THE “fandom” created by Marvel Studios has exponentially grown. Ten years ago, only who cared of all these superhero movies derived from comic books (Marvel, DC, and other independent players) are those comic book fans, but over time, almost any teenager or kids around are familiar with comic book characters, not necessarily reading through the pages, but watching the live-action films.
With the release of Avengers: Endgame, the US $1.2 billion (P60 billion) worldwide revenue for its opening weekend is a testament to that, in the Philippines, it surged to P205 million in its opening day, on April 24. It’s quite different when the first Iron Man was released in 2008, with P9.8 million on its weekend box office.
And why can’t this be a phenomenon in the comic book community or geek culture? It took 10 years, 21 films, for Marvel to end the three phases of the studio’s cinematic universe, which is now owned by media giant, Walt Disney.
If you heard stories of some people crying, that is probably because of the years they have been through with not just films but also in comic books (although some would whine that films have twisted the original material). It was a journey for them.
And then there was Game of Thrones, which is about to end the whole series after eight seasons in nine years. Fans just saw perhaps one of the epic but heart-stopping battle scenes in television history in the recent third episode.
Then there’s also the anticipated third and final installment of the new trilogy saga of Star Wars - Episode 9. Had it not been for the Metro Manila Film Festival schedule, it will be released in December 2019, and not later of January 2020 (to the furor and disappointment of fans).
Filipinos have created a niche for this kind of a cult following in popular culture, and to think, these are mostly coming from the West - from Hollywood, much to the dismay of some modern-day critical Filipino thinkers: what about our own? What about our Filipino identity in the mainstream media? What about our rich heritage of Filipino folklore and myths?
And I wish so, too.
I am still hoping that one day, there will be a fandom for originally Filipino materials. Something that we can be a great fan the way we cheered for anything foreign entertainment.