Marvel is now the biggest movie franchise of all time, as they've surpassed Harry Potter and Star Wars a few years ago in worldwide box office gross sales. This means no other set of fictional characters has made more money than Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Black Widow and company in the history of movies. It's baffling to think what that number will be when it's all said and done (if ever). Even looking at Marvel's main competitor, the DCEU may lack certain "critic" credentials, but they're certainly making a killing in profits at the box office with each new movie they put out.
Then why does it seem like this overwhelming success is not translating to the comic book industry? It can be infuriating to think about. Luckily, this article isn't interested in talking about Diamond Distributors' numbers (because that would not be entertaining). This is about the joy one feels while reading or watching their favorite comic book character. There is an intrinsic value to reading the characters in their original form.
So, does reading classic comics actually make for a more enjoyable movie-going experience? Let's find out.
The big two, Marvel and DC, have been around since the 1930s, which means they have published a vast number of interpretations of their characters throughout the last 75+ years. This means there's a good chance that you'll find something you like.
It's so easy to get overwhelmed at the beginning, mumbling a few naughty words under your breath because you have no clue what the heck the characters talking about. Perhaps Darkseid shot Batman with Omega Beams, seemingly killing Bruce, but instead he had to get back to the future as Grant Morrison gave us Caveman Batman after Final Crisis. Now, you didn't really need to know that in order to enjoy Dark Knights: Metal #2, but it made the comic more intense knowing that any of the last 10 years worth of Batman stories are fair game — and that your investment paid off with an, "Oh, WTF?!"
You see, the joy you feel finally seeing a favorite moment, a favorite line or whatever else you love on the big screen for the first time is absolutely amazing. It's why many of us started to read comics in the first place. Here is character I wanted to get to know, but I only got to see them once or twice every couple of years. Comic books change that.
There is one obvious downside to reading the originals: the pain of your favorite character not living up to your expectations. Here's a character that you've spent a great deal of time with and some movie exec can ruin the core of their character by not making them true to the comic.
Here was something that you've been waiting to see for years since its announcement from whatever studio, which then you marked on several calendars for its premiere date — but it disappointed. So now, you're likely going to have to sit through some sort of convoluted storytelling just to get them back to more similar to their comic book counterpart. It happens not infrequently.
This is by no means a reason to harass anyone online because you feel like the studio ruined something (like, you know, a childhood), because this is an entertainment industry. Some productions are amazing and some aren't. So, if the downside of a movie outweighs your joy, well then, you're probably a really angry person for a while. At least you were warned.
The most important thing comics have given fan is something to count on in hard times. I know I'll be leaning on these characters in when times are tough because I'll need all the joy I can get. This translates over to the movies, because it adds another thing to enjoy. Quite simply, if you're anything like many superhero fans, comics can make the movies more enjoyable. It's worth taking the shot! There are only a few things out there that are better than an intense page-flipping, or doing the Home Alone-face because your favorite character might not make it out alive in the movie. Take joy where you can get it!
Are you into comics, or would you consider reading comics? Tell me your experience in the comments.