Today the genre that dominates the global box office and Hollywood productions is superheroes There is no doubt about it. Decades before we had the western, unfortunately it was gradually falling from the public’s taste. It still exists, but they are already sporadic examples that make it clear that his reign ended a long time ago.
It is inevitable to think that the same could happen to superhero movies. It is possible, but it does not necessarily have to happen. On the one hand, the MCU gives the impression of being designed to tell different stories without stalling for a long time; that is to say, it is seen that they planned it taking into account what happened to westerns. On the other hand, they have the advantage that a large number of comic book stories are still being produced and that these, like the movies, are exploring all the possibilities and limits of the genre.
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That said, a question we should all ask ourselves from time to time is: Why did this happen? The reality is that there are all kinds of possible answers. The simplest and most obvious is that the current boom of that genre is due to how well planned and successful the MCU is. Many of his films proved to be money-making machines and even to Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings – 95% have done quite well if we take the pandemic into account.
The point is that other answers can be given to that question. Frank Miller gave a very interesting one in a recent conversation on The Beard and The Bald Movie Podcast. There the comic book writer basically said that without Star Wars we wouldn’t have as many Marvel and DC movies in theaters, but neither would the George Lucas franchise without Jack Kirby’s New Gods. He also mentioned other important reasons. Here his words:
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I would say that it has been a natural convergence of a few things. Let me name a couple. First of all, I have to mention Star Wars, even though it is not derived from a comic. It showed that you can do extraordinary things if you break all the barriers that exist between the comics and the movies. You can see reflections of Jack Kirby’s New Gods within it. Obviously there’s also the Superman movie, which was the great crossover event of its time. But what happened was that the comics began to expand what they were willing to do in terms of dramatic material at the same time that the movies began to accept all kinds of fantastic possibilities. And pretty soon you saw that comic book conventions became media conventions, where Harry Potter was as celebrated as Marvel comics. You also can’t forget about Indiana Jones and Spielberg bringing back stories of aliens on Earth. It has been a time of celebration for fantasy and it has been great to be a part of that. And, I have found myself with each passing year that I am sitting in a larger crowd of maniacs like me and we are all enjoying our company.
In that same interview he also revealed that at first he did not take very well that we say the fact that Zack Snyder was inspired by his comics for his films, but over the years his attitude about that changed and now he thinks it is something great:
I really have to say about it that a few years have passed since this all started, ok? And at first, my reaction was to be very territorial and all that that entails. And now I’ve kind of taken it slower, exhaling deeply and with a deeper insight into the whole thing and all I can say is: this is great. I mean, I came up with my great idea for The Dark Knight Returns and that was the big impact that I had, which started my entire career. And since then I have seen the two camps collaborate with each other. I have benefited greatly from Dark Knight Returns, and so have they and will continue to do so. And it can only be seen as a healthy relationship.
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