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May 2018, Week 4


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Tim Rayborn <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 25 May 2018 13:49:10 -0700
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McFarland Publishers will publish a collection of essays on the Netflix 
television series The Defenders.

I, Tim Rayborn, and my colleague Abigail Keyes will take on the role of 
editors. We have previously co-edited a McFarland anthology on the 
Netflix series, Jessica Jones (now published), so this project is a 
logical sequel. I have written three books for McFarland and three for 
Skyhorse Publishing. Abigail writes articles on various topics and has 
co-written two other books with me. We are both long-time comics fans, 
and are eager to explore this series.

The show is the culmination of four separate Netflix series about 
Marvel’s “street level” heroes: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and 
Iron Fist. It had a lot of ground to cover, as several characters’ 
individual plot lines were left unresolved in their respective series 
and it was assumed that they would be resolved (or at least furthered) 
in the Defenders’ team-up. However, at only eight episodes, it was hard 
to include everything, and some felt that the show deserved more time 
and additional episodes.

One of the show’s main themes is power and how it is used and abused, 
both secretly and out in the open. Corruption has been a major theme in 
the Netflix Marvel shows, with the various heroes having to stand 
against malevolent people and institutions who actively seek to harm the 
greater populace. This is most obvious in the main villain of the 
Defenders, the Hand. The Defenders has a stronger emphasis on the 
supernatural and fantastic than some of its predecessors, which makes 
for an interesting contrast with the gritty, realistic portrayals of 
urban life in New York that pervade so much of the previous shows.

Given the many plot strands that weave together, there is a wealth of 
material from this show that can be unpacked and thoroughly examined. In 
assembling a collection of essays, we would like to see a considerable 
variety of topics. Some suggestions:

•    The use of power for both good and evil; questions of good and evil 
and the moral grey areas of both heroes and villains throughout
•    Elements of the supernatural and paranormal (the Hand, the dragons, 
the heroes’ and villains’ powers) in a series based on a more gritty and 
realistic portrayal of superhero story-telling
•    Subverted gender roles and the portrayal of women (Jessica, Misty, 
Coleen, Alexandra, Gao, Elektra, Trish)
•    The influence of the comics on the shows’ characters and how that 
plays into this team-up and these themes
•    Tracing individual characters’ story lines and journeys related to 
one or more of these topics from that character’s own show into The 

Other topics are most welcome.

Essays must be in English, fully cited with end notes, and bibliography, 
all in accordance with the current Chicago Manual of Style (the style 
manual for this collection). The length of each contribution should be 
between about 6,000 and 10,000 words, unless there is a good reason that 
a given essay should be shorter or longer. Please use clear, concise 
writing, not overly academic jargon or dense prose.

Potential contributors should submit a one- to two-page proposal 
including a potential title, a short description of the topic(s) for 
your essay, a brief summary of your background and qualifications, and 
contact information. We would like proposals submitted by July 15, 2018, 
and will be deciding on an essay submission date after that.

Please email your proposals to me at: [log in to unmask]

Thank you for your time and interest, and we look forward to receiving 
and reading your proposals.


Tim Rayborn

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