superman.nuMary Immaculate of Lourdes NewtonHolliston School Committeefacebook    
  •   forum   •   THIS WEEK'S CHAPTER: "SMALLVILLE!" •   fortress   •  
Superman Through the Ages! Forum
News: Superman Through the Ages! now located at theAges.superman.nu
 
*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
June 14, 2024, 11:52:49 AM


Login with username, password and session length


Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Could Batman eventually surpass Superman?  (Read 23855 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
nightwing
Defender of Kandor
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1627


Semper Vigilans


WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2006, 04:35:21 PM »

Permanus writes:

Quote
Toy Story and The Incredibles are "cooler" and "better-selling" than Mickey Mouse? (I loved The Incredibles. And Toy Story is a neat film.) Really?


Well, let's put it this way.  If they did sequels to either of those films, people from all demographics would line up to see them.  If they did a new Mickey Mouse movie tomorrow, they MIGHT get a few parents bringing pre-schoolers.  Might.  That's why anything new with Mickey tends to go straight to video.


Quote
The Incredibles and Toy Story are very clever films. But for the next generation it will be different films, and none of them will have characters as big as Mickey Mouse or Superman. I'm not sure why there will never be another universal supergroup like The Beatles. The Incredibles will never be as big as Mickey Mouse. Not even close. He will be king when they are long forgotten. Our generation has forgotten, or never knew, how big Mickey, Superman, and John Wayne were.

Everything in your third paragraph would indicate you know what I mean... But it's more than being first.



Well, being "first" means more than simply showing up before everyone else.  Technically, the Phantom was the first crimefighter in longjohns and Superman stole his schtick from John Carter of Mars.  But Superman got it RIGHT.  Superman was as big as he was because he represented something new and different and DC invented a whole new kind of cross-media marketing to promote him.  Just consider...the guy shows up in 1938 and by 1940 he's already in newspapers around the country, has his own radio show and stars in $100,000 a pop animated shorts.  Some of that's because the character had appeal but some of it, a lot of it, is because the company behind him kept pushing him to new audiences. Before you can like the guy, you've got to be exposed.

I think it was unprecendented for a character to become so huge and ubiquitous in so short a time.  In the 40s you couldn't turn around without tripping over something Superman-related.  Today we're used to that, we see it every summer with every new blockbuster movie. But in 1940 it was a new thing.  And because Superman started it, and kept at it for decades before other heroes got out of the gate, he became the icon, not the rest of them.

You mention the Beatles, and I think they'll remain on top forever for the same reason.  Yes, they were cute, and funny, and almost inhumanly talented.  But they also had the good fortune of meeting Brian Epstein, who promoted them like crazy, and George Martin, who polished their raw talent into something slick enough to sell but not so antiseptic that young fans were turned off...and so on.  In a million years, we will never again see four young geniuses end up together in such divine sychronicity, and have the good luck to meet up with all the right forces at the right time.  There's plenty of talented people out there who never get a break, and plenty of hacks who get promoted, but how many people have both world-class talent AND world-class marketing?  

Look how many groups have been touted as "The Next Beatles?" Just using that phrase means it ain't gonna happen.  To this day, boy bands are assembled by record execs to fit the Beatles mold...he's the cute one, he's the brooding one, he's the bad boy, etc...but you cannot fake chemistry and you can't build a new Beatles from a kit.  Lightning in a bottle, they were.

Same with Supes.  70 years on and people are still tweaking the formula, but every hero out there...even Batman...owes his or her existence to the big guy.  And every new X-movie, or Spidey movie, or whatever, might be super-huge this summer, but only by following the strategies Superman's handlers invented.  And as you say, next summer they'll be eclipsed by the next big thing.  This summer, a t-shirt with Jack Sparrow is all the rage, but next summer, and 20 summers from now, people will still be wearing t-shirts with the Superman "S", movie or no.

I guess what I'm getting at is that as we as individuals or a society get older, it takes more and more to impress us.  The boy band of the moment may sell out venues for a year or two, "Pirates" may break all box office records and so on, but in ten year's time, who'll remember any of them?  The ones that endure are those that come first.  Eleven men other than Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  How many can you name?

The downside, of course, is that eventually the legend outgrows the man.  Or the character.  As Mickey Mouse proves, it's possible to endure as a symbol long after your relevance.  He may sell t-shirts, ball caps and wrist watches, but I'd be very surprised if he'd sell movie tickets.
Logged

This looks like a job for...
JulianPerez
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1168



« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 05:29:19 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
But was the question whether Batman sells more comics and merchandise than Superman?  I thought the question was, would he ever be more universally recognized, and more identified as THE DC character in the way that Spidey is THE Marvel character?

