Superhero Movies vs Comic Book Fandom


Many of us have watched our fair share of superhero movies and have a decent understanding of superhero lore, but what about the comic books responsible for our favorite superhero movies? People often complain about the films not being true to the source material, however, it’s common nowadays for people to not have any familiarity with the source material. In one of the latest episodes of the nerd adjacent podcast, We Understood That Reference, hosts Clayburn and Nikhil discuss the common yet fascinating occurrence of people falling in love with superhero characters but not in the medium they were formed. In a world where everything is a carbon copy of a carbon copy, is it still worth it to get into the comics?



In the Comic Books episode, Nikhil explains the value and satisfaction he receives from deeply understanding the evolution and backstory of a superhero before they hit the big screen. Although many have the preconception that comics consist exclusively of the old trope of characters always dying and coming back to life the next issue, this is not the case. “In the MCU things do change and characters do evolve,” according to Nikhil. He continues to advocate for people intrigued by comics to pursue their interest although the rich history can seem daunting: “The history gives it weight and meaning otherwise you’re just reading this one-off stories that don’t really matter. The history makes those stories matter.”



On the other hand, despite his love for the characters and movies comics have produced, Clayburn points out the dilemma comics’ complex history has produced. More specifically, the history makes it more daunting and less likely for a new reader to pick up an issue and begin reading, but the evolution of characters is necessary in order to create rich stories that keep longtime readers coming back for more. Therefore, are story development and new readership completely at odds in the comic world? Clayburn and Nikhil don’t think so as the two advocate for comics that read more like a soap opera in the sense that if you read one or two issues you understand what’s going on, but if you are a longtime fan there is a rewarding secondary layer of the story that you get to engage with– it should be able to work on both levels.


If you’re interested in diving deeper into the complexities of superhero and comic book fandom and considering what it means to stray from the source material, check out the Comic Book episode of the We Understood That Reference podcast. They cover all superhero movie comic book-related topics. You can find them on their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.  They’re all over the place!

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Jess Leslie

Jess Leslie is a publicist for the We Understood That Reference podcast. She majored in English at Occidental College and enjoys writing about all things entertainment and pop-culture-related.