This month has been an exciting one with both the web crawler and the caped crusader both having box office outings. The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises have both been highly anticipated and both delivered to fans, as reviews have been generous to both films.
I was recently reading an interesting publication that I picked up at my local thrift store along with some other comic and trading card magazines. The magazine titled, A Files Magazine Spotlight on The Super Heroes Files, by Edward Gross, boast itself as “an invaluable reference and a rousing good read.”
The front advertises stories about new movies that Marvel may option in the future (then in 1986 at the time of publication). And much of the information and content within it pertains more to Superman movies.
Alas, I did find it to be a nice reference and a rousing good read now in 2012.
For starters, the cover struck me as really cheesy cool, because the Spider-Man costume just looked so cheaply made. I mean come on, what’s up with that belt? It reminds me of a belt with a badge that hall monitors would wear at my elementary school. It just looks so, not like anything I would want to see Spider-Man in.
I mean sheesh, is just like the syndicated TV program‘s costume. I guess that was the best they could do back then, Marvel just couldn’t represent their heroes on a screen in real life, it was just too difficult to pull off I guess.
But DC, proved they could do it. They did it with Superman, then Batman and then with the Flash. Not to say that The Amazing Spider-Man TV show didn’t do well, it just didn’t last long. Not long enough for people to know about it now and care. But people still remember Superman films, Batman films and the Flash TV series.
I remember enjoying that show. It inspired me to even become interested enough in the comic book series Flash Volume Two. I remember browsing at another local comic shop I frequented when I was younger, through the back issues of Flash comics for the earliest back issue I could afford.
It was not a pretty outing, not at all. Captain America, was not a bad movie but wasn’t good enough to be noticed. The Incredible Hulk TV series by CBS in 1977 was popular enough but Spider-Man was Marvel’s top star, not the big green gamma bombed-hero. The made for TV movie, The Incredible Hulk Returns didn’t fair as well as the original CBS series did either. Marvel franchises on TV and film just seemed to be cursed, while DC’s were platinum lined with gold.
Back to my Flash story: The back issue I picked up? It was issue 49 of the Flash. What a convincing cover for that issue. It made me really think serious (bad) things for the Flash, but I had to to wondered why the Flash would have been killed off and how I didn’t know anything about it.
Here it was two years after this issue had been published and I hadn’t ever heard of it, despite my strong liking of the TV show and up keeping of what was going on in the comic world as best as a 10-year-old boy could. (I must have been watching them in syndication after the original air dates).
Superman’s death was like it was publicly broadcast through every known communication possible, but Flashes death, nah…never heard of it, up until then.
So I was intrigued. I picked it up and always wanted to continue the story. The problem was my comic book store never had the back issue I wanted (#50) to continue reading the story.
So I decided quickly just to read from the then current issue (which was a few months later after I had waited a few weeks to see if they would ever get a issue #50 in to read), it had a cool enough cover, foil and collectable! (#80). It seemed the comic cover craze I’ll admit I bought into it but still it bothered me to never get to finish the original story that I was reading from issue 49.
Combine that with a story that wasn’t exactly kid friendly for reading as far as easy to follow and missed having enough action packed panels to keep my attention.
So I gave up on the series soon after. The stories didn’t seem too kid friendly and it didn’t help with the show going completely off air.
Years passed and the 1990’s went on to be owned mainly by the Dark Knight when it came to movies. I enjoyed a few other comic book hero movie outings that weren’t Marvel or DC characters. The Shadow in 1994 as portrayed by Alec Baldwin was modest and mildly received. I enjoyed the film when I saw it back then, and I think it still holds up today. I realize that The Shadow series is also not really a comic book series and the short stint it did have in the comic world was published by DC comics.
I later enjoyed another comic book character movie, The Crow. The film was received well and proved to be a commercial and critical success. It showed what audiences at the time wanted. More darker, anti-hero types like the Crow and the Shadow.
This is what led to the only other comic book movies that I remember watching back in the 1990’s. With Batman made into a laughing stock with Joel Schumacher‘s Batman & Robin, we were left with the mild and modest but still not bad, Spawn in 1997, and then later with Blade in 1998 starring Wesley Snipes as Eric Brooks.
The Shadow and Blade were of the few films that have super heroes that use guns that still work successful. To this day none of the Punisher franchise films have had a lasting appeal among fans. Even up to then DC comic character movies were still better than Marvel’s gun-toting good guy assassin outing in 1989. Characters like Swamp Thing had much better appeal among movie goers and fans with the Swamp Thing in 1982 and later on again with the TV series in the 1990.
Out of nowhere in 2000, Marvel surprised everyone with the blockbuster X-Men. The film was immensely successful and received well among critics and fans alike. The series went on to spawn more X-men films and several other Marvel character films.
This was based from the comic character that came from the aftermath of Superman’s death.
Then DC came out of nowhere with Batman Begins in 2005. DC was back in business, and they decided to go ahead and bring their main character back to the movies, Superman.
They tried with Superman Returns, however it was met with mixed reviews. Still a financial success it didn’t prove to be a huge hit with movie goers and definitely not enough in the eyes of Warner Bros. as shown with the reboot of the franchise with the 2013 scheduled release of The Man of Steel. The Batman franchise has went on to become one of the best movie series of the modern era but other DC character movie attempts didn’t even share the milder success of the later Superman film. Maybe they need to not use the word “returns” in the title (that habit has just had a bad track record thus far)?
Jonah Hex released in 2010 and was met with negative reviews and was a box office bomb. I still enjoyed it for what it was worth. Limited production on DVD and Blu-ray, makes me want to add it to my collection fast.
Green Lantern was released in 2011 with negative reviews as well. I personally watched the film in theaters with my father that is an original fan of the Green Lantern comic book and even he wasn’t thrilled with what he watched (he didn’t say much about wanting to see the sequel as played up too in the post-credits scene).
Needless to say, I felt the film could have been better too but will watch it again when I decide to pick it up on Blu-ray. We also watched Jonah Hex in theaters the previous year. We actually felt better about what we had watched with it than with Green Lantern.
Marvel also has continued to do well with many of their films such as Ironman, Ironman 2, X-Men: First Class, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers.
As stated before, the current Batman trilogy has become one of the best film series to ever be released. As I said on my Facebook status after watching the movie:
“The legend ended, But won’t EVER be forgotten. I saw the first Batman (1989) film in technically the same theater, and I just watched the last Batman film now in 2012. I feel just like I did when I was six years old, maybe even more.”
With a sequel planned for the Avengers and X-Men: First Class and other franchises like Justice League and reboots possible for Daredevil, Fantastic Four and maybe even a Robin or Nightwing movie, I can’t wait to see more good movies in the near future!