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Author Topic: Steve Englehart CHAT TRANSCRIPT!  (Read 7500 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2005, 10:03:33 AM »

Moon Knight is similar to Batman only in the sense that the two wrap themselves in a sort of night world with a big moon in the background and standing on gargoyles in the rain and whatnot, and in recent times, there's an "urban legend" mystique about both Batman and Moon Knight. In the words of Dan Slott, "Urban Legend for nocturnal crimefighters only works for the first year of continuity, tops."  Cheesy

The Egyptian connection, the multiple personalities...these ideas established Moon Knight as unique, despite being someone that inhabited a stylized night world, whereas the Shroud, whose parents were murdered by a criminal prompting an oath to fight all crime, and who uses gadget boomerangs, is clearly more modeled on Batman in a way that is really to the detriment of the character. It shows Steve was itching to write Batman by creating what can charitably called a Batman clone, an itch that Steve would years later down the line, scratch with his DETECTIVE COMICS.

On a related note, there has, at Marvel, been a recent trend to have their comics become more like the DC Universe. Bendis's AVENGERS run has the Avengers become much more like the JLA, something that means the death and exclusion of arguably the most interesting characters, but less well known among the general public, and the ignorance of the central concept of Avengers, who are centered more on group dynamic. Kurt Busiek once compared the JLA to the Olympics and the JLAers to champion Olympic athletes, and the Avengers to the baseball club that wins the world series.

The point here is, that the Avengers were remade in the JLA's image - a direction the Avengers were not meant to go.

When I first heard Bendis wanted to bring the Sentry - a Superman clone into the Avengers, I honestly thought he was messing around. Sort of like saying, "Oh, and the next members of the JLA will be Bea Arthur and Don Johnson." You expect there to be a cute little smiley to say it's all a gag. Nonetheless, the fact is, they're bringing a Superman into the Avengers; a character who has the ultra-ignominiousness of being created as a practical joke by Wizard magazine, with none of the imaginative power and iconic status that Superman possesses, interweaved into Marvel history like a terrible self-insertion fanfic.

In addition to trying to give Marvel their own Superman xerox, what other possible rationale can there be for YOUNG AVENGERS except as a Marvel TEEN TITANS? Like the JLA-ified Avengers, this too, is a bad match, as Marvel has no kid sidekick tradition. The whole Marvel universe split Rick Jones between them!  Cheesy And I recently heard a few rumors they wanted to introduce Moon Knight, give him a new series. While this excites me, I am suspicious of their motives in light of this greater pattern. Are they trying to give Marvel a Batman, too?

Quote from: "Telle"
What are Englehart's contributions/original character concepts/ideas? (Not including that Green Lantern woman)


Too many to list here. But here are a few from STRANGERS alone:

SPECTRAL. A man that could burn various colors - yellow is flight, red is berserk strength, blue is water-gushing, green is healing, and so on. I believe he was also a homosexual as well.

LADY KILLER. A fashoin designer, she was an assertive, buisiness-savvy hispanic woman that could instantly hit anything she sees and was also team leader. Steve played around with this power quite a bit; for instance, she landed a plane in total darkness.

There was also a princess of a weird race of fliers that lived in secret in clouds above mankind, and referred to ground as "the bottom of the ocean of air." Yrial was wonderfully contrary, haughty and disdainful - many similarities to Englehart's original Avenger, Mantis, although Mantis had a degree of passion that the distant Yrial lacks.

The premise of STRANGERS was that 50 people on a cable car were given powers by a mysterious accident, and six of them teamed up together to find the strange alien woman they saw flying above the air. One of the more interesting was one man who gained no powers, but whose terminal cancer DID: it came to life and started attacking a city block.

Not all of Steve's characters on STRANGERS were perfect. Zip-Zap is proof positive that balding white men in their fifties should not write hip black people talking street. Now, I've never seen Steve Englehart dance, but thanks to Zip-Zap I'd bet money that his moves are jerky, spastic and robotic, a cross between a mime and an epileptic seizure. And to make matters worse, Steve made Zip-Zap a smart-alecky kid. Now, I ask you: isn't there something of a precedent - nay, a TRADITION - for the smart alecky kid to be the one character that we hate more than anyone else on that given comic or television show? And to make matters worse, Zip-Zap's power was also a total bore - superspeed? Yawn. Stainless Steve was clearly on autopilot here.

As for Steve's Green Lantern Corps members, I had no idea if he created them or not, but his Kilowog (particularly in the Russian story), Salakk, and Ch'ip (the single most touching story I think I've ever read was centered on Ch'p and his archenemy, a furry thing that is a cross between a mole and a badger - I'm not joking) were given appropriately interesting alien personalities in his GREEN LANTERN CORPS run.
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DoctorZero
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2005, 02:46:03 AM »

I always liked Steve's work.  Unfortunately he didn't get the chance to produce more of it at both DC and Marvel.
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TELLE
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2005, 02:57:11 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Moon Knight is similar to Batman only in the sense that the two wrap themselves in a sort of night world with a big moon in the background and standing on gargoyles in the rain and whatnot, and in recent times, there's an "urban legend" mystique about both Batman and Moon Knight. In the words of Dan Slott, "Urban Legend for nocturnal crimefighters only works for the first year of continuity, tops."  Cheesy

The Egyptian connection, the multiple personalities...these ideas established Moon Knight as unique, despite being someone that inhabited a stylized night world, whereas the Shroud, whose parents were murdered by a criminal prompting an oath to fight all crime, and who uses gadget boomerangs, is clearly more modeled on Batman in a way that is really to the detriment of the character. It shows Steve was itching to write Batman by creating what can charitably called a Batman clone, an itch that Steve would years later down the line, scratch with his DETECTIVE COMICS.


So he has more personalities and a touch of Hawkman.  Still a grim millionaire with no superpowers who fights crime at night and wears a cape. Cheesy   And didn't he have little moon shaped batarangs?

I'm curious, what was the intended age group for Strangers, do you think?  It certainly sounds inventive, and the idea of a mysterious change overtaking a group of total strangers is compelling (kind of like Challengers of the Unknown or Fantastic Four), but was it more generally straight modern age high-concept superheroics, in the vein of X-men?

Although I love superhero comics, I'm always sceptical of superhero origins --the hardest part of the creative process it seems to me.  At least the hardest part to justify in a storytelling/novelistic sense.  Sometimes it pays to just forget about the origin, maybe.
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