MOVIE TRAILERS — and worldwide box-office receipts -- tell us the Avengers are a big deal. But why?
They’re the original “slightly dysfunctional super-team,” said Axel Alonso, the editor-in-chief of Marvel Entertainment’s publishing division.
“What the Avengers brought to the table was the concept of a group of mismatched heroes having to band together for the greater good: The man out of time, the god with daddy issues, the megalomaniac in the armored suit,” Alonso said. “The movie really nails this down, too.”
[“AVENGERS”: 5 Predictions About the Film]
Alonso summed up “Marvel’s The Avengers” — now playing, most likely to a large audience, in a theater near you — on Friday in a live chat with washingtonpost.com readers, co-hosted by Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president and executive editor.
In the chat, Alonso and Brevoort addressed the new movie, the classic comic-book series, other Marvel characters who have made the transition to films and much more. Highlights follow below; click here to read the entire transcript. (We cleaned up some minor -- and completely understandable -- typos from the live chat in these excerpts):
Q: Comics today are $2.99 or $3.99. I don’t know how kids can afford them. When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth I paid 12 or 15 cents. Can’t you cut back on fancy inks and paper stock and produce a dollar comic?
TOM BREVOORT: It’s nowhere near as simple as you would think. First off, the price of crummier paper isn’t really much of a savings. As newspapers will tell you, circulations are down across the board, so the demand for cheap newsprint isn’t as high, and so the cost to produce it is greater. Beyond that, comics these days need to compete with cutting edge media, and they can only do that by graphically being on a similar footing. The nostalgia for a dollar comic is wonderful, but today’s kids aren’t going to pick up a comic even for that price if it doesn’t look appealing to them.
Q: Will there be an “Avengers” sequel?
TB: We can’t really state that for certain--that’s the purview of Marvel Studios top kick Kevin Feige. But with the enormous success the movie has had worldwide so far, I’d be extremely surprised if we didn’t do an “AVENGERS 2.”
[Ed. Note: “Avengers” grossed more than $200-million in its global opening.]
Q: Since this is The Washington Post ... [A friend told me that] during the Watergate era, Captain America had a major story change which sounded really interesting and the kind of comic book movie I would love to watch.
AXEL ALONSO: I think you’re referring to the period where a disgruntled Captain America took of the red-white-and-blue uniform and put down the shield and wandered the country as “Nomad,” right? That was a good story. I think I was 5 or 6.
TB: I think that such a story line could definitely become the basis of a “CAPTAIN AMERICA” 2 or 3, but the references would need to be updated and modernized. That was a pretty cool and relevant story. I read one of the issues when I was 6 years old and it confused the hell out of me.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the “Avengers” movie?
TB: It’s got heart and humanity to it, the characters are all relatable. It’s also got a lot of fun and wonder in it, which sometimes gets lost in superhero films. Also, at every point where you think the story has gotten as big as it possibly can, it finds a way to get bigger.
Q: Have you ever written yourself into a corner and not realized it until it’s too late? What do you do then?
TB: Blow up the corner.
[“THE AVENGERS”: 7 Reasons Why it Reigns]
Q: Does “The Avengers” finally solve the problem of the Hulk’s stretchy pants? How does his shirt rip off yet his pants stretch?
AA: Ah, those pants. If I were Bruce Banner, I’d always wear size-60 waist pants. Back when I edited “Hulk,” I art-directed a scene where Banner, seeing trouble on the horizon, calmly takes off his shirt, socks and shoes, pulls off his belt, and then goes walking toward the problem, holding up his size-60 pants with his hands. A lot of people liked that scene.