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From Comics to the Big Screen: The Avengers

It took nearly 50 years between The Avengers first appearance on comic store shelves during the Silver Age of Comics to The Avengers appearing on the silver screen during the Comic Book Film Renaissance of the early 21st century.  What started as a dream project between Jack Kirby and Stan Lee became one of Marvel’s best-selling comic book series and now one of the most profitable film franchises of all time.  Culled from the roster of Marvel’s mightiest superheroes, the Avengers quickly became the most powerful of all of Marvel’s superhero teams.  More fearsome than the Fantastic Four, deadlier and more dynamic than the X-Men, the Avengers were the pet project from the top minds of the Marvel universe, assembled to tackle the most devastating foes of Earth and beyond.

Technological advances have proved immense for The Avengers and for the rest of the Marvel canon, bringing the stencils and doodles of the legendary team of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to life and in glorious 3D on the big screen.  Captain America has developed from a pulp caricature of wartime patriotism to a living, breathing avatar of the modern American action hero.  Tony Stark, originally stenciled as little more than a tin bucket with arms is now a showcase for the top Computer-Generated Imagery in Hollywood, from the Heads-Up Display seen inside of his helmet, to the explosions and lasers created from his incredible technology.  The Hulk has a seamless transformation from Bruce Banner to further showcase modern special effects, and Mighty Thor is able to summon convincing lightning bolts and battle against lifelike trolls and frost giants in his standalone films.Captain America has developed from a pulp caricature of wartime patriotism to a living, breathing avatar of the modern American action hero.  Tony Stark, originally stenciled as little more than a tin bucket with arms is now a showcase for the top Computer-Generated Imagery in Hollywood, from the Heads-Up Display seen inside of his helmet, to the explosions and lasers created from his incredible technology.  The Hulk has a seamless transformation from Bruce Banner to further showcase modern special effects, and Mighty Thor is able to summon convincing lightning bolts and battle against lifelike trolls and frost giants in his standalone films.

The evolution of the comic books themselves has also been spurned by the changes in film, with the current iterations of the character designs being based on the actors seen in the summer blockbusters.  Tony Stark has taken on an appearance reminiscent of Robert Downey Jr., and nearly all of the Avengers characters have followed suit.  In a sort of twist on this progression, the character of Nick Fury had his design changed prior to his portrayal by the ageless Samuel L. Jackson.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is now in its adolescent stage, with numerous important characters still yet to make their appearance or have an impact on its continuity.  We can only hope that the comics and the films continue to build off of each other, and continue to entertain us as the films carry onto their next phase.

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