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New Escapist Column! On “What If…?”, and How We Measure What Stories “Matter”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Because What If…? wrapped its first season last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the show.

In particular, What If…? demonstrates one of the tensions within modern pop culture. How does modern pop culture measure the worthy or value of a particular story? Historically, stories have been judged on their own quality, making arguments for their own value. However, with the emergence and evolution of shared universes like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it increasingly seems like audiences are being told that they should measure the value of a given story by how it “matters” to the continuity of the larger franchise. A story no longer has worth because it is good, but because it promises a return down the line.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.