Comics and American Culture

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How Comics Have Influenced American Culture

It seems like no matter where you go you can't escape someone wearing a shirt depicting the Superman or Batman logo. Through many generations, comic books have been a staple in American pop culture. Whether it&rsquos traditional comic books being read, new toys being offered or the frequent releases of superhero films, there is no doubt that comics will continue to remain influential.

Conventions Galore

Dozens of comic conventions take place around the country every year, ranging from San Diego Comic Con, which draws thousands of visitors every summer, to smaller local conventions that attract just a few hundred visitors. If you travel to Comic Con, many hotels offer San Diego service from Direct TV so you can catch all your favorite comic-inspired movies while you&rsquore there. Wizard World hosts comic conventions in Chicago, New York City and Austin, among other places. You can even find comic and gaming conventions sponsored by Web comic Penny Arcade and the comic's creators. No matter where, you're sure to find plenty of fans dressed as their favorite characters, attending informative panels, drinking with other geeks and debating over which Batman villain is their favorite.

Hollywood Takes Heed

As seen by Marvel's X-Men series, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, and his recent reboot of Superman, it&rsquos clear that Hollywood realizes there's money to be made in blockbuster films inspired by comic books. While the plots often derail from the sources, the movies attract both longtime fans of the characters as well as people who just want to enjoy a good flick. Studios have made billions of dollars on these movies. The Dark Knight raked in over $1 billion worldwide, while The Avengers movie tops the list with a 1.5 billion haul.

Companies like Marvel, DC, Disney and Warner Brothers use the popularity of these films to sell merchandise, which is why action figures, lunch boxes, t-shirts and pajamas can be found in nearly every  mall across the world. It's not just real-life fans lusting over those goods, either. Hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory revolves around four nerdy friends who can often be seen at the neighborhood comic book shop purchasing graphic novels and props from their favorite fandoms.

Comic Books Evolve

There's also been renewed interest thanks to movies and new series on the small screen. It's been several years since DC rebooted the entire universe to bring Bruce Wayne back from the dead and focus on lesser-known characters such as Batwoman. Marvel has pushed graphic novels about Black Widow and the rest of The Avengers, while author Neil Gaiman has returned to write The Sandman: Overture.

Society has come a long way from the 1940s and 1950s, when comics were shirked as too violent to enjoy in public. Now, you'll find comic fans of every age, gender and income group. Comic conventions have become fun for the whole family, and parents who loved comic books in their childhood pass on the love of them to their children. With the release of so many new comic book adapted movies, the comic revolution is firmly underway.

 

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