Marvel Comics And DC Comics – Their Cultural Impact
Who’d win in a fight between Batman and Superman? Comic book fans will have to wait until 2016 to find out, as that’s now the release date for Batman Vs Superman (or possibly Superman Vs Batman – no decision seems to have been made yet). The rumours emanating from Hollywood suggest that the two superheroes will have an almighty bust-up before getting together to defeat evil in the usual manner, but beyond that everything is speculation, plot-wise.
The teaming up of the DC duo is in part an attempt to match the buckets and buckets of cash generated by The Avengers, in which Marvel’s Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk, among others, took on Loki with considerable critical and financial success. The movie made $1.5 billion in theaters on a budget of £220 million. Between them, DC and Marvel control 80% of the US comic book market. You could argue that that’s an unhealthy situation, but firstly it’s not a monopoly; secondly 20% of the market is still a substantial wedge; and thirdly what are you going to do about it anyway?
Superheros Are Everywhere
The cultural impact of the two entertainment behemoths has been gigantic. Leaving aside the actual comic books, think of the merchandise, TV shows, video games and so on that have been produced over the years. Whether it’s a Batman one-piece swimsuit or a set of Iron Man cufflinks that catches your eye, there’s never going to be any shortage of superhero stuff to spend your spare change on. The popularity of the Marvel brand in particular is reflected in the range of games available at online casinos like Titan, with Spiderman slots like Attack Of The Green Goblin proving to be some of the site’s biggest draws. The fact that casinos have embraced superhero culture shows that Marvel and DC characters have moved beyond the stage of being just for kids.
Looking at the list of movies based on Marvel characters alone, it’s interesting to note that the number of releases really gathered pace from around 2002 onwards. We got three in the 90s; Captain America, The Fantastic Four and Blade. Blade II and Spider-Man appeared in 2002, and by the middle of the decade we were being treated to three a year.
Some commentators might argue that, post-9/11, the combination of escapism and strong American characters was exactly right for the times. Others might just look at the amount of money being generated and leave it at that.
In The Pipeline
In any case, there are some damn good, entertaining movies being made. From a DC perspective, The Dark Knight Rises was a huge success. Britain’s Daily Telegraph compared it to The Godfather II, and Roger Ebert spoke of its “sensational climax”. Marvel aficionados will be looking forward to James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, in which Zoe Saldana and Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan have a huge fight, amongst other treats.
A Fantastic Four reboot, and the third and fourth Amazing Spider-Man movies, are due for next year and beyond, while the relatively unprolific DC movie machine promises a Man Of Steel sequel for 2016. Martin Goodman (founder of Timely Publications, which became Marvel), and Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, of Detective Comics, would be amazed – and proud.
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