It seems that every second new movie that hits the big screen these days is starring a super hero. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and all their weird buddies from the old comic books are attracting audiences and making big dollars for the studios.
A major part of the attraction for movie goers is the new special effects and technology that allow these characters to transform before our eyes, travel to and from different galaxies, or accomplish amazing feats of strength.
Our old two-dimensional heroes from the comic books were limited by the skill of the artist and even though there were many great comic book artists, we had to provide much of the imagination ourselves.
Now, on screen, we can hear the bones crunching and see cars exploding, a far cry from the artist writing ‘POW”, “BOOM”, or “ZAP” beside the pictures and yet to a kid, it seemed just as effective.
Thanks to movies, we now know what Superman’s home planet Krypton looks likes rather than having to conjure up an image ourselves.
Watching the characters transform from normal humans to their characters is very dramatic on screen and much more exciting than watching Clark Kent duck into the janitor closet, take off his glasses and blue suit and fly out the window as Superman.
I often wondered why there was never an inquiry in Metropolis when people kept finding blue suits, black shoes, glasses and fedoras scattered all over town in phone booths, closets or back alleys.
I don’t think Superman ever took them with him and how was he able to keep replacing his clothes on a reporter’s salary?
Today, knowing Clark would be caught on cellphone cameras every time he tried to change in public, the writers had to come up with a much more sophisticated Hollywood method of transformation.
Really, Clark’s only disguise was a pair of dark rimmed glasses and yet none of those investigative reporters he worked with ever made the connection. The mayor and police chief of Gotham, two important and intelligent men, never once guessed that Bruce Wayne and his ward were Batman and Robin.
But we knew, and the fact that we were in on the secrets made it very exciting for the reader or the kid just home from school watching on a black and white TV.
We were smarter than the bad guys and the police and when we turned the last page or came to the end of the 30-minute show, we were always on the winning side.
We had defeated evil and lived to fight crime and injustice another day, and after a long day of reading, writing, arithmetic and chores, the comic books and TV shows were a great escape.
The new super hero movies in the big fancy theatres may be extravaganzas of light and sound, but they don’t hold a candle to our old Superman Marvel comic books in quiet bedroom on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
At least that’s what McGregor says.