Hold Up! I’m Just Sayin…. – MAN OF STEEL: A PEEK INTO THE MIND OF MARVEL FANS

I am sure some read the title of this and said “HOLD UP”!  What does MAN OF STEEL have to do with Marvel? At first glance nothing really. Yet if […]

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I am sure some read the title of this and said “HOLD UP”!  What does MAN OF STEEL have to do with Marvel? At first glance nothing really. Yet if you take a deeper look into the pop culture world of super hero comics, animation and/or movies, you will see one very distinguishing example. I am referring to The Hardline Marvel Fan! Not to be associated or confused with the sometimes obnoxious “Marvel Fanboy”, these very loyal and dedicated folks care very little if  nothing at all about anything the DC Comics World has to offer. If you are wondering why or you are the Marvel Fan that I am speaking of, then allow me to share with you the question I have asked myself for several years now! “Why is it that the “Marvel Only” fan has such a hard time accepting ANYTHING DC Comics oriented, especially when it comes to movies?” I can tell you this, besides certain websites who consistently have a DC vs Marvel War going on almost daily, no one out there has seemed to tackle this question I have repeated in my mind and vocally so many times I have lost count! This is the time I feel that it was important to get to the bottom of this and see what is up!

On June 14th possibly a new era in comic book movies will begin. That being  Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL. While some out there have already seen it in pre-screenings and others are obsessively counting the days until midnight of next Friday, the hype has never been so high for either a Superman movie or almost any other comic book associated media. From late night talk show hosts stuttering because they were blown away by the special effects to the internet bloggers rabidly hunting down the latest news releases , MAN OF STEEL has picked up so much momentum, the buzz around the internet is that this movie may very well cross the 1.34 Billion Dollar mark and be the Comic Book Movie Of The Year! Sounds great, right? Not if you are someone who believes it is Marvel or nothing!

However,  there is a remote and very good possibility that MOS could very well be the “olive branch” that opens the doorway for many of these Marvel loyalist! You will see what I am speaking of in just a second through the interviews I had with some great people who where willing to express their true feelings about this movie and whether or not it could be the spark that creates interest into a world that includes The Justice League! You may be very well surprised with some of the answers given to my questions. As primarily a DC Fan myself, the guys on “the other side of the fence”, actually opened my eyes to why they despise, dislike or just generally do not care for anything DC related. The scary part for me is, I completely understand where they are coming from and why!  The next step for me was to ask myself who would I find to speak with me?   Well the best place to look when searching out dedicated fan based groups is none other than Facebook! There are ALOT of Marvel pages and groups to choose from, but there is only one that I found that has the energy and excitement that represents true Marvel Fan Loyalty! That group is MAKE MINE MARVEL (aka MMM)! This is where I found 3 great guys to sit down with and discuss the why’s and why not’s of the MOS movie. They are:

1. JOSH MILLERThe owner of Make Mine Marvel who is known to be an extremely funny but very caring person. Everyone I have spoken with has given him nothing but praise and it shows with how active his group has become! He also has the unique ability to be able to schedule very well known comic artist and writers to come on MMM and offer Q&A sessions for all the members to participate in!

2. ELIJIAH ELLIS – One of the most respected traders and collectors in the sea of toy collector groups. He has a funny ball busting Type-A personality which all originated from his love of collecting and interacting with the collecting community! Countless times he has been known to go out of his way to help  fellow collectors out with extremely hard to find figures!

3. BILLY ALLENA senior admin on MMM and who is what I call “underground famous” with the Marvel Universe 3.75″ Figure Collectors. He has a HUGE following and fan base for his amazing artistic talent for creating cardbacks for those who create or purchase customized Marvel Universe action figures. Whatever is requested from the interested party, Billy gets it “spot on” every single time! (Billy, like myself, grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. So pay attention to his answers vs Josh and Elijiah’s. There is a generation gap of  10+ years and very different view points)

Now let us get on with discovering why DC is so unappealing to these fans!

1. So guys, let’s get right into it and see about your thoughts so far of THE MAN OF STEEL. Have you seen any of the trailers or TV spots? If so, initial thoughts or feelings?

JOSH: They looked okay, but it still doesn’t appeal to me.

ELIJIAH: Looks great! I am hoping they don’t F^&% it up!  

BILLY: The Trailers make it look decent. But so did the trailers for Green Lantern.

