Well, it looks like Hollywood keeps it continual pot of revenue filled with, guess what, comic book heroes. Batman Begins and The Fantastic Four are about to duke it out on Hollywood and Vine. An age-old comic book company rivalry is yet renewing the heat this year. I guess all of us comic book aficionados always wonder who would win the battle between such and such superheroes.
Well at least in the next few months one way to keep score is to watch the revenues generated between the recently released “Batman Begins” and the soon to be released “Fantastic Four”, which were both childhood fascinations of mine. Not only are there superhero “what ifs” going on here, but which comic book company will stand to gain the most economic substantiation? Batman punches the daily time clock at DC Comics and the Fantastic Four was the brainchild of Stan Lee and crew at Marvel Comics.
And don’t tell me there is a small comic book hero market. Batman Begins claimed the number one spot in gross revenue on its opening weekend. It is going to be very interesting to see what the Fantastic Four does. Hollywood is definitely increasing the thickness of its silver lining these days with comic book hero movies. Batman took in almost $49 million it’s opening weekend. How many mint condition old comic books would you have to sell to make that kind of dough? Are we in the wrong end of the comic book world (ha ha)?
The rivalry between Marvel and DC used to be a major dividing line amongst the tight knit group of comic book collectors. When comic book interest started to decline in the 1970s, this issue became largely irrelevant. But now as video games, online role-playing games and major motion picture productions are spreading across the globe, the classic Marvel-DC conflict is springing back to life.
Superman is coming back to life on the big screen as well as Wonder Woman. Marvel has been riding high off their major successes with the X-men and Spiderman. They are now digging deep into their catalog of characters and are working on screen adaptations of Iron Man, the Submariner, Thor and Silver Surfer, among others. Have we entered a new comic book age that will have to be defined around major motion pictures? Maybe it could be call the “Greenback Age”. Do you have another definition?
And as computer literate as so many are these days, Marvel and DC will have to start developing more online games and virtual universes of all their characters that you and I will be willing to pay a monthly fee to access through our computers and game consoles. Ka-ching, Ka-ching. DC has already announced a deal with Sony Online Entertainment and Marvel is working with Vivendi Universal Games. With the massive successes of the X-Men and Spiderman movies, this has proven that the Marvel characters still have life and relevance in today’s pop culture.
While DC may be playing a bit of catch up, they are quick to point out that they and Warner Bro. have been more successful on the small screen with TV shows like “Smallville” and several animated cartoon series. And further since their TV and film projects are filmed and aired by the Warner Bro. conglomerate, DC gets to keep more of the profit than Marvel does on their projects.
What do we, the consumer public, get out of all this? Well, for one, we get to see our heroes in a more realistic light than ever before. We can grab that popcorn and maybe an extra drink and watch our comic book heroes and characters come to life in a real world setting, at least for a few hours, and walk out with a little more joy in our hearts. Go out and get immersed in Batman Begins and hold your breath for the Fantastic Four. And besides, this new revelation in Hollywood may just increase the value of our old mint condition comics. We can only wait and see.
Dave Gieber, a former rocket engineer, has decided to take up residency on the Internet. He is the owner and editor of several websites, one of which was built around one of his childhood passions; www.comic-book-collection-made-easy.com . You can visit here to keep up to date on the world of comic books and comic book collecting. Feel free to sign up for his comic book ezine at www.comic-book-collection-made-easy.com/comic-book-ezine.html