Superheroes are everywhere these days – I don’t need to bring up Box Office Mojo to show you that the most popular movies of the last five years usually feature characters who’ve leapt from the pages of a comic book! Hell, even “Batman V Superman”, a movie which was universally panned by critics, still managed to make close to a billion dollars solely by virtue of having two of the most popular comic book characters in there! That’s insane, and it doesn’t extend to movies – we’ve got numerous TV shows (the CW alone has five shows based on comic books, and that’s just one channel), animated series, videogames, and of course, more weekly comic books than you could ever hope to read while maintaining a healthy adult life. You might be wondering why we suddenly have such an influx of superhero media, and the short answer is, of course, money, but the long answer is that we’ve had it since superheroes have existed, but it has flown under the radar of most people. That’s why I’m here – to shed light on some of the more obscure superhero media you might not know about!
We all know about the Captain America movies starring Chris Evans – hell, we’re still hyped about “Civil War”, after all! But did you know that there were numerous movies featuring the character even before then? There were two movies in 1979 starring none other than Reb Brown as Captain America, and another in 1990, which features the infamous scene of Captain America faking motion sickness in order to steal a car. Good times! You might also think that there are three terrible Fantastic Four movies, but in fact there are actually FOUR terrible Fantastic Four movies – in 1994, Fox hired infamous low-budget movie producer Roger Corman to make a movie based on the superhero team for the sole reason of keeping the rights and not letting them revert back to Marvel. Part of me believes that that’s the story behind the 2015 “Fant4stic” as well.
Oh, boy… There’s SO much to talk about here that I don’t even know where to start! For example, did you know that there were Superman and Batman live action serials produced in the 1940s, not too long after the characters were introduced? There were also numerous Spider-Man TV series, such as “Spidey Super Stories” from 1974 and “The Amazing Spider-Man” from 1978, but the one that I REALLY want to talk about isn’t even American – it’s the Japanese Spider-Man show (also known as Supaidaman among fans) which actually has so little to do with Spider-Man that it single-handedly invented the Super Sentai genre of TV shows about costumed crime fighters in costumes fighting monsters and summoning giant robots. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the immensely popular show “Power Rangers” falls squarely into the category of Super Sentai. You heard right, folks – without Spider-Man, there wouldn’t be Power Rangers!
Believe it or not, comic books have actually influenced gambling quite a bit! Various companies have licensed your most beloved superheroes and their movies and have created dozens of casino games based on them. For example, here’s a list of the popular Marvel slots from Playtech, which includes games based on Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, The Avengers and more. Sadly, the deal expired before Playtech could get to the REALLY interesting properties like Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man, but oh well! Many of the slots are playable for free – in fact, you can play the Captain America slot online right now, without registering to any online casinos or what have you. Have fun!