The lights are on
I don't think it's a stretch to say that comic books are taking over the entertainment world. Marvel Comics is lighting up the box office with smash hit after smash hit and is transforming its image from comic book company to one of entertainment's biggest heavyweights. The scary thing: They are just getting started.
Along with films based on Captain America, The Avengers, Thor, and Iron Man, Marvel is introducing theatergoers to Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man shortly, with rumors of Dr. Strange, Black Widow, Hulk, and many more characters getting their own films in the years ahead. Other film companies are also tapping Marvel books to bring X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four to the silver screen.
On the smaller screen, Marvel has found success with Agents of Shield, and will soon be airing shows based on Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, and Luke Cage.
DC Comics hasn't had much of a pulse on the big screen, but the forthcoming Batman Vs. Superman film could be the fuse that leads to a Marvel-like explosion. If all goes as planned, that film will give way to a Justice League movie.
If that film is successful, DC will likely create individual movies for the team's core members. We won't know where DC is going exactly until Batman Vs. Superman hits in 2016, but for now, it appears this comic creator has its sights set on TV.
The success of CW's Arrow has spawned a second show based on Flash. Additionally, NBC is creating a new series with Constantine as the lead, and FOX is tapping Batman's universe for Gotham, a show that follows Commissioner Gordon through a pre-Batman world. You can get a look at all three of these forthcoming shows in the trailers below.
I'd like to think that video games will be the next frontier for Marvel and DC Comics to conquer. Yes, DC already turned Batman into a video game juggernaut, and Activision has had some success with Spider-Man and X-Men, but, if anything, these games show just how much potential comics have in video games.
As we all know, the solution isn't to adapt the motion pictures into games. We don't need to suffer through more Amazing Spider-Mans, Iron Mans, Thors, or Green Lanterns. The solution is for Marvel and DC to do what they did with films: Find a unique fingerprint for its franchises in the game space that is different than the comics and movies.
Right now, the most successful developer of comic book-inspired games is Telltale (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us). They have a formula in place that works for games. And it's a formula that favors story over action, which opens the door for most comics to make their way to the interactive medium.
Games are a big investment for Marvel and DC to jump into, but they have to know the interest is there. An Avengers game made the right way could be just as big of a success as the motion picture. I'd love to see Marvel step forward and say "Here's phase one of our video game initiative." They've conquered print. They've conquered film. They have a shot at conquering TV. Games have to be next.
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