May 1939, an iconic date for an inspirational hero who has helped change many ideals and discourage social stigma over the last ten years or so. He has had his say in television in 1966 and more recently shown himself as a forerunner in a new sub-genre of film, Batman.

Of course, Batman and all characters of a similar ilk are completely fictional, but that does not mean that they do not influence the world around them and the parts of society that they reach, just as real, tangible people do so.

Years ago, it was mostly only young, teen boys that were expected to take an interest in the superhero genre. But much can be said that in recent years the superhero genre has crept its way through the ranks and has exploded in a fury of film and television.

It is more acceptable now for a person to take enjoyment from this sub-culture of superheroes and vigilantes, be it an adult, a child, a boy, a girl, there is little to no stigma attached anymore. And why is this? Superhero television has branched out over the last ten years, with animated television shows attracting the younger generation, blockbuster films such as Avengers Assemble bringing in fans by the millions, through to screenplays with very serious, very deep plots and messages such as The Dark Knight trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

Marvel and DC are arguably playing the lead roles in the revolution of the superhero genre and its growth throughout the recent years in television and film. DC has had so many renditions of both of their iconic legends that are Batman and Superman throughout the years; Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman trilogy and Superman’s latest rendition, Man of Steel are a couple of DC’s latest screenplays.

Marvel has found its footing in the recently established Marvel Cinematic Universe, with its Avenger Assemble grossing over $1.5 billion, being the third top grossing film to date, it’s quite apparent that the scale of the popularity in the superhero sub-genre has grown greatly. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble was also one of the first of its kind where an ensemble cast, each originating from their own film, was brought together and the end result was something rather spectacular.

Marvel and DC do not plan on stopping either, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe now has solid titles planned up to 2019 and it is rumoured that loose plans of films have been made up until 2029. DC also plans to expand their plethora of films with a new rendition of Batman and it is rumoured that a Justice League film (DC’s ‘Avengers Assemble’) is on its way.

Regarding the film industry it can be loosely said that there are some key components that a superhero film is made up of. A lead male or female role, usually hand in hand with a recurring love interest and often a plethora of super natural abilities or willpower. There is something about this mixture that is dominating the film and television industry by storm and that we, as an audience, find so appealing.

Could it simply be the attraction to experiencing the fictional feats and abilities of these lead characters on screen? Or possibly an envy that creeps into our minds as we try to find some escapism in these extravagant screenplays? It could be speculated that the whole superhero /supernatural genre brings out the imaginative person in a lot of people, creating a release from the ‘real-world’ personal issues and problems that each of us face. Wherever our fascination of the supernatural and otherworldly nature may lie, the television and film industry have been able to feed us ample amounts of this very popular sub-culture in the last decade or two.

The fantasy /superhero genre has the ability to produce any genre of film and insert their characters to any given one. Batman, for example, is a detective crime-thriller. But on the other hand, Marvel’s latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy, is a true science fiction. Both of these films fall into the category of superhero films, with many more genres to be explored I am sure.

The superhero and fantasy genre has gone from strength to strength, it is no longer a small comic book faction amongst the realms of television and film. It now owns one of the largest fan-bases in the world and both Marvel and DC will continue to create films and television that will generate millions of fans.

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