Superheroes, Screenwriters and Storytelling

The Big Bang TheoryDid you see last week’ Big Bang Theory? Well the girls, Penny, Bernadette and Amy wonder what it is about comic books that elicits such passion from their boyfriends and decide to discover the reason for themselves. They purchase a Thor comic, read it and decide they will never understand. They then proceed to argue about Thor’s hammer, Mjölir (pronounced mole-near). It’s a very passionate argument and hilarious.

The whole thing made me think about comics and graphic novels. I’ve never been an enthusiast of the medium, but I love great storytelling. Writers like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (among many others) created some very complex characters and compelling stories.

When these characters started making it to the big screen I found myself drawn into the Marvel Universe. Screenwriters have taken an already richly detailed world and given them life in a new medium. Moving pictures.

Of course, there have been some flops at the box office, but more often than not they’ve been highly successful. I did a bit of research on the screenwriters of the “superhero” films and discovered there’s been a long line of writers filling the positions. Rarely does one writer work on more than one film, with a few exceptions.

AvengersThe screenwriters for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) were Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who also wrote the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier which is scheduled for release in 2014. They also contributed to the screenplay for Thor: The Dark World which is scheduled for release this year.

There are two writers of note that I must mention. Joss Whedon and Shane Black.

Joss wrote and directed The Avengers (2012) and has signed on to do the same for The Avengers 2 which is just now in development. Hiring Whedon was the best decision Marvel Studios ever made. He’s a visionary and fearless.

Shane Black wrote and directed Iron Man 3, another 2013 release. Black is a phenomenal talent. With credits such as Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang he’s established himself in the action field. I’m anxious to see how he handles the Iron Man material.

I’m in awe of these writers. They’ve taken material that has a strong fan base and set them loose on the movie screen. People that would have never picked up a comic book before are now scrambling to learn more about the Marvel Universe.

It doesn’t hurt that Stan Lee makes a cameo in all the films. Now that’s a hoot!

  • My husband was huge into superheroes, and I was sure I’d never understand. But the grown-up superheroes of the modern screen have entirely won my heart.

    • M. Frye

      Me too, Kathleen. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that movie versions of the superheroes are so easy on the eyes. 😉