2. From what you guys saw so far, did the more realistic and somewhat darker tones relate to you and in relation to the way Marvel Comics have been doing it for years now?

 JOSH: Yes it did. It did look edgier, darker and more serious. It wasn’t corny looking and there was no spandex underwear! 

ELIJIAH: The first two trailers I saw seemed to be a “throw off” to The Dark Knight movies with the pulling at the heart strings. I wasn’t too impressed thinking they were going down the Nolan road again. But now the newer stuff has been coming out and they are lighter in mood and with way more depth. They are just a lot better! 

BILLY: It totally looks different from what I remember in the past. 

3. DC Comic Book Movie Fans have only had a few highlights in the live action world, those being Superman I, Superman II and The Dark Knight Trilogy. Everything else produced by Warner Brothers and DC have been borderline if not horrendous! (Catwoman and Green Lantern to name a couple) In your words, why do you think Die-Hard Marvel Fans dislike not only the DC movies but the comics as well? 

JOSH: As far back as I can remember, Marvel was more interesting. I have noticed that it seems the average age of Marvel Fans is typically in the 20’s to the mid 30’s. Meaning we grew up in the 90’s. Back then we had some of the best cartoons in The X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man and Spider-Man, trading cards were top of the line,  and in 1991 the #1 selling comic of all time was released, X-MEN #1 that sold 8.1 million copies.  Most importantly though, Marvel comics and media attacked real life issues that again, we could relate too. For instance, the use of racism against Mutants was addressed a lot and it showed, through their characters, the pain and social casting they went through.  Marvel characters were grounded, in that their origins were from mutations, lab experiments and accidents. DC though (laughs)  gave us unrealistic “god-like” super heroes that made no sense! Here I will give you some examples: (To know Josh, he will have you in stitches when he talks about the following)

– Look at Superman! He is SCARED OF ROCKS! Look, I understand he was the first super hero, but it seems like they said, “Let’s give this guy EVERY POWER we can and then if someone comes up with a bad guy with a new power, then we will give him ANOTHER POWER to counter with”! It makes no sense! He is just way too over-powered. (I did remind Josh and Elijiah how DC and WB  have reduced his power in The NEW 52 and movie)

– Then you have Batman with his “CUTE ” LITTLE UTILITY BELT WITH “SPARKLY THINGS” in it! Actually is there ANYTHING he doesn’t have stashed in there? What drives me crazy is how he is a normal guy with no powers, yet he can beat Superman or whoever! It makes no sense at all! (I refuse to debate Josh on Batman! Not something I have the next 5 years to spend investing with no guarantee of success!) 

– Of course Wonder Woman flies around in an “INVISIBLE JET”! Doesn’t she fly herself? Dumb! (I once again reminded him she doesn’t have the jet now) 

– Green Lantern wears a “MOOD RING”! (I laughed the whole time during this part of the interview, but this made me shoot the beer I was in the middle of drinking through my nose!) 

– That guy who “TALKS WITH FISH”, Aquaman, what is the point? What if there is no fish around? NAMOR would kick his ass! (Once again, I informed him that Aquaman has become a total bad ass since Geoff Johns has taken over and the days of him being a “wuss” are over)

ELIJIAH: The movies were just horrible. Corny and tacky with no real world feel, that always seemed to revolve around what power can be made and then what power can we make to bend that power. 

BILLY: For me growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I had two uncles I would always go to see, even when they went off to college. I remember going to their dorm rooms and reading Marvel comics the whole time. My upbringing was very simple. Either you like Marvel or you like DC. They gave me a choice and I chose Marvel. DC was so ridiculous and out there back then that I never had any interest in it what so ever. (smiles) Even to this day when my 4 year old son sees a DC super hero on TV and asks me who it is, I tell him that I don’t know.

4. A common trend happens when fans like yourselves start discussing Superman. Comments like  “how lame” or “how stupid”  his character is. The best one though being “Sentry can kick his ass!” Why do you or they feel this way? 

JOSH: To me it has to do with he is so damn overpowered, yet Batman can throw “green rocks” at him and beat him. His arch nemesis is Lex Luthor who has no powers! He may be brilliant, but it is too unrealistic!

ELIJIAH:  For me, I would say there is ALOT of FANBOYISM that plays a part. Like Josh said prior and most of my Marvel friends think, when it comes to Superman, DC always seems to give him this ability and then take another ability away. It makes absolutely no sense! It is like they are scared to keep his power set one way and one way only! 

