Why is DC so far behind Marvel in terms of movies?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by The Overlord, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    It's funny hearing characters spoken of like that that have been around for 50 years.
     
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Silver Surfer was in a movie but he was not a star.

    (There's an impotence joke in there somewhere.)

    Norrin came off as more of a bad ass in Breathless, even if it made Richard Gere seem illiterate.

    And Joe Satriani probably made the Alien infamous for the better half of the 70s.

    The 90s cartoon was softcore.
     
  3. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I loved the Surfer in Breathless.
     
  4. Dantheman

    Dantheman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As a child of the '80s, I remember Mandrake's stint as part of the Defenders of the Earth (King Features Syndicate's effort to pair up their big action characters into a toy line with a cartoon tie-in.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Around" doesn't mean ubiquitous, though. Something can be very well-known to the niche audience for its medium, but will remain obscure to the general public until it crosses over into a more pervasive medium. This happens all the time in science fiction -- new concepts that show up in the literature typically take a couple of decades to percolate out into popular culture. Back when the news of Dolly the cloned sheep first came out, you heard all these pundits talking about the unprecedented new ethical issues that cloning raised -- but science fiction had been exploring those very issues for thirty or forty years at that point.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. They're "around" if you read comic books or watch animated series about superheroes, but if you grew up on Archie or Richie Rich instead, or were into sports or music or cars or Barbies or whatever. . . how would you be exposed to it?

    My sister grew up reading Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables, not X-Men comics. Prior to the movies, I doubt she could have pulled Thor or Cyclops out of a lineup. Heck, my next door neighbors still don't know who Yoda is. (I admit that shocked me.) And my other next door neighbor didn't know the difference between the Green Hornet and Green Lantern . . . .

    It is possible to overestimate how pervasive this stuff is.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Some years back, I flew out to Hollywood to pitch ideas to DS9 and I stayed with my cousin who lives in the area. I got to talking to him about how I'd sent in a spec script for TNG before sending in the one for DS9 that got me the invitation, and maybe mentioned something about possibly pitching for VGR as well, and so on... and eventually I realized, from his questions, that he had no idea that the various shows I was talking about were connected in any way to each other or to Star Trek. My cousin had worked in the film industry for decades (providing bicycle, skateboard, and roller-skate stunts and camera work for just about every movie and TV show that featured them), but he didn't know that there were multiple Star Trek series.

    So, yeah. It's definitely possible to forget that other people aren't into the same things you are.
     
  8. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I get it but it still sounds funny. Then again, I'm old enough to remember when 7-11 had dozens of comic titles on display.
     
  9. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    Yes, lots of people are ignorant about lots of things. That in no way means that everyone is ignorant about everything except you, which is basically what so many of you are trying to claim here.

    Sure, there were a lot of people who didn't know who Iron Man was. You can probably cite all kinds of examples of that fact. But in no way, shape, or form does that mean that Iron Man was some obscure, unknown entity to people outside of comic book readers. A lot of people may not have been able to tell you his real name or anything at all about him other than "he's that hero with armor or something, yeah?," but he's not this complete and utter enigma either.

    I mean, you can find people who've never heard of Superman, Jesus Christ, or Michael Jackson. Does that mean that those are all alien figures to the entirity of the world outside of comic book readers, religious devotees, or music aficionados?

    Iron Man has been all over the place. Cartoons as far back as the 60s, numerous songs (including two of his villains in a song by Paul McCartney), Forbes magazine, and he's even been mentioned in numerous pop culture references on television and movies for ages. The same goes for Thor, the Flash, and loads of other examples used around here. Hell, some people even claim that Wonder Woman is a puzzle to the general public, which is even more absurd.

