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The Overlord




Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.

So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.

Plus a cartoon when done well can improve upon concepts found in a comic, like what BTAS did with Mr. Freeze.


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.


I'm not sure I take that as a general rule. Kids have particular taste. For years people said that kids don't read books, yet look at Harry Potter. I don't agree that we should consider that as an eternal truth.


    Quote:
    So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.


Gateway how? To just the characters, then I'd agree. Animation and especially cartoon shows have a real advantage over comics.

But as a gateway to the comics? Maybe? You'll find that some kids who love watching the cartoons will want to experience other Spider-Man stories. A huge problem is that Marvel doesn't align their products well with each other. If you like the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon show, you really can't get anything close to that in the comics. In many cases, even the characters look visually different from one media to the next. Look at Wolverine, where you have numerous costumes (movie leather, movie regular, ultimate, astonishing, bianchi, x-force, brown and tan, classic) appearing regularly to the fans, with sometimes little or no similarities.

DC did this, and still does this today very well. If a DC character has a cartoon show, he is going to have a comic. DC also seems to insist that all their characters look the same/very similar across the different media.

But there are alot of problems between a kid watching a cartoon of Spider-Man and a kid later picking up a comic. We've still got huge problems with distribution, availability, pricing, and even content.


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The Overlord





    Quote:

      Quote:
      Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.



    Quote:
    I'm not sure I take that as a general rule. Kids have particular taste. For years people said that kids don't read books, yet look at Harry Potter. I don't agree that we should consider that as an eternal truth.


Kids do read, just not American comic books, kids really love Jaapnese Manga, which has a lot of advantages over American comics, in that they don't have 40 years of continuity when reading a manga book. I don't like them personally, but I do see why the younger geenration would.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.



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    Gateway how? To just the characters, then I'd agree. Animation and especially cartoon shows have a real advantage over comics.


That's what I mean.

    Quote:
    But as a gateway to the comics? Maybe? You'll find that some kids who love watching the cartoons will want to experience other Spider-Man stories. A huge problem is that Marvel doesn't align their products well with each other. If you like the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon show, you really can't get anything close to that in the comics. In many cases, even the characters look visually different from one media to the next. Look at Wolverine, where you have numerous costumes (movie leather, movie regular, ultimate, astonishing, bianchi, x-force, brown and tan, classic) appearing regularly to the fans, with sometimes little or no similarities.


I think that's irrelevant, I think introducing the character concepts


    Quote:
    DC did this, and still does this today very well. If a DC character has a cartoon show, he is going to have a comic. DC also seems to insist that all their characters look the same/very similar across the different media.


But DC, like Marvel still lags behind Japanese manga, because there is less continuity with manga.


    Quote:
    But there are alot of problems between a kid watching a cartoon of Spider-Man and a kid later picking up a comic. We've still got huge problems with distribution, availability, pricing, and even content.


Again I think the comic book format is dated in today's age (print is slowly dying, even newspapers that existed for over century, are in danger of forming). I think in the future, only books will be the print media that will survive.

I think the character concepts matter more then the dated comic book format.


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Jase





    Quote:
    Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.


I'm inclined to agree somewhat. Not saying that absolutely NO kids read comics anymore as certainly some still do. But in a general sense, when I go to buy manga, I see more kids there then when I get American comics.

But kids are still reading though, be it manga, or even European comics, or novels, like LOTR and Harry Potter can attest to.


    Quote:
    So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.


As far as a better gateway to a more broader interpretation of the character, then sure, I can concede that to a degree. There are certainly people who are fans of Batman and the Justice League from the cartoons who never or rarely picked up a comic w/ the same characters. People will buy the shirts, get the toys, watch the movie, and might not ever try out the comic versions of those characters. To bring movies into the equation, Iron Man was a big success, but how many people who went to see it were really fans of the comic character before, or even after the film? I'm not certain I've ever really witnessed something like The Dark Knight really causing a significant increase in the readership of the comics. I'm sure it has an effect, but not to the extent that I'd consider most the cartoons or movies an actual gateway to the comics.

In terms of the problems a comic presents, I do believe content can be an issue in both senses, in becoming too graphic for certain age demographics, or 'dumbing' it down or 'babying' and thus robbing it of any edge and making it unattractive to other age groups.

Any ongoing serial will accumulate it's own bit of continuity, be it Captain America, House, Lost, the Harry Potter films/novels or what have you, so I'm not sure to what degree that is off-putting to some new readers. I think being too self-referential to past stories, and dense crossovers w/ too many tie-ins would is a valid roadblock however.


