OPINION: Comic fans need to manage their expectations

Cristo Dulom, Managing Editor for Print

I consider myself an avid comic book fan. I have a collection at my parent’s house, and I make it my mission to see every single major comic book adaptation that comes out in theaters and streaming services. I’ve also done my best to see most of the adaptations that came out before my time, whether they be animated or live-action. 

Over comic books’ storied history, they’ve become so popular that some of the top-grossing movies of all time are comic book adaptations, like “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Suffice to say, comic book movies draw large audiences. 

As comic book movies and shows have become more popular over the years, fans of them have become increasingly critical of each release. Popular complaints I come across are that the stories are too childish, too goofy, or that they just suck. I’m used to hearing this from film critics, but to hear it from the fans themselves is a little jarring. 

Take M.O.D.O.K. in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” as an example. I’ve heard people draw his likeness to George Lopez’s character in the 2005 film “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.” They’re not too far off, frankly. But why are we expecting anything better?

I don’t see any universe in our wide multiverse where a giant head with a giant face and baby arms and legs could ever look good. Look at any M.O.D.O.K. version in the comics, and you’ll see he looks pretty bad across the board. Even the Marvel’s Avengers game, published by Square Enix, had a goofy-looking M.O.D.O.K. Sure, the character was intimidating in the story, but the very premise of the character is ridiculous. 

Here’s the point: it is very possible to enjoy something that is bad. 

I think of enjoying a comic book, movie, or show like eating food. A lot of times, watching a Marvel movie is like eating fast food. Sure, it may be greasy or cheap, but it’s what you want sometimes. And then other times, when watching one, you get the three-star Michelin experience that makes the fast food look like garbage. 

Richard Grant’s portrayal as Classic Loki in the “Loki” streaming series is a perfect example of this. He was in his original comic book costume with the signature green and yellow leotard and absolutely ridiculous helmet. It was bad. It was accurate. It was perfect. 

A high-quality movie should not detract the value from a middling-quality one. Sure, “Avengers: Infinity War” was pretty damn awesome, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the silly “Ms. Marvel.” And it certainly doesn’t mean that it is okay to review bomb upcoming shows and movies.

The same goes for the comics themselves.

There are those goofy characters like Squirrel Girl and Multiple Man in the comics, and they’ll be just as goofy on the big screen when they make their debut. 

So, please, comic book fans: manage your expectations, enjoy the ride, and look forward to what’s to come.