Marvel Studios: Genre Movies.
In a time when Superheroes did not bring in readers, Marvel turned to various themed comics. If the same happens in the film industry, what could Marvel Studios do to expanded the range of films they make while still keeping the MCU.
Despite the creation of many Superhero comics in the early 40's and the massive boom of Superheroes in the 60's, it wasn’t these titles that kept Timely/Atlas/Marvel Comics in business in the post war years. In fact superhero titles were practically non-existent in the 1950's, the market was instead flooded with genre comics spanning many different themes and target audiences.
In this article I look at the most popular of these and see what, if any, Marvel Studios could bring to the silver screen if they were looking to expand the range of films they make while still keeping them within the MCU.
In post war America the young male audience for comics vanished as these young veterans turned their attention to new careers and families. The readership of comics came from a new audience of young girls who were responsive to the teen humour and romance comics. Dozens of teen romance themed comics dominated the newsstands and even Stan Lee honed his characterization through dialogue skills in some of the more teen humour titles, which would be later put to great use with characters like Spider-Man. The main breakout stars of these teen romance titles were Millie The Model and Patsy Walker.
Millie The Model’s main title ran over three decades and ended with issue #207 in December 1972. She was included in many spin-off titles and would even go on to appear in superhero team title The Defenders . While Patsy Walker, introduced in Miss America Magazine #2, knocked that superheroine from her own title before decades later transitioning to an actual superhero character herself; Hellcat.
Romantic comedies have always been a mainstay of cinema, and with characters that are rooted in the Marvel Universe it is not out of the question to think Marvel Studio could try their hand adapting some of their characters and titles to the big screen. In a world where The Avengers eat shawarma is it weird to think down the street Patsy Walker could be on a date with Buzz Baxter!
Westerns have been a staple of cinema throughout its inception, but have had popularity in ebbs and flows with Hollywood often failing to capitalize on their appeal; especially in recent years. The same I guess can be said for westerns in all media as though the appeal seems obvious most fail to capture audience attention… unless you’re a game made by Rocksteady.
Marvel Comics forerunners established themselves as the most prolific publisher of Western comics during the fifties and sixties with long-running titles including Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt Outlaw and Wild Western. Another notable character created during this time is Apache Kid, which told the story of a Caucasian orphan raised by an Apache chief who grew up to wear a warpaint outfit to fight outlaws both white and Native American, and generally protect both groups of people. Unlike many other Western comics, Apache Kid generally presented the indigenous Americans in the same light as Caucasians, and made distinctions among the various tribes.
These precursors to modern themed masked vigilantes could be an interesting setting if adaptations took darker grounded "True Grit" style as long as they don’t try to emulate the likes of "Cowboys vs. Aliens" and "Jonah Hex" both of which probably killed any thoughts of trying to adapt any Western comic book.
Despite what you would think most of Marvel’s War comics came out after World War 2 had ended. They depicted stories from various parts of the armed services like Navy Tales, Marines at War, and GI Tales. The first to feature stories around one character was Combat Kelly but it wouldn’t be until a decade later that the most popular war comic would grace the stands as Sgt. Fury & his Howling Commandos came out in 1963.
Much like Westerns, War films are familiar stomping grounds for movies but most are not that good. And despite Marvel referring to the likes of "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Marvel's The Avengers" being war movies neither really capture the horrors of War like "Saving Private Ryan" and shows like "Pacific", and neither should they as an actual War movie cannot be a popcorn flick for the family.
If Marvel Studios were to make a real War film then stories from the Howling Commandos post First Avenger would be the best way to go. But with Marvel’s catalogue of WW2 Superhero characters no one would blame them for trying to fit a few within any of their War movies.
Despite the popularity of horror comics during the upheaval and censorship brought on by the Comics Code Authority many horror titles came to the end in the mid-fifties as in comics as in movies heavily censored horror is not engaging or most importantly scary. However, in 1972 finally leeway was given to comic writers and horror titles found themselves slap bang in the middle of the superhero universe.
If any genre any movies can actually add to the depth of the MCU it would be this one. Titles like Werewolf by Night and Tomb of Dracula could bring their respective mythos’ and characters into the MCU. While horror characters likes Ghost Rider and Man-Thing could actually be turned into scary movies if done with that intention.
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