    Quote:
    Plus a cartoon when done well can improve upon concepts found in a comic, like what BTAS did with Mr. Freeze.


Or introduce concepts that weigh the property down, like the son in Superman Returns.


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The Overlord





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      Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.



    Quote:
    I'm inclined to agree somewhat. Not saying that absolutely NO kids read comics anymore as certainly some still do. But in a general sense, when I go to buy manga, I see more kids there then when I get American comics.



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    But kids are still reading though, be it manga, or even European comics, or novels, like LOTR and Harry Potter can attest to.


Yes they are reading, just not American comic books. That's what I'm talking about.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.



    Quote:
    As far as a better gateway to a more broader interpretation of the character, then sure, I can concede that to a degree. There are certainly people who are fans of Batman and the Justice League from the cartoons who never or rarely picked up a comic w/ the same characters. People will buy the shirts, get the toys, watch the movie, and might not ever try out the comic versions of those characters. To bring movies into the equation, Iron Man was a big success, but how many people who went to see it were really fans of the comic character before, or even after the film? I'm not certain I've ever really witnessed something like The Dark Knight really causing a significant increase in the readership of the comics. I'm sure it has an effect, but not to the extent that I'd consider most the cartoons or movies an actual gateway to the comics.


I was taking as a gateway to character concepts, not the comics themselves, I think former is more importart then the later.


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    In terms of the problems a comic presents, I do believe content can be an issue in both senses, in becoming too graphic for certain age demographics, or 'dumbing' it down or 'babying' and thus robbing it of any edge and making it unattractive to other age groups.


Yes, but you can have a balance, just because you don't have exploding heads, doesn't mean you can't have plots or characterization.

I think BTAS is far more mature then a lot of the comcis that have come out over the decade.


    Quote:
    Any ongoing serial will accumulate it's own bit of continuity, be it Captain America, House, Lost, the Harry Potter films/novels or what have you, so I'm not sure to what degree that is off-putting to some new readers. I think being too self-referential to past stories, and dense crossovers w/ too many tie-ins would is a valid roadblock however.


But that's what comics are doing.


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      Plus a cartoon when done well can improve upon concepts found in a comic, like what BTAS did with Mr. Freeze.



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    Or introduce concepts that weigh the property down, like the son in Superman Returns.


Well i was talking about cartoons, but really that was just one movie and really superman II gave the best version of Zod, so much so that's the one that appears in the comic, not emntion other characters created in other media, like Harley Quinn. Other media can give perviously lame characters, better motives or more a interesting take on their ablities.


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Jase





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        Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.

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        I'm inclined to agree somewhat. Not saying that absolutely NO kids read comics anymore as certainly some still do. But in a general sense, when I go to buy manga, I see more kids there then when I get American comics.

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          But kids are still reading though, be it manga, or even European comics, or novels, like LOTR and Harry Potter can attest to.



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    Yes they are reading, just not American comic books. That's what I'm talking about.


I would add then that American comics can still strive to achieve a younger audience and not rely solely on televisual media.


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      Quote:
      In terms of the problems a comic presents, I do believe content can be an issue in both senses, in becoming too graphic for certain age demographics, or 'dumbing' it down or 'babying' and thus robbing it of any edge and making it unattractive to other age groups.



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    Yes, but you can have a balance, just because you don't have exploding heads, doesn't mean you can't have plots or characterization.


I don't think anyone's talking about not balancing plots/characterization with the necessary, ye appropriate, amount of action. I'd say the problem is in actually figuring out what content is appropriate yet entertaining for the target demographic, or to take it a step back - figuring out what the target demographic even is.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      Any ongoing serial will accumulate it's own bit of continuity, be it Captain America, House, Lost, the Harry Potter films/novels or what have you, so I'm not sure to what degree that is off-putting to some new readers. I think being too self-referential to past stories, and dense crossovers w/ too many tie-ins would is a valid roadblock however.



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    But that's what comics are doing.


Yes, but the point is it's not continuity in and of itself that's the problem, but rather what they do with it/how they handle it. Many shows cartoon or otherwise have the potential to provide a difficult viewing for any newcomer to the audience because of longevity.


    Quote:
    Well i was talking about cartoons, but really that was just one movie and really superman II gave the best version of Zod, so much so that's the one that appears in the comic, not emntion other characters created in other media, like Harley Quinn. Other media can give perviously lame characters, better motives or more a interesting take on their ablities.


My point was simply that it goes both ways when any other medium adapts a work from comics.




