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Site of the Week: Superhero Hype!

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Who could have predicted that somewhere between Hugh Jackman and Adam Brody, comic books would somehow become, well, cool? ComingSoon.net might have — in 1999 the movie website spun off SpiderManHype, a destination wholly devoted to tracking news and updates for the film adaptation of America’s favorite teenaged webslinger. “After the movie hit theaters,” says Editor-in-Chief Mirko Parlevliet, “we decided to expand and cover all superhero movie and TV shows based on comic books and graphic novels — a genre that we saw becoming more and more popular.”

And thus, Superhero Hype! was born, a website committed to the transition from line art to live action. But how did a sub-genre of Science Fiction become so popular that it can now support an entire site devoted to its breaking news? “The general public has really grown to love the properties of comic book adaptations,” explains Parlevliet. “I think one of the contributing factors is that filmmakers and studios are making movies and TV shows that people can relate to more. These heroes have problems, flaws, and other characteristics that people deal with every day.” Plus, he adds, “people love to see popcorn special effects projects.”

Superhero Hype!’s motto is “Calling All Heroes,” which, more than a catchy (and appropriate) slogan explains how users are meant to interact with the site. Two of the most popular features are the message boards for upcoming movie news, and the fan review section. Rather than enlist a critic to pass judgment on these films, Parlevliet believes the reviewing should rest in the hands of the people who really care about the genre. “It’s nice for them to hear positive or negative viewpoints about properties they have grown up with from people in the same boat,” he posits, “instead of hearing what someone has to say who knows (or knew) nothing about the comics or graphic novels.”

But Parlevliet also recognizes that films can and must be an art form into themselves, and as such, certain elements of comics must be left behind for the good of the film. “I think fans these days understand that not everything from comics will be the same in movies,” he says. “They realize that some things need to be changed or altered to allow the property to come to life. Studios also now know that they need to please the fans as well as the general moviegoing public.” It’s a tricky balance both fans and studios have to strike — one that makes the importance of having a dedicated forum such as Superhero Hype!’s all the more apparent.

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