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Brand World


24/04/2015 - par Mark Tungate

Si vous pensez que le plus gros producteur de films aux Etats-Unis s'appelle Steven Spielberg, vous faites fausse route, avertit notre chroniqueur Mark Tungate cette semaine. Non, le «boss» est désormais Stanley Martin Lieber, dit Stan Lee. Le succès de Marvel, c'est lui.

Who’s the most biggest movie producer in the United States? Steven Spielberg, you might think. But you might be wrong. Very soon the answer will be Stan Lee, the man behind Marvel comics. In fact, according to Comicbook.com, when the latest instalment of his Avengers franchise opens on May 1, Lee will become the most successful movie producer of all time – in US box office earnings – overtaking Spielberg.


Since Steven has another Jurassic offering in the wings, Stan’s time in the sun may not last long. But the situation says a lot about the power and omnipresence of the Marvel brand.


Personally I’ve always preferred my heroes in suits rather than capes: Bond rather than Batman; Sherlock rather than Superman. When I indulge in a superhero movie I tend to identify with their alter egos. As a kid I liked the idea of being Clark Kent. It’s always good to have attainable dreams.


But let’s get back to Marvel (as you may know, Superman comes from the DC stable). I’ve been enjoying its latest offering, Daredevil. The Netflix series is surprisingly dark and bloody and the hero relatively earthbound – a lawyer whose blindness has honed his other senses to an unnatural degree, enabling him to fight crime in nocturnal Hell’s Kitchen, New York. I like the way his daytime persona is somewhat scruffy, as somebody who cannot look in a mirror might be. (When a girl asks him how he combs his hair, he tells her: “You kind of hope for the best.”)


There is a reason that the real identities of superheroes are so humble. It’s because they resemble their makers, as Michael Chabon suggests in his superb novel about the birth of the comic book industry, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Superheroes were dreamed up in 1940s America by nerdy, often Jewish, kids, some of them second generation immigrants (meet Stanley Lieber, born in New York to Romanian parents). They yearned to grow muscles and get the girl, but they were reluctant to relinquish their intelligence. They wanted it all: the smarts and the superpowers. And now they’re getting their revenge.

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