    Again: Your own personal ignorance about something does not equate to the ignorance of the rest of the world; just because you may not have known something, that doesn't mean no one else knew, either. And that seems to be the basis for this whole spiel. Hell, outside of figures such as Michael Jordan, I couldn't tell you a damn thing about the sports world. Does that mean, by default, the general public is equally ignorant? No. And trying to say otherwise is completely and utterly ridiculous.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The only point I'm making is that it doesn't matter whether audiences have prior familiarity with a character. It's just a basic responsibility of any story to introduce and define the characters and situations for the audience, even if it's a re-introduction of ones established in a previous work. So whether a character is well-known to the bulk of the audience should be irrelevant to how the storytellers approach the tale. The ideal is to treat every story as if it's someone's first exposure to the characters, because it almost certainly will be for at least a portion of your audience.
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really feel like searching the thread for specific quotes, but a lot of people were bringing up the limited budget for TV when talking about superheroes on TV, I don't see that being that much of a problem. I think shows like the CSIs, Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, and the BSG reboot have shown that if you have the right resources you can still do some pretty impressive stuff on a TV budget. Sure it might not be as impressive as Avengers, but it's not totally impossible to get accurate representations of the comic book heroes powers on TV. I thought Smallville managed to good powers VFX over the year.
     
  12. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  13. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is exactly the approach that Stan Lee took when he was running Marvel. Every comic book is somebody's first comic book. Granted that led to a lot of over the top flash backs and such that look quite dated and corny today, but it is still possible to do well.
     
  14. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    That was me.

    Frankly as I said before I didn't think Smallville had very good VFX, because got things like smoke demon Darkseid and a fight between Doomsday and Clark that happens off screen and that was the big thing that was built up for season 8.

    Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four would be hard to do a live action movie, how would make those characters work on a TV budget? Would they just never use their powers or fight any of their iconic villains?

    You can't have a good adaptation of something, if they can't do some of the basic things from the comics on the TV screen.

    I think that is why Arrow, works as a TV show, because it deals with a guy without powers, fighting other guys without powers, its just a bunch of guys with gimmicks. Though frankly Arrow is only an okay show, its not great.

    Actually both words are valid, though one is far more common then the other:

    http://grammarist.com/usage/adaption-adaptation/

    So maybe you should be a bit more careful before you nitpick someone else's grammar.

    And secondly by your logic, wouldn't all the changes made to Fantastic Four in their movies be okay? Doesn't cloud Galactus and corporate Dr. Doom change things to a point, that the work is no longer really the FF anymore? What about the Catwoman movie, shouldn't an adaptation at least honor the spirit of the original work?

    That's the problems I had with the changes in Smallville, they changed from the comics and replaced with things that were less interesting. I don't have a problem changing things to make it work in another medium, as long as those changes are as interesting or more interesting than what was done in the comics, not less interesting. I had no problems with the changes to Sebastian Shaw and Whiplash in the movies, but I didn't like the changes to Dr. Doom in the movies and Darkseid in Smallville.



    Except if those characters play important role and you don't replace them with something interesting, can't it argued that the adaptation has suffered a bit? That is the problem I have with Smallville and the lesser comic book movies, they got rid of interesting ideas and replaced them with something less interesting.



    Actually only 3 villains from the comics were in the TV series and they were kinda paired downed versions of the characters. Trickster was the best of the change, TV Mirror Master and Captain Cold were okay, but not great.

    Really "Pollux" was a a poor man's version of Reverse Flash, but since he was simpleton rather then a psychopath like the comic book Reverse Flash, he was far less interesting. There is an example of taking something and replacing it with something less interesting.

    I would agree with this review: the show had its moments, but ultimately was a failed experiment, at best it was okay:

    http://www.comicbookmovie.com/the_flash/news/?a=50957


    If high budget demands were part of the problem, doesn't prove my point?

    But now see that is the kind of the logic creates Catwoman movies, that an adaptation can change anything it wants, shouldn't an adaptation honor the spirit of the original work as best it can? I didn't think Smallville did that for the most part.

    I think you are pretty generous if you are saying the Adam West show had good production values. Bad production values were part of the camp appeal of that show, there was a lot of paper mache on that show.

