As we reached the halfway point of 2018, much of the attention from a Superhero focus is on one of our oldest favorites. New heroes hit the pages of comic books and the movie screens on a regular basis but some will always endure.
That’s why Batman is taking center stage at present as he prepares to tie the knot with Catwoman. It’s an interesting development, to say the least but for many, it’s a natural step.
Superheroes need to evolve naturally and that’s one of the reasons why mere mortals such as ourselves can continue to relate to them while watching and following their exploits at the movies. Continuing storylines also keep Batman, Superman and his more modern counterparts in the public eye, thereby ensuring their continuing success.
The story of Batman and Catwoman’s impending nuptials has been described as a journey and that neatly sums up the characters as a whole. They may have extraordinary qualities but they can also fall in love and have other, ordinary human qualities too. That evolution is one of the keys to enduring interest but there are other ways in which we can measure Superhero success.
We know that a superhero, whether it’s Batman or a more modern character such as The Flash, has really made it into our collective psyche when they move outside of their own sphere from the movie screen and into a wider popular culture. The same applies to Supervillains too and we’re talking now about classic movie evil such as Doctor Octopus through to newer threats including Venom and others. It started with cartoon mashups and in the modern digital age but it has come on leaps and bounds since then.
In the old grainy days of TV when color was just making its way onto our screens, Batman was played by Adam West in the initial television series and in the very first Batman film which came out in 1996. Meanwhile, over on the small screen, one of the most popular cartoons of the day was Scooby Doo.
The fact that both of those characters have made it to 2018 is enough of an endorsement in itself but back in those early days, Batman and Robin (remember him?) met Scooby in what seemed a perfect synergy between heroes. Fast forward over 40 years and the two are at it again as they get joint billing in the 2018 film Scooby Doo & Batman The Brave and The Bold.
Robin has been jettisoned again for this flick because not all heroes are lasting and successful: Presumably, he’s with Scrappy Doo looking for work.
Superheroes merge into other shows too and we’ve seen The Simpsons used as an occasional vehicle but somehow they seem to focus on Scooby, Shaggy, Velma and the gang. Over the years, Superman, Spiderman, and even Sherlock Holmes have featured in feature-length films alongside this accommodating canine and we should expect to see similar mashups in the future.
Just prior to the digital age, we started to see themed games appear in physical casinos and other locations in the physical world. The rock band Kiss had put their name to their very own pinball machine for many years while in pubs and bars, themed fruit machines began to reflect popular TV shows and historic board games such as Monopoly. Those characters, and many others, moved over to early games consoles and the manufacturers kept them in focus as the Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation developed.
When the internet took over, it became a golden era for the software developers who saw the potential to take the superheroes from the movies and let them feature on a wide range of casino slots and bingo games. Thor, Ironman, Captain America, Spiderman and, of course, Batman, are just some of the characters who have been immortalized in slot games and will continue to do so.
The makers of these films are continuously looking for new ways to develop the franchise, one particularly successful way of doing this is through having their superheroes appear on games, with the intention of growing the fan base and increasing brand loyalty. One industry, in particular, that has embraced this is the gambling sector, the huge range of online slot games based on these heroes excites fans around the world.
It’s just part of a wider legacy that helps us to measure just how successful any fictional Movie character has become. Naturally, we should also take notice of the box office and see just how much revenue a superhero can generate. With all respect to the cartoon versions, Scooby Doo and Batman’s 2018 release belongs in the Straight to DVD category while 1995’s Batman Forever made a bigger mark, taking over $300 million at the box office.
Those figures are obvious benchmarks but it’s equally valid to measure success by seeing how well a Superhero can adapt and make it outside of their natural habitat.
Will they or won’t they…
There is a theory that the reported wedding between Batman and Catwoman is nothing other than a hoax and if that is the case, it would be a shame for many reasons. Superheroes grab our attention because they possess powers that we can only dream of having while they also need to retain those human qualities that allow us to relate to them better.
And, of course, who doesn’t like a happy ending? That mix of human and superhuman qualities is why Batman, Superman, and Spiderman have endured and perhaps we should only measure Superhero success in terms of longevity and the many decades that these, and others like them, have entertained us.
When the characters extend into other areas of popular culture, Superman and the rest are the first to feature at the casinos and online bingo halls. The new breed of heroes and villains has much to live up to but some are making their mark at an early stage of their evolution. Evolve and you will succeed is the message and there are plenty of role models for the new boys and girls to follow.