Chris Gavaler a specialist on superhero fictions attempted to trace back the origins of superheros. He acknowledged that comics studies is an expanding field, admitting that he himself was sort of pushed into it by the curiosity of senior students aiming to do a thesis on the subject. He describes that he used superman as a reference point or a lens if you like to magnify and evaluate what came before and observe what came after. He suggests that it is tough to give an exact origin of superheros due to the several building blocks tied to this particular narrative.
What thrilled me was the discussion of the role of Hollywood in spreading superhero ideas. Companies like Marvel have dedicated their entire portfolio into movies that re-tell these superhero tales. Blockbuster action movies are tremendously profitable. The big advantage that film producers are capitalizing on by producing such films is that, there is already an existing demand (the stories are already quite popular) and people would pay to watch each edition that comes out. Marvel is creating franchises out of these scripts and making serious profits as a result.
Companies are spending millions to acquire rights to these superhero original scripts. Disney and Marvel have the capital needed to fund these films, ability to source and pay for star actors and existing partnership with movie distributors and streaming services. It is believed that these firms courageously spend nearly $300 million on a budget to create Spider man, Justice League, X-Men, Batman vs Superman and Avengers films. It is interesting to draw the parallels on how initial fiction tales can transform to money making machines. Markets for such superhero blockbusters outside the US are essentially what hold the industry together. Superhero movies in Brazil, China, U.K, Mexico, and South Korea open their first weeks with an average of $15 Million. The recent Justice League film for example, opened in theaters in Brazil generating about 14.2 Million in its first weekend. The probability of success for producing Superhero movies is higher than producing drama, comedy or romantic-comedy movies. Gavaler might be tracing a history, an origin but his research has contemporary context connotations. The superhero narrative is here to stay, it will be very interesting to see the re-making of these stories as films to fit the modern society expectations. Superhero comic books seem to be faced out with the rise of technological advancements such as Imax movie theaters. The demand on superhero literature also seems to have flatten but this is a topic that will never be eroded as there is no boundaries to the creativity that can be employed to push forward these superhero tales.