Spiderman, Ironman, The Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America… And the list goes on. What connoisseurs of the superhero, action adventure genre of comics, movies, and games will know is that these characters all have one thing in common; they come from the Marvel cannon – they all exist in the world created by Marvel Comics.
The exciting thing about Marvel is that its characters and stories have leaked out of the pages of the original comics, and have become mainstream (although still much loved by a core of diehard fanboys and fangirls). Why is that exciting? Because it gives us, the ones who weren’t there at the beginning, unprecedented access to the Marvel universe. It may be a tamed down, uncomplicated one, but we’ve got it, it’s ours, and it’s epic.
But it’s not just that the comics spawned movies (including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course the plethora of Spiderman films plus many more, all of which allowed the general public a glimpse into this once secretive universe. And don’t forget, these movies also gave stars such as Robert Downey Jr and Hugh Jackman a massive boost in the ratings); there’s so much more. The Marvel merchandise business is an extreme one, rivalled only, perhaps, by all things Frozen. And that’s no bad thing; it leaves a legacy of fun, enjoyment, excitement, and powerful stories behind that not many other franchises can.
For some, merchandising of beloved characters and worlds can be tacky. It can feel like a sell-out, like it’s all about the money and no longer about the stories and people (albeit fictional ones) that they care so deeply about. Sometimes that is what merchandising is about – think of all those t-shirts you’ve seen with Elvis’ face staring dolefully out of them. Think of the cheap plastic tat covered with talking snowmen and ice queens you’ve laughed at.
And then think of the Marvel merchandise. It’s not quite the same. It’s… better. It’s more about letting other fans know you’re one of them (and letting non-fans into a well-kept secret), that you’re part of the gang, than anything else. That’s why the t-shirts aren’t made for general consumption. They’re full of in-jokes and snarky comments that those who aren’t in the know just won’t get. Then there’s the costumes, the toys (because kids love this stuff, and why not?), the games (board games, online slot games that pay out real money such as Betway, games for the laptop, the Smartphone, the tablet…), the bedding, the furniture, the posters, the crockery, the clothing…
It’s all good. It’s all part of being a fan.
So what are you going to spend your money on next? That’s the beauty of the legacy of the Marvel hero – it’s never-ending.