voa慢速英语:Batman, Spider-Man Face a Growing Crowd ...

发表时间:2008-11-26内容来源:VOA英语学习网

Batman, Spider-Man Face a Growing Crowd in Comics, Graphic Novels

VOICE ONE:

Welcome to This is America in VOA special english. I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:


"Incredible Hulk" in July at the Comic-Con 2008 convention in San Diego, California
And I'm Barbara Klein. This week on our program, we take a break from the news of the real world for a look at the world of comic books.

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VOICE ONE:

Comics use drawings and words to tell stories that can be funny or serious, or a little of both. Comic books grew out of comic strips in newspapers.

One of the most successful early comic characters in America was Mickey Dugan, better known as "the Yellow Kid." He wore a yellow coat that was too big for him.

He was a character in a comic strip in New York called "Hogan’s Alley" by Richard Felton Outcault. It provided social commentary on the problems of cities.

The Yellow Kid first appeared in eighteen ninety-five. The character became so popular that it was also used to sell products and to create stage shows. Over the years, many movies and TV shows have been based on stories and characters that first appeared in comic form.

VOICE TWO:

Adventure stories in comic books were extremely popular during the nineteen thirties -- the period known as the Golden Age of Comics.

Famous characters created during that time include the science fiction hero Flash Gordon and the detective Dick Tracy. Others from the golden age are the medieval adventurer Prince Valiant and the mysterious, masked Phantom.

The nineteen thirties also gave us a superhero who came to Earth from the planet Krypton.

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VOICE ONE:


Superman is the secret identity of Clark Kent, a newspaper reporter for the Daily Planet in the big city of Metropolis.

Superman became a hero of comic fans as he used his strength, X-ray eyes and ability to fly to fight for "truth, justice and the American way." Not bad for someone who jumped from the imaginations of two teenage boys in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were seventeen when they created Superman in nineteen thirty-three. They sold the rights to the character to the DC Comics company for one hundred thirty dollars.

That might have seemed like a lot to them at the time. But it was nothing compared to all the money made since then from Superman comics, radio and TV shows, movies and toys.

Finally, in nineteen seventy-five, they threatened a legal fight to get more of a reward for their creation. DC Comics agreed to pay each of them twenty thousand dollars a year for life. And it agreed to identify Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as the creators of Superman in all future printed materials and films.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

In nineteen thirty-nine, six years after Superman, another hero arrived. Batman was the creation of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger.

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These days, Batman is presented as a complex character with a dark side. But a lot of people remember him as a simple hero. He dresses in a bat suit to hide his identity as he fights evil-doers like the Joker and the Riddler in Gotham City.

Batman does not have superpowers. But he does have lots of money to support himself. Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne. He saw his wealthy parents killed during a robbery. That experience led him to a life of fighting CRIme.

VOICE ONE:


Spider-Man first appeared in nineteen sixty-two. Spider-Man is the secret identity of Peter Parker.

As the original story told it, he was an average teenager in high school until he got bitten by a radioactive spider in a laboratory. He developed great strength and the ability to shoot webs from his wrists. He can climb and swing between tall buildings and catch CRIminals with his sticky webs.

Peter Parker is a young photographer for the Daily Bugle newspaper in New York. If this were real life, he would surely have wanted to be at the White House last Monday. President Bush presented one of this year's National Medal of Arts to Stan Lee, the former head of Marvel Comics. He helped give us Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and others.

This was his introduction at the ceremony:


SPEAKER: "The 2008 National Medal of Arts to Stan Lee, for his groundbreaking work as one of America's most prolific storytellers, recreating the American comic book. His complex plots and humane superheroes celebrate courage, honesty and the importance of helping the less fortunate, reflecting America's inherent goodness."

VOICE TWO:

Americans growing up in the nineteen fifties watched Superman on television.

(SOUND)

But the special effects needed to realistically show him flying through the air were not developed until the seventies. The first movie in the "Superman" series was released in nineteen seventy-eight. It was a huge success, with two hundred eighty-nine million dollars in ticket sales at theaters worldwide. And it led to other movies based on comic book superheroes.

"The Dark Knight," the latest of six Batman films, came out this year. The Internet Movie Database lists it as the fourth biggest film of all time, with almost one billion dollars in worldwide ticket sales.

Fans of Spider-Man, however, could point out that their hero beat all the other Batman films at the box office. Together his three movies took in more than two billion dollars. Yeah, Spidey rules.

VOICE ONE:

Last year, comic specialty shops in North America ordered an estimated four hundred thirty million dollars in English-language comics. The Web site comichron.com, a resource for comics research, says that was a nine percent increase from the year before.

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