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Nitz the Bloody




I think the advantage of the animated adaptations isn't so much that they don't have the continuity, but that they're in a place where they can really distill it down to what makes the characters work. The current X-Men cartoon is a good example because while it certainly doesn't have a simple backstory, it manages to introduce new characters painlessly ( the appearance of Mr. Sinister worked shockingly well, given how his debut in the comics was ridiculously convoluted nonsense tied into everyone and everything without giving him a real personality; here all that crap's pared down to " evil geneticist ", and he's used quite well as a target for the psychotically bereaved Cyclops' fixations ).

My own entry into comics was through the 90's X-Men cartoon as a wee lad, so I can definitely see ( albeit anecdotally ) how these cartoons can introduce generations to these great characters. How that translates into them buying the monthly in-continuity comics is still a mystery, and even harder now with so much media available. But from a pure narrative perspective, the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon shows us a really pure, undiluted version of how cool the X-Men can be, as opposed to the unmitigated mess they are in the comics that spawned them. I'm not opposed to continuity in and of itself, just when it ends up making the characters unworkable by backstory clutter ( see: Psylocke ), and making the stories far more arcane than their narratives need them to be.




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Rion





    Quote:
    So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.


My answer is yes, but I more want to say they provide a better gateway to Marvel merchandise - which might be what you mean. I suspect there are plenty of kids (and grown ups) who will happily, even eagerly, watch a super-hero cartoon, yet never give a moment's thought to buying a comic book. And then, because they like the cartoon, they may purchase a super-hero toy or T-shirt.

Heck, if Marvel published monthly cartoon episodes instead of monthly comics, wouldn't it be great? How much would you pay to get a Marvel Cartoon Cable Channel with, say, fifteen brand new episodes each month plus re-runs galore?






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Jase





    Quote:
    I think the advantage of the animated adaptations isn't so much that they don't have the continuity, but that they're in a place where they can really distill it down to what makes the characters work. The current X-Men cartoon is a good example because while it certainly doesn't have a simple backstory, it manages to introduce new characters painlessly ( the appearance of Mr. Sinister worked shockingly well, given how his debut in the comics was ridiculously convoluted nonsense tied into everyone and everything without giving him a real personality; here all that crap's pared down to " evil geneticist ", and he's used quite well as a target for the psychotically bereaved Cyclops' fixations ).


I agree. Another example is practically almost any character adapted by Bruce Timm where they got to be distilled down to the bare essence of what makes the character work. I think in these cases the continuity was irrelevant, it was just 'let's tell a good story with the Riddler or whoever'.


    Quote:
    My own entry into comics was through the 90's X-Men cartoon as a wee lad, so I can definitely see ( albeit anecdotally ) how these cartoons can introduce generations to these great characters. How that translates into them buying the monthly in-continuity comics is still a mystery, and even harder now with so much media available. But from a pure narrative perspective, the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon shows us a really pure, undiluted version of how cool the X-Men can be, as opposed to the unmitigated mess they are in the comics that spawned them. I'm not opposed to continuity in and of itself, just when it ends up making the characters unworkable by backstory clutter ( see: Psylocke ), and making the stories far more arcane than their narratives need them to be.


I know what you mean. One of my early entry points was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The process of getting someone who watches the cartoon is a tricky one w/ no precise science behind it. I have some thoughts/theories on it, but they usually boil down to content, availability, and pricing.


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ChrisBechtloff




What got me into comics were the 90's Batman, Spider-man, and X-men cartoons.


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Whim




the x-men animed series in the 90's is what got me interested to begin with. I think if Marvel focused on 3-4 animated series once again it'd boost interest and sales in the long run. keep it simple, go with x-men, spider-man, fantastic four and maybe avengers or just Iron Man. keep things kid friendly but also use the classic characters we are used to so it's something everyone can enjoy.

the recent x-men series was decent as was evolution but they really need better marketing and advertising.


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autochron




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQwNwQIY73U

When are "The Amazing Friends" going to be brought into continuity? I swear it would not only rejuvenate Spidey's gook but bring back Firestar and Iceman too! I mean how could you lose? Ms. Lion? That cool pad? C'mon!


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    Again I think the comic book format is dated in today's age (print is slowly dying, even newspapers that existed for over century, are in danger of forming). I think in the future, only books will be the print media that will survive.


Comics have advantages over other media. A big one is cost, where it's much more cost effective to produce a 6 issue comic than a 2 hour movie. There also isn't a difference in what you show, a space battle in comics is the same cost as a conversation in a diner. For a movie, that's a huge difference.

