Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
  1. #1
    Fantastic Member Jon-El's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    492

    Default Popularity of DC Superheroes Outside the U.S.?

    The lukewarm response to Star Wars in China got me to thinking of comic heroes. What type of popularity do characters like Superman or Batman enjoy in other countries? What about other characters like Green Lantern or the Flash?

  2. #2
    Amazing Member girlverine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    The lukewarm response to Star Wars in China got me to thinking of comic heroes. What type of popularity do characters like Superman or Batman enjoy in other countries? What about other characters like Green Lantern or the Flash?
    As a non-American, I have to say it took me a really long time to get into DC Comics. Part of that is because no where in my local area sold any of them (besides Batman, who hardly coutns because... he's Batman).

    But, in the case of some characters, it was hard for me to be interested in them because they were SO patrioritc, and so Pro-American, that they felt like they weren't targeted towards me at all. I'm talking mostly about Superman ('Truth Justice and the American Way') and Wonder Woman, whose costume was the Stars and Stripes.

    In fact, those two were particularly egregious to me because I prefer to view Superman and Wonder Woman as global characters, so seeing them tied down to a specific country like that was... frustrating.

    I've come around on character ssince then, but I admit: extreme patriotism doesn't appeal to me.
    (It took the MCU for me to even start liking Captain America.... and even then, I'm not a big comic Cap fan.)

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,283

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    The lukewarm response to Star Wars in China got me to thinking of comic heroes. What type of popularity do characters like Superman or Batman enjoy in other countries? What about other characters like Green Lantern or the Flash?
    In Italy, the only superheroes which have been published more or less uninterruptedly for 40 years (albeit with different publishers) are the Marvel ones. DC has been published by several different houses, but it never reached Marvel's popularity. I'd say that the most popular DC hero is Batman (of course), followed by Superman. Most of the remaining DC characters are being published right now, but relatively few people care (except for longtime readers, of course). I think that some of the Vertigo classic characters (Sandman, Swamp Thing) are reprinted with a relatively better regularity than most superheroes (it's easier to find Sandman rather than All-Star Superman). Watchmen and V for Vendetta are constantly reprinted. Image is published by different houses, some titles (i. e. Walking Dead) are very popular. Movies played a role, too: most of Marvel movies had a decent success, and this increased their popularity among kids. The same could be said, I think, for Batman videogames. Nobody gives a damn about Snyder's Man of Steel.
    (By the way: Batman v Superman, Italian style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T802ywNiYA ).

    Please note that the recognizability of a character doesn't automatically translate into good sales. The best-selling superhero characters in Italy sell approximately 12'000 copies. Superhero sales are decent, but they are almost negligibile in comparison to other comic books which are published in Italy. In particular Mickey Mouse (Disney comics have been written and drawn by Italian artists for 50+ years, often with excellent results - sometimes Carl Barks-y level - even if there have been a decline in quality in the latest decades) and Bonelli comics. Bonelli publishes something like 15-20 monthly series, and some of them sell something between 120'000 and 200'000 copies. Generally speaking, the quality in Bonelli comics is higher than most superhero books and they cost less (4$ each issue, 100 pages, no ads, generally good art and writing: here is an example
    http://www.fumettologica.it/wp-conte...organlost1.jpg )
    (most of Bonelli comics are black and white).

    I don't know US comic shops that well, but I think that in most Italian shops the choice is relatively larger - several relatively unknown BDs, mangas and historietas can be easily found in most shops, or even in news-stands, and the same could be said for the most well-known European talents. For example, Moebius and Jodorowsky are very well-known even if I don't know about their sales. Asterix sells a lot.
    Last edited by Myskin; 01-16-2016 at 06:32 AM.

  4. #4
    Inquisitive Dzetoun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    1,908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    The lukewarm response to Star Wars in China got me to thinking of comic heroes. What type of popularity do characters like Superman or Batman enjoy in other countries? What about other characters like Green Lantern or the Flash?
    That is a very interesting question, and may be harder to tease out than you might expect. I assume you are including movies? Judging by gross returns, I guess the answer as far as movies is "pretty popular, but not as popular as in North America and the UK."

    Which, of course, raises the issue that "other countries" covers a lot of territory, literally and figuratively. Once again, judging by sales on both movies and comics, the popularity in the core English-speaking world appears to be proportional to population. Canadian and Australian figures are sometimes a little hard to come by, especially for comics, as Canadian numbers are sometimes rolled into the USA totals and sometimes not and Australian numbers go unreported (and sometimes journalists get confused by the fact that both countries use "dollars" that are not "US dollars"). But for the UK, sales of US comics are about 20% of those for the USA, which is proportional to population.

  5. #5
    Incredible Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    833

    Default

    The Flash and Arrow tv shows are really popular in China.

