Have the superhero movies diminished comic book readership?
Since the success of the early Marvel X-Men, Thor and Iron Man films a new wave of fans have discovered the Marvel Universe, naturally.
They’ve come to know Professor Xavier through the authoritarian voice of Patrick Stewart. Wolverine and charismatic Hugh Jackman and handsome Chris Evans skillfully brought Captain American boldly and ethically to life. Who is Iron Man but Robert Downey Jr.?
Spiderman had come before these others with Toby McGuire giving what I thought was a genuine vulnerable quality to Peter Parker. His films arrived almost like the comic book/film industry version of Lewis and Clark. Sent out into the wilderness to see what could be discovered, and what would make it a target.
And yes, we’d had Superman with Christopher Reeves, and two other actors (Christopher being my favorite, no disrespect to the others). And there’d been two Fantastic Four films … No comment.
Even more people have discovered Daredevil (more through the TV series than the 2003 movie), Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage on Netflix. The parade continued with Smallville, Arrow, Legends, Agents of Shield, Flash (1980s version and now), Supergirl, and soon to come, Black Lightening.
But the major money was and is being disseminated to and reaped from the silver screen. The first Avengers movie made over 4 billion dollars. One film … one of 2 thus far.
The DC Universe had been firmly established for over 70 years, and the world of Marvel for over 40 years. And now their creations were being consumed ravenously in one of the most expensive media arenas in the world … film.
But just because the audiences were flocking to the theaters to get their super fix didn’t mean they were equally voracious for the comics. In facts many new hero fans didn’t even know these characters had comic book history. Some others thought the books came later as if Batman and Detective Comics were merely new merchandising gimmicks because of a successful film.
I’ll add here my opinion that many of the early superhero films over the past 30 years, did much to either stimulate or mutilate characters’ origins, codes of conduct, costumes, and even powers or abilities. Often it appeared that the filmmakers didn’t trust or respect the source material.
Now I’m not a purist. I simply mean respect as in bring more quality not buffoonery to a project, or why do it.
Many adults and kids only know the origins of these characters via the film version which is often … altered to accommodate the medium … or some filmmaker’s concept of “making it better.”
So I ask the question are these films a blessing or a curse (though for many a lucrative one).
What do you say? Yes _____ No _____
Do you read their comic book series? Yes _____ No _____
Have you ever read them? Yes _____ No _____
And is the audio-visual fix weakening literacy efforts and benfits?
Yes _____ No _____
Or can these films be an additional tool for those attempting to improve reading and language skills.
(*Please leave your reply or response in the comments area below.)
One other question comes to mind. Should this film fever eventually dwindle and be replaced by the next media fad … What will this mean for all the changes that have occurred in response?
That would include not only the money being made for those owning the licenses, but also the careers of the performers, and the publishing houses consumed into their corporate hosts (like so much wriggling nourishment) to become IP departments.
What happens then?
I’d truly like to hear your thoughts.
Adios for now.