12th Oct2015

The Impossible Question – What is Marvel’s greatest comic?

by Guest

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It’s a question that many of us spent hours debating in school playgrounds growing up. Even now I’m older it’s still a question I argue with my friends over. So how do you begin to decide what Marvel’s greatest comic is?

With over 70 years worth of work to consider, it’s hard to know where to even begin to answer the question…

Now some of Marvel’s most loved comics have been turned into movies it’s maybe easier to spot which franchises are the most popular. Since the two Avengers films grossed nearly 3 billion dollars at the box office worldwide, it’s fair to say it’s Marvel’s most profitable title at this time.

Of course Spiderman was the first Marvel comic book hero to really make it big in Hollywood. When Peter Parker’s alter ego first swung into cinemas in 2002 it attracted millions of fans who hadn’t even read a comic book before. The film grossed over 400 million dollars worldwide and began a relationship with Marvel and Hollywood that is only growing in momentum. It seems the story of a boy gaining superhuman powers after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider is one many of us like to enjoy again and again. Few franchises can get away with releasing two different versions of a story within a decade of each other. Some might even argue a third version due for release in 2017 with Tom Holland taking on the role might be a remake too far.

But of course just because something makes a lot of money doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest. They say never to judge a book by its cover, and the same can be said for judging a comic by its movie. In fact some of the films differ massively from the comics.

Whilst his suit might look the same, Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark in Iron Man feels very different to the man I imagined. But that’s nothing compared to how they changed the character of Jarvis the butler into Tony’s on-board computer. Or even how a once hostile Stane in the comics seems more of a close friend to Stark in the movies. Of course his relationship with Pepper is also enhanced, but that’s to be expected as we know Hollywood loves a romance.

But whilst many might argue that the cinema doesn’t do the comic books justice, I think the films give us another way to enjoy Marvel. Never has it been easier to find a costume to dress up as your favourite hero. The same goes for mugs, t-shirts, action figures and almost every imaginable piece of merchandise you’d want. And with movies often comes the chance to play as your favourite superhero in a number of games as well. As well as all of the major console versions there are a lot of great ones to play online. One of my personal favourites called Marvel Tribute combines two of my loves, Marvel and Street Fighter, into one awesome game. There are some great first player games on Wild Tangent Games if you really want to experience what it’d be like to have the superhuman powers of Thor and Captain America.

So have the movies brought us any closer to deciding what the best Marvel comic book is? Possibly not, but it has brought a new way for us to enjoy comics as long as directors don’t mess with the plot too much. Like Uncle Ben once said: “With great power comes great responsibility”.

I think it’s a debate that will last a lifetime, just like the stories of heroes and villains contained within the pages of the much loved comics.

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