Comics will survive, but like many things they will just go digital. People still prefer still visuals, the text message will outlive the voice mail. People still like photographs.

Books in their current physical form will become a niche soon, much like vinyl records. After a generation, they will stop completely.


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fan4




I don't know, but if I hadn't come across season two of the 90s FF cartoon, I probably never would've been exposed to that team.


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ChrisBechtloff




Check the link. It was a story in continuity with Spidey, Firestar and Iceman teaming up to fight Videoman.

http://samruby.com/Series/Spider-ManFamily/spidermanfamilyamazingfriends.htm


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Nitz the Bloody




DC has the advantage that most of their A-Listers have been around longer and have starred in more popular media, but those media work by utilizing the elegant simplicity of the concepts. Batman is marvelously suited for versatility as far as heroes go, everything from the Dark Knight to the current Brave and the Bold cartoon.

Marvel tends to have heroes who are not so easy to define, which has the advantage of meaning that we get more complex characters ( after all, who ever accused Superman of being a deep hero with ethical conflicts? ), but it also means that they're harder to distill. Of course, a big disadvantage Marvel has is that their catalog of back material is much more convoluted; Batman has stuff like Year One and The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke, but I can't think of a good " done in one " classic collection for, say, Thor. Thor's greatest stories from the Kirby and Simonson respective eras tend to be long serials, so there's a dearth of " gateway " material.

I don't want to give a concrete answer for how to get new readers to read superhero comics, as it's a very layered problem for Marvel and DC. But I do think that DC has better entry points. If you like Batman and you like Frank Miller, there's Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and Dark Knight Strikes Again/All Star Batman and Robin if you're into masochistic reading. Marvel heroes could use more of those; telling a new reader that they have to start from the first Essential of Spider-Man or even the first trade of Ultimate Spider-Man can be daunting.

EDIT: Also, thank you for responding to the new comics \:\)


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    DC has the advantage that most of their A-Listers have been around longer and have starred in more popular media, but those media work by utilizing the elegant simplicity of the concepts. Batman is marvelously suited for versatility as far as heroes go, everything from the Dark Knight to the current Brave and the Bold cartoon.


I think Marvel has the advantage of having more successful "recent" adaptations of their characters. How many recent successful adaptations at DC can you name? Batman movies and the JLU and TT cartoons? And no, things like the 70s Wonder Woman show no longer matter.

But at Marvel you have Spider-Man, Wolverine, the X-Men, the FF, Blade, the Hulk, and now Iron Man.

I think versatility is a bad thing for these characters. The Batman in the movies is far different from the Batman in the Brave and the Bold. You have to have consistency across the "brand". All the different looks of Wolverine is bad for that character, and it holds him back in terms of potential.


    Quote:
    I don't want to give a concrete answer for how to get new readers to read superhero comics, as it's a very layered problem for Marvel and DC.


I think the solution of how to get kids into comics is fairly easy, but it's just a complex answer. You have to do alot of things right. Entry level price for comics, digests, different layers of maturity for the comics, consistency, etc.



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Nitz the Bloody




The Marvel characters have the advantage of more recent adaptations, but only a few of them have really crystallized in popular imagination. The Hulk has the famed TV show, and Spider-Man had his Amazing Friends, but nothing on the level of the 60's Batman show ( awful as it was ), the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, or even the Super Friends.

Also, versatility doesn't seem to have hurt the success of either the new Batman movies or the Brave and the Bold cartoon. I actually think Wolverine is one the few Marvel characters who has remained so undiluted; even though some writers have been content to clutter his backstory with all sorts of nonsense, the basics of the character are " mysterious past, claws and healing power, bad attitude, heart of gold ". I suppose there's a similar dynamic with Hugh Jackman's live-action Wolverine and the current animated character with Steve Blum's voice; both are valid, even if they're targetting different audiences ( movie Wolverine; 18-34 year old action movie fans and Jackman groupies, cartoon Wolverine; kids and teens, some adults who don't repress their interests, and Blum groupies )

I like it because it democratizes the characters so that everyone has their own Wolverine; even in the comics, it means that if you don't like, say, Daniel Way's atavistic backstory expansions and crossover tie-ins, you get Jason Aaron doing a really realistic and effective series with Logan only costumed in black.


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    The Marvel characters have the advantage of more recent adaptations, but only a few of them have really crystallized in popular imagination. The Hulk has the famed TV show, and Spider-Man had his Amazing Friends, but nothing on the level of the 60's Batman show ( awful as it was ), the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, or even the Super Friends.


