Comic Book Brain

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Lessons from adapting Flashpoint Paradox and Secret Invasions

Maybe "event comics" are the foolproof way to bring in ticket buyers to theaterscomicbook

Event comics are a huge part of the economy of "Big Two" comics -- but something that Disney and Warner Bros. are learning this year is that the comics market is very different from the live-action megabudget adaptation market in some key ways. You probably could have seen it coming with Justice League, if not for the fact that right afterwards there was Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame to prop up the crossover event model...

This seems like an artificial way to categorize the superhero-on-screen failures of the last eight-or-so-months. As the article itself points out, the adaptations of Flashpoint Paradox and Marvel's Secret Invasions are poorly done, and if any one thing leads the way to failure lately for movies of people in tights, its telling the story poorly.

I think the problem is something more fundamental, not really the act of relying on "proven properties" because this is as old as Hollywood itself, and so is the habit of productions overthinking the work they're supposed to serve by translating it to the screen with fidelity, but then not doing so (Hollywood can utterly trash novel adaptations, too, as any veteran reader can tell you.)

The reason why Hollywood alters a work being adapted can be legitimate (for example there is something controversial in the original that has got to be gotten around in some clever way) but there's too many times it instead looks like the arrogance of not caring to be faithful to the text because the people in charge have a "new vision" (usually this is a marketing term instead of an aesthetic one) which is built out of cannibalizing the original text. How many times have we seen the original comic books lifted from for dialogue, story situations and visuals only for it to be a hit-and-miss adaptation which then adds to the humiliation of doing all this badly by then stealing the credit for the work by plastering the "written by" names being one set of cannibalizers and the actual original writers being mentioned, at best, in the "Special thanks to" section of the credit roll. The famous "work for hire" contract makes it possible for the corporations to allocate credit in an inaccurate and ultimately dishonest way. Suffice to say,with superhero films, Hollywood is compromised often by the compromises within the comic book industry but then this is magnified by the hubris of Hollywood productions seeking to make the comics they're stealing from "better."

Related: Disney approached the crossroads


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Original Page August 2014