Sunday, October 12, 2008

Outside the Panel Frames: Exploring the Comic Book Film Community

This week, I investigated the Web to find substantial resources involving the comic book film genre in an attempt to enrich the content of this blog. Applying the criteria of the Webby Awards and IMSA for evaluating online material, I have compiled a number of exceptional sites and blogs that offer valuable news and interesting opinions about the events in the world of comic book films. These sources have been included in my linkroll (right), but I will also assess them and provide links in the post below.

The first website I will address is one of my own personal favorites, known as Superhero Hype (pictured right), which offers daily comic book film news and a professional, aesthetically intriguing interface. It is also impossible to discuss Superhero Hype without mentioning its sister site,, which discusses film and television in general, not just superhero films. This is especially helpful when dealing with upcoming comic book films that might not necessarily involve superheroes. While both sites do provide the interactivity and community of a message board, they each might benefit from an affiliated blog or opinions column, as neither presents any sort of commentary or analytical perspective on the news items. One site that does take a more personal perspective is JoBlo's Movie Emporium, which, like, examines general movie news. The writers often tackle stories with a humorous tone, providing a more entertaining experience for the reader, though this can border on unprofessional at times.

On the other hand, a more authoritative source for superhero news is the movies section at Wizard Universe, an online supplement to the noteworthy Wizard magazine. The design of the page could be improved, however, as most of the news items are tucked beneath two large graphics and are almost invisible without scrolling down a significant amount. This was also the problem with the site Comic Mix, which otherwise features solid news items. Similarly, the news stories at are placed beneath a series of advertisements. Even so, the site is easily navigable, as each item is accompanied with a graphic icon. Another site with equal functionality is the comics section of, which was formerly known as That said, the move to Mania almost seems to be a step backwards from Comics2Film, as the original site is now confined to a small section of a larger website rather than occupying its own main page. Another professional site with limited content is Comic Book Resources, which serves as an excellent resource for comic book news but whose coverage of comic book films is minimal. Still, it is important to watch the comic book industry with regard to comic book films, especially as the two realms begin to converge, as I discuss in one of my previous posts.

Another news site that seems to emphasize comic books over movies is ironically titled, which also happens to exemplify a problem I encountered with several other sites, wherein the main page is merely an aesthetically uninteresting list of news stories. The lack of visual flare makes the experience of visiting these sites seem more like looking at the results of a search engine rather than an attractive main page. Other sites with the same problem included Superhero Flix and ReelComix, although they do include some interesting graphics where Filmfodder does not. The content of these sources are valuable and consistent, yet the absence of aesthetics make for an underwhelming online experience. On the other hand, E.Favata's Comic Book Movies boasts an attractive interface but is slow to post news. The movies section of Marvel's website also demonstrates impressive visual design, but the content is often outdated and rarely updated. For instance, the site still has director Matthew Vaughn as currently attached to the Thor movie, when in reality the filmmaker dropped out of the project months ago. This lack of professionalism is extremely surprising, given that Marvel is essentially leading the current comic book film phenomenon in Hollywood. In general, my search for news sites yielded a range of results that will provide a wealth of resources to inform the content of my future posts.

As for my research into the blogosphere, my favorite turned out to be MTV's Splash Page (pictured left) whose name partially inspired the title of my own blog. Splash Page updates several times a day, always with unique opinions on current comic book film news and links to a variety of interesting external material that enhance the overall experience. Perhaps the addition of an interactive online community, a message board for instance, would improve this already excellent resource. Another noteworthy blog that updates multiple times a day is Geeks of Doom, which consists mostly of movie reviews and the occasional news report. It also displays a visually striking interface that resembles the pages of a comic book. This is also the case with Bam! Kapow!, whose onomatopoetic title and extra large graphics recall the aesthetics of pulp fiction. However, I wish both of these blogs offered more interesting personal perspectives, such as those in Modern Mythology, which examines contemporary pop culture with a critical eye and provokes thought about current news. My only minor issue with Modern Mythology is the simplistic visual design, but it hardly detracts from the content. Similarly, Aaron's Comic Books Blog at presents a minimalistic layout, yet offers a very personal point of view. One thing that sets this blog, as well as the blog Groovy Superhero, apart from the others is that it involves a variety of comic-related topics, sometimes extending beyond just comic books and comic book films. Another blog whose perspective I found to be most interesting was Hero Complex, which focuses on heroic figures in all areas of popular culture. Naturally, superhero films come up quite often, but my only wish is that they were more critically analyzed. Overall, I was disappointed to discover a lack of blogs that consistently scrutinized the goings-on of the comic book film world from an analytical standpoint. That is why I have made it my goal to provide such insight with this blog.

1 comment:

VAH said...

I find your post very informative and as well as offers an interesting perspective of the comic book film industry. Notably, it is apparent that you have extensively searched the web in order to find a broad range of sites that will supplement the content of your blog. You give knowledgeable insights regarding each site you mention, as well as offer important criticism to those sites that need it. Your post flows smoothly as you move from comic book news to more peronsal and critical blogs. I find your commentary on visuals to be the most interesting, specifically because I think visual design, layout, and presentation must be an essential element in the industry. On your commentary of the Marvel website, I would have liked to see a more in-depth criticism explaining some of your thoughts on why the site is not updated. Is Marvel struggling? Is there a trend in the industry that Marvel fails to keep up with?

I am glad that you acknowledge that there is a lack of comic book websites that truly give an analytical critique of the industry, which is where I think your blog stands out. Seeing that these sites must have been hard to come across, I think your linkroll could use a couple sites that critique the film industry as a whole. The comic book film exists within this broader category, and some sites that offer insight and critique on the more general film industry, may help to explain some smaller trends that you have found within the comic book film industry. Overall I find your post hard to critique because it is so interesting. You present a very clear voice with astute arguments and commentary on each site you mention. It is clear you are very knowledgeable and passionate about this topic, and this shows in your arguments and criticism.

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