I wish I had started this blog earlier, so I could have posted this at the opening of Batman Vs Superman:Dawn of Justice. It would have been appropriate. But, after watching and being inspired by both this movie and the new Captain America movie, I felt I just needed to say it now.
I remember my first superhero movie. It was SUPERMAN with Christopher Reeve. It wasn’t like today. It was an oasis in a desert of a world without comic heroes. Oh, of course, they had their heroes in the movies. But dealing with Clint Eastwood anti-heroes had left the imaginative dry and parched. However, just recently, Star Wars had introduced the nerdcore to a whole new set of role models. And life, as they say, would never be the same.
I guess we have the success of the space epic and both the light and dark side of the force to thank for the coming of the first comic movie to the big screen in FOREVER. The last real challenger was that glorious romp of a Batman movie in 1966. I was too young to catch that one in the theaters, but I remember clamoring to the tv when it was shown there! Between that and Reeve’s Superman we had a long march of tv shows and movies that kept the dream alive, but were rough shadows of their comic self.
Now, don’t get me wrong. They were awful, but we loved them. As far as we knew, they were the best it was ever gonna get! I mean, take comic books serious enough to spend millions to make a movie and HOPE to get your money back? Nah, too risky, right? So, we settled for shows like Spider-man, the Hulk (excellent for that time) and Wonder Woman and the occasional bad TV movie adaptation of heroes like Captain America, Doctor Strange and KISS meets the phantom of the park (lol..had to include that one).
In the seventies, if you were going to take a chance and hit the big screen with a character from kid’s ‘funny books’, it was either two choices: Zorro or Superman. Zorro was the first, way back in the forties (see article: The birth of the comic book movie: It’s not what you think ) and wasn’t a big draw when I was a kid. So, that left them with the most well known hero to kids and adults alike: SUPERMAN.
Little did they know, but they were doing then what they’re doing now: BANKING ON NOSTALGA! That’s right. They went with SUPERMAN because not only did the kids know him, but their dads and granddads had read his comics, heard his radio serials and even seen his movies and serials when they were kids. He was that well known. And Spider-Man hadn’t overtaken him yet as the most popular comic character. SO they made the first SUPERMAN movie. And the tagline was: YOU WILL BELIEVE A MAN CAN FLY!
I believed. I had believed for nearly sixteen years. I was in high school and took my girlfriend at the time to see it. But all current concerns washed away once the film started. Although I was a tried and true Marvel maniac, I fell in love with Superman and was totally sucked into that movie. I walked out of that movie more re-energized than ever. It had been a while since some type of media outside of comics had captured my imagination like that. (Well, there was Star Wars, but I missed the first movie in the theater)
You see, I’m not like other men. I am like some. I know. I’ve met them. Read about them. I’m the type to go into a movie like that, absorb the content and come out overflowing with imaginative power. It was like sticking my pen in Green Lantern Battery and powering up. I overflowed with ideas. Some good. Most crap. But I wrote it all down. Most I will pass on because it was just a child’s babbling. But many of those stories still resonate with me and will be seen soon in print in one type of another.
Oh, I believed a man could fly. I just didn’t realize that man could be me. And, coming out of Captain America: Civil War just this weekend, I again felt the pull of the sky and will be looking to don the cape once again.