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Bubble Boy

I’ve actually never seen an episode of Legion.

I’ve never watched any of The Gifted, either. The Runaways’ first season came and went, and I didn’t even know it had happened. Hell, the New Warriors show that had a lot of buzz with the AT&T girl may have done the same.

I haven’t sat through any episode of Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow that wasn’t crossing over with Flash and/or Supergirl. I gave up on Agents of Shield after two or three episodes and never looked back. I think I watched the pilot to Gotham? But just that far. It didn’t stir any big feelings within me.

I love—LOVE!—that I live in an era where there are SO MANY comic property television shows that I can flat-out ignore a huge bulk of them. I wish I could go back in time to, say, thirteen year-old me and say “Don’t worry, my son”—in my head, I talk a lot more like Master Splinter—“Don’t worry, my son”, I’ll say, “Soon there will be a day when almost every comic book character you can imagine stars in either huge, blockbuster movies that look beautiful and have interlocking storylines, or television shows that range from fantastic to… you know what? Don’t worry about it. There’ll be some TV shows. Now, go back to the sewer and practice your ninjutsu”.

It’s just the best time in my life is what I’m saying.

But almost ever since this modern era of comic-based entertainment started, there have been whispers. “How long can this last?” “When will the bubble burst?” As soon as the age of the sprawling comic franchise started, people were tripping over themselves predicting its end. It was viewed almost upon arrival as something with an imminently expiring shelf life. It was a fad, a trend, and it was going to dissipate as quickly as it blew in. I mean, really, how long could these films that appeal to all ages, have larger-than-life characters with developing arcs, and are becoming more and more well-written with every year last?

I sound bitter. It’s technically a fair question. I mean, there is what, one noteworthy cowboy/western flick released every other year or so on average? And they used to be incredibly popular; Hollywood was made of westerns for ages. That’s the biggest correlation I can think of, genre-for-genre. Maybe also Musicals? That’s another fair comparison. Time was, musicals were the biggest thing going, but in the last few decades, they have tapered off. They still exist, but not to their previous degree. But yes, I see the point. If Westerns and Musicals can drop off in terms of popularity and production, so can the superhero blockbuster. In several years’ time, we may see their popularity decrease to where only one every other year gets a major release. That’s the bursting bubble.

On one hand, this relates back to all of the optioned television properties I can’t find the time or channel to watch (seriously, Cloak & Dagger is coming soon to Freeform? What even is that?), and when fans as big as I are not consistently tuning in to everything available, we as a society are definitely well past the saturation point. There is just SO MUCH out there, that there is bound to be some kickback to it all by people who throw around the phrase “it’s being forced down my throat” at anything they mildly dislike and see more than once. If there’s not a groundswell of support among the should-be fans for all of these vehicles, and the could-be fans are too busy being annoyed that so many new shows are those silly comic book properties… that’s not what’s best for business. How many of these shows that may have all the potential in the world are in danger because they aren’t reaching the audience they were meant to? And if they start dropping off, does that mean that more won’t be made?

But on the other hand… 2003 through 2005.

You see, at least 4 comic property movies were released per year from 2003 through 2005. And there were a lot of stinkers and commercial flops in the mix. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hulk, Daredevil, Blade: Trinity, Catwoman, The Punisher, Man-Thing (MAN-THING! Has anyone besides me seen this?), Fantastic Four, and Elektra all came out in that span of time (amongst a few other more well-received projects like X2 and Batman Begins) and were met with the appropriate levels of disdain. This led to the idea that we as a people were well on our way to superhero fatigue, but what it actually was was Hollywood figuring out what people wanted to see and what the successful formula was. It was learning to crawl before the movies could walk. And if that’s the case, comic book cinema is an Olympic sprinter nowadays. The television market could be going through the same issues right now, just a decade-and-a-half later. Throw everything into the pool and see what floats. Inhumans, for example, was the fifty pound steel anvil they threw in. It did not float.

Also, Black Panther just came out and made something like $500,000 short of ALL THE MONEY, so no… I’m not anxious that the bubble is about to burst. Whether you like it or not (and considering you are reading a blog on the site of a comic book podcast, I imagine you do), funny book related media isn’t going to fade out anytime soon. Bring on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Twelve! And hopefully by then, DC will have strung three good movies together in a row.

Also, I should probably watch Legion. Aubrey Plaza is in that, right? I should watch that.

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