A few classes back, we talked about the difference between characters over time. I will admit it will be hard to find anyone in this class that will argue against superhero movies; they’re awesome. While many in this class are avid readers of comic books, there is a group of us, including myself, who have never read one. One of the big reasons I joined this class has been the number of superhero movies created over the past few years. While I will still likely go for a movie over a comic book once this class ends, it has shown me how the movie industry has worked for and against the comic book industry. While it has created a large mainstream buzz with people after the 1990s, it has morphed an expectation on younger audiences for what their favourite heroes should look like.
Growing up, my favourite superhero was Batman, what’s not to like? My fear for the comic book industry is the more mainstream specific characters become, the more difficult it will be for artists to put their own twists on new renditions. One of the hardest things for artists in any context is originality, so I can imagine how tough it can be for an artist assigned to draw someone like Batman to make it his or her own when the vigilante has been around since 1939. I imagine many of the younger audiences of such films as the Dark Knight likely now have a very distinct idea of what Batman should be. Even looking at the different Batman movies over the years, many of them take a very similar look.
While I am making the argument that this is a negative thing, it could very well be positive. No one will dismiss the trend of superhero movies as a bad thing; any press is good press when you’re a comic. It’s a bit of a novelty when each generation has their own vision of what their favourite hero is and looks like. I hope though in 20 years we don’t lose the creativity in super hero comics in order to attract the more mainstream reader. Just because a specific Batman comic doesn’t look like Christian Bale, I hope it isn’t discounted. Artists should be able to add their own bit of originality to their work and still have it appreciated. Being a sports fan, I know what it’s like to watch something even if it doesn’t resemble what it was 20-or so years ago and still appreciate it (Calgary Flames anyone?)
In saying all this, what I hope to say is that when you pick up something that doesn’t resemble what your use to, don’t turn away from it. Movies tend to ruin the imagination and vision of what some creations should be. Comics are unique because of their change over time. There is nothing wrong with picking up something a little different every now and then.