BILLY: Well Superman is the most popular hero in the world, that is well known. Being totally honest, I only know the basic stuff about him. (refers again to his growing up with his uncles) I never had any interest in him at all so I really can’t answer for other people. I can see though with Superman being so powerful, it would be a turn off for a Marvel Fan.

5. Okay then! With that out of the way, about 2 years ago DC Comics completely revamped and rebooted,  creating THE NEW 52. Like I mentioned,  Superman has been toned way down and actually bleeds! In the Justice League comic, they were in Africa assisting Wonder Woman who was trying to find The Cheetah. Superman was actually bitten on the neck as was turned into a “man-cheetah”. She actually bit into his neck! If he gets cracked upside the jaw with enough power, he spits blood like a red-neck with a mouth full of chew. I know that what I have stated will more than likely not have you guys running to your local comic shop grabbing every Superman title available,  yet do you feel these changes would or could make this character more appealing to you, Yes or No? 

JOSH: I guess in a way. They just have to do something with his powers! He runs the Justice League and no one will ever challenge him. (I inform him that Batman runs the Justice League. Before I let his eyes completely circle in his head, I informed him that Batman is a brilliant strategist and a control freak. Superman is somewhat shy and always seems to float in the background when not in battle)

ELIJIAH: No! I never been a fan of him. Actually, it would take something pretty damn spectacular to happen to sway me. I truly hope the movie does well and who knows, that may be what sways me.

BILLY: No. For me the damage has already been done

6. Do you guys plan on seeing MAN OF STEEL in the theater?

JOSH: Painfully yes I am taking my son on June 15th. I am wearing my AVENGERS T-Shirt though!  I am going for free! Well, actually I told him if he expects me to take him to that movie he needs to give me $10 and then I will use that to pay for the ticket! (As you can guess laughter begun and then the thought of, “Is he serious?” set in ;-)!) 

ELIJIAH: Yes! I am taking my son, who seems excited to go.

BILLY: No. I may see it when it comes out as a rental or on cable. 

7. This may be hard for you, but will you go into this movie with “an open mind”?

JOSH: I am going to try.  I have a podcast show that I have been invited to be a guest on about two weeks after MOS opens. One of the stipulations was I see this movie. 

ELIJIAH: Yes. I go into every movie with an open mind. I even went into the GREEN LANTERN movie that way, but lets not even get into that $&^#%@*! (The word he used seemed like it would probably offend someone, so use your imagination!) 

BILLY: If and when I see this movie the answer is yes. All movies I watch I try not to prejudge. I went into Green Lantern with an open mind! (I almost caught myself begging for forgiveness when he said this!) 

8. In order for this movie to impress you and other Marvel folks like yourselves, what do you want to see happen or not happen?

JOSH: There can be NO Kryptonite! No colored rocks, slate, pebbles or whatever! There can be no “cheese”! He has to relate to me and definitely darker in tone. I don’t want to see his supporting cast take away from him. [Russel] Crowe and [Kevin] Costner are pretty big names. I DEFINITELY do not want to see, if they even exist any longer,  him changing in a telephone booth! Oh, and his power sets need to be under control.

ELIJIAH: I want to see a great overall and complete summary. If they go down that choppy road The Dark Knight Rises did and leave huge plot holes, I will be done and won’t look back. I left TDKR with a “What The F*&^ just happened” feeling. I debate or should I say argue (smiles), all the time with Nolan Fans about that movie. MOS needs to “roll up well” so I can leave saying wow.

BILLY: I want a good story and nothing else. I don’t want to see him being overpowered or “cheesy” like he was in the past. 

9. Being totally up front and honest with me and yourself, if you are indeed truly impressed with MAN OF STEEL, will you open your mind to more DC Movies, Comics or Animation?

JOSH: It will take more than just one movie. If DC and WB become and continue to be consistent and don’t produce shit, then I would be willing to give them a chance. 

ELIJIAH: Yes. Movies and animation, but no to the comics. My son is really getting into DC Animation.

BILLY: Never on the comics! Definitely to the movies if they deliver. 

