Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Wolverine, ok Hugh Jackman, wants you to go to FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! in this video, and here’s why...

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You probably know about Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone day right? Well Free Comic Book Day is the same thing, but way, way better. It takes place all over the world, and there are dozens of comics to choose from and they are genuinely for everybody. Boys & girls, men and women; From The Smurfs, Regular Show and Spongebob, to The Walking Dead, Judge Dredd, 2000 AD and Grimm. Of course there are also serious contributions from the big boys – Marvel & DC, as well as major Indies like and Image.


What is Free Comic Book Day?
The comics are specially produced for Free Comic Book Day and serve as a brilliant way to either get people back into comics, or draw them from the first time. Between the Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Brothers attempts to get the most out of their ownership of DC and the likes of Arrow & The Walking Dead taking over television, the mainstream public are aware of more comic book characters now than ever before. No longer is it just Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man & The Hulk, who the average person in the street can recognise.

Around 16 years ago Marvel man Avi Arad finally convinced one of the studios that were sitting on film rights to Marvel characters to actually make a film with them. Studios  were too afraid to make the films they had the rights to after Batman & Robin capped a string of box office disappointments, that Hollywood saw as a sign that people were done with Super hero films. They weren't  they were just done with bad, awful, repetitive Super Hero films. Between the awful, but financially successful Batman Forever in 1995 and WB mega disaster film ‘Steel’ in 1997, Cinemagoers were ‘treated’ to 7, American, Comic book adaptations. All, except for Men In Black, were critical and/or financial horror shows. Judge Dredd, Barb Wire, The Phantom and The Crow: City of Angels, all convinced the suits that Comic book films, not just super hero films, were perhaps just too risky. WB thought about how to resurrect Batman (That was still 8 years away) and spent tens of millions of dollars failing to get a Superman film off the ground. (Most notably with Tim Burton & Nicolas Cage.)


Creators of Ben 10...


Against this backdrop of negativity, Avi Arad was somehow able to convince New Line decided to take a chance on a little known super hero, Blade. Created in the 1970s Blade was not only a pretty grim horror film but a kick ass one to boot. The success of Blade helped tip Fox over the edge about bringing the X-Men (by far the most popular comic book character of the 1980s & 1990s) into production; and with a ‘real’ director at that; Bryan Singer from The Usual Suspects. All of this made other studios get up off their collective arses and take films that had been in development hell for years, or decades, into Production. Spider-Man definitely sealed the deal and the world hasn’t looked back since.

(Quote from The New York Time in June 2004, regarding Blade and X-Men:-
“Together, the movies proved that even comic book characters unknown to the general public could become the basis for blockbusters.”)


Hugh Jackman...

The two biggest success stores have undoubtedly been Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which we should never forget started with a film that lost money at the box office. Sometimes quality, and good DVD / TV sales, is more important than money. Despite ‘only’ making $374min cinemas, the film was very well received, which led to the next two films making just over $2b combined. The other is, of course, the amazing rise of Marvel Studios and their daring, unprecedented, building of a shared Universe on the big screen. If you pickup some Marvel comics tomorrow, free or otherwise, you will likely to see characters popping up in other character’s books. It is something that happens more in Marvel comics than others, and translating that to the film business is truly remarkable. Imagine James Bond trying to escape some bad guys and getting a little help from Jason Bourne along the way, before teaming up with some Impossible Missions people to save the day. Taking the trouble to build up a brand with Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America, has paid huge dividends. Not only did the sum of those parts, with a little help from Nick Fury, end up becoming the third highest grossing film of all time (The Avengers - $1.51b); but Iron Man Three has, in a 9 day rolling release, already grossed $345m outside of North America! To put that into some kind of perspective, the top two International grosses for the Solo Avengers films were, $311m for Iron Man 2, and $268m for Thor. (Very decent amounts indeed) So in nine rolling days, Iron Man Three has already passed them both. Of course getting to the $888m The Avengers made is still a very tall order; but it is more proof that Super heroes and comic book adaptations in general, are about as popular as they have ever been.
Click the banner to go to the Free Comic Book Day website
So comic books are having a massive effect on pop culture, even as print media is in decline. So why not take advantage of the far reaching comic book genre and get people to actually read the stories that inspired these films and TV shows? And when you get there, you’ll discover that there are far more comics, covering far more subjects and topics, aimed at a much wider age range, than you probably thought before. So check out where your nearest FREE COMIC BOOK DAY store is and give the call. But if you take that last Walking Dead comic I will have to hurt you!

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