The popularity of Marvel today is frankly an embarrassment
Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No, it’s the latest haul of Marvel films and TV series hurtling their way towards us. Apparently there are plenty coming this summer and next year, with another “Black Panther”, another “Captain America”, more “Loki”, and something called “Ironheart”. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I’m not in the least bit excited by this news. In fact, I can’t stand all this bloody superhero stuff and I think its immense popularity is actually quite embarrassing.
Embarrassing…? Yes, embarrassing. Adults simply shouldn’t be so enthralled by all this stuff. Remember that these characters – not only from Marvel but also from DC Comics and the various other publishers – were originally created for a market of comic book readers in the 1930s and ‘40s that consisted primarily of children. These comics are the American equivalent of “The Beano” or “The Dandy”. It’s just bizarre that men today feel so compelled by a chap who wears bright blue and red Lycra and climbs about the place like a spider. People need to grow up.
A few decades ago it wasn’t like this. Back in the ‘60s there was, of course, the original Batman TV series – the one with all the “BAM!”, “BOFF!” and “POW!” fight sequences. And then at the end of the ‘70s came the first of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films. Both were commercially successful and popular with children and adults. But, significantly, back then it was all just a bit of fun. It was all very spoofy. The tone of these productions was playful and there was a definite irony in there. Children could watch it sincerely, but adults saw it merely as a laugh. Yes, it was amusing to see Batman and Robin prancing about in tights, or to see Superman lifting up a helicopter and making Lois Lane swoon, but you wouldn’t go around declaring your love of the franchise to your colleagues at the office or your pals at the pub. If you did you’d be laughed at and viewed as a slightly odd, overgrown child....
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