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If someone had said, even just a few years ago, that there would come a Friday where you would start the day watching a trailer for a new Star Wars movie and end that same day watching one for Batman vs Superman well I would have thought…maybe. Well that happened this last Friday. Admittedly, the Batman/Superman was a leaked version but still authentic.
Every decade since 1991, when I reconnected with my love of pulp culture, I’ve thought that we are living in more interesting times in respect to the stories that are told. Though during the 1990’s as comic fans we knew there was a lot of junk, there was also gold. That hold’s true today as many people still seek out those comics that they overlooked or missed having left the hobby, especially from the mid 1990’s on.
Of course, the comic themed movies of the 1990’s are for the most part, forgettable – particularly any of the strict super hero variety. Hollywood and TV networks were well aware of the possibilities of tapping into pulp culture genres (games such as Street Fighter, Lois and Clark) but aside from the technology being there, there just wasn’t the right talent to write the scripts and execute the vision to do such properties justice. Tim Burton’s first two Batman movie installments are possibly exceptions to the rule for the late 80’s early 90’s. True, they weren’t to everyone’s taste, but artistically they had a strong signature that rang true for the character of Batman and his world – all without the advantages of CGI. Strong storytelling/craftsmanship examples as exceptions also apply with many sci-fi/fantasy stories of the 1970’s and 80’s (Star Wars, Superman I and II)
Come the 2000’s and we began to see some visages of hope. Smallville was for me, while sometimes clunky and restricted by the network and target audience, a guilty pleasure that I believe helped pave the way for we enjoy today. Superheroes are everywhere, comics more than ever, TV, Movies, games. And they are brilliant and relevant – and perhaps most importantly of all, entertaining. All that was old is new again as retro gaming, toys and comics are as hot as ever, and even tv and you tube shows about people looking for this stuff is in hot demand.
The only downside perhaps is kids growing up today may never have need to imagine what would happen if Batman fought Superman? Sure the comics industry has answered that sort of question a few times but, sadly, not all kids grow up reading comics. But Hollywood looks to more and more fill that gap with stories that, were not that long ago, as unlikely to believe we would see as believing a man could fly.