Friday, August 8, 2014

The Golden Age of Marvel Media

Karen: I've been credited with calling our current times "the Golden Age of Reprints," although I have to admit I don't recall saying that. But I don't remember a lot of things, and enough of you seem certain I said it, that I'll go ahead and accept it.

Karen: I have come to believe that we are living during the "Golden Age of Marvel Media," which was in evidence again this last week, as the Guardians of the Galaxy film dominated the box office, hauling in over $100 million domestically and $200 million worldwide. I have to admit, when this film was originally announced, I was concerned it would be Marvel Studio's first true flop. But instead, the public has embraced it -and how.Who would have thought a film with some of the most obscure Marvel characters, including a walking tree-man and a talking raccoon, would turn out to be so well-received? At this point, I think Marvel could make a film about a jar of peanut butter and people would go see it, based solely on the studio's track record.

Karen: This week DC announced that they would be rescheduling the release date of their Superman/Batman film, which was originally going to premiere on May 6, 2016, the same day as the third Captain America film. Now their film will come out earlier, on March 25th of that year. Many people are saying that in this stare down, DC blinked first. Think about that. They moved a film that had their top two characters. That's how powerful the Marvel engine is right now. 

Karen: So this "Golden Age of Marvel Media" is truly wonderful for long time fans like us, because we are getting to see things we could only dream of for many, many years. Yes, there were the TV adaptations of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, and Dr. Strange in the 70s. They were, well, not very good. As David B. might say, "they were all we had." These Marvel Studio films have been a quantum leap in quality, giving us not only amazing effects but characters who are recognizable as their comic book counterparts. It's a huge pleasure just to see them brought to life.  But every Marvel film has brought things to the screen that have truly surprised and  thrilled me. In the first Iron Man, I got an enormous kick out of seeing the makeshift grey armor rumbling around. The depiction of Asgard in Thor was absolutely perfect, right down to the appearance of Odin's ravens. How about seeing the dormant Human Torch in Captain America? And I just about jumped out of my seat while watching this Guardians film when -SPOILER ALERT!!!! - we saw the Celestials during the Collector's explanation of the infinity gems. 

Karen: It seems like everyone loves Marvel these days. It wasn't always that way -I can remember the sting of insults over my Marvel stickers on my lunchbox, or my Marvel t-shirts. But it just took forty years for everyone else to catch up to me, and us. When I wear a Marvel t-shirt out now, I inevitably get compliments on it. My, how things have changed!


Anonymous said...

Well, for us British kids it was even worse - Marvel UK was a small operation with only a handful of comics and superheroes weren't even part of the comics culture. It slightly annoys me that people jump on the bandwagon now when it's cool to like superheroes and Marvel although I'm still glad they have of course. I never doubted that Guardians would be a hit - from the early trailers onwards it looked terrific and very faithful to the modern Guardians comic-book. And of course "from the studio that brought you Captain America, Thor and The Avengers" didn't hurt either !

Humanbelly said...

A neat side-effect that I've noticed is that, in spite of the heroes being pretty much exclusively male, they've become a very popular alternative to the ubiquitous Disney Princesses for little girls' (and even older girls') active-wear. I betcha there're worthy sociological elements in play, here-- but I'll go ahead and speculate that the superheroes kind of take on a gender-neutral appeal here for girls. It's the appeal of pro-active, decisive characters of rather passive, often-victimized ones. LOTS of teen girls wearing Cap t-shirts-- and the appeal is clearly beyond the stereotypical "'cause he's dreamy", teeny-bopper cliche'--

HB (who can psuedo-theorize w/ the best of 'em)

William said...

I remember in sixth grade I had a Marvel Comics school book binder that I loved. (I don't recall ever being made fun of for having it though). I used to sit in class and stare at it with wonder. It probably didn't help my grades.

I actually found a picture of it online at this link:

Back then, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd see things like the movies we have today. However, if I was in charge, I'd make things even more accurate to the comics.

Man, I only wish that Marvel studios could get back the rights to Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. It's just a crime that the first family of Marvel Comics, and their flagship character aren't a part of Marvel Studios.

