Abstract

Despite their traditionally assumed boundaries, the serial media of film, radio, and newspaper comic strips in the 1930s and 1940s were intimately connected. Building upon recent scholarship devoted to the Hollywood film serials of the sound era, this article posits seriality as a kind of “cultural paradigm,” an intermedial bonding agent that serves to engender distinct interconnections between media forms in the mind of the audience and to drive them toward further consumption. The various franchise incarnations of Buck Rogers and Ace Drummond in this period are used here as case studies to underscore what one might term a “plane of suspended animation,” a potentially indefinite imaginative space opened in the mind of the spectator by the narrative disruption of the serial’s cliff-hanger where one might engage in franchise-based play and be encouraged to continue consuming said franchises across media.

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