This past weekend my wife and I had a mini marathon of some of the Marvel Comics movies.
Iron Man 1 & 2, Avengers, Captain America, etc. Fun movies all. Plenty of Suspension of Disbelief is required to enjoy them, but fun none the less. I hear Iron Man 3 is doing quite well too. I must also admit that story-wise these films have not been pretty good for what they are.
But all this got me to wondering. All these young people who are enjoying these films...have any of them ever read a Marvel Comic? Oh sure us old guys have read them. That's for sure, but I'll bet most of the under 25 crowd have seen some of the Marvel animated TV shows and probably played a Marvel video game of some kind, but I rather doubt they have read any of the comics. At least NOT with any regularity or dedication.
Now comic books are NOT great literature, with a few possible exceptions. But for the most part they are simple, fun pop-culture, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I cannot help but think that as COOL as the Marvel movies have been, in all honesty, they are but pale shadows of the original comics. One two hour movie held up against hundreds of issues of The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, etc. makes the films look rather shallow and fleeting. Not great literature but I have to say the comics have a lot more story, character development and continuity than the films ever will.
It then begs the question, after seeing the films is anyone, NOT already a regular comic book buyer, dashing out to find out all about the original comics? Perhaps a few people...but I can't imagine many will do this. I fear that we already have a generation of 'fans' who think of the Marvel heros as movie and video game characters only.
Marvel was known for it's character and story continuity, not just within individual titles, but across all their titles. If the Hulk made an appearance in Spiderman, well that event was reflected in the Hulk's title as well as the Avengers as the Hulk was a member of that team too. Marvel was also known for tackling tough subjects like drug abuse, alcoholism, racism etc. that DC would not touch, not until later anyway. My point is, that Marvel made a name for itself because they were different. They had better writing, pushed the limits of what was acceptable in comics, tried to make comics as good as they could.
It's taken decades for Marvel to finally get film projects off the ground. I think that a big reason for this is that until the last 10 to 15 has the modern technology really existed to bring the Marvel vision to the screen. So good for them, and I'm glad they are being so successful. But all your NEW YOUNG fans out there I do suggest that you look into what came first to make all this possible. yes comic books...you do actually have to make the effort to read them. They don't read themselves to you like a movie or TV show. But give them a try sometime.
Yes, another grumpy old man rant....