Every time I see a non-Marvel Studios Spider-Man movie, I think of what might have been…[sigh]

And I am extremely worried about the upcoming FF movie. That thing looks like a disaster in the making.

How awesome would it be if ALL of Marvel's characters could be part of the same shared cinematic universe? That's the way it should be. But we all know that probably will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I want to state in no uncertain terms that I have enjoyed the movies that Marvel Studios have produced. From Iron Man onwards, what I have really liked is the quality of the movies. There have been some really good stories. Best thing, the little weaving of the Marvel Universe in the movies and the end credit scenes to tie the movies together.

B-ly, the flip side of the coin. There are things that make this not my Marvel. I have a hard time thinking of Captain America as THE FIRST AVENGER. I have a hard time thinking of The Avengers without Ant-Man and The Wasp. Tony Stark just coming out and saying "I'm Iron Man, dammit". Pepper and Tony!?! Uh no, I don't think so.

In conclusion, I have enjoyed Agents of SHIELD and I watch it because I want to see more. I think I'm going to have to get Netflix for the other shows coming out. (Before I forget, watch Agent Carter, please.) Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders.

And finally (no really, I know what I'm doing), I hold out hope for a really good Fantastic Four movie. I know that I will always be saddled with a high school Peter Parker with a girlfriend. I guess that's just my bear to cross.

And super finally, Karen I hope of all the things you do remember, that you remember the time we had lunch. We were at the food court in the mall. I know we weren't at the same table but we were facing each other. There was an empty table between us. Okay, more like 6 empty tables. 6 empty tables and one over, but I could see you. You were reading, I think it was a book. Good times.

The Prowler (still misspells "the" on a daily basis).

Anonymous said...

Adding to what HB said - I read that on The Avengers' opening weekend forty percent of the audience were female.

Anonymous said...

William, just a quick point to reiterate what I was saying, I think the movies have been accurate to the comics, just not the comics "we" were reading. By the time "these comics" came along, we were the old guard perusing back issues trying to complete our run of Marvel Triple Actions.

Anonymous said...

LOL I forgot to say it was me, The Prowler. Don't you just hate when that happens...........

PS What happened to Photo Sphere???

Karen said...

To pick up on something Colin mentioned, I wonder how longtime fans feel about these "bandwagon" fans? Most of the time I am happy to see people finally coming to appreciate the Marvel universe, but I'll admit there are times a feeling of possessiveness sweeps over me and I resent these Johnny-come-latelys. This usually manifests itself when someone talks about the characters and it's obvious their knowledge comes only from the films, yet they insist on acting as if they are an authority on all things Marvel. Any thoughts on this, or related subjects?

oh, and Prowler, I miss those times at the food court. What happened to us?

Dr. Oyola said...

I am probably more annoyed at the idea of gate-keeping and calling it "a bandwagon" than new fans whose knowledge or level of engagement does not match my own. . . I mean, I was once a kid who knew nothing about Spider-Man I didn't learn from cartoons AND it is silly to expect everyone to know or WANT to know about all this stuff to the same degree.

People like things how and why they like things and it doesn't change my relationship to it, so why should I care? Or even worse, act like a pedantic jerk about it.

On the other hand, if someone who is a relative newcomer is acting like a pedantic jerk, well that is because of their personality, not because they are new - so I just avoid those people - probably wouldn't like talking to them about ANYTHING, including comics/superheroes.

Gary said...

Made fun of for having Marvel stuff? Never happened when was growing up. Unless you mean as a 15-18 year old, then yeah probably. I did have an FF shirt in the early 90's when I was in my 20's and nobody said anything about it then either.

Chris said...


I think you summed it up perfectly when you said "But it just took forty years for everyone else to catch up to me, and us"

I've no problem with people joining the bandwagaon, giving the genre the kudos (we all knew )it deserves and Marvel being so popular.

Funny how all this really kicked into gear when Disney took over. Let's hope they spinkle the old fairy dust on Star Wars too.

