Comics Creators

Box Office Mojo


…don’t forget the nipples.


And nipples! Otherwise exactly the same. Plus Robin. And Batgirl.


An interesting take on one of the things we may not think of when looking at a film’s performance overseas. A lot of Koreans couldn’t give Infinity War the top rating because of bad errors in the subtitles.


And the 1960s Batman tv series defined both Batman and superheroes in the popular consciousness for an entire generation as silly and campy. ZAP! POW! BOF!

And it took forty years to finally shake that off, with Jackman’s Wolverine and Nolan’s Batman to elevate the superhero above camp.


I think in translation it kind or takes two to tango and the blame may not lie solely at western film maker’s feet. If they are preparing a film for international markets I would assume they use a either a translation firm for all languages or lots of different ones, but if they are being offered a service that may not be very good then it can be hard to fix that if there isn’t viable alternatives.

When I’ve thought about when I release my own stuff in foreign territories I’m going to spend a great lot of time and effort building teams who can creatively convey jokes or slang appropriately, and I already know that is going to cost me a fair few quid (and as it’s not just straight translation, it won’t be a one off payment).

It would be a smart move for someone to start a translation service that caters for the creativity aspect in conveying what the original movie intends to convey in its language but the question is are western distributors willing to pay for a better service even if it’s offered.

Personally, as a business man as much as a creator, I think there is by releasing anything in a different language with a straight, by the numbers translation, you’re kind of throwing sand in the wind. It can be hard to build mainstream love for a franchise if a large chunk of your audience can only understand half the movie/book/comic.


I think it was done in the 80’s with Burton and Frank Miller.


There’s no reason not to try making Batman fun again, except fear.

Which he would obviously approve of.


Hmmm, I’m not quite sure that’s all 60s Batman’s fault… comics were a kids market. 50’s TV Superman is very kitch. 60’s Batman was almost the Deadpool of it’s time, making a joke of the genre itself.

It took a number of steps to move it from there to where it is - 80’s mature comics, Donner’s heartfelt Supes, Burton’s Bats… Even the Batman cartoon… then you had a short backslide before Blade showed comics could be harder edged and things began really evolving.


Yeah I agree and I wasn’t really placing any particular blame but it’s just one of those elements we may not look at. I don’t know if Disney have been cheap here or have been let down, I’ve not seen the same complaint for their other films. It is easy though to take it all at face value and just say ‘they don’t like sci-fi in China’ - when in fact the release date was awful and everyone was driving home for holidays or the translation was shit.

Knowing the UK market well the weather is a massive element. If it is a hot and sunny summer day nobody wants to go to the cinema. Doesn’t matter what you’re showing, if it’s in June it doesn’t matter if it’s in the evening as the sun stays up until 10-11pm and there’s a BBQ to have.

Your other point is spot on, we see it in the other direction with manga translation, some is barely functional, the best is able to convey jokes and emotion very well. I had some of these battles in my last job with software translations rather than people doing it.


I don’t think Frank Miller’s YO and TDKR had any pop culture cachet outside of the comics industry. The average man on the street wouldn’t have known who Frank Miller was or what the TDKR was. But he would have remembered Adam West with a can of shark repellent.

I had considered Burton’s Batman films, but even those were kind of campy and silly in their own way, and the two Scumacher sequels even more so.

I think Nolan’s films (and Singers X-Men films to a lesser degree) were the big game changers in how superheroes were perceived by Joe Sixpack.


Yeah, I think the Batman and the X-Men animated series primed a generation to take superheroes more seriously, and it’s not a coincidence that the Nolan films and X-Men films took off when the kids that watched those were teenagers and young adults.

Blade is kind of an odd one, though, because I don’t think most people knew it was based on a Marvel Comic at the time, and a lot still don’t. The films were pure action horror and rode the pop culture vampire wave of the 90s.


That’s entirely possible, but now Marvel have the rights again, it’s something they could fix.

He’s unlikely to be a Netflix series. The Fox deal is partly to do with creating a new, on-demand outlet for Marvel/Disney’s IP.

But he could lead the charge for their on-demand service.


Completely agree, and it could possibly be a combination.

It does seem like something that will become more and more important. Google can translate words but context and meaning is something that needs a human touch. @Tom_Punk was/is working on a Spanish - English translation and I wish I had more time to put in, but being able to read Spanish and write a sentence given ten minutes is very different than following and translating spoken word and all the local knowledge that comes with it. I was gobsmacked by how diffucult I found it to keep up. And I quickly realized that even if I was handed the script I’m going to be way off a lot of the time. Not to mention the different localized versions of language in different countries. Language is so fluid a thing that knowing the words can mean next to nothing in practice.


I still am. Just haven’t been able to work on it in months due to school.
Got the first episode done though.


I was more thinking of how the studios began to look at comic book adaptations. I think it was a big step in greenlighting more adaptations. Again, there was back slides, Spawn for instance, but you can trace the movement of how we got here despite them, I think.


Yes and it can be noticed that some of the best efforts use creatives in the translation role, even if using help to convert from the functional translation to the artistic.

For the recent Netflix movie Okja, Bong Joon-Ho employed Jon Ronson to do the English screenplay. He can’t speak Korean but is a very fine writer.


Good. I’d love to watch it and cry over how bad I am at Spanish in action… I do have a band rehersal space and studio access now though so I could definitely still help with the theme tune over the summer. It would fit in much easier to my dayjob so I could ACTUALLY get it done.


Definitely. I think it’s something creators need to really embrace. If their vision means a lot to them in one language, it should be just as important in all others, so ego needs to take a back seat to those who can steer things in the right direction and get that vision across the way it should.

And business wise it makes sense to put out a product that as many people as possible can actually understand.


The last 50 years have just been Batman tripping balls on Scarecrow’s fear gas. He stops being fun, Dick leaves to do his own thing, the next Robin dies, he keeps fighting his best friend Superman for some reason, etc. All his worst fears…


Bats doesn’t need to be campy or making quips though to exist in a non-campy world of quips. He can be the straight man, but in a cool way rather than the butt of jokes.

Watchmen’s not a funny book, but the funniest moment comes from the least humorous character.

It can be done.