In this day and age, it's no surprise to anyone that the Superhero genre has blown up in recent years. When I was growing up, being a geeky comic book fan was something that others felt you needed to be ashamed of, and even hide.
I would buy comic books whilst in town with my friends, and my skin would thicken as others attempted to heap shame upon me for enjoying the things I did. They'd try to name call and shun me for not being "Sporty", even though I was athletic also (bullies in the early 90's were so unimaginative).
But now loving comic books and all that comes with it, is the hight of popularity. Everything featuring an Avenger or any other MCU property, is highly sought after, and sometimes I can't help jokingly remark, "I told you all it was awesome!".
It seems now, everyone is dying for a piece of this incredible action. But life long fan's of the original source material will know, that with this growing popularity, comes many changes to the books themselves. Sometimes it's hard not to blur the lines and keep the cinematic worlds as a separate entity to the universe that exists inside the books themselves.
This is after all a business for those in charge, and occasionally in business you have to adapt or fall behind. This is very risky sometimes, as the companies have to straddle the line between keep all of the old fans happy in the worlds they've grown to love, and attracting new audiences that may not have heard of these characters before hand. Here I'm going to be taking a look at a few of those changes that have come from the big or small screen, to re-shape the books that many of us have come to love.
As a huge fan of all things geeky myself, I've become very good at reasoning with some of these changes, but are they all a good idea? Read on and judge for yourselves.
Until the recently released Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie, not many people knew who Star-Lord was, or even what his character was like, or any of the Guardians for that matter. Originally Peter Quill was a self admitted asshole created by Steve Englehart in 1976. He then returned to minor fame in the Annihilation series where he was working for Ronan the Accuser, and if i remember correctly, had a robotic eye (correct me if I'm wrong). If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy, none of that even comes close to the man you saw on screen, and Marvel clearly thought so too. When Marvel Re-launched the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2013, writer Brian Michael Bendis revamped Peter Quill's character in several ways from his origin story, to his personality (less grumpy, more charming), hair color, and even age. He was now an amalgamation of Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Chris Pratt all rolled into one, super cool package. Just look at the above picture for yourself to see the heavy influence Chris Pratt had on the character's transformation on the page, he even gained the same wardrobe as the man himself.
Since the films debut, he has gained plenty swagger, quick wit and charm that has become a trademark for the character, thanks to the legendary Chris Pratt (I apologize to no one for the Chris Pratt man crush). Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of this film and the characters portrayed in it, their comic book counterparts have slowly taken on their image and character traits, so much so that even Yondu is returning with a new origin story and make over. In this case, I think all these changes are for the better, because who doesn't love Chris Pratt, and the entire team behind that epic film, right?
2. Phil Coulson And His Agents Of Shield
Coulson originally appeared as a background character in Iron Man and was one of the first pieces in the foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he became the connective tissue that tied the MCU together for a time. The unity he provided was made more apparent with his “death” in Avengers, and with this popularity came his resurrection to lead the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series. Marvel Comics were slow at first to get on the Coulson bandwagon, and didn't fully capitalise on his popularity until recently, but now he is a big part of the comics line and the Marvel universe as a whole, and one can't think of S.H.I.E.L.D. without thinking of Agent Coulson.
Four years after his movie debut, Agent Coulson debuted alongside Nick Fury, Jr. (more on that continuity nightmare next), and quickly became a fixture of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel Comics. Currently, he’s leading the ongoing S.H.I.E.L.D. series by Mark Waid and still killing it in his own TV series. To me, it doesn't matter if his character started of as light relief, he has rapidly become a favourite of fans worldwide and is still a vital and key player in all things Marvel, plus Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is getting exceptionally better, story wise, so there's plenty more action to come from this band of rogues.
3. Nick Fury/Nick Fury, Jr.
This characters alterations all started when Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch got permission to use Samuel L. Jackson’s likeness as a model for Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. But that being a separate Universe itself, made the first change of appearance easy to follow.
When it came time to cast a Nick Fury for 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios lept at the chance to finally be able to make this dream casting choice a reality, and with that, Ultimate Nick Fury became the Nick Fury of the MCU. When that proved to be a popular choice with fans (and everyone who's ever seen Sam Jackson in anything), Marvel had a problem – their Nick Fury in the main universe, looked nothing like the Nick Fury that featured in the smash hit movie Iron Man movies. That’s where things started to get complicated for poor old Nick.
Instead of coming up with a genius storyline that would see the Nick Fury of the Ultimate Universe usurp the 616 version, they instead, chose to introduced a new character in the books titled "Battle Scars", a character named Marcus Johnson. Over the course of the series, he lost his eye (the same eye as both versions of Fury), joined S.H.I.E.L.D, and found out he was an illegitimate son of the original Nick Fury (crazy right?). They pretty much did everything they could, to make this new character the spitting image of Jackson.
Marvel quickly pushed this new Fury into plenty of stories, and in pretty much every case, they avoided mentioning the “Jr.” part of his name, the character even mentioned his disliking of this title. He quickly became a key player in the series Secret Avengers. Thus Nick Fury Jr. was born, now the books have a Fury that looks more like his film counterpart, which has left the original Nick Fury to seemingly disappear once again. If I think about it any longer it'll just make me... Fury-ous... (cricket chirp).
Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man, and arguably the most popular in mainstream media now, has been an Avenger, a loving father and... well dead. But Let's not forget his often questionable career choices as he dabbled in a life of criminality.
Over the summer, we saw Ant-Man join the Marvel Cinematic Universe to much acclaim (after a rocky start to the films entire inception). While the film was a hit, Lang’s film appearances won’t stop there. He’s also joined the cast of Captain America: Civil War, siding with Captain America.
Scott Lang wasn't the first Ant-Man however, like in the film, Hank Pym came before him. But in the film you see very little action of Pym during his tenure as the titular hero, and it would seem that in the book's Hank Pym's fate could not be further from his movie counterpart (for now atleast), he's currently flying through space wearing Ultron as a super suit making his way back to Earth, don't ask.
Not all changes are bad or make a huge dent in the universe of the books they relate to, but the popularity of the film and its cast have helped Ant-Man's popularity rise. Meanwhile, a new Astonishing Ant-Man comic book is on the rise under writer Nick Spencer as part of "All-New, All-Different Marvel.", so it's nice to see the films bringing the best out of some of the more overlooked characters.
5. Spiderman's Non-Organic/Organic/Non-organic (Again?) Web Shooters
Spider-Man's web shooter origins are almost as mysterious as the Joker's origins at this point. Sometimes he has natural web shooting abilities, and sometimes, he creates custom web shooting cartridges. Which is it though? Sometimes, I don't even think Marvel really know.
At the time of the Sam Raimi films, Spider-Man's web shooters we adapted into organically generated webbing. Editor Tom Brevoort said that the decision was because of the movie, stating that “at this point in time, a larger audience is more familiar with a Spider-Man with organic webshooters than without”, starting a chain reaction of back and forth changes that have led Comics into the murky waters they're in today.
The comic books involving Spider-Man today have shifted back to using technological webshooters after a miriad of changes to continuity and the obvious deaths/rebirths the character has been through. With 2012’s Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker went back to his technological webshooters as well, and it seems like they're here to stay with Tom Holland's turn as our favourite wall crawler, debuting in Captain America: Civil War.
6. Costume influence
While the uniforms of our heroes aren't really that integral to the stories they are telling, they are prime examples of how both mediums are influencing each other.
Hawkeye and Captain America have both gone through some pretty big wardrobe changes both on and off the screen. Clint Barton started off as a direct translation of his Ultimate Comics counterpart, but it would now appear that the more toned down his uniform is becoming in the books, the films are shaking things up by paying homage to his classic purple roots.
Captain America's uniforms are another prime example of the influence that can go both ways. Although the team valiantly attempted to recreate his original uniform in the first Avengers film, it didn't quite translate that well. Now his film counterpart seems to have taken inspiration from his Ultimate Comics uniform with hints of his shield garb thrown in, this is where they have found the perfect balance for his live action outings, but where they're taking it in the books, is yet to be seen and judged.
There are obviously many more costume comparisons to be made, but I don't have the time or patience to delve into Marvel's questionable fashion choices, and there's only so much drooling over Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow I can do, before my soon to be wife leaves me.
7. The Fantastic Four
For the team that started the ball rolling for Marvel, the Fantastic Four today are positioned as a relatively minor part of Marvel’s line-up. The characters themselves played a big role in the mega event, Secret Wars, but you can tell they don’t have the same attention or passion lavished upon them as Marvel does towards its other heroes, especially those already with their own MCU counterparts.
Marvel’s standpoint here, may be one one of neglect due, mainly to the fact that they don't own the full rights to these characters. Which of course, makes perfect sense from a business point of view, especially when you take into account the massive flop that their last film was, or either film series in fact. You'd be hard pushed to find these films at the top of any fans list.
I find the lack of any real substance in these films surprising myself. I mean, you have a guy that lights on fire, a rock monster, an invisible woman and a guy that stretches his entire body. There is massive potential there to make an epic film, but no one managed to pull it off in the way Marvel's first family truly deserved.
Though The Fantastic Four series and the team have been "retired" from the line of active duty, Ben Grimm has joined The Guardians of the Galaxy, while Human Torch has found a new home, and a new love in Uncanny Inhumans. Leaving two popular characters in their own section of the newly revamped Marvel Universe, as for the others, only time will tell.
Now with all of this being said, there are still countless connections to be made that I haven't mentioned above, and this is where the collaborative fun begins.
I feel that, in the case of Marvel, they are trying to get all of their ducks in a row, and create perfect synchronicity within all of their mediums. But in my humble opinion, this task would've been easier to achieve if they simply went the route of DC and kept everything within it's own separate universe. That way, you can easily take advantage of the multiverse that has been created within each company, and capitalise on multiple versions of characters ala The Flash. I mean, it would be a hell of a lot less stressful on long time comic book fans, as well as their wallets.
I will, be periodically making other articles that link back to this one with more changes that have been made as a result of the overwhelming popularity of the MCU, DCU and so on. But for the time being, if there is anything that you liked to see featured in the next instalment, please feel free to holler them out in the comments section below.
[SOURCE: A WHOLE LOT OF GOOGLE SEARCHING AND COMIC BOOK REFERENCING]