As for the latter -- which indeed was the question -- I rather think not.  By now Superman is simply too iconic to be dethroned, and it has little to do with popularity or even the quality of his comics.  That costume, those poses, even just the "S" by itself are symbols of DC, of America, of all sorts of things to all sorts of people.  After all, Toy Story and the Incredibles are cooler and better-selling than Mickey Mouse cartoons, but it's Mickey who represents Disney.  The X-Men have been, I'd argue, bigger than Spider-Man in comics fandom for over 20 years, but it's still Spidey who represents Marvel.


Boy, am I glad such a fate has not befallen Superman yet! Nothing is more pathetic than the life of a corporate mascot. I think it was Dick Giordano that said that everybody's heard of Paul Bunyan, but nobody cares about him.  Like Aldous pointed out, Mickey at one point was a character with a personality with whom stories were told with, and gets by on goodwill in pop culture, as opposed to anything interesting being done with him.

Buster Brown - from the shoes - was at one point a comic strip character himself, until he was associated with merchandising.

Quote from: "nightwing"
Having said all that, I do agree Batman is bigger now than Superman, and I think it's got a lot to do with the state of the world, and the strength of the characters.  In the 50s and early 60s, eras of ecomomic prosperity, national pride and a faith in authority, Superman soared while Batman came off as a superflous second banana.  In the modern era of terrorism, rampant crime and disillusionment in authority, Batman offers vicarious empowerment while Superman is a relic at best and a sell-out at worst.  And just as Batman suffered from attempts to twist him into an alien-fighting "Superman Lite" in the 50s, Superman now suffers from attempts to make him a conflicted, kick-butt "Batman Lite."  Characters tend to do well only during eras when they're allowed to be what they were designed to be.


Out of curiosity, how would you reconcile with this pattern, the fact that for a while in the fifties and sixties, Green Lantern was the top-selling DC hero?
Logged

"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
nightwing
Defender of Kandor
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1627


Semper Vigilans


WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2006, 06:10:27 PM »

Julian Perez asks:

Quote
Out of curiosity, how would you reconcile with this pattern, the fact that for a while in the fifties and sixties, Green Lantern was the top-selling DC hero?


Wow, really?  GL outsold Superman?  I never heard that before.

Anyway, it still fits with my hypothesis.  The 50s and 60s were all about guys with "The Right Stuff," test pilots, astronauts and all that.  Hal was created to fit those times and he did it wonderfully.  Throw in alien monsters and space themes and you've got a recipe for Silver Age success.

On the other hand, when you take Hal out of the pilot's seat and make him a toy salesman, truck driver or O'Neil's aimlessly wandering poster boy for white man's guilt, you end up with a guy who gets his book cancelled out from under him, more than once.  And deservedly so.

I suppose in the era of Watergate, Vietnam and whatnot, it's hard to pitch a hero whose day job is to test jets that we all know are designed to sell to the Pentagon and who's superhero schtick involves being a member of an intergalactic police force.  A cop AND a cog in the defense industry.  No wonder DC got nervous and made him into an aimless bum.
Logged

This looks like a job for...
TELLE
Supermanica Council
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1705



WWW
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2006, 12:13:05 AM »

Quote from: "nightwing"


I think it was unprecendented for a character to become so huge and ubiquitous in so short a time.  In the 40s you couldn't turn around without tripping over something Superman-related.  Today we're used to that, we see it every summer with every new blockbuster movie.


I know we're talking about superheroes here, but it seems to me that there was a precedent for the character-driven multi-media marketing bonanza of Superman in both film, popular music, and comics before 1938.  The machinery was there to promote him because the trail had been blazed beforehand. Charlie Chaplin is a good example of a brand that was in film, cartoons, comic strips and billions of products.  Before that, the early comic strips, beginning with Palmer Cox and the Brownies in the late-1800s, were marketing bonanzas --many of the characters are still with us but most are forgotten.  In the superhero/adventure hero genre pre-Superman we have phenomenon like Tarzan and Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers.

I feel that the Beatles legacy will fade more than Superman's as the remaining ones die and the Boomers follow.  Superman is forever young and renewable and it will take longer.  Batman and Superman are like Donald and Mickey --one may be more popular, but the other will remain the masthead figure.
Logged

Everything you ever wanted to
know about the classic Superman:
Supermanica
The Encyclopedia of Supermanic Biography!
(temporarily offline)
Permanus
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 875



« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2006, 08:40:18 AM »

Oddly enough, one of Nightwing's preceding posts quotes me as saying things about the Incredibles and Toy Story that were actually brought up by Aldous, but nevertheless he makes his point very well - in fact, he makes the point I was trying to make. Batman may be outselling Superman today, so may Spider-Man, but in the long run, people remember Superman. To quote from The Big Lebowski: "The dude abides."

