Transmedia storytelling is basically the telling of a narrative or story across multiple media platforms. Transmedia stories allow for the same story to be explained and engaged with differently by audiences depending on their medium – as the medium is the message. This is effective as audiences can contribute to the narrative by adding content, discover different aspects of the story on different platforms, and motivates engagement from likeminded people.
An example of transmedia storytelling in action is through comics. Comic books have transformed from short “pulps” (small books of a variety of comic strips) such as Popeye (1929), into lengthy narratives such as that of The Phantom (1936) – the first ever costumed superhero.
In June 1938, the first full comic book was released: Action Comics #1, now better known as Superman. He was the first comic character to have superhuman powers, shocking readers with his incredible strength, speed, and ability to deflect bullets off his chest.
Now we are in 2017 and Superman is a multimedia science fiction franchise. This massive franchise owned by Detective Comics (DC) consists of comic books, movies, TV series, novels, games, theme park rides, toys, clothes, and more. In licensing fees and global merchandise sales for 2016, Superman accrued $277 million for DC.
The Man of Steel is an icon for thousands of comic books fanatics and superhero lovers worldwide; and it is through a variety of mediums that his legacy remains so strong. Information and stories about the beloved hero are available via many platforms, (as previously mentioned; e.g. books & movies) meaning fans have readily available content at their fingertips 24/7.