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Author Topic: Greatest Superhero Movies Ever?  (Read 18246 times)
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TELLE
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2005, 04:35:05 AM »

Of course, this is mostly the case post-Golden Age.  Those early National comics were full of brawlers.  Even Superman got his hands dirty back then, before he could do everything at the speed of light or from a distance.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2005, 05:15:02 PM »

Oh, I don't know.  Neal Adams was hot stuff when I was a kid, and he was the anti-Kirby as far as I was concerned.

As far as memorable fight scenes, I always thought "The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman" was one of the greatest of all time.

http://superman.nu/tales3/showdown/

But this is just a bare-knuckled brawl between two non-powered combatants, isn't it?  And it's drawn in a pretty sedate manner, looking kind of like a photographic record of an ordinary, garden variety boxing match.  But that's the whole point of my love of Superman, really.  Stunning visuals are all well and fine, but without an involving story featuring people I care about, what's the point?  SA Superman was hugely engrossing on an emotional level, to the point where a fight like this one made a bigger impression on me than any city-wrecking free-for-all in the pages of The Avengers.

Modern comics are like Michael Bay movies; they've upped the ante on visuals but forgotten how to tell a story.  You might go "wow" a few times at the special effects, but there's no chance you'll care a whit about the characters.
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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2005, 06:55:07 PM »

(sigh)

A few points of comparison:


Modern Age Superman Fans...

...When slamming previous Superman ages, donít actually talk about any actual stories, but reference vague, unclear hearsay about planet-pushing and Super-Pets.

...Underplay the influence and imaginative power that the Superman of previous generations possessed.

...Are embarrassed instead of proud of the legacy of brilliant writers like Jerry Siegel, Edmund Hamilton, Elliot S! Maggin, and Cary Bates (assuming theyíve heard of them at all).

...Are contemptuous of previous eras of Superman mostly because they havenít even read the comics.

...Believe they have nothing in common with Kneejerk Marvel Detractors.
 

Kneejerk Marvel Detractors...

...When slamming Marvel stories, donít actually talk about any actual stories, but reference vague, unclear hearsay about superhero fights and Spider-Man complaining.

...Underplay the influence and imaginative power that Stan Lee and his artist collaborators possessed.

...Are embarrassed instead of proud of the legacy of brilliant writers like Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Don MacGregor, and Steve Gerber (assuming theyíve heard of them at all).

...Are contemptuous of Marvel books mostly because they havenít even read them.

...Believe they have nothing in common with Modern Age Superman fans.
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2005, 07:23:31 PM »

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't buy a lot of Marvel comics, a few Iron Man, a couple of Fantastic Four, one where they face the Black Panther...but we are not all going to arrive at a consensus here, and this is a Superman site, so, yeah, there might be some Marvel bias...

Doesn't mean I don't like reading other opinions... Cool
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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2005, 08:19:32 PM »

I donít see why there has to be a conflict or a sense of mutual distaste Ė Superman is the original (and possibly best) superhero. Marvel makes superhero comics. Superman inspired Marvel at the beginning, and Marvelís model and approach came right back and influenced Superman in return come the seventies.

And when I say ďKneejerk Marvel Detractors,Ē I donít mean those that have read comics from both companies and have an honest preference for DC. I mean those that have not read Lee or Englehart or Thomas and feel theyíre entitled to an opinion based on (mostly false) perceptions.  

...as for me, at least these days, I think Americaís Best Comics (no idle boast at all) is doing more interesting things than either company.  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2005, 01:38:13 PM »

I'm actually a fan of some vintage Marvel stuff.  For instance, I think Lee and Kirby's run on the FF from about issue 50 to issue 80 rank as some of the best comics ever done by anyone for any company.  And I absolutely adore Ditko-era Dr. Strange: possibly the only time the "flawed hero" concept worked 100 percent for me, because it's about a man who, from the ruins of his previously self-centered life, finds meaning and purpose in working for the good of others (as opposed to all the Marvel characters who seem bummed out that they're stuck with the hero gig).

My big problem with Marvel is that it ushered in the era of soap-opera subplots and the beginnings of "relevance" and "reality" in comics.  When Stan did it, it was fresh and -- this is important -- funny.  Spider-Man was a gag strip, you know.  The idea of a hero who had to do homework, sew his own costume, run a prescription home to his aunt on the way back from fighting villains...that was funny stuff and it was played for laughs.  But all the lieutenant Stans who followed took it deadly serious and sucked the fun right out of the book, and by extension a lot of others as well.  And once the whole thing had been run into the ground and done to death, DC -- as ever three steps behind -- jumped on the bandwagon and started doing it, too.

That said, some of my favorite runs ever are from Marvel books.  Besides the above, there's Miller's Daredevil, Simonson's Thor, Claremont and Byrne's X-Men and...so sue me...Bill Mantlo and Mike Golden's Micronauts.

Veering closer to "back on topic," favorite fights include Dr Strange vs Dormammu (Ditko days), the Hulk vs the FF and Avengers (FF #25-26), the FF versus a Silver Surfer-powered Dr Doom(FF #60), Captain America versus Baron Blood (Cap #254) and various episodes in the Kree-Skrull War.
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« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2005, 11:21:55 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
Bill Mantlo and Mike Golden's Micronauts.


So let me add Micronauts vs. Man-thing --Micronauts #7 (I think ?)  A holy relic.

