marvel had taught the writers about real life. No one broke the spell by using Middlemarch or Mark Twain or any other names in a way that might make Marvel feel small. In fact it seemed like the authors wanted to shrink themselves down enough to join the mutual appreciation society of Marvel products, where every property tips its hat to the others and repeats the others’ jokes and adds a little splash of its own personality to a template that has been proven to please. A family of products can be agreeable without being interesting, like Pringles®—but there’s no upside in saying this to Marvel.