Comics Grow into Global Phenomenon

Photo courtesy of Alan Alfaro, Flickr Creative Commons

Comic book heroes dominate the box office and bookshelves across the world. There is no doubt that comic books are more relevant than they have ever been in the history of the medium.

Traditionally, comic books were only sold in specialty stores, but have since moved on to the likes of Barnes & Noble thanks to the hardcover collections of graphic novels reprinting multiple issues to create one continuous story for the reader to enjoy.

Comic book stores do, however, continue to flourish. “We get more customers than ever thanks to how popular superheroes have become,” James Troshane, a comic shop employee said.

Superheroes have replaced the cowboys and spacemen of yesteryear as the pinnacle of heroics when it comes to film. This past year alone, viewers were treated to big budget productions like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” These films dominated the summer box offices, drawing in audiences of both adults and children.

More recently, superheroes and comic book characters have made their way to television as comic mega force DC Comics has begun to create their own universe through shows like “Arrow,” “Gotham” and “The Flash.” DC is also currently in production with “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” a highly anticipated film that will rival some of Marvel’s big productions.

Comic books, once a fringe outlet for a subculture of fans dedicated to caped heroes, now control the flow of culture and film today.

Comic book films have introduced the wholly new idea of a “cinematic universe” like we have never seen before. In the past, film series like “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” have been successful in telling an extended story over the course of multiple movies; however, the “cinematic universe” is a completely different beast. This new web of interconnected characters, locations, plots and storylines truly brings the world of comics to life onscreen.

In comics, certain characters will often cross over into other titles, and every once in a while a major event will require a whole team of assembled characters to take on a villain together. Before Marvel started their push for a cinematic universe, this was unheard of in film, as it can be convoluted and hard to follow; however, Marvel has maintained their universe with extreme precision and attention to detail, and hordes of dedicated fans have become completely obsessed with the world they built.

Fans have also become fiercely loyal to their favorite characters and brands. The classic Marvel vs. DC argument will likely never cease.

“The Marvel titles are really popular thanks to the movies, but, without fail, Batman is always our top seller week-after-week,” said Troshane.

Comic books have risen to the forefront of both American and global culture, and have created innovative new styles of storytelling by simply introducing the classic comic book style to other mediums such as film and television. It is certain that comic books are not going anywhere any time soon.