Ye Olde Heroes

Next year, Captain America celebrates his 75th birthday. No doubt the comics will celebrate this in fine style, and it's just been announced that ABC, the television wing of Disney, will be showing a 1 hour 75th Anniversary Special.

Later in the year there is, of course, a third Captain America movie - CIVIL WAR - to be devoured by the fans. And all of this is great. I'm a fan of comics, movies and Cap, so I'm on board for all of it. What is interesting though is how OLD all of this comic book stuff is.

DC's Holy Trinity

There's a lot of excitement for DC's upcoming Batman versus Superman movie and the first "on screen" appearance of the Big 3  - Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman - together in one movie.

Warner acquired Time Inc. in 1989 and with it, DC comics. About ten minutes later, a Batman movie was announced. That it's taken more than 25 years to get the Big 3 together is baffling to me.

Supes, Bats and WW are three of the oldest comic book characters in existence. Wonder Woman is the baby of the group and she turns 75 with Captain America next year. Why the long wait to get them together? Sure, we've enjoyed a feast of Batman movies, and sprinkling of Superman, but this will be the first movie appearance for the Amazonian Princess. At least in that respect Wonder Woman will seem like a new, fresh character to most.

Going back to the Well

It's really not that unusual to see older fictional characters being used and re-used over and over. The good ones are hard to beat.

The Doctor (1963) has been enjoying a renaissance over the last decade. Peter Capaldi is the fourth incarnation of the hugely popular character from the rebooted TV show Dr Who.

James Bond (1953) just had his 24th official movie release - Spectre - in 2015. Daniel Craig is the current Bond and the sixth official actor to play the role.

Tarzan (1912) is returning to the movies in The Legend of Tarzan next year. He's been a book, a radio show, a play, and several movies, including a popular animated movie. People can't get enough of the Lord of the Apes. I think his abs have a lot to do with it.

And the grand-daddy of them all right now is Sherlock Holmes (1887). We've had a couple of Robert Downey Jr. movies, a hugely popular BBC television show with Benedict Cumberbatch, and a less popular American television show called Elementary, all featuring the greatest detective of all-time.

So, the fact that superheroes are popular despite how old they are isn't surprising really on the face of it.

Mixing the Old with the New

The trick, then, is to keep the characters fresh and interesting. Marvel might be wheeling out their old-timer Steve Rogers for another movie, but alongside him is one of Marvel's "newer" characters: The Winter Soldier. Sure, Bucky Barnes was created back in 1941, but the character died and remained dead for many years. The Winter Soldier surfaced in 2005, so this incarnation of Bucky Barnes is only a decade old.

Over on Netflix, Marvel recently unleashed Jessica Jones. Jessica was created in 2001 for a fantastic comic series called Alias. Hopefully, Jessica Jones will become popular because she's one of my favorites and I loved the Netflix series.

To balance her new blood, Jessica Jones' love interest is Luke Cage (1972), her nemesis in the show is Killgrave (The Purple Man) (1964), and her best friend is Patsy Walker (1944) who is actually the second oldest character, in any Marvel movie or television production, after Captain America. Of course, Luke, Killgrave and Patsy have all been re-imagined to fit into Jessica Jones' world.

I am Groot

And the prize for the weirdest character to be brought to the screen has to go to Groot, the sentient tree from Guardians of the Galaxy, proving once and for all that Marvel could make a movie about anything and fans would flock to see it. However, Groot has been grooting around for a long time. After Captain America and Patsy Walker, Groot is the third oldest character to appear in a Marvel production.

Predating Hulk, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four and even the Invincible Iron Man, Groot surfaced briefly in 1960 and made few appearances before resurfacing in 2006, in time to become a movie star.

Note to self: It pays to be patient. :)

The Future

With any luck, the super-hero bubble won't burst until we've had the chance to see some more oldies up on the big (or small) screen. In the meantime, there's a few more coming up soon:

Dr Strange (1963), The Wasp (1963), Black Panther (1966), and The Punisher (1974).

Evangeline Lilly will play The Wasp in Antman 2

Black Panther cameos in Civil War before appearing in his own movie

Who's your favorite fictional hero? Are there any old heroes you'd love to see get some movie love?

I'm waiting for She-Hulk...

 ~ GSY



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