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The Avengers is a team of Marvel Comics superheroes created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, which originally consisted of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp. Throughout the course of the comic book series, many other superheroes have joined and left the team. In 2012, The Avengers saw a major resurgence in popularity following the release of a live-action film adaptation directed by Joss Whedon.
The Avengers made their debut in the comic The Avengers #1 published in September of 1963. The first volume of the series ran until September of 1996. Volume 2 was released in November of that year, culminating in November of 1997. The third volume was launched by writer Kurt Busiek and penciler George Perez in February of 1998, which ran until August of 2004. The fourth volume of the series debuted in July of 2010 and ended in January of 2013. The team has also been featured in several animated series, including The Avengers: United They Stand, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, as well as the animated films Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2 and Next Avengers.
Live-Action Film Adaptation
On April 11th, 2012, the live-action film Marvel’s The Avengers premiered, which features the superheroes Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (played by Chris Evans), Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) who battle against the villain Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) to save Earth.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, with many citing its accuracy to the comic book source material. The film set a box office record for the biggest opening weekend in North America and was the fastest film to gross $1 billion worldwide. With a worldwide total gross of over $1.46 billion, Marvel’s The Avengers ranks as the third highest-grossing film of all time, following James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction film Avatar and 1997 disaster film Titanic. A sequel to be written and directed by Whedon is scheduled for release on May 1st, 2015. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes ranks the film with a 92% approval rating.
The release date for the sequel of the the critically acclaimed and economically successful movie was announced to be May 1, 2015. In San Diego Comic Con 2013, at the end of the Marvel Studios panel in Hall H, the title for the film was unexpectedly announced by director Joss Whedon to be “Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron”.
Following the release of the 2012 film, Marvel’s The Avengers became frequently referenced in image macros and animated GIFs on various Internet humor sites, including Memebase, 9gag and Tumblr. As of July 2013, a Facebook page titled “The Avengers” has accumulated upwards of 6.7 million likes and the @Avengers Twitter feed has garnered over 306,000 followers.
Several fan pages have been created for members of the superhero team, including one for Tony Stark with more than 210,000 likes and a page for Agent Phil Coulson with upwards of 2,000 likes. A Facebook page titled “Avengers Fangirls Assemble” has garnered more than 1,800 fans. Avengers fan art can be found on Tumblr under the tag “avengers” and there are over 130,000 Avengers-related fanart on the art-sharing website DeviantArt.
On November 25th, 2011, DeviantArtist Kevin Bolk uploaded an image titled “Avengers Booty Ass-emble,” which parodied a promo poster (shown below, left) for the film with the male characters posed in sexually provocative positions (shown below, right). In the image description, Bolk revealed that he was inspired to create the drawing after noticing that all the men were posed in heroic stances while women were placed in “booty shot” poses in promotional art for the film.
On February 23rd, 2012, Redditor ProfObladee submitted the parody image to the /r/pics subreddit, where it gained upwards of 21,000 up votes and 1,000 comments prior to being archived. On May 10th, 2012, The Daily Dot published an interview with Bolk.
Following the release of the 2012 film Marvel’s The Avengers, a fandom arose surrounding Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the villain Loki. In April of 2012, a Quickmeme page titled “Loki” was created, which features photographs of Hiddleston that can be edited with custom captions (shown below).
On April 4th, a Facebook page titled “I Love Tom Hiddleston (Loki Page)” was launched, accumulating more than 15,000 likes in the first 16 months. On Tumblr, several Loki-related fan blogs have been launched, including “F Yeah Loki,” “Loki Lovers” and “Loki’s Monster Crotch.” On July 21st, 2013, Hiddleston appeared as Loki at the San Diego Comic-Con and took over comedian Chris Hardwick’s panel to address the audience (shown below).
The Hawkeye Initiative
The Hawkeye Initiative is a digital art meme in which artists replace female superheroes shown in impossible body positions with the male the Avengers superhero Hawkeye (example shown below).
Science Bros refer to the slash pairing of the characters Bruce Banner (The Hulk) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) as portrayed by Hollywood actors Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. in Marvel’s The Avengers.