From Page To Screen: The Struggles Of Comic Book Movies

From Page To Screen: The Struggles Of Comic Book Movies

Superheroes may be ruling the box office, but adapting comics to film is a messy process.
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It's no secret that comic book adaptations have been dominating the box office lately, in the United States and internationally.

The film industry has always looked to other art forms for source material, whether it be novels or stage plays. Comic book movies were once a major risk, considering the large budgets typically involved and the perception of comics as "kid's stuff."

Thanks to major technological advances, movies have only recently been able to capture the spectacle and imagination of superhero comics. Comic books proved to be reliable source material for blockbusters throughout the 2000s, culminating in the massive successes of The Dark Knight and Iron Man in 2008.

The link between comics and film may have only recently become obvious, but the two medias have shared a great deal since the early 20th century. Where most forms of storytelling are driven by written or spoken word, comics and film (and, more recently, video games) are unique in their visual focus. The two media are at their best when dialogue and narration are used to support the narrative, not to tell it. The mantra "show, don't tell" may have originated in literature, but it became one of the foundational principles of screenwriting.

Due to their common elements, movies and comics have influenced one another quite deeply. However, the two media are still extremely different, and stories often make major adjustments in the adaptation process. While readers have long complained that "the book was better," it's even more uncommon for comic book adaptations to stick to the source.

No comics creator has seen their work adapted as faithfully as Frank Miller, the writer and artist behind 300 and Sin City. The adaptations of both stories are visually and narratively close to the source, borrowing dialogue verbatim and recreating his artwork with obsessive precision. This is in large part due to his uncommon level of involvement in the adaptations, having served as co-director of Sin City and executive producer of 300. Both adaptations were also helmed by directors (Robert Rodriguez and Zack Snyder) who are known for extremely stylized films.

These stories were also particularly well-suited for film adaptations. 300 was a simple standalone story that fit within the constraints of a two hour film, free of the complex continuity that characterizes mainstream superhero comics. Sin City was inspired by film noir, featuring the visual style and stock characters commonly used by the genre. Few comics lend themselves so well to film adaptations.

Superhero comics mainly unfold as self-contained issues or long story arcs, often featuring several issues and countless tie-ins. Single issues are far too short to provide the basis for a feature film, whereas full story arcs are usually too long and complex. As a serialized medium, superhero comics may draw upon decades of previous stories, and assume the reader has some level of familiarity with them. As a result, most comic adaptations mix and match a few minor elements from existing story arcs, but follow a mostly original storyline.

Marvel can publish hundreds of comics in a single year, but only produce two or three films in the same time frame. Attempting to capture the vastness and complexity of superhero universes can result in movies feeling overstuffed and convoluted. Last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron struggled to balance its massive cast of characters, and even this year's Captain America: Civil War was generally agreed to be another Avengers movie, with far too many characters to really be considered a Captain America story.

Obviously, Hollywood's focus on superhero adaptations is playing out quite successfully. However, it's worth noting that superhero comics do not naturally lend themselves to film adaptations, while comics from many other genres do. This isn't to say that superhero adaptations are a lost cause, but that comics have a lot more to offer than superheroes.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros.

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Social Media Can Bridge The Gap Of Communication Between The Two Genders

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post to spark a revolution.

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You spend time at least once a week going through your social feed. You even spend time once a day going through your social feed.

There is a power in the words you speak and post online, and these very words can impact others' lives, negatively or positively. As an example, according to the Huffington Post, women are met with being "…ignored, trivialized, or criticized by men…" online mainly because the rift between the two genders prevents proper communication.

Gender equality can be achieved by online engagement, or posting. In some cases, though, the opposite can be true. I personally love Instagram and will occasionally find myself scrolling through posts recommended by the platform itself simply so I can waste time and complain about that later. A few weeks ago, I happened to be relapsing into my Instagram addiction and found myself particularly drawn to a certain post by Rowan Blanchard, which had a caption reading that "Cis men are violent and dangerous and until numbers prove [her] wrong [she] won't be able to not make statements that can't be read as vague."

Now, MSNBC identifies activism today as "…easier than ever…" thanks to social media, with "…[facilitated] public dialogues and… a platform for awareness…," but the caption of Blanchard's post shown is not activism at its finest. In a brief synopsis, activist Rowan Blanchard, who you may know from the show "Girl Meets World," addresses her distaste for men, going so far as to generalizing them as dangerous. In my opinion, this is one step backward in the fight for equality rather than a step forward.

Men and women alike have our differences that we consistently brush over in angry online comments but never truly sit down and discuss. The presence of a civil conversation between members of opposing sides of the gender argument is astonishing, and I myself have never seen one online. These conversations act like haunting illusions of a future we can only dream of, as if such a situation is purely unattainable otherwise.

We fawn over the thought, calling ourselves servants at the hands of a society where men and women can join each other and claim that there is no reason to feel unequal. The idea is breathtaking, and the friendships between men and women would be endless. Unfortunately, modern-day social media displays misogyny, misandry, animosity and all forms of verbal destruction against both genders that I feel sorry to merely acknowledge.

Before I took a break from being active on social media, I used Instagram to showcase my thoughts on these issues. I found it compelling to have an audience of my close friends and acquaintances listening as I explained and rationalized about online sexism repeatedly.

Occasionally, the topic sparked up friendly conversation about disagreements, and being honest, I felt threatened by how unthreatening the discussion was. It was as if I was asking for a reason to feel angry, to feel offended, but I instead was met with the harsh reality that social media can allow engagement in normal conversation.

The culture that revolves around online discussion is brash and led by emotion rather than by statistics, and while Blanchard may claim that she wants precise statistics before she alters her position against men, many online still fail to recognize the validity of such numbers. Her use of a hasty generalization clearly shows the lack of structure within her argument; I may be solely pointing her out, but her rationale stands as an example of the obstacles we face in the path to gender equality.

MSNBC used Twitter demographics to explain the impact of current events revolving around gender debates on the amount of discussion about sexism, and the results show that social media holds power. It holds hope and determination and serves as a pathway to a society where we may be able to hold hands and know we have no fear of being inferior to one another. Our generation is accustomed to seeing this magnitude of a response online, but when imagining every person who tweeted about this, there is potential change that we can visualize.

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post online to go viral. Within minutes, we can reach out to hundreds or thousands of people, updating them about our lives. With the ability to contact an enormous number of people, the only question you are left to ask yourself is, "How will you bring about a positive change to social equality?"

Your response to this question is being awaited every moment of your life.

Disclaimer: Please note that this has been a speech previously submitted as an assignment in a class.

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