January 2012

The Marvel Universe

When it comes to adventure, you can't beat the superheroes of the Marvel Universe. They have been chronicled in comic books, film and television for decades. Perhaps the most famous inhabitants of the Marvel Universe is the X-Men.

The X-Men are a group of mutants under the command of Prof. Charles Xavier who strive to save mankind from the evil forces of Magneto and pretty much anyone else that threatens the world. Some of the more well known X-Men include Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Storm.

The Marvel Universe includes many different heroes who on occasion have crossed comics to battle evil and sometimes each other. Some of the biggest clashes have been between Spiderman and the half vampire/half human Blade and the adamantium clawed Wolverine. It seems not everyone is impressed with Spiderman's sarcastic sense of humor.

Where have all the adventure books gone?

There was a time when the world was closed to most people. It was a time before mass travel and the Internet, where continents still had mystery and people didn't even really know what was in their own backyard.

This was the time of adventure novels. Children and adults alike marveled in the stories of masked adventurers who saved the damsel in the distress. Gunfighters who only killed to defend themselves and the hard, but beautiful women that loved them.

People would sit in their homes with their boring little lives and dream of what it would be like to be those masked men. When movies came about, people no longer had to imagine what it would be like. They could watch and see them on the silver screen. Soon, television brought it into your home.

The world stopped being mysterious because cameras began to show every inch of it. The Old West became civilized and adventure became a staple of modern entertainment. Sadly, it meant the swansong for many literary heroes.

Adventure Parodies Can Be Just As Fun

There have been adventure books, movies and television shows for decades and while the formats change, they all have the same underlying motivation. Every genre has their own quirks and habits that people can make fun of.

For adventure, it could be over the top heroic characters, overly elaborate traps and situations and many many more. Humor has always been a part of adventure stories, but parodies of these stories are just as prevalent. Austin Powers parodied the countless James Bond and other spy films in several films.

We watched as Dr. Evil complain about needing sharks with laser beams as he strokes his naked cat. Top Secret starred Val Kilmer as a rock star turned spy and included one of the last performances of Peter Cushing as a man that spoke backwards. I also have to mention the character of Chocolate Mousse.

The adage goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but they have never seen Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. We can make fun of characters like Allan Quartermain in movies like Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold. Sure, these stories all make fun of beloved adventure characters, but they are funny and are meant to be an homage to classic adventure books and shows.

Adventure Stories: From Page To Screen

Hollywood loves the adventure genre of literature because the stories encompass everything that a good Hollywood blockbuster is all about. There's intrigue and action without all the problems of high production costs associated with science fiction and horror.

Producers get a lot more bang for the their buck translating Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan to the screen then they would Buck Rogers. A single shot in a high budget science fiction movie can cost more than a million dollars. It has all the special effects and CGI graphics that have to be designed and put in post production.

Many times it's just an actor standing in front of a giant green screen. With adventure characters, the special effects tend to be of the explosion variety. The translations also goes both ways. an adventure movie is easy to turn into a small graphic novel or book.