Saturday, June 9, 2018

Quick Takes, Movie Comics, Wonder Woman, Watchmen and Archie

With the plethora of comic book based movies nowadays it is easy to forget that movies based on comic books (and comic strips) have been around almost as long as the comics themselves.
Today’s audience marvel at the daring-do, incredible action, spectacular special effects and powerful storylines seen in such movies that feature Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Justice League, Deadpool, Wolverine, Superman and the like.

It’s easy to forget that comic book movies (especially superhero movies) have thrilled audiences for decades.

Author Blair Davis and publisher Rutgers University Press, examine the comic book movie phenomenon in Quick Takes Movies & Popular Culture: Comic Book Movies.

The book not only examines the movies in of themselves but the times they were released, their cultural influences and why they are so popular with movie goers.

As products of their times comic book movies reflect the political, ethical and social norms of their day. So the next time you sit down to watch a Batman movie, take a moment to examine its content as to how it reflects the social norms of its era.

Just as fascinating read is Blair Davis’ Movie Comics Page To Screen, Screen To Page that delves into the long association comic books and film have had together dating back to the silent movie era.

Popular comic strips and comic books of all genres made the transition to movies and popular movies made the transition from screen to the printed page.

Films and comic books have been intricately linked for decades and this book examines that association in detail.

The author analyzes and chronicles the making of said films, how the films then morphed into comic books and vice versa.

Any comic book or comic strip fan will appreciate the intensive research and study that went into this fascinating book.

With the release of the Wonder Woman film a whole new generation of movie goers have grown to appreciate and enjoy the Amazon princess’s incredible adventures.

Long before Wonder Woman made the transition to TV and film she represented a bold new step forward for feminism.

Ironically she also appealed to a male audience and incorporated subtle bondage in her feminism message.
Wonder Woman Bondage and Feminism In The Marston/Peter Comic, 1941-1948 by author Noah Berlatsky examines that strange and bizarre period of Wonder Woman’s past.

Few people know that Wonder Woman was created by a man: William Marston-the inventor of the lie detector and who lived an unconventional lifestyle.

Marston was married and yet lived with another woman (whom his wife permitted).  The ‘other’ woman wore arm bracelets and looked very much like Marston’s vision of Wonder Woman.

While Marston’s lifestyle was unusual as to its regard to woman he was nonetheless a staunch feminist.

Matson’s Wonder Woman with ripe with sexual innuendos and was unafraid to tackle serious subjects despite its rather ‘unique’ format.

Written and drawn by men Wonder Woman espoused feminism while peppering its contents with obvious (if not blatant) sexual overtones.

The book takes readers on a wild ride through the Marston Wonder Woman years and brings to light his many quirks and fetishes.

In the mid-1980s author Alan Moore took the comic book world by storm when he and artist Dave Gibbons released the 12-part Watchmen maxi-series from DC Comics.

Never before had superheroes been portrayed-not as infallible good guys, but as ordinary people, with ordinary problems, who just happened to have super powers.

In it Moore examines how absolute power corrupts absolutely and even with super powers life’s problems and crises still bombard individuals every day.

Both good and bad choices are made, accompanied by their consequences.

Considering Watchmen by Andrew Hoberek successfully dissects the series and piece-by-piece examines how its gritty realism and unrelenting and uncompromising contents attacked readers’ sensibilities.

Ripe with political, social, capitalism, ideological barbs and pokes the book sheds some light on just how influential Watchmen was.

Like the Wonder Woman book the Considering Watchmen text is accompanied by full-color illustrations taken right from the series.

Today’s TV audiences witness a new take on the Archie Comic Book Universe.  Riverdale has successfully brought Archie and his friends and cast of characters into the 21st Century with all of its political correctness, excesses and inclusion.

Archie Comics have always reflected the times.  From simple slapstick humor to teenage angst to tackling social norms, Archie Comics have evolved over the decades. Author Bart Beaty’s Twelve Cent Archie delves into the core of what makes Archie Comics so poplar and enduring.

Each character and motif is examined, as its story-telling format.  One hundred chapters look at different aspects of Archie Comics.  

The books travels down Memory Lane to the genesis of Archie Comics and follows the redhead teenager as he and his cast of characters evolved, changed and adapted to their times.

Readers discover how Archie Comics not only represented their times, but helped shape them.