After first gaining popularity in America in the 1930s, comic books have captured the imaginations of children and grownups alike for nearly 100 years. We’ve seen them develop into other media, most notably TV series, feature films, video games, and online gambling.
Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent examples of this and the timeline at which these developments occurred. From the original paneled comic strips to billion dollar movie franchises to people playing superhero and emoji online slot games, the influence of comic books is undeniable.
The Early Years
First appearing in the 30s, comic strips originally showed up in newspapers in a way that is familiar still today. This was an era prior to the advent of television and so the first medium crossover was from comic books straight to the theatre in the form of Superman. The creative crossover worked in the opposite direction as well as old radio shows like Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet were repackaged into comic books to reach new and larger audiences. With the proliferation of television in the 1950s, Superman became a huge success on the small screen. This was also the beginning of major merchandising as children’s heros were soon put on everything from pajamas to lunch boxes to board games.
The first Superman comic book. Source: Wikipedia
Animation and the Rise of TV
In the ’60s, the famous Batman TV series starring Adam West was released and the two most prominent producers of comic book content released many superhero cartoons for the children of the day. DC Comics produced Aquaman, Flash and The Justice League. Their chief rivals in the comic book genre, Marvel Comics, released Fantastic Four and the classic Spiderman cartoon. In the 1970s, TV series like Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were released and thrilled audiences of all ages.
The Movie Franchise Early Era
In 1978, the first Superman movie was released and when the franchise fizzled out after four installments, Batman stepped in to fill in the void. That incarnation of the caped crusader followed a similar fate, losing audiences as fast as they were captured. While a bit of a disappointment for comic book icons on the silver screen, around this time were reboots of animated series that utilized the latest technological advancements in animation techniques and more sophisticated plotlines and back stories compared to the simpler and sometimes repetitive episodics of earlier eras.
Not surprisingly, superheroes found their way into the burgeoning video game industry of the early 80s and continue to be popular to gamers today.
The Avengers. Source: Facebook
The Contemporary Superhero
While the underlying fascination with superhero remains, today’s audiences seem to want their superheroes to have human flaws and more elaborate personal stories rather than being infallible archetypes of bravery and moral righteousness. Enter the new set of franchises like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The X-Men franchise and the standalone and collective films of The Avengers universe. Movie producers expanded beyond the most popular and well-known comic books introducing characters like Hellboy and The Watchmen. Those audience demands for more complicated heroes and anti-heroes were met on the small screen as well as many of today’s successful TV series are based on comic books. The Defenders is s very successful superhero vehicle and Gotham is an ingenious look at the Batman universe prior to Bruce Wayne’s becoming Batman. Even the critically acclaimed series Riverdale is based on the 1939 comic strip Archie.
Superhero video games continue to be produced at a high rate and fans can also enjoy their favorite superheroes on their favorite online casino games. Given how much comic books and their characters have been such a prominent part of our shared culture for so long, it seems likely that they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Featured Image Source: http://batmanvsmarvell.blogspot.com