comic book movies

4 Things 2016 Taught Us About The Comic Book World

4 things 2016 comic book world

It’s hard to believe that we’re about to enter the year 2017. The year of a new Spider-Man, Justice League and more. But before we get there, let’s take a look back at 2016 and what came out from it.

Being too serious/not fun enough is not the problem

2016 comic book movies

Since the DCEU kicked off their universe with Man of Steel, a big point in conversation has been the issue of tone in comic book films. Whilst Marvel is more known for their lighter films, DC was known for their darker tones. And so started the debates. What’s better? Lighter films or darker films? People had their preferences and were sure as hell stubborn about it.

Many thought that if DC became lighter, their films would become better. Now personally, I loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition, so I wasn’t part of the party who believed this. But many were looking forward to Suicide Squad because of its change in tone. Many believed that DC was so critically bashed because they didn’t take a lighter tone. So when Suicide Squad came out with its lighter tone and wasn’t critically praised, it showed that tone wasn’t the only thing critics were looking at (whilst that’s obvious to most of us, a lot of people think that’s the reason critics have an issue with the DCEU).

At the end of the day, a good film is a good film. Batman v Superman Theatrical Cut was poorly received because it was poorly strung together. Suicide Squad was poorly received because it lacked cohesion. Deadpool wasn’t just well received because it was funny, but because of its interesting and entertaining lead. Just because a comic book film is funny and lighter, that doesn’t suddenly make it good. Just because a comic book film is darker and more serious, that doesn’t instantly make it bad.

Women do sell

2016 females comic book

2016 was definitely a stronger year when it came to female representation in comic book media. The main standouts included Wonder Woman and Jessica Jones. Although Wonder Woman wasn’t as significant of a character as Batman and Superman, she still shined in Batman v Superman. She was also definitely a character people came out loving after watching the film.

What was especially great was that her merchandise was selling out. Obviously this is a good thing, with her solo movie coming out next year. From what we’ve seen so far, people are loving that as well. She’s an interesting character. A symbol for peace yet a great warrior. She originally joined mankind to protect them, but now she has lost most of her faith in mankind. People are interested in seeing more from her and other female characters such as Harley Quinn and the other Sirens in upcoming films.

Marvel also did a great job representing more female characters in their media. Of all of them, my personal favourite from the year has been Jessica Jones. Sometimes it feels like creators are scared to give female characters flaws. With that ideology we are often left with empty characters with little relatability or sense of connection. What was great about Jessica Jones was that they weren’t afraid to showcase the good, the bad and the ugly. We didn’t see the embodiment of female perfection. Instead we saw a woman struggling with her past and her sense of purpose. Again the show was a success, and garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics.

Of course 2017 will really be the big test as to whether females sell in comic book media, with Wonder Woman premiering. Interest is high in the movie, the trailers and posters have looked great, so far so good. The main concern is that it is coming out in June, which is a pretty competitive month for movies. It’ll need a good critical reception, and positive word of mouth to be able to remain competitive with all the other big movies coming out during that time

DC and Marvel can remain competitive without one dominant ruler

dc rebirth a success july comic book sales

When it came to comic book sales in the last few years, Marvel was king. They would always dominate the market share, with DC trailing in their shadow. This year things changed a bit with DC’s Rebirth initiative. The market became competitive again, with DC being able to take top spot. Now this didn’t last forever, and Marvel is back at number 1 (with all their constant number 1’s), but it’s good to see that DC is still able to compete.

Things can get boring if one company continues to dominate, and the rest give up. And it also means it would allow Marvel to get complacent. Now that they know its not as easy to stay number 1 in the market, we’ll hopefully see new quality initiatives coming out of Marvel.

And we’re starting to see this healthy competition in the live-action universe as well. We’re seeing a big dose of both Marvel and DC on television, both with their hits and misses. And of course we’re finally starting to see regular DC stuff on the big screen. Now we know that critically the DC films aren’t doing as well as Marvel. But financially they’re doing pretty good. Yes they would have probably performed better had there been a better reception, but they are still making good money. What’s important is that DC is actually establishing a shared universe to compete with Marvel, and even though they are still going through a bit of a learning curve still, they are trying.

Too much comic book stuff isn’t a problem…yet

civil war vs dawn of justice

Building off the previous point, 2016 had an explosion of live-action comic book properties. It’s a bubble people are afraid will soon burst, but even after the 6 films and bunch of TV shows this year, it’s still going strong. Most of the comic book films exceeded box office expectations, and the majority of the comic book TV shows are still on air. The popularity of the superhero genre continues.

