The influx of celebrated actors onto the UEA Campus in June earlier this year generated a flurry of rumours that part of the major blockbuster film Avengers: Age of Ultron was being filmed amongst us. Inquisitive students took to social media to spread the news, and it is not surprising that it was met with an enthusiastic response.
Over the past few years, comic story based films have taken precedence in the box office. Having captivated the film market, there has been an evolution of the comic book. New technologies have enabled the comic book experience to be transformed into a sensory explosion of action on the big screen. It has successfully infiltrated another realm of Western culture, disassociating the medium from children’s entertainment.
Initial reactions to the comic book may assume that they are merely fantasy stories, bursting with fictional characters endowed with impressive super powers. However, if we disconnect the comic from its fictitious tales, and consider it as a culturally responsive art form, many things come to light. Have you ever considered that the comic stories we know best may have been commenting on major political and social events at the time of their publication?
For example, take the heavily mutated characters of the X-Men films. During the Second World War, the Nazis frequently carried out experiments on prisoners, which is echoed in the genetic mutilation of the characters. The atomic nature of the Hulk is also another case, which shows the comic referencing the nuclear arms race during the Cold War. Sometimes comic characters imply social issues, such as Superman’s transition from awkward oddball into a heroic superhero. This provides something significantly more relatable for its audience. Feminist issues are explored in the super-heroine characters of Wonder Woman and Catwoman, as their heroic actions defy the stereotypical masculine image of the hero.
Comic books are not generally distinguished as forms of art or literature. However, maybe this should be reconsidered. Once we have realised that the stories they tell are important commentaries on current issues, the status and influence of comics should be reassessed. Although the invasion of comic book films is very much in the present, are comics becoming a thing of the past? Many young people today would not claim that comics were a major part of their childhood, like it was for their parents. Are the new tech-savvy generation removing comic book stories from their original place within the pages of a magazine? Perhaps comic books will be a thing of the past, as writers transfer the stories straight from their imagination into film.
If this is the future, we should hope that the underlying themes are not lost amongst the cinematic effects of the blockbuster movies.young people today would not claim that comics were a major part of their childhood, like it was for their parents. Is the new techno-savvy generation removing comic book stories from their original place within the pages of a magazine? Perhaps comic books will be a thing of the past, as writers transfer the stories straight from their imagination onto film. If this is the future, we should hope that the underlying themes are not lost amongst the cinematic effects of the blockbuster movies.