• "Movie Comics: Page to Screen / Screen to Page"
    Rutgers University Press, 2017
    Description: As Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe have regularly topped the box office charts, fans and critics alike might assume that the “comic book movie” is a distinctly twenty- first-century form. Yet adaptations of comics have been an integral part of American cinema from its very inception, with comics characters regularly leaping from the page to the screen and cinematic icons spawning comics of their Movie Comics is the first book to study the long history of both comics-to- film and film-to- comics adaptations, covering everything from silent films starring Happy Hooligan to sound films and serials featuring Dick Tracy and Superman to comic books starring John Wayne, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, Alan Ladd, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. With a special focus on the Classical Hollywood era, Blair Davis investigates the factors that spurred this media convergence, as the film and comics industries joined forces to expand the reach of their various brands. While analyzing this production history, he also tracks the artistic coevolution of films and comics, considering the many formal elements that each medium adopted and adapted from the other.  As it explores our abiding desire to experience the same characters and stories in multiple forms, Movie Comics gives readers a new appreciation for the unique qualities of the illustrated page and the cinematic moving image.

    "Rashomon Effects: Kurosawa, Rashomon and Their Legacies"
    Blair Davis, Robert Anderson, Jan Walls, Eds., Routledge, 2016
    Description: This book examines the cultural and aesthetic impacts of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, as well as the director’s larger legacies to cinema, its global audiences and beyond. It demonstrates that these legacies are manifold: not only cinematic and artistic, but also cultural and cognitive. The book moves from an examination of one filmmaker and his immediate social context in Japan, and goes on to explore how an artist’s ideas might transcend their cultural origins to ultimately provide global influences. Discussing howRashomon’s effects began to multiply with the film being re-imagined and repurposed in numerous media forms in the decades that followed its initial release, the book also shows that the film and its ideas have been applied to a wider range of social and cultural phenomena in a variety of institutional contexts. It addresses issues beyond the realm of Rashomon within film studies, extending to the Rashomon effect, which itself has become a widely recognized English term referring to the significantly different interpretations of different eyewitnesses to the same dramatic event.
    "The Battle for the Bs: 1950s Hollywood and the Rebirth of Low-budget Cinema"
    Rutgers University Press, 2012
    Description: The emergence of the double-bill in the 1930s created a divide between A-pictures and B-pictures as theaters typically screened packages featuring one of each. With the former considered more prestigious because of their larger budgets and more popular actors, the lower-budgeted Bs served largely as a support mechanism to A- films of the major studios—most of which also owned the theater chains in which movies were shown. When a 1948 U.S. Supreme Court antitrust ruling severed ownership of theaters from the studios, the B-movie soon became a different entity in the wake of profound changes to the corporate organization and production methods of the major Hollywood studios. In The Battle for the Bs, Blair Davis analyzes how B-films were produced, distributed, and exhibited in the 1950s and demonstrates the possibilities that existed for low-budget filmmaking at a time when many in Hollywood had abandoned the Bs. Made by newly formed independent companies, 1950s B-movies took advantage of changing demographic patterns to fashion innovative marketing approaches. They established such genre cycles as science fiction and teen-oriented films (think Destination Moon and I Was a Teenage Werewolf) well before the major studios and also contributed to the emergence of the movement now known as underground cinema. Although frequently proving to be multimillion-dollar box-office draws by the end of the decade, the Bs existed in opposition to the cinematic mainstream in the 1950s and created a legacy that was passed on to independent filmmakers in the decades to come.

  • “Screening Truths: Rashomon and Cinematic Negotiation,” Blair Davis and Jef Burnham. Rashomon Effects: Kurosawa, Rashomon and Their Legacies, edited by Blair Davis, Robert Anderson and Jan Walls, Routledge, 2016, pp. 96-114

    “Bare Chests, Silver Tiaras, and Removable Afros: The Visual Design of Black Comic Book Superheroes,” The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Blackness in Comics and Sequential Art, edited by John Jennings and Francis Gateward, Rutgers University Press, 2015, pp. 193-213. *Eisner Award winner, 2016

    “Of Apes and Men (And Monsters and Girls): The Ape Film and 1940s Horror Cinema,” Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade, edited by Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare, Charlie EllBĂ© and Kristopher Woofter, Lexington Books, 2014, pp. 275-294

    “’The Pound of Flesh Which I Demand’: American Horror Cinema, Gore and the Box-Office, 1998-2007,” American Horror Film: The Genre at the Turn of the Millennium, edited by Steffen Hantke, University Press of Mississippi, 2010, pp.35-57

    “Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse Trilogy and the Horror Genre, 1922 – 1960” Caligari’s Heirs: The German Cinema of Fear After 1945, edited by Steffen Hantke, Scarecrow Press, 2007, pp. 3-15

    “Banquet and the Beast: The Civilizing Role of Food in 1930s Horror Films” Reel Food: Essays on Film and Food, edited by Anne Bower, Routledge, 2004, pp.281-296

    “Horror Meets Noir: The Evolution of Cinematic Style, 1931-1958” Horror Film: Creating and Marketing Fear, edited by Steffen Hantke, University Press of Mississippi, 2004, pp.191-212

  • “Singing Sci-Fi Cowboys: Gene Autry and Genre Amalgamation in The Phantom Empire (1935)”, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol. 33, No. 4, November 2013, pp. 552-575

    “Made-From- TV-Movies: Turning 1950s Television into Films,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2009, pp.197-218

    “Old Films, New Sounds: Screening Silent Films With Electronic Music,” Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Vol. 17, No 2. Fall 2008, pp. 77-98

    “Small Screen, Smaller Pictures: Television Broadcasting and B-Movies in the Early 1950s,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television Vol. 28, No. 2, June 2008, pp. 219-238