Marvel and DC dominance easing, says TMNT creator

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Kevin Eastman, who co-created superhero comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984 with Peter Laird, has given his thoughts on Marvel and DC Comics recent dominance at the box office.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, comprising 32 films since 2008’s Iron Man, has made nearly $30billion globally and the franchise has released video games, TV series, clothing and merchandise as well. Its recent films have fared less well, however, with only one film breaking $1billion in the last four years (Spider-Man: No Way Home). Similarly, DC has hired director James Gunn to helm a revamp of their offering following a run of poor performing releases.

Asked if Marvel and DC’s stranglehold is loosening, at least in terms of comic book movies, Eastman agreed. “To a certain extent, yes,” he said. “They’ve done it so well for so long. I remember when Captain America: The First Avenger came out [in 2011]… It was perfectly done with Chris Evans as the Captain and it was done in a very sincere and serious [way], recognising the importance of the [comics] fanbase… right up through to Avengers: Endgame [in 2019] and some of the TV series. They’ve hit the big marks and made all of us original fans happy.”

He added: “So I think it’s now off to other territories to come up with interesting stories…  there’s lots of room for other kinds of comic book movies, you know… I’m curious to see where it all goes, for sure.”

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’. CREDIT: Paramount

Eastman’s own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) have experienced a renaissance at the multiplex this summer with hit animation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Co-produced and co-written by Seth Rogen, the film makes use of creative visuals inspired by the comics which are reminiscent of recent blockbuster hits Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and Across The Spider-Verse – as well as popular Prime Video superhero series Invincible.  Eastman thinks there is growing demand for animated movies and TV series in this style.

“It’s an interesting combination of elements,” he said. “When I was younger, being called a geek wasn’t a positive thing. Now, you have TV shows like The Big Bang Theory [which focuses on a group of scientist friends] and things like that have made it more acceptable as you see in the popularity of all things pop culture… Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek and the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is just so spectacular.”

He added: “So I think the, the acceptance and familiarity and the wide-spread acceptance [has led to the success of these films].”

In recent news, Mutant Mayhem star, co-producer and writer Seth Rogen explained why he he doesn’t want to work for Marvel or DC, citing “fear” of getting “frustrated” with lack of creative control.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is available to pre-order now on DVD, Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra-HD

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