Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Superhero Event in Williamsburg, Virginia

On Thursday, July 21, 2005, I'll be at the Williamsburg Public Library (515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, Virginia, 23185) at 7:00 pm to present an hour-long talk on the history of superheroes in films and television, the subject of my book, The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television. Before and after the show, I'll be selling copies of that book, as well as others, so if you're in Virginia, stop by to see the show.

Here's a taste of what I'll be discussing (from page 26 of my book):
"Looking at the history of superheroes in broad strokes, it is interesting to note the overall shape of their evolution. Superheroes went from being iconic, ideal-bearing national heroes (the 1940s and 1950s) to clowns (the 1960s). Then they became reflections of a simpler age (1970s), at least until morphing into dark, angst-ridden, revenge hungry vigilantes (the 1980s). Next, they transformed into demon-baiting women (1990s) before becoming ultra-realistic, almost inconspicuous "regular joes" (with the advent of Unbreakable, Smallville, Spider-Man) and other 21st century productions)."

Basically, I'll be discussing how each age of the twentieth century (and now the 21st) gets the superheroes it deserves, the ones reflecting the prevailing Zeitgeist. Examples include the 1960s Adam West Batman, Tim Burton's variation on the material in 1989, the 1970s Richard Donner Superman, TV's The Incredible Hulk, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more.

3 comments:

  1. Okay, here's my didactic statement for the day:

    The narrative sophistication of superheroes in movies lags about 20 years behind the narrative sophistication of superheroes in their respective comic books.

    Discuss.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting. But doesn't film narrative always trail the written word in terms of sophistication? I remember how so many critics complained about Star Wars in 1977 that it was 40 years behind the work of contemporary science fiction writers. Is the same true of comics? Lately, we've seen a number of fine films, including Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2. Are they less sophisticated than their comic counterparts? Or is it hard to tell, given that the media are different. (Comics have the luxury of a continuing story over multiple issues, whereas movies get 90 minutes, 2 hours tops.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2 are fantastic ... and reflect a level of sophistication you could have easily gotten in a comic back in 1985.

    But you make a good point about movies always lagging behind the printed word.

    And I don't actually know what they're doing with those comics these days since I stopped reading them in the 1990's.

    Yeah, I probably just pulled that whole thing out of my ass, didn't I?

    Fun, though.

    ReplyDelete