A Moss-Encrusted Mockery Of a Man


I’m Thirty-Six and a half years old, and when I grow up I want to live in a world where there is a big (okay, decent) budget Swamp Thing movie. I really do. I really, really love Swamp Thing. Any character who can pull off actually NOT being their own alter ego (Sorry, SPOILERS…too late?) is a (not) superhero I wanna get on board with.

I’m not discounting the 1982 movie (I kinda am), or its ’89 sequel (I definitely am), but I want to see the big green represented in all his sloppy majesty on the big screen.And I want it as soon as I can possibly have it without it being a rushed mistake.

But  Swamp Thing would be a staircase movie. It takes steps to get to a point where a film like Swamp Thing is actually happening. But then, five years ago, wouldn’t we have said the same about Ant Man?

We Should All Marvel at the Marvellous Progress some Movie Studio or Other has Made.

Marvel have come on a storm. They entered the film-making biz with their hands tied behind their backs, and somehow managed to go all Houdini on that shit and then punch supercrime in its superugly face. Genius.

Give the Coke and Sprite recipe to someone else and tell the Coca-Cola Company they have to fend as best they can with just the other drinks – you know, the less popular ones – and see how they held onto that industry dominance.

Sony had Spiderman (Coke), and Fox had X-Men (Sprite), and Marvel had to forge forwards with what they had left, like Iron Man (Fanta?), Captain America (erm…), and now…Ant Man (Tab).

Point is, Marvel ran with it and smashed it, simply because they put out quality films that people liked. You sure are seeing a shitload more Iron Man T-shirts than you used to.

And now Marvel is a BRAND. People know what a Marvel movie is. Normal people. People who don’t obsess over how big a man’s cowl ears should be. The world, she’s a strange place.

I Really Like Death Metal, If You Don’t Just Hear Me Out

Imagine this if you can/want to: A burgeoning scene of underground bands bustling under the radar in the pre-internet days. Fans connected by snail mail swapping tapes of new and favourite bands’ demos. Then a couple get signed, and have marginal success, so a few more get signed, and so on and so on, and the quality starts to slip here and there in the rush, and then there are too many labels releasing too many releases and… the whole little cottage industry stalls, then falls, crushed under its own weight.

There is a very simple synopsis of the rise and fall of the death metal industry of the ‘90’s.

Perhaps a more relevant example would be the speculator bubble, but that gets talked about all the time.

Back to our own particular bubble.

Here’s a list, in no particular order: Gotham, Constantine, The Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Atom, Luke Cage, Supergirl, Krpton, The Defenders, Teen Titans, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist.

That’s over ten (I only have ten fingers) shows that are on/are on the way. That’s a lot. Suprerheroics are the go-to for action TV these days. Whoudafunk it a few years ago?

There’s A Really Big Pin Out There, And It Is Called Time, And It Is a Colossal Prick

So I worry about time. I’m a fan, but can I keep up with all the above? No. But that’s okay, I mean these shows are not going to live and die by the slavish viewership of the fans. The mainstream will have their say and vote with their remotes.

But do you know why I hate reality TV so much? Because it has become a snake eating its own tail. Or perhaps a Human Centipede. (Anyone remember when Big Brother first came out and they were actually shilling it as some kind of legitimate social experiment?)

There is so much of it. There is so much of it that they are fumbling around trying to find an angle, any goddamn angle, for the next show (Ex On The Beach, you can’t tell me they didn’t start with a pun and work their way backwards) I don’t think anyone would have the nerve to describe them as social experiments anymore.

Okay, the flip side: they keep making them because people keep watching them. But they are cheap to produce, and hence must also have a wider margin of error. When Super Skinny Secret Eaters flops…oh well, it was cheap and throw away anyway, so on to the next idea. But this bubble of ours, it’s an expensive one for sure, and all the more fragile because of that, and so we have to hope those that serve it are careful. I can’t imagine a show with the budget of, say, Arrow flopping being easily forgotten by the boardroom. And if, God forbid, one of these tent pole movies falls massively short, that could be the pin that ruins everything.

The way I see it, quality will always trump. No, not every show and movie can be a smash, but so long as the product the studios are putting out is actually GOOD, they will be seen, and they will make money. And the genre will survive and grow .

Our kids, they will look back on the likes of Arrow etc. the way I look back at the A-Team. But hopefully when my kid, as a thirty-six year old, pulls up a load of clips on Youtube, she’ll find that the programs of her childhood/youth actually were good. Unlike the A-Team.

Back To The Swamp

It was thinking about Swamp Thing in the shower (where else?) that set me off on this piece, so I better get back to him. That bubble is going to have to get a fair bit larger before a cult character like that gets a movie. There’s that staircase to climb before Warner would lay down some serious cash on getting a film like that right. TV’s Constantine hasn’t exactly lit up the ratings, but the upcoming Shazam movie should help them dip their toe in the less-than-obvious comicbook material of Bats and Supes. And from there… perhaps Guillermo del Toro will get that Justice League Dark pet project of his green lit, and from there anything goes.

Marvel are a few years ahead in the game, and even now Ant Man feels like a far reach to me, but nonetheless they’re at a point where risks like that can be taken.

So long may quality reign and the bubble grow!



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