    On Youku (our Youtube/Netflix), for American tv shows, The Flash season 1 is the highest-rated and the second most watched season of an American tv show (behind Agents of SHIELD season 1), and the pilot has over 122 million views. Arrow season 1 is the fourth highest rated and the third most watched.
    Last edited by SmokeMonster; 01-16-2016 at 07:31 AM.

  6. #6
    BANNED
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    6,503

    Default

    I'd say there are some characters who are well known here simply because who they are, more like cultural icons than characters who still have stories being published. (I wouldn't be all the surprised to learn that most people here think American comics are a dead medium whose had a resurgence thanks to TV and movies.)

    And I kinda blame this status on DC's marketing strategy when it comes to their books, because they only tend to advertise their stuff within their own books creating a downward spiral only slowed by word of mouth from fans talking to non fans.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    2,206

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    The lukewarm response to Star Wars in China got me to thinking of comic heroes. What type of popularity do characters like Superman or Batman enjoy in other countries? What about other characters like Green Lantern or the Flash?
    In China the MCU is very popular. The lack of popularity of SW isn't surprising since they never got the original movie since they were still emerging from the Cultural Revolution then. This is also the same reason why TFs is kind of popular there since it's one of the foreign imports to first appear after the country when it slowly embraced capitalism during the era of Deng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    Please note that the recognizability of a character doesn't automatically translate into good sales. The best-selling superhero characters in Italy sell approximately 12'000 copies. Superhero sales are decent, but they are almost negligibile in comparison to other comic books which are published in Italy. In particular Mickey Mouse (Disney comics have been written and drawn by Italian artists for 50+ years, often with excellent results - sometimes Carl Barks-y level - even if there have been a decline in quality in the latest decades)
    Do people in Europe not know about Don Rosa?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Rosa
    Last edited by Bruce Wayne; 01-16-2016 at 08:29 AM.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,283

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post

    Do people in Europe not know about Don Rosa?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Rosa
    Sure, in Italy he's pretty well-known and very popular among Disney readers. But he is just one author. The main all-Italian Disney comic book began to be published in 1949 (even if the original comics, which included the first American Mickey Mouse stories, appeared first in 1932), and it has been published uninterruptedly since. The main book is basically a weekly anthology (100 pages, if I remember it well), and it saw the debut of dozens of authors who wrote and drew hundreds of stories. Without including countless spin-offs, special books, etc.. The franchise is very alive right now (the main book sells something like 120'000 copies each week, if I remember it well). In fact, some of the most recent Italian books have been translated from Italian to English - this one, for example:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mickey-Mouse-T.../dp/1608865622

    Some of the aforementioned artists created complex sagas, sometimes with vaguely adult themes (no sex, but for example most of classic Scrooge McDuck stories focused on a dark satire of modern life and capitalism), and some of them are among the greatest Disney authors ever. Like Romano Scarpa
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romano_Scarpa
    and Giorgio Cavazzano
    https://www.google.it/search?q=cavaz..._AUIBigB&dpr=2

    (Cavazzano's career is not limited to Disney).

    In the latest 20 decades I've not read many Disney books, and as far as I know the stories have become very softened, even if apparently there has been a reprise in 2013. There have been some experimentations, too, like this short-lived, but very well-done hard-boiled Mickey book:
    http://pkhack.altervista.org/mm/cover_0g.jpg

    or this very successful and beloved take on Paperinik (Duck Avenger... a superhero identity of Donald's):
    http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/...na_48a_001.jpg

    or Fantomius, a gentleman thief whose stories take place in the 1920s:
    http://cdn.lospaziobianco.it/wp-cont...-copertina.jpg

    and a Goofy spin-off where he is a journalist in 1930s.
    http://topoinfo.altervista.org/files...llection/7.jpg

    But, as I said, there are countless Disney comics in Italy. This saga, focused on a cyberpunk version of Mickey against the Phantom Blot, is a very recent and popular one. This is just an example, there are dozens of stories I've never heard of.
    http://www.paninicomics.it/image/ima...=1415724788913



    EDIT P.S: Now that I've re-read my post, I've forgotten several details: Don Rosa was published in a separate series, entirely focused on Scrooge, and it included Barks too; and, especially in the first years, the main Disney book included reprints of American stories too, including Barks and Paul Murry (but nobody really liked Murry, and his stories are frankly inferior to Scarpa's).

    Several Disney anthologies included Disney stories created by Brazilian writers, too. And one last curious details: some Italian stories of the 1970s were written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Italian artists (rather weird stories to be honest, and generally not particularly good ones).
    Last edited by Myskin; 01-17-2016 at 03:31 AM.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    2,206

    Default

    Wow that kinda remind me of the stuff the Disney Afternoon use to have like with Goofy, Darkwing Duck and Chip N Dale.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,283

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post
    Wow that kinda remind me of the stuff the Disney Afternoon use to have like with Goofy, Darkwing Duck and Chip N Dale.
    Well, Darkwing Duck may vaguely resemble Paperinik/Duck Avenger.... But I think that the best comparison should with The Simpsons.

