It’s a great time to be a superhero fan. It almost seems as though every other weekend we get a new film version of our favourite heroes. Even the films that don’t turn out very good are amazing to watch, to see heroes jump to life. But a very serious problem with these movies is being overlooked. These wonderful, comic-based movies are ruining comics. There is a slow shift from movies being based on comics to comics being based on movies.
Don’t get me wrong, I love superhero movies. I can’t wait to see which hero comes next. They are bringing so many new fans to the world of comics. The fandom is growing exponentially. It’s wonderful. However, comic companies are picking up on this trend. As a business, they must do what will make money. Unfortunately, for us fans of the long-standing comics medium, the companies are focusing on the new fans, centered in movies, rather than the fans of comics.
Recently, Marvel rebooted their comic lines. They ended many titles and started a few new ones. The titles within the post-reboot line-up are only those in which they make money from movies. If the character had a movie or show recently or if they plan on a movie in the near future, they get a title.
DC has been doing this as obviously as Marvel, but they are in the same boat. This can be seen most notably in Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn was created as a character for the 1990’s, Batman the Animated Series. After her wide-spread approval in the show, she was introduced into comics. Recently, she has grown much stronger to the dismay of long-time comic fans. She made an appearance in the movie Suicide Squad, since then her popularity flourished. In the same manner, her comic presence grew to match. This power grew to it’s (hopefully) climax as she easily took down the DC Trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman), offed a major speedster (Wally) , and perhaps has killed two big stars (Arsenal and Poison Ivy), as well as many lesser supers (Blue Jay, Lagoon Boy, Hot Spot, Commander Steel, Red Devil, Gunfire, Tattooed Man, Gnarrk, Protector, Solstice, Nemesis, Green Lantern).
Firstly, with Valiant’s new owner focusing on building a new movie universe, I expect to see similar behavior from them. None has been seen as of yet, but their first movie is scheduled for 2020. I’m sure its only a matter of time before the fall into this tragedy.
Secondly, this backwards way of doing things is putting a bad taste in the mouth of many comic readers, leading them away from the comic medium. If companies continue this money-grabbing behavior, it could be the end of comics as we know it. We will forever receive spectacular superhero movies, but we may also lose a respected and loved manner of storytelling.