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Author Topic: Who can save Superman now? KURT BUSIEK!  (Read 148312 times)
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #216 on: October 28, 2005, 01:58:17 AM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
There wasn't strong continuity in those stories, though.  A retcon doesn't mean much when continuity doesn't mean much, where consequences don't follow much from one story to the next.  I alluded to that somewhat when I mentioned not counting Elseworlds.


Yimminy, the first two years of Siegel and Shuster's Superman compared to Elseworlds?  If those years aren't "canon" then fanboys of whatever era have lost their way...
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #217 on: October 28, 2005, 01:59:38 AM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
But not saying something can deaden perfectly good stories down the road.


If I were writing the stories, I'd be more concerned with how they work now, and not with whether not referring to stories I didn't care for might have an effect on someone else's stories down the road.  If whoever's writing the story down the road finds it useful to refer back to something that suits their story, they can go ahead.

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Suppose, hypothetically speaking, Superman wants to call out Wonder Woman because she murdered a bleeding nose telepath.  If his past killing is unmentioned as part of Supes and WW hashing it out, it's probably not going to be a terribly strong story.


Why not?  I think I got through all the stuff in THUNDERBOLTS with Hawkeye taking his no-killee-anyone rule seriously, without referring back to anyone Hawkeye's killed.  I don't think it weakened the story -- I think that bringing up the various deaths that are on Hawkeye's conscience and how and why each of them fit his current philosophy would muddy the story, and not change his philosophy any.

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If he states he's never killed anyone, a lot of folks would cry "mind control -- not again!"


I don't think it would be a lot of folks, even if it was germane to the story to have him say such a thing.  But if Superman thinks it's wrong to kill, then, "You killed someone before you came to that concluion" is not a statement that grants other people one freebie.

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And if you simply don't tell that story, then that fundamental isn't really used.


I don't know what that means -- is the only way I can use the concept I outlined by having Superman remonstrate with Wonder Woman over a murder?  I hope not.

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To get to that 'place' where the suspension of disbelief happens, where you're in some other world, I think you need to have some traits that are pretty immutable to latch onto, even if it's a counterpoint to what you're reading.


I think it's possible to do that without needing to refer back to stories in which Superman has killed if I don't want to.

kdb
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #218 on: October 28, 2005, 02:31:26 PM »

I doubt that when Siegel and Shuster were creating the first two years of Superman, they were thinking that it happened in a parallel Earth to the one that their future stories would happen in, or that they were concerned with strong continuity between the stories.  The powers that be long ago deemed those stories to happen in an 'Elseworld' called Earth-2.

As an aside, not having read much of Thunderbolts, the first thing I did when Kurt mentioned it was to do a Google Groups search for "hawkeye thunderbolts", to get a feel for what he might be talking about:
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&q=hawkeye+thunderbolts+&qt_s=Search

The VERY first two summaries I got were from whiners:
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And that Hawkeye/Thunderbolts story is often cited as one of many, many examples
of why tighter editorial control is needed - an article at Quarter Bin pointed

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The continuity of Marvel in general - and THUNDERBOLTS in particular - being what
it is, I was wondering what if there were any issues between Hawkeye and the T
 

If I expand the search a little to "hawkeye thunderbolts killing":
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&q=hawkeye+thunderbolts+killing&qt_s=Search

The first hit I get refers to what I think to be Kurt's story:
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I just read Thunderbolts #22. ... Hawkeye replies with those heroes aren't Avengers and
Avengers don't kill ... West he got pissed at Moon Night for killing Taurus and

and 30 posts mostly talking about everyone the Avengers have killed, and the pros and cons of Hawkeye making that argument in light of that past history.  If you read a story and what comes to mind for a lot of folks is others filling in your blanks with discontinuity, is that a strong storytelling point?  I dunno...  haven't read the story, seen the words, etc.  Most of the reviews I skimmed talk about that issue being mostly one big fight with Hercules.

Perhaps the real lesson here is "searching Usenet was bad, as it's loaded with continuity cops" and I completely missed it.  Smiley  Seriously, Hawkeye having killed someone and not wanting to kill again makes more sense than for Superman.  Hawkeye's a flawed mortal who generally does the right thing and sometimes doesn't...  that's a lot of what makes him "tick" as a character.  Give Hawkeye Superman's powers and he wouldn't work well as either Hawkeye or Superman.  I'd rather see Hawkeye have that argument about killing with Wonder Woman than Superman (at least he'd be alive Smiley ).

