For many decades, the comic book superhero has captured the imagination of people all over the world. This in turn has inspired many great movies, TV shows and comic stories.
While the concept of the gifted hero fighting against the odds to protect the innocent has long been a part of many cultures around the world, the modern superhero genre really began in the 1930s in the US with the rise of comics.
The first comic was published in 1932, but it was the 1938 launch of Action Comics, which featured the debut of Superman that really kick-started the superhero appeal. Since then, superheroes have proliferated across many areas of our media and culture.
Superhero video games
The amazing powers of superheroes and their penchant for fighting evil have long made them the ideal subjects for video games. As gaming technology has become increasingly more sophisticated, game developers have been able to find new ways to represent superheroes on screen.
In 1986, Ocean Software launched the first-ever superhero game, Batman, which was well received by critics and fans. However, the superhero video gaming genre really began to blossom with the 1989 release of Batman: The Video Game by Sunsoft, a 2D scroller released on Nintendo NES.
In comparison,1990s superhero games were relatively disappointing, including 1997’s Spawn: The Eternal and Superman 64 which came out in 1999.
However, the new millennium brought a new wave of superhero games, some of which have gone down as all-time classics, including Spiderman 1 and Spiderman 2 and Rocksteady’s critically acclaimed Batman Arkham series. As movie studios increasingly mined the Marvel and DC universes for superhero inspiration, there has been a proliferation of games that put the player in the role of the superhero, including Marvel’s Spiderman, Deadpool and the entertaining Lego series of superhero games.
Superheroes and casinos
In many ways, the evolution of the online casino gaming world has mirrored that of the video gaming revolution, and as the 21st century progresses, the two genres are moving ever closer together.
Early online slot machines were simple representations of the basic three-reel slot games that have long been a staple in the casinos of Vegas, but as gaming technology developed, slot game producers were able to incorporate more video game elements into their slots.
In 2021, slot game development is an extremely sophisticated industry. Just as casino operators are competing to offer the most competitive bonuses, game developers have been pushing the boundaries of what is considered possible for a slot games. Inevitably, as superheroes have started to dominate the movie theaters, casino operators have also been keen to sprinkle a little of the Marvel and DC magic over their own products.
Some game development studios have been able to sign licensing deals with the big entertainment corporations, enabling them to use superheroes and superhero scenarios in their slot games. The result has been an explosion of slick 3D superhero slots.
Playtech has been at the forefront of recent superhero slots development, with such titles as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Other developers have followed suit, providing slots gaming fans with the chance to play games themed around their favorite superhero.
Advertising with superheroes
Tapping into the spirit of the time is pretty much the essence of advertising and with superheroes being so consistently popular, it was inevitable that the world of the superhero would cross over into marketing.
Over the years, superheroes have been used to sell everything from power tools and razors to potato chips and drain cleaners as advertisers and companies have struggled to incorporate the concept of shifting products into the superhero universe.
One of the most bizarre uses of the superhero genre in advertising came in the late 1970s when dessert manufacturing company Hostess employed various superheroes in a series of single page comic stories, all of which were themed around the company’s products: mostly fruit pies. The fact that the superheroes were never allowed to be shown eating the pies made it even more unusual. The results ranged from the bewildering to the frankly horrifying!
The world’s appetite for superheroes shows no sign of slowing down. As movie studios and TV executives continue to dig deep into the world of comics to find ever more obscure superheroes that can be turned into a blockbuster franchise, there has never been a better time to be a fan of superheroes and the imaginary worlds that they inhabit for our entertainment.