My friends have always known about my love of comics but I've never tried to convert them unless they showed an interest. Now I get asked what might happen next and who are these characters who are lined up for the next Marvel features. It's cool having that respectability!

Here's to a long Golden Age of Marvel Media!

Anonymous said...

The good Doctor makes a very valid point. I remember in the first Spider-Man trilogy, when "they" decided to make Spidey's webbing organic rather than a scientific construct, my first reaction was "Whaaat!?!", I couldn't see the need. That threw the whole Spider-Man mythos out the window. The brilliant teen who used his brain to solve problems. The Spider-Man I grew up with used his brain to solve problems. Spider webbing shooting from his wrists, Spider traces keyed to his Spider sense, a belt camera, the Spider light.

But is the essence of Spider-Man, as laid out by Marvel in the 60s still there? Is he that lovable loser that suddenly has his life turned around? Is that still the core of who Peter Parker/Spider-Man is?

The Prowler (pushing "play" and raising the boom box over his head).

Anonymous said...

Yeah I agree with Karen - we are truly living in the Age of Marvel. As much as I admire Batman,I think the boys over at DC are playing catch up to the Merry Marvel Movie Machine. The only bright spot for DC seems to be on the small screen with Smallville some years back and now Arrow and the upcoming Flash TV series.

DC could have success here because TV gives producers the opportunity for sustained character development, something not usually found on the big screen. Still, Marvel seems to be on a roll now; it definitely was a stroke of genius for them to tie in the movies together, so that all of them seemed to share one cinematic universe, and the end credits scenes are a real blast too.

William,I'm with you ol' buddy; somehow I really wish Sony and Fox should just give back the rights for Spidey and the FF to Marvel studios. They seem to be getting it right. Personally, I'm more concerned about the FF movie being a flop rather than the Guardians. While GotG was a team of lesser known characters,especially this newer incarnation, the FF is Marvel's first family of superheroes. Like Karen, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Guardians do so well at the box office. Let's hope the FF movie will be a hit too.

As for Marvel stuff being accepted more nowadays, yes, times do change. Recently on holiday, I walked into a toy store and asked about a small Captain America shield on display. The young lady said it would make a nice gift for a child. I told her it was for me! In the end, I didn't buy it though.

- Mike 'wanna see Bradley Cooper as Indiana Jones instead of Rocket Raccoon' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Graham said...

I guess my kids and wife would be considered "bandwagon" fans. I tried to get my kids interested prior to all the movies, but they weren't that fired up about it. Once they started seeing the movies and how much FUN they were, they became fans, even going back and reading some of the old series that I have stored at my folks' house. My wife was watching one of the movies with the kids and she became a fan.....again because they're just so much fun to watch.

When I say that they're fun, I'm mostly speaking of the Marvel movies, and to me that's the difference between DC and Marvel's movies. All of the DC movies, even The Dark Knight, are just a chore to watch. I have all the Marvel movies on DVD and watch them pretty regularly with the kids. The only DC movies I have are the Batman/Christopher Nolan series and I could count the number of times I've watched them on one hand.

With the Marvel movies, there are some things that they've changed that I wish they wouldn't, but they have basically stayed true to the characters for the most part and that makes up for any shortcomings. I still don't understand why sometimes they change things just for the sake of changing.....I guess so they can put their "touch" on the character. Millions of fans over fifty to seventy-five years have dug these characters for what they are, but you think this little tweak makes them better??? Whatever, dude.

One thing that has helped the Guardians movie, and the other Marvel movies is the media campaign...the TV promos, etc...When I first saw the Guardians movie previews, I said," Ehhh. Wait for the DVD!" But after all the media blitz and promos over the past few months, I find myself wanting to go see it.

Still, tweaks aside, I never figured that anything like the movies we have to watch now would ever be made.....or that my kids would ever actually experience these characters and see just how cool they were.

dbutler16 said...

I have a pretty cool Wolverine tee shirt, and I've gotten some compliments on it. 10 years ago, I'd probably have gotten blank stares instead.

Humanbelly said...

Oh golly- I've never NOT worn superhero t-shirts. But my workplace environment practically demands it. Which is definitely my good fortune.

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