Friday, December 22, 2006

The New Heroes: Bad News for DC and Marvel?

It occurred to me a while back that the recent surge in popularity of the super-hero genre in other media outside it traditional comic book environs, such as movies and TV, may not turn out to be such a good thing for the main purveyors of the genre, DC and Marvel Comics, as it would seem to be.
Up to now, the big hit super hero films have been based on existing Marvel and DC properties like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and The X-Men. The comics companies, however, have repeatedly failed to convert this mainstream exposure into new readers or increased sales.
Meanwhile, this year, two of the highest profile super-hero related Hollywood projects, the wanted-to-be summer blockbuster Zoom and NBC's serialized drama Heroes, have not been based on pre-existing properties. While the Tim Allen vehicle, Zoom, didn't exactly zoom to the top of the box office charts, Heroes has recieved good ratings and much acclaim as the best new show of the 2006 fall TV season.
This would seem to indicate that film makers are no longer dependent on the comics publishers for their source material. If more and more super-hero films or TV series prove successful, leading to the development of even more, it seems clear to me that Hollywood will turn increasing to its own writers, rather than the comic books, for new ideas. And that will leave the comics publishers, especially Marvel, which seems to regard their charactes and comics as simply fodder for outside licensing deals, in second place; lagging behind Hollywood in the genre they pioneered.

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