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Superheroes have played a huge part in pop culture ever since they first started being drawn in pages. The first superhero comics came out in the late 30s and 40s. Superman from the DC comics, is regarded as the "first" superhero. Since coming out in 1938, Superman has become a widely known figure in pop culture today and is still continuing his legacy in movies in the DCEU. Superman is the classic superhero. An alien with special powers, god-like strength, and a hero who beats up the bad guys. It's no wonder that the kids of that era would look up to Superman. After his first appearances, Superman grew in popularity and has never ceased to amaze, even after years of being created.
The second most widely known superhero can be given to Captain America. Born out of the Marvel comics during WW2, Captain America was once a scrawny kid from Brooklyn, until the help of a new serum made him into a super soldier! He then became a hero as he helped the US take down its enemies, most known is his take down of Hitler. This figure became so popular because he appealed to the time period. Created during the Second World War, he became an American symbol, showing the ferocity of America, and encouraging people to join the fight. It inspired children during a dark time during American history, and gave them something to look up to. That's why he has become such a legacy, not only in pop culture but in American history as a successful propaganda for WW2.
Comic books continued to grow in popularity as the two most dominant comic book franchises, Marvel and DC, kept creating more and more comic books and new characters. Each franchise branched out and created new series featuring more and more new heroes. Such as the X-Men franchise in the Marvel universe. These attracted more and more fans as the years went by.
Comic books became a popular item during the late 70s and 80s as video games began to also gain popularity. The superheroes were soon able to be played in arcades and entertainment systems. It became a staple enjoyment by kids and teens alike. We also saw TV shows centered around superheroes begin to pop up as televisions advanced. Many of the kids during this time who read and watched superheroes during their childhood, grew up with many role models. These kids are what make up the majority of superhero fans now in present time. Their love for these comics never stopped as comics kept going, and starting in the early 2000s to present day, superhero movies started to take speed.
The most prominent comic franchises, Marvel and DC, both created movie franchises, so they could create movies based on their beloved comic books characters. Marvel's first superhero movie was Iron Man, which came out in 2008. It was a very successful movie, and kicked off a long running cinematic universe of movies, which is still going on to this day. Iron Man got three movies, Captain America soon following with three movies, and Thor also having three movies. Spiderman also got his own movies, and some solo movies of more superheroes have come out in recent years. But most importantly, The Avengers, a comic consisting of all the most well known superheroes in Marvel, was made into movies as well. Including all the characters listed above and characters from all over the universe as well. These movies are ongoing as well, and the latest movie, Avengers: Infinity War definitely stirred fans all over the world. It is difficult to say what the franchise will do in the future, but one thing is for certain. It has become one of the most popular movie cinematic universes in the world, gaining attention from millions of fans.
The DCEU (or DC Extended Universe) is also a major cinematic universe for the DC comics. The first official movie born out of this franchise was Man of Steel, which came out in 2013. Now there were some Batman movies before Man of Steel, but the DCEU was not official branded during their release. Although the DCEU has released some movies over the years such as Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Wonder Woman, fans say it doesn't compare to the complexity and success of Marvel. Now, regard that this is my opinion and the opinions of others. Many people still love and cherish the DCEU in its entirety. However, it can be said that the DCEU is lacking when it comes to consistency and an organized time plot. Many of the movies have gotten bad scores and some have criticized its bad writing and potholes. This may lead to it being overshadowed by the Marvel franchise. But, some films of the DCEU manage to rise above that shadow. Movies such as Wonder Woman and The Dark Knight have given the DCEU great reviews and have shown to be wonderful superhero movies. Again, the DCEU is still growing and is in the process of creating new movies, so we can't say what the future of the DCEU may be. But, whatever happens, it still continues to cater to millions of fans around the world.
These movies and many more are what strengthens the superhero theme in pop culture to this day. Even though comic books are still being read by thousands, movies are a new media to present the same characters to a new audience. The fans of this generation (just like the fans before them) have grown up with these characters and will continue to watch and enjoy the characters in their whole. Overall, superheroes have had a great influence on not only children and fans but on pop culture in a whole, and in many cases it has influenced parts of history.