The business of superheroics

A new podcast from the Wall Street Journal is a good look at the story of the MCU

The business of superheroics
Image: Andrew Liptak 

Something that I've paid a good amount of attention to over the course of my career as a journalist has been the rise of Marvel Studios and how it's radically changed cinema. It's a fascinating story that sometimes gets overlooked because of the subject matter, but it's worth paying attention to because of the attention that the films draw, and the impact that it's had on the movie business – especially recently with the ongoing writers and actors strike in Hollywood.

The Wall Street Journal's Ben Fritz recently released a four-part podcast that is well worth a listen: With Great Power: The Rise of Superhero Cinema. Fritz wrote an excellent book about the modern movie industry, The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies, and over the course of the four episodes, he delves into the story behind Marvel Studios: how Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad bought Marvel comics, how the company licensed out some of it characters, decided to make its own movies, and how it became the king of superhero movies.

With Great Power, Part 1: Origin Story - The Journal. - WSJ Podcasts
Marvel Studios is the most dominant film studio on the planet today. But 25 years ago, it was bankrupt and selling furniture for cash. Its astonishing revival begins with two men: Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad. Industry insiders like comics writer Brian Michael Bendis and film producer Amy Pascal reco…

The whole thing is well worth a listen: it's a good, high-level overview of the story of Marvel, and it definitely had me wanting more than four episodes. I am looking forward to the upcoming book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Gavin Edwards,  Dave Gonzales, and  Joanna Robinson, which comes out in October.