DC Comics' boss knows the challenges ahead — and the problem superhero films can pose
Let's start with the obvious point: Superhero movies transformed the film industry over the last 15 years.
Now for a not-so-easy question: How does the man in charge of some of the most beloved comic book characters chart the years ahead?
Who is he? Jim Lee, 58, is the new president of DC Comics, adding the title alongside his existing duties as publisher and chief creative officer.
What's the big deal? Even if you aren't into comic books, you can't have missed the enormous impact superhero films have had on pop culture.
Want to hear from more creators? Listen to the Consider This episode with The Wire creator David Simon, talking about AI, television and the writers' strike.
What is Lee saying? Speaking to NPR's Juana Summers, Lee opened up about superhero films and the evolution of beloved characters.
On whether he thought comics would translate to blockbuster films:
No. Absolutely not. You know, when I was growing up — and certainly when I got into comics — it was a very niche hobby. It was a very small business.
The fact that it has transformed pop culture and become such a pillar of everything that kids and people that are into this kind of thing love is just mind-boggling to me.
On the problems this can pose:
Once you hit a certain number of people, it's too large for everyone to kind of love everything. And so they, basically, have splintered into different groups. It's almost like pro sports at this point.
Like, even when it was Marvel versus DC, I still felt like everyone loved comics. They embraced the storytelling. They embraced the notions of heroism and hope that the stories reflected. And now it's been elevated beyond that. It's almost independent of what the storytelling is about. And it's more about business factors or political factors, societal sort of discourse. It's become highly polarized.
On staying relevant:
The key to the success has been never to treat them as sort of creatures that are ossified in amber. We need to change with the times, and we need to bring in new voices. We need to change elements of who these characters are. We need to diversify the quote-unquote "portfolio" of characters that we have.
So, what now?
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