I’ve never been a huge fan of Marvel comics. Let me start with that. As a kid growing up in Breese, Illinois I would take my meager earnings to the local soda shop (at least it was an old soda shop turned into a sort of convenience store without the gasoline in my mind) and buy the latest issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-heroes or The New Teen Titans, Batman, anything that had to do with that universe. Marvel Comics never did it for me. Being the obsessive, compulsive I’ve always been, though, I studied the history of the Marvel heroes as much as I did the DC heroes. By age 10 I could tell you the secret identify of all the major heroes in both universes. Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner were all names as familiar to me as Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana Prince, Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Hal Jordan.
Then the Hollywood brain trusts started learning that Summer Blockbuster movies could be made, earning millions if not billions of dollars, from old comic heroes. Richard Donner’s Superman was the first example of this. Batman was the next franchise to be cashed in on. Marvel Comics eventually entered the cinemania and brought audiences Spiderman, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. The Spiderman franchise has produced three blockbuster movies with more to follow, even if the lead actor doesn’t. You don’t stop the train for actors to get on or get off, you slow down and then full steam ahead with the new guy or gal. The X-Men franchise has given us three movies. Fantastic Four gave us two, The Hulk gave us two, and Iron Man is on it’s way to finishing its second. Rumors have an Avengers movie to be made along with a handful or others, but do the movies start just getting the comic book geek or can they produce true Hollywood gold?