Comic books

Comic books

Comics have been leaping out of print and, capes aswirl, onto our cinema screens. With an endless supply of comics to plunder, does CGI and movie fan interest spell the end for comic books?

Comic books have always been popular, with the superhero providing great imaginary worlds for both children and adults. It all began with the golden ages of comics (which is generally thought of starting in the 30’s and lasted till the 40’s). This golden age of comics is where most of the famous superheroes were created. Illustrations that leap off the page, the smallest amount of text (ideal for lazies) to help move the reader through the pages, engrossed and desperate as they are for the story not to end. However, the end of the comic book is no longer a problem as this franchise has crossed through many industries, making the superhero live on, eternal.

Marvel comics (recently bought out by Disney) and DC comics are the main contributors to endless list of superheroes, stretching from their earliest creations of Captain America and The Bat-Man. And although the popularity of superheroes has always been huge, in recent years we’ve seen an increase in the expansion business.

CGI has allowed superhero movies to stay faithful to the special effects which were produced so much more cheaply in the comics, with realistic visual effects and no more strings on screen as our superhero flies across the sky. Thanks in part to CGI, we’ve finally seen the release of Watchman and Ironman, aimed at the older more mature audience that the original comics fans grew to become. But this has also meant that older on-screen representations such as The Incredible Hulk, Batman and Superman are remade with bigger and better affects.

Batman Begins (2005) restarted the film series and reverted back to the dark and serious tone of the late 80’s representation of the superhero to great success, grossing nearly $500,000,000 in box office and DVD sales. The film’s script is based loosely on several serious Batman graphic novels, most notably Frank Miller’s late 80’s depiction of the beginnings of the caped crusader entitled Batman: Year One.

Frank Miller’s modern-day retelling of Batman still clung to the original character concept, but plot holes were filled and a grittier tone was introduced. The camp caped crusader lost his champion’s cape to a more mature, more violent Dark Knight of justice to echo our times. Other authors such as Grant Morrison have also contributed to this. Morrison’s story and McKean’s extravagant art style together create a vivid depiction of a barely-human psychotic crime-fighter, battling with not only his nemeses but himself in Arkham Aslyum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.

Not only has the film and comic book industry been taken over with superheroes but now even the game industry has been infiltrated by these colourful characters. Just about every superhero has had their spin-off game title, but most recently it is The Batman which has not only been a success with critics and fans but the general gaming community. And if this wasn’t enough, you can now see many young adults walking around with a superhero on their t-shirts, as the superhero is now a fashion trend.

This industry seems to never get old, with an infinitesimal amount of stories to be told and characters remaining to be used (Ever heard of AnimalMan? Don’t worry… give it a couple of years, and you will…) Such great creations will always keep children and adults entertained on some media platform or other, be it in print or digital.

It won’t be long before fashionistas carry golden lasoos, and speedsters wear feathered wingtips on their boots…

Batman’s Harley Quinn living the comics dream…

Mina Murray nee Harker from the comic book ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’

Sally Jupiter jumped from the comics page into the Watchmen movie