Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel Studios was the top movie at the box office this weekend. That makes four weeks (though not all together) that the film has been ruling theaters in the U.S. It’s now the top film of the year (so far) and is heading towards collecting $300 million in the States alone. When you add in the rest of the world, it’s made nearly $600 million. Not bad for a film many of us were pretty sure would be the first disappointment from Marvel.
With Guardians doing so well, one has to wonder if cosmic/galactic stories could be coming back in style.
THE MOVEMENT AWAY FROM COSMIC
After all, special effects and serious make-up can really raise the cost of a production through the roof. The last television program I remember that was not Earth-based and a success was Farscape on what was then the Sci-Fi Channel. Since then, Syfy has been featuring shows much closer to home, including Eureka, Warehouse 13, Haven, Defiance and Dominion. They do have some effects and make-up, but it’s a lot less than Farscape had. By the way, Farscape has had some excellent comics runs as well!
Not only that, the idea of aliens has some viewers turned off. If we can’t relate to them or don’t like looking at them, why bother?
Also, the notion that things that happen in space are just not all that interesting. The farther away from what we know, the less we care. That’s the axiom I’ve heard being used.
In comics as well, cosmic had faded away. For a time, Green Lantern was primarily focused on Earth. Sector 2814 got pretty small in those days! Marvel almost completely dealt with New York City, while DC had a little broader scope, the Earth.
IS ‘GUARDIANS’ A SIGN OF CHANGE?
We did see Earth very briefly at the beginning of Guardians, but the vast majority of the film dealt with a lot of species from “out there.” I still hear people complaining about a talking raccoon, that it’s not realistic enough or that it demeans the intelligence of the audience.
I don’t think so.
The cost of special effects and alien make-up has sharply fallen. Also, the technology is more advanced than ever, so the ability to make aliens and space ships/technology appear more realistic than ever is now helping with this cause.
With another Guardians movie in the works now and the likely possibility that one of the upcoming Avengers films could deal with Thanos and the Infinity Guantlet, we may be getting back to the “final frontier” again.
GREEN LANTERN AND MORE SPACE EPICS
I always like to brag on Geoff Johns, and his stint on Green Lantern really brought space-faring races and corps back to the limelight. Even though Mr. Johns has left that family, Hal and the Corps are leaving Earth in the hands of the Justice League more these days.
In fact, there’s a big GL/New Gods event called “Godhead” on the way. This is its brief description: “The time of the Lanterns has ended. The reign of the New Gods has begun.” It’ll appear in all the GL family of books as well as in Infinity Man and the Forever People.
Sounds pretty galactic to me!
Then, too, the comics featuring the Guardians are selling pretty well, with the first issue of Rocket Raccoon hitting the top of the sales charts recently.
The truth is, you can draw outer space a lot less expensively (and probably more easily) than you can create special effects of them, even today!
UP, UP AND AWAY!
Comics and science fiction have always gone hand-in-hand together to me. Superman is from another planet, after all. The Fantastic Four got their powers by venturing into space. Green Lantern has been part of a galactic corps since the 1960s. And Thor’s home is in Asgard, also away from Earth.
I always like to say that it’s telling good stories that matters much more than the settings. If Guardians and Green Lantern are any indication, we just might be seeing more space-faring in our future, especially in our monthly comics diet!