Miller talks “Thoughts on Earth’s most Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers”

© Marvel Comics

It’s best not to think too much about The Avengers and just enjoy it. However, if you do start mulling the Marvel movie melange of mighty men and woman, try to think back to the early nineties. The late eighties/ early nineties was a heyday of comic book glory. Chris Claremont was writing X-Men and X-Men spinoffs. Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and [that bastard] Rob Liefeld were wowing us with highly stylized versions of our favorite characters. Infinity Gauntlets were being formed, Atlantis was attacking, and there were Acts of Vengeance being carried out. It was the dawning of the Age of Apocalypse. We were young, hungry, and eagerly anticipating every new issue as they sold in record numbers.

© Marvel Comics

But alas, where were our young minds to turn for such quality entertainment and stimulation outside of the comic page? On TV we could satiate our rabid desire with “X-Men: The Animated Series,” but if we wanted a super hero fix on the big screen we were stuck with DC, and let’s be honest DC just isn’t Marvel. I’m not knocking Tim Burton’s “Batman.” It is an underrated classic that changed super hero movies forever, but it just wasn’t Marvel. We needed Spiderman. We needed Wolverine. We needed Steve frickin’ Rogers on the big screen and quite honestly, the handful of Marvel movies made by that point were wretched. If you did convince your Mom to rent that one dusty VHS of the Captain America movie that starred J.D. Salinger’s son, you were kindly rewinding that sucker just feeling ashamed for ever having loved Cap to begin with. It was a sad state of affairs.
So, we gave up. We grew up. We drank our first beers, tried smoking, got laid (Well, some of us anyway. I almost forgot what website I was writing this for). We stopped worrying about Wolverine on the big screen and started worrying about college, and how to make a gravity bong. Then it happened. Out of nowhere somebody turned a third tier Marvel character into a hit action movie and even though it wasn’t Spidey or Daredevil it was still a Marvel character and it was actually a decent movie. Blade, who’d a thunk it, right?
Next, came the mind-blowing cinemagasm of Bryan Singer glory called X-Men and everything just got awesome. Sure, you were at least 20, but don’t you see? Our generation never grew up for a reason. Those dum dum baby boomers came back from Nam with one mission left, coddle the crap out of your children and trip balls until you design the coolest toys, cartoons, comics, and video games the world has ever known. They still make our toys. Transformers, Care Bears, Star Wars action figures, and 80’s style G.I. Joe are still rocking the toy shelves, because they were the apex of childhood indulgence. Our generation of men keep reading comics, watching cartoons, and playing video games on our parents’ basement couches because the generation before us perfected the art of spoiling their kids, and thank the heavens for that.
Our development was just arrested enough for us to enjoy the crap out of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Kenneth Brannagh’s Thor, and now Joss Whedon’s Avengers. Marvel and whatever studios they are affiliated with decided to hire REAL film makers who brought us “Evil Dead,” “Swingers,” “The Usual Suspects,” a bunch of Shakespeare movies, and “Firefly” to make real good movies using what we already knew were real good characters and real good stories.

© Marvel Comics

Sure, Ang Lee’s Hulk movie was a misfire, but he bounced back with a couple of amorous cowboys and Mark Ruffalo is a great Bruce Banner. No harm no foul. Even the steaming pile that was the Daredevil movie was just a speed-bump to what is now paying off as the investment in entertainment magic beans called comic books of the late eighties and nineties that paid off with at least five genius superhero movies in the aughts and teens.
Avengers is a really fun movie, but even if you don’t like it (and you are a sad little person if you don’t), just think back to those days of the super hero cinema depression and kick yourself for not realizing just how lucky you are.
 Miller still has his entire comic book collection from when he was an 8 year bifocal sporting youngster. That was over 70 years ago. If he’d sold them 15 years ago, he could of retired a rich man. Instead, he held onto them like a scrooge. With the comic book boom well behind us, those same comics are practically worthless. Instead of retiring rich, fat and happy.. he writes for us.
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