    And could you really do something like Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four on a TV budget? Frankly those are tricky to do in a movie, it be impossible to do them on a TV budget at this point in time, unless they never use their powers, which kinda undermines the premise of these characters. Why would GL or Human Torch almost never use their powers and would you do the Thing on a TV budget or Mr. Fantastic's powers?

    Likewise an Iron Man show, were Tony Stark barely ever puts on the armor doesn't feel like a good adaptation of the comics or sounds like an interesting show.

    Again this why I don't care if DC has done more live action TV then Marvel, because to me most live action super hero TV shows were okay at best and god awful at worst. I have not seen one that has knocked my socks off, like Dark Knight did. That is the problem I have.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I remember when they were twelve cents an issue.

    (Ten-cent comics were slightly before my time.)
     
  16. Icemizer

    Icemizer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Green Lantern would be fairly easy to do on a TV budget these days. The actual visual effects can be done fairly cheaply with todays technology. You would ditch the CGI costume from the movie for a practicle one and that right there is a huge savings in time and money. The series would be mostly set on Earth with a few sets for Oa. Villian/Alien of the week would be the biggest production cost but no more so than say Defiance will rack up.
    The 60's Batman had very good production values for its time, much more so than the 70's Spiderman had.
     
  17. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, one could do a hybrid show: live-action dialogue scenes and blatantly animated action sequences. I seem to remember some very short-lived UPN show circa 2001 trying this... something about lady ninja samurais or what-not.

    Would I give such a mixture a shot? Sure. Would the general public go for it? I very much doubt it.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And as I said in response, it makes no sense to use that very low-budget show as an exemplar for TV superhero shows in general.


    No, of course not. I'm not saying all changes are good. I'm saying all changes are not bad. I'm saying that quality is not determined by whether a work is faithful or different -- it's determined, quite simply, by whether it's good. A faithful version can be good or bad. An altered version can be good or bad. People keep trying to concoct these pat formulas and blanket generalizations -- a work is good if it does A and is bad if it does B -- and they're nonsense. A work is good if it's good. Period. It really is as simple as that.

    The FF movies didn't fail because they changed things. On the contrary, a lot of the things they kept faithful to the comics were still mediorce in execution. They failed because they just weren't that well-done.

    Really, this should be obvious by now. The movie that started the modern era of successful, high-quality Marvel films was X-Men, and X2 and First Class are also acclaimed as some of the best Marvel movies. But they're also incredibly unfaithful to the details of the source. They've changed everything. They've changed the relative ages of characters and the order in which they joined the team. They've changed their nationalities, changed their backstories, changed their relationships. But they told good stories, and that's what matters. They were different from the originals, but the different thing they created was good in its own right, so people liked it.

    Conversely, Green Lantern failed because it was far too faithful to the comics -- because it was so obsessed with cramming in references to decades' worth of convoluted comics continuity that it forgot that it was more important to tell a good, straightforward story.


    It's interesting you should put it that way. Let's look at what Halle Berry's Catwoman really was. It was essentially a spinoff from the world of Tim Burton's Batman Returns. In that movie, Selina Kyle "died," was surrounded by cats, and arose as a transformed person with new confidence and feline powers. The Catwoman movie chose to interpret that as a supernatural transformation that had happened to many different women over the ages, and made its heroine implicitly the next person to undergo the same process that Selina had undergone in Burton's movie.

    So let me ask you: Was Burton's Catwoman honoring the spirit of the original? The film changed Selina's character radically. It also changed Penguin radically, from an urbane, diminutive thief to some kind of sewer mutant. Fidelity to the source was not an issue there -- but people seemed to like the movie (though I personally think it's a mess).


    Exactly -- "if you don't replace them with something interesting." That means that if you do replace them with something interesting, it'll work just as well or better than the original. Again, it's not about change vs. fidelity, it's simply about telling a good story vs. telling a weaker story.


