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Arts & Culture

Cinema Junkie Episode 211: Critical Thinking And The Marvel Cinematic Universe

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier"  was the film that made Professor Arnold T. Blumberg decide to teach a class on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel/Disney
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" was the film that made Professor Arnold T. Blumberg decide to teach a class on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

How comic book movies can teach media literacy and still be fun

Cinema Junkie has been on a quarantine break but I decided that July, the month of Comic-Con, would be a great time to make a comeback. My first guest is someone who not only fits the spirit of Comic-Con, but also is a longtime friend and frequent Cinema Junkie guest and that is Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, a.k.a. Doctor of the Dead. We've bonded over zombies in the past and now I want to tap into a different side of his expertise to talk about comic book movies. Join the KPBS Cinema Junkie LIVE Relaunch Twitch Party at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15. The party is being hosted on Twitch by DJ (and neuroscientist) Eric Leonardis. Details here: www.facebook.com/events/1799194123584814 Follow Cinema Junkie online at www.kpbs.org/cinemajunkie or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cinemajunkieblog). Follow Beth Accomando on Instagram and Twitter as Cinebeth. If you would like to be considered for a Share Your Addiction or Cold Turkey segment then send an email to baccomando@kpbs.org and put "Rant" or "Rave" in the subject line. Cinema Junkie was created and written by Beth Accomando with help from Kinsee Morlan, Emily Jankowski and Rebecca Chacon.

Cinema Junkie returns from quarantine break with an episode that celebrates pop culture. Since July is the month of Comic-Con we talk about comic book movies focusing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Arnold T. Blumberg and I usually bond over zombies. But this time I wanted to tap into his knowledge of comic book movies because he has the distinction of teaching the first-of-its-kind course on the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2015 at the University of Baltimore. The class was called Media Genres, Media Marvels.

"It grew out of the similar course that I'd already been doing for years on the zombie genre," Blumberg explained. "That was the first time I had done sort of a genre specific course at University of Baltimore, and that had been very successful."

Blumberg decided that the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe provided not just entertainment, but also a gateway to discussing ethics, morality, race, gender and class with students.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe can provide a fantasy framework to explore contemporary issues such as the nature of heroism, the great responsibilities that come with wielding great power, and the willingness to trade freedom for security.

So with Comic-Con kicking off July 23, it's the perfect time to discuss comic book movies and how they can be used to teach media literacy and critical thinking.

Blumberg's new podcast is Ghouls in the House. In it, he and his wife Natalie talk about everything from classic horror and science fiction of the 1950s all the way up to the latest films.

"Cinema Junkie" also has some new features. I added segments called "Share Your Addiction" and "Cold Turkey" quick hits where guests and listeners get to rant and rave about movies or movie trends for 60 seconds. If you'd like to submit a rant or rave email me at baccomando@kpbs.org and put "Rant" or "Rave" in the subject line.

Cinema Junkie Presents Geeky Gourmet Makes Comic Book Cookies

Plus, each podcast will have an accompanying video called "Geeky Gourmet" where I demonstrate how to make a drink or food item themed to the topic of each episode. So head on over to the KPBS YouTube channel to find out how to make comic book cookies to go with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Join the KPBS Cinema Junkie LIVE Relaunch Twitch Party at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15. The party is being hosted on Twitch by DJ (and neuroscientist) Eric Leonardis.