The seventies and eighties weren’t such a good time to be a nerd. It was an era when soldiers, jocks, and corporate men ruled the world, and D&D players weren’t likely to get the girl. As the decades went by, the dynamic changed enough that Jocks were hiding inside on sunny days playing video games (even if it was Madden NFL) and the Nerds made it outside long enough to notice that having a tan ain’t that bad.
However you want to put it, things have changed enough that it isn’t such a black spot on your rep to admit that you’re into stuff that once would have gotten your underwear run up the flagpole.
The once taboo genre’s Sci-fi and Fantasy are embraced by almost everyone now. Werewolves are no longer laughable, vampires (even if they are more likely to glitter these days…) are the subject of some of the most successful movies and television shows, and of course comic books have become the stuff of summer blockbusters.
Marvel has spearheaded a collection of movies which have created a universe for moviegoers to lose themselves in. Movies are now using the crossover method, which comics have used for years, in order to bolster film attendance. Audiences are showing up because they want the whole story, and, as a result, Marvel has created one of the most successful film franchises in history with no signs of slowing down.
It is now officially culturally acceptable for macho men to go to the cineplex and watch other grown macho men strut around in tights and matching outfits. All because the people who make the films were smart enough to update the looks of many characters to be a bit more consumer friendly than latex onesies, all while giving a shout-out to those of us who grew up with characters like Wolverine running around in yellow spandex.
It’s not just the outfits. There have been a lot of changes made to the original stories to make them work on screen, which is standard for any adaptation … but have they hurt the original material? Or have they made it better, in addition to making it more accessible?
I’ve spoken to many people who had wanted to get into comic books for a long time, but were too intimidated by the vastness of the stories and had no idea where to turn to even begin. Now they can get all the back story they’ll ever need in a convenient hour and a half package.
As a matter of fact, opening up these stories to the mainstream and having super-heroes and the like become everyday fare has opened up people for more of the same. Instead of wondering if a beloved character will ever show up on the big screen, the question is now when.
One of the only downfalls is that not everyone is able to maintain the level of control a company like Marvel has over their properties. In this case, audiences are left praying that the characters don’t get completely butchered and lost in translation, which sadly was the case with such characters as Constantine and Batman (until Christopher Nolan got his hands on him that is, and thank goodness for that!).
Summer blockbuster season is heating up. Thor is already on screens and soon, audiences will be tucked in waiting for Cowboys & Aliens and Captain America to heat up the big screen.
The Avengers and The Green Lantern are also around the corner, and Ender’s Game, Star Trek 2 (*ahem 12… ) and The Hobbit are on the horizon. Things are definitely looking up for those of us with our noses stuck in books, and we have the jocks next door to thank for it.