    No, because that's just one part of the equation. TV is a business, and as in any business, success is about making enough profit to offset your overhead. The higher the ratings a show gets, the bigger a budget it can sustain. The Flash's ratings were hurt by its timeslot and the frequent preemptions, and that kept it from making enough profit to offset its cost. But if its ratings had been strong enough, it could've stayed on the air as a high-budgeted show. These are not things you can make simpleminded generalizations about. You need to consider the interplay of numerous factors.


    Where the third season is concerned, you'd have a point, but you're absolutely wrong about the first two. Rememeber, this was a sitcom. Compared to any other sitcom on the air at the time, it was amazingly elaborate in its set designs, props, costumes, special effects, and stunt work. Don't forget, stunt sequences are complicated and expensive things to do. The minute-long fight sequences they did could easily take a day or two to shoot, and they did two or three of them per week! Not to mention that in the first season they had to spend extra money on optical effects to superimpose the BIFF-BAM-POWs -- which is why in the second season they switched to cutting in intertitles silent-movie style.


    Not easily, but it would be far more viable today than ten years ago. And there are certainly plenty of other superheroes that could be done more easily. Again, blanket generalizations don't make sense.
     
  19. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Then what show should I use as an exemplar of TV shows, that show was on the longest running super hero tv show and the most successful, so its pretty easy to use that as an exemplar. If I can't use that as an exemplar, what would I use?

    There is certain iconic things you wouldn't want to change because that is what made work interesting in the place. If you change Dr. Doom into something else, you are missing something, like less iconic characters like Sebastian Shaw and Whiplash are more malleable.

    Again I don't have a problem with change, if change it into something more interesting. I don't have a problem with the changes they made to say William Stryker or Sebastian Shaw in the X-Men movies.

    But problem is often in the TV shows, they take something interesting and replace it with something less interesting. How is Smoke Demon Darkseid better then the regular Darkseid, how is Pollux better than Reverse Flash in the comics? What is a better telling of the X-Men saga, the X-Men movies or Mutant X?

    Well yes and no, Parallax was pretty different from his comic book counter part, they gave Hector Hammond some daddy issues he didn't have in the comics. There were differences, I don't think Hal Jordan quit his training after a day, Hal Jordan was way more likable in the comics.

    Again I am not some uber fan boy who thinks everything has to exactly like it is in the comics, the problem is the TV shows almost always take something interesting in the comics and make it less interesting in the TV show. That is why I don't like the TV shows in general.



    I think you are asking me the wrong question, because I have a luke warm response to Batman Returns, I didn't like movie Penguin very much and I guess Catwoman in that movie was okay, but I think I like the Catwoman in the Dark Knight Rises better. I do think making that movie a bit closer to the comics might have been better.



    The problem is the TV shows do that, a lot. That is why I tend not to like them.

    It still was an important factor. I think you are being overall generous to that show, it was okay at best, its not like it was great, it had quite few problems, as indicated by the review I posted.

    I still think you are being far too generous to most of these shows, Flash is not a great TV show, it was flawed TV show that had a few moments, it wasn't amazing. I don't think I am willing to be as generous as you are towards these shows, which I is why I generally don't care about live action super hero TV shows.

    Except I have said as much, that is why Arrow tends to be the best of the bunch, but its hardly riveting. But I don't think we are at the point where most super heroes can work on a TV budget, may be that will be different in a decade or two, maybe not, it is not the case now.

    Another problem is, the TV producers often seem to less respect for the source material then the movie makers do. I actually think a Punisher TV show on HBO would be pretty good, but for a while Fox was in talks to make a Punisher TV show and it sounded terrible. Look at the recent Wonder Woman pilot, it was god awful. Most of the TV producers seem to chuck out all the stuff that made the comic good and replace it with stuff that makes it bland generic network TV.
     
  20. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    That might work, but as you said I don't think the general public would go for it. Plus I think it would take a huge budget and a great talent to make that work.

    I think you are being overly optimistic, I didn't think the aliens or the GL constructs looked over good in the movie and that movie cost a ton. They would likely look even worse on a TV budget, I think you would need a special effects genius to make that work on TV and even then it be pretty doubtful.
     

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