The problem here is that you are referencing things that came out decades ago. And that age group is no longer the target for these superhero cartoons and movies. Let's use the example of the Wonder Woman television show with Lynda Carter, which ran from 1975-1979. If a person was 10 years old when the show came on and therefore born in 1965, that person is 44 years old today. That person isn't going to be the demographic a Wonder Woman movie. He certainly isn't the target of a WW cartoon show.

Pop culture is always skewed to the younger generations. MMA popular because it has the young crowd, Boxing is a dieing sport because it doesn't have the young crowd. Even if you want to say that Marvel's movie domination is a only "recent", it's been 10 years, a long time in pop culture. I'm a 25 year old comic fan, and I've never seen episodes of the Hulk, WonderWoman, and SpiderMan and his Amazing friends. I've only seen the first Superman movie. How many people under the age of 20 have seen an episode of the Superfriends? 1% maybe?


    Quote:
    Also, versatility doesn't seem to have hurt the success of either the new Batman movies or the Brave and the Bold cartoon. I actually think Wolverine is one the few Marvel characters who has remained so undiluted; even though some writers have been content to clutter his backstory with all sorts of nonsense, the basics of the character are " mysterious past, claws and healing power, bad attitude, heart of gold ". I suppose there's a similar dynamic with Hugh Jackman's live-action Wolverine and the current animated character with Steve Blum's voice; both are valid, even if they're targetting different audiences ( movie Wolverine; 18-34 year old action movie fans and Jackman groupies, cartoon Wolverine; kids and teens, some adults who don't repress their interests, and Blum groupies )


Well I'm not sure how you are calling the Brave and the Bold a success. It's just nearing the end of it's first 26 episode season, with no official announcement yet that a second season is coming (though probably at SD Comiccon) It's also on at 8:30pm on the Cartoon Network, and I'm not sure if it's target audience is actually kids. Though as a primetime cable show, I'm not sure what CN considers success. Usually a cartoon is considered successful when they hit 100 episodes, because of syndication.


    Quote:
    I like it because it democratizes the characters so that everyone has their own Wolverine; even in the comics, it means that if you don't like, say, Daniel Way's atavistic backstory expansions and crossover tie-ins, you get Jason Aaron doing a really realistic and effective series with Logan only costumed in black.


And I think having these radically different characters ultimately hurts the characters. The three most successful supeheroes are Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. All three have a pretty small differentiation between media. They all basically look the same regardless of media. They all act relatively the same. And so on. Even TDK, while a dark film, still had a Batman that "closely" resembled his appearances in the comics.


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Jase





    Quote:
    DC has the advantage that most of their A-Listers have been around longer and have starred in more popular media, but those media work by utilizing the elegant simplicity of the concepts. Batman is marvelously suited for versatility as far as heroes go, everything from the Dark Knight to the current Brave and the Bold cartoon.


I think Batman owes a lot of his longevity to that versatility of presentation. And while I agree DC has(had?) an advantage in that it's been doing mass media presentations of its characters longer than Marvel, they've made some great strides in catching up w/ their recent movie success.


    Quote:
    Marvel tends to have heroes who are not so easy to define, which has the advantage of meaning that we get more complex characters ( after all, who ever accused Superman of being a deep hero with ethical conflicts? ), but it also means that they're harder to distill. Of course, a big disadvantage Marvel has is that their catalog of back material is much more convoluted; Batman has stuff like Year One and The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke, but I can't think of a good " done in one " classic collection for, say, Thor. Thor's greatest stories from the Kirby and Simonson respective eras tend to be long serials, so there's a dearth of " gateway " material.


That's true. In comparison, there are more Killing Jokes, Year Ones, even Hawkworlds, that you can point out to someone, whereas w/ Marvel it's a little more, 'check out the Byrne FF run, or Simonson Thor run, or Miller on DD'.


    Quote:
    I don't want to give a concrete answer for how to get new readers to read superhero comics, as it's a very layered problem for Marvel and DC. But I do think that DC has better entry points. If you like Batman and you like Frank Miller, there's Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and Dark Knight Strikes Again/All Star Batman and Robin if you're into masochistic reading. Marvel heroes could use more of those; telling a new reader that they have to start from the first Essential of Spider-Man or even the first trade of Ultimate Spider-Man can be daunting.


I suppose, but is it really that different with us with our Naruto and Bleach?


    Quote:
    EDIT: Also, thank you for responding to the new comics \:\)


No problem.




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