Obviously, this superhero bliss won’t last forever, but coming out of 2016 it still thrives. Audiences are still open to exploring more from this genre from characters they know and don’t know of. But you know studios can’t churn out any old crap and expect audiences to eat it up. The level of quality of these properties will determine how long this trend lasts. So here’s looking to DC, to bring out a critical hit next year.

 

Overall it’s been a pretty good year for the comic book world. Here’s hoping 2017 is even better!

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11 replies »

  1. Its a been a mixed year critically for superhero movies, darker tone and humour is a tricky balance to get right, too much of either can ruin a movie. Frankly, I still think Batman V Superman was just too long a film, Cap America Civil War was a long movie too, but I think that worked better. I quite liked Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange as well. There’s plenty of room for Marvel and DC, I think its good they each do different things, and at the moment we haven’t reached saturation point for movies and TV versions of our favourite superheroes – which is a good thing. DC have really made a big splash comic wise with Rebirth, while some of Marvel’s endless reboots have left me a bit cold tbh. I do think DC should ditch the twice monthly schedule now though, it was ok for the launch of Rebirth, but I think it’d pay them to ease up a little – also be a bit cheaper for comic fans than to be shelling out for two books of their favourite titles each month instead of one. Overall I think 2016 has been a great year for DC, Marvel, films, TV, and comic books in general 🙂

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  2. I realize I am a stickler for accuracy in the comic book films. For example in Batman v Superman Gotham City is the Sister City right across the water to Metropolis . Really since when? Gotham City is a stand alone city and doesn’t take a back seat to no city. That was one example. The whole set up was awful the best thing about the movie was Wonder Woman and believe it or not Ben Affleck as Batman. Can Marvel please stop rebooting Spiderman ???I am getting dizzy

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  3. 2016 was a monster of a year, including with comic book stuff, both good and bad. There were mixed bags as well as successes, but I can’t think of anything that was truly atrocious (that distinct honor goes to 2015’s Fan4stic).

    It does seem like things could come to a head, but not yet. Marvel’s doing great with what they got right now, but I hope they don’t go in over their heads, particularly when it came to certain ppl who worked with em like Joss Whedon, Edgar Wright, and Ava Duvernay.

    DC is trying a bit too hard to be like Marvel with their movies, but they don’t have to, cuz there’s nothing wrong with variety. Part of the problem is that they have to realize that when they make a movie, the idea of that being a movie should come first, and the rest (cinematic universe and whatnot) come later.

    And they’re not the only ones taking the Marvel cake and eating it too. Fox has rights to the X-Men and is now trying to start their own cinematic universe with em. Problem is, what more can they do at this point? Sure, there’s Deadpool, I love Deadpool, it’s my favorite movie of 2016, and part of what made that so good was that it fit in with that idea of a comic book movie set in a cinematic universe I just mentioned. While I’m looking forward to Logan, and I’m glad there are gonna be sequels to Deadpool, at the same time I’m wondering what more can they do? Yes, there’s a ton of stories to do with X-Men, but there’s no denying that Fox is trying to hold onto the rights by making spinoff movies and TV shows. Idk what to think about a redaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga. Could they do any worse than Last Stand? And apparently, from what I heard about the Legion show, which seems interesting, is that Jeph Loeb, the head of Marvel TV, is that because it is an actual co-production between Marvel and Fox, it means that “bridges are being built”. Idk what that could really mean, but I hope it’s a sign that X-Men stuff could appear in the MCU someday. It took a while with Spider-Man, it could happen with FF, and I hope it happens with X-Men.

    Also how awesome is it that Young Justice is coming back? Plus Justice League Action was awesome. Hopefully it’ll be successful enough that it’ll result in Teen Titans GO! getting cancelled

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    • Fox definitely need to think outside the box to maintain momentum with their universe. I do feel like there’s a good chance we’ll see X-Men stuff interact in the MCU one day
      And yes, really awesome that Young Justice is coming back!!

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  4. As far as comics go, I love what DC is doing with Rebirth and Young Animal so far. They manage to not only harken back to what made these things so great for so many people, but also do new things. Even Marvel is doing ok, from what I’m reading anyway, as long as they don’t relaunch every 5 minutes. Seriously they’re getting worse than DC with this. They keep continuity somewhat, but they just gotta stop with cancelling and subsequently relaunching. It’s jarring and it prevents the comics from having a chance to truly shine. It’s enticing to have a new #1, I get that, and these days there’s rarely a time to truly make a single issue seem episodic or stand alone rather than just make it part of some arc or to fill out the quota for the trade. As much as I like trades, I think it’s that kind of attitude that kinda hurts the industry.

    But right now I’m enjoying what’s happening. Might check out that Wildstorm comic at some point and I hope a new Firestorm series happens 🙂

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