Commentary: Movies And TV Are Better For Marvel Than Comics

by Frank Martin

Ever since there have been comic book adaptations of superheroes, fans have debated what types of stories are best. While movies and television shows are undeniably entertaining to watch, purist fans tend to favor the comics from which those stories are based. It makes sense. These iconic and classic superheroes have been around for decades in that format. Their adaptations are few and far between in comparison to the mountain worth of comics that have been put out. Nevertheless, seeing aging actors portray these characters on the screen comes with an added benefit of realism that cannot be said about seeing them on a page.

A big problem with comics is the matter of time compression. This means that comic characters don’t age in real time the same way that people do. Peter Parker has been in his mid-30s for about forty years now. What’s even stranger is that characters that have kids see those kids grow up while they really don’t age. It also lends a sense of disbelief when real events such as the Cold War and 9/11 are depicted in the books while the characters experience these events as the same age.

This obviously can’t happen with comic book movies and TV shows. The benefit of it couldn’t be seen with simple franchises and sequels. But with the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, characters are being depicted by the same actors for over a decade. These actors get to age in real time and the stories that unfold get to see them age as well. It gets to the point where characters are eventually retired or die off and a new generation takes their place. The stories are unfolding in real time rather than a time compressed reality. In this sense, film and TV might actually be a better medium to depict superhero stories than the comics from which they came.

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