It’s no longer a matter for dispute: Marvel is whaling the crap out of DC in the Superhero Movie arms race….DESPITE DC’s long-standing monopoly on the comics world’s most recognizable crossover titles such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You don’t need to be a stereotypical, basement-dwelling neckbeard to be familiar with Supes, Bats, and Wondie–mole people living at the center of the Earth who have never seen the surface world know these names…But somehow, only Tim Burton and Chris Nolan’s Batman films, Richard Donner’s Superman movies, and (arguably) Zack Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation have really done DC characters any justice.
Meanwhile, Marvel has been having success after success with films starring characters few outside of Comic Book Fandom are really familiar with. Consider The Avengers: Sure, Hulk’s known for his TV show, and a few people remember Captain America’s dreadful MFTV movies, but Black Widow? Hawkeye? Nick Fury? Who knows these names beyond the frontiers of nerdery? And yet, Marvel was able to make not only a successful film with these characters, but the third highest grossing picture in HISTORY. An epic beloved by both comic diehards and the “average” moviegoer–an unqualified smash with audiences and critics alike.
And now, the worlds of cinema and comics are driving themselves into a foaming frenzy over Marvel’s newest project: A film adaptation of the even LESS popularly known superhero team title–Guardians of the Galaxy. Will Marvel be able to make movie stars out of characters even more esoteric than The Avengers? Marvel writer and film consultant Brian Michael Bendis thinks so–and explained how Marvel could achieve such a feat while DC invariably fails to follow suit:
“We first started talking about doing [Guardians of the Galaxy] years ago when it looked like there weren’t going to be any more Star Wars films. It just shows that there must be something in the air. It’s one of those zeitgeist moments when everyone is thinking about the same thing. Marvel is thinking about how to make their space epic work and here comes the greatest space epic ever & from the same company. It’ll be fun!
There’s a lot of brainpower here, so it was like ‘let’s put them to work. That’s why we’ve such a strong hit ratio and it’s why we’re light years ahead of where Warner Bros. is right now. They should do the same thing with Geoff Johns and their other guys. They might be in better shape if they did that. Fox have hired Mark Millar to do the same thing for them on X-Men and Fantastic Four. It works, so that’s exactly what you should do.”
Seems simple enough: Wanna make a movie about a comic character? Hire the people who’ve been living and breathing that character for years, even decades, to write your screenplay. Experienced Hollywood screenwriters are certainly talented people–but they don’t have the same love for, and knowledge of the material–and fans, both of comics and good movies, notice the difference….And until DC figures this out, Marvel will continue to dominate at the Box Office.