Monday, January 11, 2010

Template: How to Get Historians Riled Up

Original post 3/31/07

Step 1: Some guy, a few thousand years ago, writes a lot of history, including a bit about some battle.

Step 2: Lots of people read the history and find that particular battle inspiring. Eventually, a pretty poor movie gets made about it.

Step 3: A comic book writer, er, "graphic novelist", using the movie mentioned in Step 2 as at least partial inspiration, creates his highly stylized interpretation of the same events. (Note: primary audience are teenage boys/young men).

Step 4: As a movie maker who has a background in horror films, (and who also saw how commercially successful another movie based on a "graphic novel" by the guy from Step 3 was) decide to make a movie based on that graphic novel (aimed at the teenage boys/young men) and not the more "historical" Step 1.

Step 5: Have a historian write the forward to the new novelization. Make sure the historian is routinely disparaged by many of his colleagues. Also be sure that the historian makes a few points about how some aspects of the film are, indeed, historical. This is important!!! It lays the groundwork for Step 7.

Step 6: With luck, the movie is popular with the simple-minded masses but receives mixed reviews from professionals (both critics and historians). Maybe it's because you left out that a bunch of actors were also involved? (Oh, not that kind of Thespian?)

Step 7: Watch as the long knives of Clio are drawn from scabbards and pointed at the guy in Step 5. At this point, a good old-fashioned--if only one-way--cat-fight ensues. (Reeowwrrr!) But who cares if its a one-way fight: lots of publicity is generated for the consumption of both the rubes and the thinking classes. (That means more money!)

Step 8: Continue to rake in millions from the unsuspecting public who just thought they were watching a sorta-historical, often campy, adaptation of a comic-book, er, "graphic novel" and didn't realize that it was really part of an ideologically driven conspiracy meant to instigate a new Crusade. (Or something like that).

Step 9: While counting money, thank all the people who actually took your simplistic comic-book-comes-to-life movie so seriously.

Step 10: Ask yourself: is there another sorta-historical comic book out there that could be a movie (or a series of them)? Can Step 5 historian write about it?