Enough disjointment for one post...
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #219 on: October 28, 2005, 04:44:43 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
As an aside, not having read much of Thunderbolts, the first thing I did when Kurt mentioned it was to do a Google Groups search for "hawkeye thunderbolts", to get a feel for what he might be talking about:
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&q=hawkeye+thunderbolts+&qt_s=Search

The VERY first two summaries I got were from whiners:


No, they're not.  The second one is from someone looking for story possibilities to discuss.  He's talking about continuity and how it might affect things, not complaining that this stuff hasn't been mentioned.  The first one isn't complaining that we violated Marvel history, either, but that if the Thunderbolts can manage something, why is it that some other characters in other books can't, the sort of thing that's widespread in shared-universe comics.  [And the answer is that different circumstances create different possibilities, and rescuing one soul from the netherworld whose return has already been prophesied does not mean that all souls in hell can be rescued the same way, or even at all.]

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If I expand the search a little to "hawkeye thunderbolts killing":
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&q=hawkeye+thunderbolts+killing&qt_s=Search

The first hit I get refers to what I think to be Kurt's story:
Quote
I just read Thunderbolts #22. ... Hawkeye replies with those heroes aren't Avengers and
Avengers don't kill ... West he got pissed at Moon Night for killing Taurus and

and 30 posts mostly talking about everyone the Avengers have killed, and the pros and cons of Hawkeye making that argument in light of that past history.  If you read a story and what comes to mind for a lot of folks is others filling in your blanks with discontinuity, is that a strong storytelling point?


I think that there are people who like to talk about continuity implications, and that that's not necessarily a bad thing.  If the alternative is to have Hawkeye run down all that information in the story itself, in hopes of preventing people from talking about it online, the result would be a turgid mess -- why would he be analyzing Thunderstrike and Crystal and all, when his point remains the same either way?

Heck, the post you quote mentions justification for Hawkeye's stance being consistent with his earlier characterization; it ain't a complaint.

Would it improve the story for Hawkeye to say "Those guys aren't Avengers and Avengers don't kill?  Or, well, at least they're supposed to try not to?  And when they do I get pissed off at them like I'm pissed off at you?  And the finer points don't matter because we're not talking about a self-defenses killing or a killing to save lives -- you murdered someone for money, which is a leetle bit different, I think we can all agree!"?

No, it'd just clog it up -- it doesn't change the point, it just cakes it with references the story doesn't need.

The fans who like that stuff were perfectly free to talk about it online, which is cool.  The fans who don't care don't have to be bogged down with all that minutiae.

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Hawkeye having killed someone and not wanting to kill again makes more sense than for Superman.  Hawkeye's a flawed mortal who generally does the right thing and sometimes doesn't...  that's a lot of what makes him "tick" as a character.


That's unrelated to the question of whether all that past history needs to be dredged up, though.  If your point is that Superman shouldn't kill, then that's your point regardless of whether or not a story where Superman tells someone else killing is bad refers back to an incident of Superman killing.  Or to whether a story where Hawkeye says that killing is bad -- a stance he's taken often over the years -- rattles off a list of places where it's happened and why that doesn't alter the point.t

kdb
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #220 on: October 28, 2005, 05:05:46 PM »

Seeing your stance on keeping the original JSA members firmly rooted in the WW2 era or else they'd lose what makes them special, how do you see the constant refashioning of Superman himself?  He seems to be reinvented every decade or so.

Does he work better tied closer to his original roots?

Do you have a preferred era or incarnation of him esp. if you were writing him? (An Elseworlds tale took him back to AC #1 levels and a War of the Worlds motif.)

How about my suggestion on another thread that DC keeps both the 'original' E-2 Superman (since he's not really the GA Superman but he's close enough) and the modern version?
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Captain Kal

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« Reply #221 on: October 28, 2005, 05:59:57 PM »

See in the old days kids outgrew comics, they just read them for a few years and moved on to something else, continuity didn't matter as much as a result.

Now you have people who started reading comics as a kid and never moved on, but kept reading them well into adulthood. Now they remember all that convoluted continuity.

