Paving The Way


The Best There Is
Jan 4, 2005
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Alright, we've got a debate going somewhere else, so I think it's up to the comic comm to help us out. There were two major milestones in comic cinema history, but the question is: which one truly paved the way for the modern influx of comic-based movies we have today?

We have Superman (1978), arguably the very first big budget serious effort by Hollywood. While still campy, it didn't have as much camp that plagued half of the productions before it. However, despite the critical acclaim achieved by the movie, comics were still regarded as "kid stuff" and still treated as such in other mediums. That is, until...

Blade (1998) came along. A lesser known character without a comic company brand due to it's rating, Blade showed the world that comics can be as adult oriented as they are for kids, sparking a new renaissance not only in the comics themselves, but in Hollywood's desire to return to comic movies after the flop that was Batman & Robin. Blade opened the door, and X-Men blew it off the hinges.

So my question is, in your opinion, do you think modern comic movies would be made had it not been for Superman, or for Blade's contributions to the medium?

Just to have a tale of the tape, the following is a small list of movies that came out after each one. Take a look and make some judgements not only how the movies were recieved critically, but by your own opinions of each.

Superman II
Superman III
Howard The Duck
Superman IV
The Rocketeer
Captain America
Batman Returns
The Mask
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
The Crow
The Shadow
Batman Forever
Judge Dredd
Nick Fury
Tank Girl
The Phantom
The Crow: City of Angels
Barb Wire
Generation X
Men In Black
Batman & Robin

Ghost World
Men In Black 2
Blade II
Road to Perdition
Spider-Man 2
The Punisher
Sin City
Batman Begins
Fantastic Four
V for Vendetta
Superman Returns
Ghost Rider
For modern movies, I'm going with Blade (1998). The movies really took on a seriousness after Blade. It also inaugurated the Marvel age of comic movies.

Superman (1978), Batman (1989) each sparked their own cycles, but they ran their course. Superman's ended with the dreadful Superman IV (1987) and Batman's ended with Batman and Robin (1998). Both of those cycles ended on campy notes.

It's possible that the Blade-sparked cycle will do the same, but it remains to be seen. The post-Blade movies, for the most part, have been more serious/dramatic enterprises. (Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, and especially Hulk, Spider-Man 1 & 2, Batman Begins are just some examples. I don't think these movies could've been made in the previous cycles without camping them up.)
Superman. most people didn't even know Blade was based on a comic book...
and btw, you forgot American Splendor on the 1998-Present list...
Superman paved the way for all comicbook movies.
Well, they're not complete lists.

I say Blade, 'cause if ya think about it comics still weren't respected and still treated as campy kid stuff. Batman added a more serious tone, but still, comics weren't respected. But since Blade, and then th' follow-up by X-Men, comics not only garnered respect, but Hollywood became dedicated to make truer adaptations of comic works. That, and it allowed some more obscure titles to be picked up and made. Think without Blade's success Road to Perdition, A History of Violence or even V for Vendetta would've ever seen th' light of day?
Blade's success didn't have anything to do with it being based on a comic book. most people didn't even know it was a comic book. it was just a cool, vampire action movie which turned out to be a surprise hit. I'd definitely give X-Men more recognition for the latest comic book movie craze.
JackBauer said:
Blade's success didn't have anything to do with it being based on a comic book. most people didn't even know it was a comic book. it was just a cool, vampire action movie which turned out to be a surprise hit. I'd definitely give X-Men more recognition for the latest comic book movie craze.

I HATE THAT!! I HATE people trying to devalue Blade's significance, just because it wasn't a "popular" or "Well-known" comic book! And where were Marvel films before Blade? The only property to get a theatrical release was freakin' Howard the Duck!! While Captain America and Punisher languised in direct-to-video hell, having hooked up with low-rent studios that all went under before they could get the movies in theaters! And let's not act like film reviews and articles didn't make mention of it being based on a comic, not to mention the appearance of the character on the Spider-Man animated series, which seemed to be done to promote the character and the film, as the episodes including Blade also included Whistler, who was only created for the films.
See, X-Men may have blown the door off th' hinges, but Blade's th' one that opened it.
Batman in 89. That was what really started the super-hero trend which then died a little and was then revived by Blade in 99 or X-MEN in 2000 depending on who you ask for.
Superman. Over at the marvel forums, they seem to think that STM had no influence on their current movies, even though various producers and writers have admitted to a bit of STM's influence.

The Fact is, STM paved the way.

The Big Budget you see in comic flicks? STM

The unknown as the main charatcer? STM

The use of realism? STM

Using the first hour for the origin story to flesh the main character out? STM

Using their archenemy in the first film? STM

Hero has to stop villains major plot at the end of the movie? STM

And the list goes on and'd have to be blind not to realize that STM created the blueprint for todays comic movies. Blade and X1 just revived said formula.
I think it ("it" being everything from the quality, popularity, respectability, etc. of comic book movies), was never born out of a single film. It was, and still is, a progression that has over time improved everything, so giving credit to a single film for all of those things is fool-hardy.

However, the movie to start that progression was STM, and as The Batman outlined, it did introduce a great deal to the genre. Including the actual plot structures of both SM1 and BB. So, I voted STM.

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