Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marvel complicates IP, genetics, and time travel

•Prior to tomorrow night’s debate on Batman vs. Spider-Man (moderated by me, 8pm at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg, 2 Havemeyer St. near the Bedford Ave. L stop), you might enjoy this financial comparison of Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne from H&R Block (pointed out by Ali Kokmen). 

•On another quasi-business note: in the new Spider-Man movie, I liked the fact they connected some of the dots linking all the “biotech” (or “biotch”) elements, with Oscorp basically studying how to give people animal DNA.  I mean, besides Peter and Lizard, like half his friggin’ rogues' gallery are some kinda animal guys anyway, so you might as well have a sweeping-explanation future scene where someone just says, “And we could give a man the hide of a rhino!  Or the wings of a vulture!” etc.

•And that brings us to science: time travel will figure prominently in the 2014 X-Men movie and in a new X-Men comics series.  Swell – but time travel also makes fans worry about continuity errors.  And so, X-Men comics writer Brian Bendis, in an effort to reassure fans, stated: “The space-time continuum is of utmost importance to me.”  (He lies!  Not that I care anymore, you understand.  Mainly, I just thought it was a funny quote.)  I just turned in a time travel-themed short story myself, the venue for which I hope can be unveiled shortly (more soon).

•Intellectual property law has interesting and sometimes silly-seeming effects on the superhero movies you watch.  So, there’s nothing stopping DC Comics from doing a possible Justice League movie in 2015, and rival Marvel Comics will almost certainly do Avengers 2 that year (indeed, at the rate we’re going – with Marvel doing three movies next year and five in 2014 from three different studios – all films will be Marvel productions within a decade, I’d say).  But you will probably not see the Avengers, Spider-Man, or the X-Men team up – even though they’re all Marvel – since each of those franchises is contracted out to a different movie studio.

By contrast, the X-Men might meet the Fantastic Four (both franchises are at Fox) – but it appears Fox may let the Daredevil rights they currently have lapse, in which case (as in the comics) he can join the Avengers instead of swinging by in the background of a future Fantastic Four movie.  I will say that I wouldn’t mind seeing Reed Richards meet Prof. X.  Perhaps they should time the rumored F.F. reboot to coincide with whatever follows the time travel shenanigans planned for that 2014 X-Men movie: Do a temporal Big Bang in that film followed by a fresh start that yields some cross-fertilization and world-building to (friendly-)rival the Avengers films.

The most bizarre side effect of all of this is that X-Men villain Magneto’s children, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, can in fact appear in either X-Men or Avengers movies (since they were prominent members of the Avengers), but if they appear in an Avengers movie, they cannot be referred to as mutants.  Fascinating.  What would their father say about this burial of their heritage?  (Sidenote: Marvel/Disney, which does the Avengers movies, has quietly regained the Punisher and Blade rights, by the way, so if those characters appear again, they may be handled with Iron Man-level quality.)

•Well, here’s hoping our (no doubt free-ranging) Wednesday-night discussion goes well.  As it happens, one person attending last month’s Dionysium, in his fifties or so and fairly sympathetic to the counter-cultural left, told me he was nonetheless literally nauseated by Marvel comics and couldn’t read them when he was young, simply because of the shocking amorality.  That is now hard to imagine but probably speaks well of his character.  (Then again, one of the DC trade paperbacks I recently read reveals that the first-ever Fortress of Solitude story in 1942 was called “Muscles for Sale,” so how innocent was the whole culture ever, really?)

I first encountered comics in the 70s, with Star Wars my main standard of quality, so to me the crucial difference between DC and Marvel will always be that DC feels like a 1950s cosmos and Marvel feels like a 1960s cosmos – Space Patrol vs. Starchild, as it were, with the latter seeming in some ways more momentous and awe-inspiring.  (Thanos!) 

Perhaps as a subsidiary debate, for instance, we should discuss who’s cooler, Jor-El or the Kree Supreme Intelligence.  Maybe I could try roping esteemed DC Comics staffer Scott Nybakken into debating that one, just to see him tell me it’s a stupid idea.  I’m grateful you all put up with me, really.


Jacob T. Levy said...

Hey now. The Blade movies launched our current Golden Age of Comic Book Movies, and Blade 1 > Iron Man 2 any day.

Todd Seavey said...

I didn't mean to suggest the Blade ones were bad, just that hypothetical future ones might be good. Of greater concern is the fact that three -- three! -- terrible versions of Punisher have been inflicted on the public.