    Basically, the world of Disney characters in Italy is a massive universe with a very loose continuity (which constantly contradicts itself, but nobody really cares: only the single stories count) and hundreds of recognizable characters, and sooner or later all of them had their own story. Name a character: there is a story about it. There have been stories about Bum Bum Ghigno (Gyro Gearloose's boorish neighbour: https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1159/8...1a6f0ebde9.jpg ),
    Magica De Spell's family
    (http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/...path-prefix=it )
    and even a 'Sex and the city' cycle of stories entirely focused on female ducks - minus the sex, of course (http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/...path-prefix=it).
    After 70 years, they are part of Italian families' DNA, as well as Bonelli comics and Japanese cartoons (which have been extremely popular since the 1970s).

    I think that the secret behind Disney characters' enduring popularity in Italy depends on the fact that most of the best stories are perfectly readable by kids and adults as well. The kids love the stories, the adults love the dark satire, the references, etc.. I 've always thought that if DC or Marvel had licensed their characters as Disney did, the general quality would have benefitted a lot. But maybe I am wrong: even if some costumed superheroes have many fans, it's pretty difficult to take them completely seriously. Not casually, one of the most popular characters is Rat-Man, a screwball parody of superhero stories (which includes pretty long and complex sagas, too)
    https://www.google.it/search?q=coper..._AUIBigB&dpr=2
    Last edited by Myskin; 01-16-2016 at 05:07 PM.

  11. #11
    Fantastic Member Jon-El's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    492

    Default

    Thanks for all the responses! Very informative. I'm surprised that Batman resonates with so many.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    2,283

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon-El View Post
    Thanks for all the responses! Very informative. I'm surprised that Batman resonates with so many.
    You shouldn't... I mean, it's pretty obvious if you think about it. The movies and the videogames are very famous, and they certainly had a role in making the character popular.
    Also, you should think that there are tons of extremely well-done OGNs and standalone issues which every occasional reader could enjoy. In the 1990s, when Batman was not regularly published, Italian anthology magazines published some of the most important Batman-related miniseries. DKR, Arkham Asylum; I distinctly remember this one, too:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...tice_cover.jpg
    Even in the following years, when some DC characters were published more regularly, Batman could always count on standalone OGNs, like this one:
    http://www.comicsreview.co.uk/nowrea...ight-cries.jpg

    There is no DC character comparable to Batman in terms of readability and possibilities of use. Superman - whom I personally like more than Batman - has always been secondary. And Wonder Woman is basically non existent.

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    6,133

    Default

    My family is from Colombia. I saw The Dark Knight there when it came out. I'd say popular media embraces the iconic characters, Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman. One friend there even sported a Green Lantern shirt (although his favorites were the X-Men). As far as comic-book reading culture, I can't say I've seen it at all. It's underground enough in the US (relative to what mainstream success would look like) so I don't think it's a regular commercial facet at all there. Same with Turkey, where I have many friends. When I visited, my 20-something friend and her high school age little brother would watch the Flash and Arrow every week. So they're aware. But again, do any of the youth there read comic books? I highly doubt it.

  14. #14

    Default

    DC has no comics distribution where I live (northern Europe), and I believe that the only Marvel title that's available on magazine stands is a translated version of Spider-Man. Arrow is showing on the equivalent of network TV, but I don't think it has much of a fanbase. Batman, Superman and their main supporting cast are of course household names, but I'm fairly sure the average person wouldn't be able to name Green Lantern, The Flash or Wonder Woman from a picture.

    Strangely enough, the one super hero-esque comic book with a cult following and decent sales is The Phantom!
    Last edited by TheNewFiftyForum; 01-17-2016 at 04:16 PM.
    As of now:
    All-Star Batman, Batman, Doom Patrol, The Flash, The Fix, The Flintstones, Green Valley, Hadrian's Wall, The Hellblazer, Moonshine, New Super-Man, Suicide Squad, Superman, 'Tec, Unfollow

  15. #15
    Amazing Member ultrarider7's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Everyone and their grandmothers know about Superman and Batman around here in Bolivia. Flash got really really popular with the TV Show and Wonder Woman is popular even tho the people I have spoken to (that are not comic book shop owners) don't know a thing about her beyond that she is Wonder Woman. DC comics are not hard to find here but they are very very pricy, the animated movies like Justice League War, Throne of Atlantis, All Star Superman are somewhat popular since everytime I am buying a comic some people always get those, not many read comics and if they do they always go for Civil War, Killing Joke or Death of Superman.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •