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'What am I looking at, Mulder?': Licensed comics and the freedoms of transmedia storytelling


Licensed comics and the freedoms of transmedia storytelling Licensed comics are conventionally discussed as merchandise, with little regard for their status as transmedia narratives. This article compares comic tie-ins to The X-Files (US 1993-2002), charting different strategies adopted by Topps Comics (license holders 1995-8) and DC Comics (2008-) in continuing the adventures of Mulder and Scully. Using primary interviews with Frank Spotnitz and Stefan Petrucha, this article repositions licensed comics away from the discussion of mimetics toward a study of the creative freedoms open to those producing these works. Licensed comics are defined by the tension between memory of a television series and the unique textuality of the comic book form. I conclude that the materiality of a comic book lends itself especially to the perpetuation of a franchise once it has disappeared from our screens.

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