If it feels like a lifetime ago since Spider-Man was first introduced to the comic book world, then that’s probably because it is. Spidey made his debut all the way back in 1962, first featuring in the Amazing Fantasy #15, culminating in the release of the ever popular The Amazing SpiderMan comic book series. Since then, Spider-Man’s long-lasting legacy has seen the superhero covered in almost every form of media including but not limited to TV shows, movies and video games.
As a result of this, the demo release of Insomniac’s Spider-Man PlayStation 4 exclusive at E3 last week simply felt like another routine notch in the belt of the juggernaut that is Marvel. However, if you delve deeper into the superhero genre, it becomes quite apparent that Marvel are slowly but surely monopolizing the industry with a reach that is currently far greater than any of their nearest rivals.
Marvel Still Reigns Supreme On The Big Screen
While companies such as Marvel and DC currently have their fingers in a number of comic book flavored pies, the most hype and buzz currently surrounds the superhero movie genre and, coincidentally, this is also the arena where Marcel is doing the most damage. A list of the highest grossing superhero movies of all time compiled by Box Office Mojo demonstrates that 15 of the top 20 are Marvel characters, with DC’s The Dark Knight the only movie to broach the top 5 domination of Marvel, with a lifetime gross of just over $530,000,000.
It’s also important to note that sitting atop of the pile at number one and two respectively are Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War which are, coincidentally, Marvel’s two latest efforts. Of course, a movie’s performance at the box office isn’t always indicative of its quality – however, the two movies received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, refuting the suggestion that the latest batch of superhero efforts are doing well simply due to the brand attachment of fans.
Superheros Are The Current Kings of Popular Culture
As if Marvel’s big screen domination wasn’t enough, the brand also made a move to leave their mark on the television front. In 2015, Marvel signed a deal with everyone’s favorite media services provider Netflix to produce arguably two of its best productions to date, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. What’s more, these shows were able to portray their characters in a more realistic light after all PG-13 concerns were tossed out of the window – as a result, these shows were able to cater to a more adult audience which further cast the net and reeled in a whole new generation of fans who were keen to own everything Marvel. What’s better than watching your favorite superheros wreak havoc on screen? That’s right. Controlling them.
From Lego Marvel Superheros released for next-generation consoles back in 2013 to X-Men: The Arcade Game, the video game industry has benefited massively from the recent rise in everything superhero – the latter has even been ported to both the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, as well as appearing on mobiles for iOS and Android via the Google Play Store. In addition to this, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk also made their debut in the online slot world back in 2009 and 2010 respectively and, as explained by a recent pop culture article, an Iron man 2 slot game was later released as a direct brand tie in with the release of the hit film starring Robert Downey Jr. For those who prefer to be a little more overstated in their love towards their favorite superheros, Marvel have joined forces with online marketplace eBay in order to provide fans with official merchandise relating to virtually every comic book character you can possibly think of.
The sheer volume of Marvel characters compared to any other franchise means that monopolizing this industry is fairly straightforward and there are even mugs and themed watches for fans who don’t fancy having The Incredible Hulk’s face plastered all over their chest (which would be understandable to be fair). In addition, collectors and enthusiasts often turn to a comic book price guide to determine the value of their comics, especially Marvel’s vintage releases, ensuring an ever-growing interest in comic books and characters introduced over the years.
Where Next For Marvel?
Those who are high up the Marvel chain have shown time and time again that the phrase “resting on your laurels” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. As a result, Marvel will undoubtedly be looking for new ways to expand the franchise and stamp the brand’s authority across as many different mediums as possible. As has been previously mentioned, Insomniac’s Spider-Man game is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
Once again, this demonstrates the pulling power of Marvel and, with a number of upcoming movies such as Venom (starring the affable Tom Hardy no less) and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse hotly tipped to smash box office records, there’s no sign of the Marvel juggernaut slowing down anytime soon.