10. Let’s touch on the Marvel movies for a moment. They have given CBM fans a plethora of amazing movies and continue to generate new fans with each movie released. Yet, you have three companies consisting of  Marvel Studios, Fox and Sony, that have generated what seems to be three separate Marvel Universes. Ownership rights of characters obviously created this divide. DC Comics and Warner Brothers, now have the legal rights and control to use their vast armada of super heroes after much heated and hard fought court battles. Robinov, the head honcho of Warner Brothers just stated this week that not only has MOS generated over $170 million from brands wanting to be associated with the movie, he now says from what they are seeing and tracking that MOS could break $1.34 Billion at the box office! If this becomes reality, could this be a wake up call over at Marvel, for them to attempt to bridge this gap and bring all these Universes into one? Seriously, no Wolverine or Spider-Man in The Avengers is like baking a cake without the flour! It doesn’t work. I would personally love to see a X-Men vs The Avengers movie in my lifetime, even though that is highly unlikely! 

JOSH: If DC and WB really does get their shit together and becomes consistent, I see that as being the only reasonable step for Marvel to take as a whole. MOS could be start but who knows? The thing right now with two Quicksilvers is ridiculous. One actor should be in both movies. They are just creating unhealthy competition between them.

ELIJIAH: If what the media is saying about MOS being “visually stimulating” and “top notch”, then yes, they are going to have to. It is that or they will have to continue to rewrite the comic history to fit in to their “Marvel movie world”.

BILLY: I hope this happens, I really do. Someone needs to put a fire in their ass! (I didn’t want to probe, but I could hear and feel his irritation with the studios) 

11. Thanks guys for sitting down with me and clarifying to everyone and myself  how Marvel Die-Hard Fans view DC and the MAN OF STEEL movie opening this Friday. I will close on asking you this last question: If Warner Brothers and DC Comics brought you on as a Marvel PR Consultant, knowing full well that you are all Marvel and nothing else, what would your advice be to them if they wanted to start appealing to Marvel Fans that pretty much despise all things DC? 

JOSH: Bring back The Wonder Twins! (took us several minutes to recover from that one!) Honestly? Same as I said earlier, make it relate to me and ground the characters more! I want to see in their movies, special effects and storylines that have me walking out at the end of the movie with a boner! (His words exactly!) 

ELIJIAH: Come off the original comic stories and write screenplays that appeal to the audience that they can actually relate to their heroes. You really want to know what I think they need to do to grab the attention of people like myself? I want a DIVERSE universe! I do not want to keep seeing recycled Superman and Batman movies! You want my attention? Give me a FLASH movie!  (I think they will both be pleasantly surprised with MOS)

BILLY: I don’t know and never had an interest in knowing enough about DC to answer that question. If I had to give you an answer, I would have to say to make more realistic characters and movies. 

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Did you notice what seemed to be the trend throughout that interview? It wasn’t by coincidence either! Marvel Die-Hard Fans want DC to be able to RELATE TO THEM!  They do not want to see bullshit pseudo world politics or over the top unbelievable storylines! These people want the issues they live in their everyday lives addressed within the pages of a comic or on the screen of a movie theater, allowing them to fully engulf themselves in these outlets until they are finished!  When they look at DC characters, they all see what many DC fans are familiar with, “Gods Amoung Men”. How can anyone relate to a God? Try to look at it like they do with the average Marvel hero who is typically going through personal issues, even when they put their lives on the line as they rush to whoever or whatever needs their assistance. Again, I am way more of a DC fan, but you have to be blind not to see how they feel! This is where I persoanlly feel MAN OF STEEL will come to the rescue!

What Snyder and Goyer have shown so far and only several days until opening night,  is that Warner Brothers (at least I hope and see it that way) and DC Comics realized what was needed to bring this former god like super hero down to earth to appeal to everyone. But most importantly (I am speaking to you Marvel Die-Hards), they have made Superman more humanized than ever with a wide range of feelings and emotions of being lost and not knowing who he really is! That right there is what Zack Snyder calls his “KRYPTONITE”! 

With only a few days to go until the MAN OF STEEL opens nationwide, I go into these last few hours not only thinking of my excitement that the several year wait is finally over, but of how those who have ignored and despised DC for so long will receive this movie if they choose to see it. My advice to them would be to go in with an open mind and be true to yourself and free of angst against DC Movies! MAN OF STEEL will be the movie that will open a whole new cinematic universe to you!

I’m just saying …………………………………………………………………………………. ;-)!

Joey

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