Worst yet, very few new people, and surely not young kids, are picking up comics. The whole idea of a brand spanking new comics reader, who never read comics before of any kind is getter more and more rare. The only way to get new readers is with some big event or some other gimmick. Marvel is now trying by hiring popular novelists, but that will only bring in more adult readers, who may only read those books.

This has led to what comics have become today, as DC has just tried to hang on to those readers, and never tried to get new young kids hooked, no parents would let their kids read a Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman comic, and that my friends is very sad, since these are children characters, or I suppose they used to be.

It's like video games, before video games were just for kids, now most people who play video games are from the ages of 18 to 30!

Comics now want to be for that demographic, that's who they are going after, at both Marvel, DC and nearly everyone else.

Even though I am a mod here I can't even remember the last comic book that I brought. I stopped reading Superman with the Man of Steel Mini, which my cousin brought, and I read his issues and I decided I was done with Superman comics, since I decided that wasn't really Superman anymore.
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« Reply #222 on: October 28, 2005, 08:30:55 PM »

Quote
Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
The VERY first two summaries I got were from whiners:

No, they're not.

The overall threads have more context dimension to them, sure.  But I only went as far as the first page of summaries and saw "more editorial control needed" and "continuity being what it is", which came across as continuity whines at first blush.  I knew I'd need another search term of three to narrow down things, but I figured I'd start somewhere.  I was more amused by it than anything since I just asked for a character and a team, not anything to do with continuity.  

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I think that there are people who like to talk about continuity implications, and that that's not necessarily a bad thing.  If the alternative is to have Hawkeye run down all that information in the story itself, in hopes of preventing people from talking about it online, the result would be a turgid mess -- why would he be analyzing Thunderstrike and Crystal and all, when his point remains the same either way?

Heck, the post you quote mentions justification for Hawkeye's stance being consistent with his earlier characterization; it ain't a complaint.

I didn't say that it was a complaint, really.  I was just questioning if  a primary or significant response to a story seems to be to question where it fits into continuity, and the point of the story wasn't about introducing a  continuity twist but to get to some other places, is that really a good story?  Again, perhaps the lesson is that the people kvetching online have skewed views on some things.  Of course, it's harder to find "casual" fans of super hero comic books these days...

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Would it improve the story for Hawkeye to say "Those guys aren't Avengers and Avengers don't kill?  Or, well, at least they're supposed to try not to?  And when they do I get pissed off at them like I'm pissed off at you?  And the finer points don't matter because we're not talking about a self-defenses killing or a killing to save lives -- you murdered someone for money, which is a leetle bit different, I think we can all agree!"?

Adding "not intentionally" or "unless there's other choice" might work, too.  Or maybe you could delve into how he felt when Mockingbird killed or something.  Not having read the story, I certainly can't comment too much on it in particular...

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That's unrelated to the question of whether all that past history needs to be dredged up, though.  If your point is that Superman shouldn't kill, then that's your point regardless of whether or not a story where Superman tells someone else killing is bad refers back to an incident of Superman killing.  Or to whether a story where Hawkeye says that killing is bad -- a stance he's taken often over the years -- rattles off a list of places where it's happened and why that doesn't alter the point.

...but in general, I was winding back to the intiial point of "should XYZ kill".  My thought here was that Hawkeye's a greyer character, and that greyness can make him having killed an argument of "don't kill" more interesting.  By contrast, Superman having a conversation of "I was a killer" just sounds wrong - not just turgid - on so many levels.
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #223 on: October 29, 2005, 03:39:08 AM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Seeing your stance on keeping the original JSA members firmly rooted in the WW2 era or else they'd lose what makes them special, how do you see the constant refashioning of Superman himself?  He seems to be reinvented every decade or so.


I think once you detach a character from their original setting, there's little reason not to keep doing it.  And since Superman has a lot more going for him as a character than, say, Dr. Mid-Nite, he survives it better.

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Does he work better tied closer to his original roots?


Hard to say.  My favorite version is the Seventies Schwartz Superman.

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Do you have a preferred era or incarnation of him esp. if you were writing him?


As a reader, see above.  As a writer, I expect I'd work with whatever the current version was.

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How about my suggestion on another thread that DC keeps both the 'original' E-2 Superman (since he's not really the GA Superman but he's close enough) and the modern version?


I used to like the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" strip quite a bit, but I think it only works if the two Superman are in different realities.  I wouldn't want to see them in the same timeline on an ongoing basis, like Jay, Barry and Wally...

kdb
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