Dennis O’Neil: The Avengers Internationale
I blame our tyrant-in-chief, that miserable cur of a backstabbing foreigner who lives in the White House. Yes, who else? Barack Hussein Obama. Stands to reason – it has to be his fault. There is no other reasonable explanation – hell, no possible explanation.
Last weekend, the Avengers movie opened in 39 overseas markets, made a whopping $178.4 million. What opened here? The Five Year Engagement. Oh sure, all us guys want to see that! We won’t get our Avengers fix until tomorrow. I have to wait almost a week before, movie money clutched in my sweaty grip, I ask the nice lady or gentleman at the monsterplex for a ticket, creep into the semi-dark theater, sink into a seat and prepare for moviegoing bliss. (My cell phone will be turned off. I don’t even have a laptop or a tablet. I’m a good audience member!)
What I’ll be seeing, in the following two-hour ecstasy fest, is the latest manifestation of the genius of Stan Lee. Years ago, before you were born, Mr. Lee revolutionized comic book publishing by… well, maybe by several things, but one of them was doing something there wasn’t even a name for back then (at least none that I ever heard): branding. Using what I think was a combination of intuition, native smarts, and years of sitting behind an editorial desk, Stan didn’t give us just comic books, he gave us Marvel Comics. So you didn’t go to he newsstand (this was before comic book shops existed) and buy an issue, say, The Amazing Spider-Man, you bought a Marvel comic that was about your friendly neighborhood web-slinger. And you were encouraged to get – to collect! – other Marvels, like Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk. These heroes seemed know each other and sometimes one of them would appear in another’s comic and so Stan wasn’t presenting mere stories, he was presenting stories that were park of a (more-or-less) coherent universe that you could (kind of) get to now and it was a lot more fun than the universe outside your window and you couldn’t wait until you could get the next issue
Stan’s pals at the movie studios are following his example and putting on our screens, not superhero movies, but Marvel superhero movies. They’ve been building the brand by such ploys as adding teasers to the end credits, brief scenes that referred to forthcoming films, thereby helping to create the theater version of the Marvel universe and, incidentally, creating anticipation for the next set of astonishments, much as the young Stan Lee did with coming issue blurbs and text pages.
Does the still-spry Stan approve? Hey, true believer, he does make those cameo appearances in the movies, doesn’t he?
At this point, if you have a wandering, non-linear mind, you might be wondering why Comrade Obama played us dirty and allowed the Avengers flick to debut in far places. Isn’t it obvious? We all know that Barack Hussein Obama wasn’t born in the land of the free. (Surely you heard that.) He isn’t a real American. So of course he favors the foreigners.
Stands to reason, doesn’t it?
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