I agree with you on the Marvel and DC evolution, Nightwing.  Because of the general trends both companies followed, it became hard for me to completely enjoy soomething like Miller's Daredevil (although the art by Mazzuchelli helps) or Simonson's Thor (sloppy art --or maybe just too idiosyncratic for me to maintain the illusion that he is paying homage to classic comics by the like sof Kirby/Buscema, et al).
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2005, 11:11:49 AM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
My big problem with Marvel is that it ushered in the era of soap-opera subplots and the beginnings of "relevance" and "reality" in comics. When Stan did it, it was fresh and -- this is important -- funny. Spider-Man was a gag strip, you know. The idea of a hero who had to do homework, sew his own costume, run a prescription home to his aunt on the way back from fighting villains...that was funny stuff and it was played for laughs. But all the lieutenant Stans who followed took it deadly serious and sucked the fun right out of the book, and by extension a lot of others as well. And once the whole thing had been run into the ground and done to death, DC -- as ever three steps behind -- jumped on the bandwagon and started doing it, too.


Bravo, Nightwing - I've never heard what works about Spider-Man put better.

Although humor has a funny way of leading into something sad and poignant, especially if you've got somebody as skilled at characterization as Stan was. This point was really brought home by one particular sequence in Molly Shannon's SUPERSTAR, which was not a great film, but it does have a textbook illustration of this phenomenon:

For the first 70 minutes of the movie, we have Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher clowning around, falling down and breaking things, and being placed in Special Ed. Then, finally, she takes her glasses off. Her eyes are wet. She whimpers and confesses "Sometimes...sometimes I'm so ashamed that I am the way that I am..."

Your mind doesn't even switch gears here. The qualities one found humorous in this ridiculous schoolgirl suddenly became tragic.

Alan Moore understands this phenomenon better than anyone. Many people point to MIRACLEMAN as being the first true Modern Age (or Iron Age, whatever term you prefer) comic, an assessment that I don't agree with, for one reason: the Modern Age is predicated on 1) outright embarassment at comics' past, or 2) laughing at comics' great legacy, and MIRACLEMAN did neither. MIRACLEMAN used the past not to evoke a laugh, but the opposite: to trigger poignancy. The vistas of the carefree 1950s were juxtaposed with the far different 1980s. Nostalgia is inherently very melancholic, because the thing about the past is, it's gone, never to return; when Alan Moore envokes Miracleman's past, it is to create a sense of tragedy, a sense of loss. The very things that the Modern Age got you to laugh at, in MIRACLEMAN, were things that made you cry.

"Realism" isn't necessarily bad in and of itself - Fabian Nicieza's PSI FORCE and Jim Shooter's STAR BRAND were science fiction with an emphasis on plausibility, for instance, and were very successfully done. But "realism" means something different in a superhero comics world where civic-minded people punch out giant robots instead of doing what they'd do in our world, which is rivet girders in Ghana for the Peace Corps. The trick to crafting a superhero world is to be consistent with those rules that you've established. In this sense, the Iron Age emphasis on dark grittiness ironically is MORE "unrealistic" in this context: it violates the rules we've seen so far about how superheroes work, namely, they wear costumes, don't kill, and shave more than once a month.

"Soap Opera", or character-centered stories, aren't necessarily bad either if you have characters people care about (and I don't know about you, but I read comics to see interesting people), but the trick is to have a resolution to the stories and not to use them as page-killers. Every good writer introduces a story, lets them work like steps, and finally, lets them be resolved and come to an end. This happened with the Wonder Man/Vision/Scarlet Witch triangle in Busiek's Avengers; eventually, it got resolved and ENDED, finally restoring Simon's self-confidence, restoring the Vision's soul, human emotions, and basic humanity, and restoring Wanda's strength. This happened with Stan Lee's rivalry between Hawkeye and Captain America; eventually, both save the life of each other, and where he once swore Cap off as an "overaged square," Hawkeye is filled with trust and respect. The point here, though, is these stories have beginnings, middles, and most importantly, endings.

Quote from: "nightwing"
That said, some of my favorite runs ever are from Marvel books.  Besides the above, there's Miller's Daredevil, Simonson's Thor, Claremont and Byrne's X-Men and...so sue me...Bill Mantlo and Mike Golden's Micronauts.


I'll agree with you for no other reason than to give props to Mantlo. Part of the reason he doesn't get the attention he deserves is because he was writing SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP and CHAMPIONS at the same time Englehart was writing AVENGERS and DOCTOR STRANGE and Gerber was writing DEFENDERS, MAN-THING and HOWARD THE DUCK and Roy Thomas was writing CONAN...

This reminds me of my college course on Renaissance Art, where there were discussions of all sorts of obscure artists I had never heard of but were brilliant nonetheless. It's easy to lose a genius here or there if you're painting in the Renaissance, after all.

Quote from: "nightwing"
Veering closer to "back on topic," favorite fights include Dr Strange vs Dormammu (Ditko days), the Hulk vs the FF and Avengers (FF #25-26), the FF versus a Silver Surfer-powered Dr Doom(FF #60), Captain America versus Baron Blood (Cap #254) and various episodes in the Kree-Skrull War.


Speaking of Mantlo (and also getting us back to topic) don't forget the Red Skull/Doctor Doom fight on the Moon in SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM UP #11 (1974 or thereabouts).
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
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