So Far, So Good
Wonder Woman, courtesy of Warner Bros. and associates, is the latest movie to join the DC Entertainment sequence. Putting animated shows aside, the big and small screen has also already given us Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Vixen and several versions of Catwoman. Their Marvel competitors have recruited Quake, Jessica Jones, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Elektra and Gamora, while we await Captain Marvel, the Wasp and Dagger. That is not a bad line-up, but there is room for more, considering the extensive lists of characters behind Marvel and DC.
More Pros Than Cons
Considering the massive appeal of superheroes, success is more or less guaranteed. Almost every comic book character or villain has a fan base, and that is especially true with the Spider-Man franchise. When Holland referred to Spider-girl as a clone of Peter Parker, it is assumed that he was talking about Jessica Drew of the Ultimate universe aka Ultimate Spider-Woman, who can be found adorning t-shirts such as these from Teepublic as proudly as Spidey. If this dream film was created, simply having an awesome female counterpart to Spider-Man would be as much a treat to women in the audience as it would feature a heroine. The AV Club’s analysis of data presented in 2014 by the Motion Picture Association of America confirms that women, apart from enjoying movies as much as men – evident in the 50/50 share in ticket sales by gender – prefer those with female protagonists, liked The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which marked a 54% female attendance as opposed to 40% for Man of Steel.
Despite the intense competition raging between Marvel and DC, both showering their fans with countless movies and TV shows, a new face and their story is always welcome, and has the potential to engage a part of the audience that may not have been drawn in yet. Being overshadowed by greater titles is a risk, but there are ways of countering such an effect: clever marketing, merchandizing, media and cross-platform opportunities. Memorabilia holds the public’s interest, as demonstrated by the $4.5 billion reportedly spent by consumers on DC Comics merchandise in the wake of Suicide Squad (2016).
“DC Comics Booth” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)
In a 2015 survey published by Statista, 35% of US retailers reported that superhero themes outsold zombies, witches and even Elsa for Halloween, which came third in popularity with 13%. Video games have often found inspiration in movies, as well as comic books, several titles also derived from Dark Horse Comics: the Alien vs. Predator series, Hellboy, Men in Black and others. In addition to other forms of merchandise, casinos have made use of the entertainment value of comic books too. Tarzan, an investment of Western Publishing, Charlton Comics and the above three publishers from the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, is available in slot game form at online casino Bet Way. Another example comes courtesy of David Brevik, the creator of Diablo and Diablo 2, who developed Marvel Heroes 2016 for Gazillion Entertainment. It is a free-to-play online Action RPG game bursting with Marvel heroics. It seems like many different sectors of the entertainment industry would be more than happy to support an additional character.
In addition to the extra revenue to be earned through the aforementioned methods, the creators of any quality product take satisfaction from the respect and recognition it grants them. Movies are no different. While a challenge in terms of technical and financial factors, a well thought out script and plot alongside a fresh, immersive or simply original style of direction go a long way towards pleasing audiences. Of course, particular tastes differ between people. This best superhero movies list compiled by The Playlist, for example, could be argued against.
Pure entertainment does not necessarily make a good movie though. Its value lies in sharp and calculated narration, a tightknit combination of words and frames, settings and characters, twists and turns. Civil War screenwriters Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely give their own recipe via Rolling Stone, which includes character development, structure and tastefully placed humour as important things to get right.
Spider-woman is already a popular figure in the comic book universe, so why not upgrade her to cinema stardom? More female characters equal more role models to look up to. Catwoman epitomizes independence. The Harley Quinn craze can be attributed to her uniqueness. Wonder Woman now lives in the minds of the young and adult as a symbol of strength and perseverance. In the same way, if a female Spidey does happen to join the fray, she could make her own inspiring impact like no other hero could before her.
“marvel” by Culture Culte (CC BY 2.0)
As frivolous as it may seem, superhero entertainment does in fact have more than fun to offer. The comic book and movie industries have reached a level of power that can influence the world around them. And we all know what that means: With great power comes great responsibility…