Today marks the day of the publication of the official sequel to Peter Pan, basically a bid by Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, who own the copyright, to extend their property. It's big news today, sure, but will anybody be reading it in ten years' time? I doubt it. Wasn't there a sequel to Gone With the Wind? Whatever happened to that? Like Coca-Cola, people remember the original, even if they are sometimes tempted by ripoff brands.
Logged

Between the revolution and the firing-squad, there is always time for a glass of champagne.
Gangbuster
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 589



« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2006, 03:49:21 PM »

For some reason, the years 1938-1939 are forever ingrained into the American collective consciousness. Several things from these years of the Great Depresseion endure in pop culture, with a vengeance:

1938:

1. It was, of course, all about Superman. Superman is a summation of what Americans like to think our values are, even moreso than Captain America or others. By 1939 he was selling millions of copies and appearing in metro newspapers.

2. War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles.

3. The March of Dimes was established by FDR.

4. Bugs Bunny debuts (as "Happy Rabbit")

1939:

1. The Wizard of Oz, the most widely seen film, probably in the world, AND Gone With the Wind, the most moneymaking movie in history.

2. Hewlett-Packard was founded.

3. New York World's Fair

4. Batman!

I don't think that either Superman or Batman are going anywhere for a while.
Logged

"Trying to capture my wife, eh? That makes me SUPER-MAD!"

-"Superman", 1960

Aldous
Superman Squad
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 843


Downunder


« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2006, 06:04:14 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"


Boy, am I glad such a fate has not befallen Superman yet! Nothing is more pathetic than the life of a corporate mascot. I think it was Dick Giordano that said that everybody's heard of Paul Bunyan, but nobody cares about him.  Like Aldous pointed out, Mickey at one point was a character with a personality with whom stories were told with, and gets by on goodwill in pop culture, as opposed to anything interesting being done with him.


But Superman represents all super-heroes, and probably all comic characters, since he is the No. 1 most recognisable of them all. I don't know if this makes him a "mascot", but for DC he is definitely the icon (is that the right word?) and symbol, and I say with confidence that he is the main man of the comics in the eyes of the general (ie. non-comic fandom) public.

Superman has had to carry an awful lot of weight through the decades, and sometimes people forget how much he represents to the average person in the street. I still maintain that Clark Kent is more well-known than 99 percent of super-heroes.

And please don't think nothing interesting was ever done with Mickey, because I have a lot of comics that would contradict you. I can hand out Mickey Mouse comics from the old days to grown-ups who should know better, and before you know it the room is silent because everyone is reading.

Mickey, like Superman, is an original, and he carries his share of the Disney weight. I don't believe this makes him pathetic even though his role with the company can become questionable at times.  Smiley
Logged
TELLE
Supermanica Council
Council of Wisdom
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1705



WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2006, 07:21:57 AM »

Superman is the corporate mascot of DC but he is also a beloved character and adventure hero with a thriving fictional life.

Ditto Mickey (those Gottfredson comic strips still read well as do the Italian comic books), Bugs, Archie, Alfred E. Neuman, etc.

That is why it is Superman vs Ali, not Batman.  Superman meets masters of the universe, the TRS-80 kids, etc.

Maybe Batman was on the verge of taking over during the tv craze of the 60s but stodgy old family values Superman "abides."
 
Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Buster Brown - from the shoes - was at one point a comic strip character himself, until he was associated with merchandising.


Julian, are you saying Buster Brown was a victim of his own success? Or that his strip ended when he started advertising shoes?
Logged

Everything you ever wanted to
know about the classic Superman:
Supermanica
The Encyclopedia of Supermanic Biography!
(temporarily offline)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

CURRENT FORUM

Archives: OLD FORUM  -  DCMB  -  KAL-L
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Dilber MC Theme by HarzeM
Entrance ·  Origin ·  K-Metal ·  The Living Legend ·  About the Comics ·  Novels ·  Encyclopaedia ·  The Screen ·  Costumes ·  Read Comics Online ·  Trophy Room ·  Creators ·  ES!M ·  Fans ·  Multimedia ·  Community ·  Supply Depot ·  Gift Shop ·  Guest Book ·  Contact & Credits ·  Links ·  Coming Attractions ·  Free E-mail ·  Forum

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
The LIVING LEGENDS of SUPERMAN! Adventures of Superman Volume 1!
Return to SUPERMAN THROUGH THE AGES!
The Complete Supply Depot for all your Superman needs!