It’s a Richard Armitage Curriculum InfiltRAtion!

When I was a youngster in the fandom, I reflected on potential “world collision” when RAA (Richard Armitage Affairs) spontaneously intersected with my daily life “worlds”   I suppose it it becomes more common as an individual fandom evolves and integrates into the normal routine.  For a while, I even toyed with engineering an intersection with my professional life.

I often write new classes to teach in the shortened winter and summer sessions to mix it up a bit, and once upon a time, I seriously considered writing a class on industrialization and social class systems in 19th century England which would allow for a full screening of North and South.  That has yet to coalesce in real time, but lo and behold, last night I had my first organic Richard Armitage infiltRAtion into a course.

I am currently piloting a course on the History of Popular Culture using comic books as a jumping off point…that is, how comic books affected and in turn *were* affected by American cultural trends.  One of the things we’ll be looking the role of the recent surge of comic book inspired blockbuster films within the larger cultural and historical context of the medium.  Last night we began the discussion of superhero comics in the 1930’s and 1940’s.


We talked about the social, economic and political climate that gave rise to Superman, Batman and a host of others, but as we moved into the 1940’s, with no conscious ulterior motive, the superhero that I really wanted to have them compare comic book origins to film adaptation was Captain America…a character who was “born” in 1941, only months before the US entered World War II.  Unlike Superman and Batman who had long been box office gold, Captain America’s previous venture onto film in the early 1990’s ended up in a direct to video release that was universally panned by critics and fans alike.  This made the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, a part of a growing Marvel film juggernaut, almost virgin territory.  It doesn’t hurt that it is ready available for less than $5 on various streaming services (we will not talk about how it was previously available on Netflix…WAS.)

And so it happened that I put Captain America: The First Avenger on the “reading” list for the course, asking the class to watch it carefully and analyze where it is faithful to the original comic book superhero formula, where it diverges, and why.  It’s all about the superheroes after all…but then I remembered…

Richard Armitage as Hydra agent Heinz Krueger

Richard Armitage as Hydra agent Heinz Krueger

I believe this calls for an assignment revision –

“It occurs to me that we should also examine the comic book villains versus their film counterparts”

I’ll be very interested to hear what they say.  Golden age comic book villains tend to be a fairly one dimensional crew.  I wonder if an “objective” audience will detect any of the backstory that Richard Armitage is known for weaving into his characterizations.

I will report back….

This message will self destruct in 3….2…..


12 comments on “It’s a Richard Armitage Curriculum InfiltRAtion!

  1. Perry says:

    Im looking forward to reading more about this assignment.

    • obscura says:

      This class is kind of evolving organically…I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but it didn’t look like it was going to run, so I didn’t have it fully prepped. It doesn’t hurt to have a little backstory of my own to help on the fly!

  2. Esther says:

    Ha! Excellent assignment, what a fun class! Yes, I’ll be curious to hear what your students come up with.

    • obscura says:

      It is either going to turn out to be really fun, or a complete disaster…I’m not entirely sure yet – classes tend to be stronger the second time around 🙂

      I have a good group with a mix of comic buffs and newbs, so I think it will be OK…I’m looking foward to the last class when we will talk about the dynamic explosion of fandoms!! Squee!!!

  3. Servetus says:

    I contemplated the same about North & South — wouldn’t this make a great course (esp now that most of our students have never had the experience of working in a factor or indeed, of making anything material). I wrote the film study guide if you ever have need of it 🙂

  4. Love it! Hope the students give you some good feedback. One question, do they know what a comic book is? And have they read them? And is there an “app” for that? Ha! ;->

  5. Hariclea says:

    great subject! it reminds me of the panel i enjoyed most at the London Filmcon. I wasn’t all that much into comics as kid, mainly because almost none were available in a communist country. But i have read a few and the artists were great to meet and we had a really lively discussion about the evolution of comics and how the movies have yet to catch up on trends and subjects and the variety and multi-dimensions the characters have in the books vs on screen. Then there was the whole debate of Marvel vs DC and so on 😉
    I’d love to take your course 🙂
    Curious to hear more about your students have to say about their assignment.
    I am pretty sure i have seen it but i don’t remember Heinz at all.. but maybe i just saw Winter Soldier.. I have many problems with the Marvel universe and the movies 😉 I am particularly not a fan of the mash-ups and stuffing everyone in the same movie as what i liked what the specific universe created for each of them. And so much depends on film on the actor chosen to embody a certain character 😉 (i’m pretty sure in the books i’d be rooting for Thor but in the movies i only liked Loki LOL).
    RA aside – i’d recognise that hand anywhere by now i think and look how carefully and securely he grabs the kid (?) to make sure he won’t hurt him 🙂 Awwwww, sweet even as a baddie 😉

  6. […] shows no sign of abating.  Earlier this fall, I pointed out that I had deliberately allowed an Armitage Curriculum InfiltRAtion into a class (that turned out to be less than scintillating I’m afraid…try harder next […]

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