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Author Topic: Proof of Cary Bates's Genius: ACTION #509  (Read 21285 times)
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Gary
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2005, 08:44:14 PM »

If I remember right, the TRS-80s in the story were used to tell Superman how much heat he had to output through his heat vision in order to achieve a given effect, his brain having been temporarily addled so that he couldn't gauge this himself.

That kind of calculation wouldn't take a lot of computing power. A hand-held calculator would probably suffice.

But, IMO, it's a dumb idea nevertheless. Telling Superman how many joules of energy he should output is like telling a baseball player to swing his bat at a certain number of meters per second. In all likelihood, the batter only knows how fast his swing feels; he has no idea what the numerical speed of his bat is. Supey is likewise unlikely to know the precise amount of energy he's putting out, especially with part of his brain not working.

Kurt, of course, has a point, in that comics have gotten away with sillier things. But those things weren't done in an attempt to get kids to buy a product.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2005, 09:30:52 PM »

Quote from: "Gary"
Kurt, of course, has a point, in that comics have gotten away with sillier things. But those things weren't done in an attempt to get kids to buy a product.


Well, just buy the comic itself... :wink:
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2005, 09:49:09 PM »

Since this thread is still alive ...

First, kudos to Julian for yet another rousing topic that's got us all talking. Even the esteemed Mr. Busiek has seen fit to contribute to this one -- and this one doesn't even have his name on it. heh heh

Now, I also suspect sillier things have been accepted in the superbooks in the past.  Aside from them not being outright marketing efforts to hawk products like the TRS-80, I'd like someone to reference one that absolutely had to be accepted as canon instead of swiftly forgotten as a World Class Bad Idea.

You know what I mean.  Things like the Hulk being strangled by a snake are best forgotten.  How about the artist ignoring Kurt's intention to have a BAKG hurt Thor so only a regular gun gave the Thunder god a head wound?  How about Ka-Zar beating Thanos?  How about the idea that Superman subconsciously uses his super-hypnosis through some special property of his glasses to maintain his secret identity?  All of these have been ignored as World Class Bad Ideas that are best forgotten in the canon.

So, can anyone give an example of something that isn't a 'World Class Bad Idea' that we're forced to accept in the superbooks?  If so, then I'll accept that the TRS-80 tale can be considered in canon.
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Captain Kal

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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2005, 09:55:29 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
How about the artist ignoring Kurt's intention to have a BAKG hurt Thor so only a regular gun gave the Thunder god a head wound?


That wasn't me, and I'm not so sure the artist ignored anything.

That happened in an issue of BLACK PANTHER written by Christopher Priest.  He'd checked with me to see which Avenger he could shoot in the head -- he had in mind the old bullet-creases-the-skull bit.  I told him that rather than resort to cliche, he could shoot Thor smack in the head and the bullet would break the skin and bounce off the bone underneath.  So that's what he said he was going to do, and that's what the artist wound up drawing.

I saw the script, and I don't recall it mentioning a Big-Ass Kirby Gun.  I don't remember it ever coming up until after Thor fans were pigpiling on Priest for daring to suggest that Thor's skin might not be bulletproof, despite such being implied or outright stated by Stan, Len, Walt and others.

I also don't think that scene's been ignored as a dumb idea, either.  As far as I'm concerned, it's canon.

kdb
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2005, 10:04:55 PM »

I stand doubly corrected, Kurt.

My source was the old Alvaro's boards where they made these claims.  I'm just glad you're here to set the record straight.

On some forums *coughsuperherochat, the comic edgecough*, even a creator doing what you just did wouldn't hold any water with some die-hard trolls.

I do know some other creators have had Thor weather a veritable rainstorm of bullets without harm at all.  So, at least some creators have ignored your story and the previous references. (But my friend Jonathanos has given me the oodles of references you used for declaring Thor was intended to be bullet-vulnerable and it's mighty convincing).

Still, my original question stands: Can anyone give an example of something illogical in the supermythos that we're forced to have to accept that isn't a World Class Bad Idea?
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Captain Kal

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2005, 10:58:38 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
So, can anyone give an example of something that isn't a 'World Class Bad Idea' that we're forced to accept in the superbooks? If so, then I'll accept that the TRS-80 tale can be considered in canon.


Well, the thing about really bad ideas is, they only become really bad ideas if they are ignored. So, there becomes a sort of circular reasoning: what sort of ideas are ignored? Really bad ones. How do we know they are really bad? Because they're ignored.

I, for one, would rather that people just sort of "forget" the NEW WARRIORS story that had Namorita shown to be a clone of Namora instead of her daughter. The "Speed Force," an idea "that was there all along" is one idea that didn't just "wither away" as it ought. Yet both ideas are continued over and over again by other writers.

While I liked the miniseries itself (especially the incredible Mignola art), one idea that was - thankfully - forgotten was the idea introduced in COSMIC ODYSSEY that the anti-life equation is actually a big giant space monster, resembling a Godzilla-sized version of the tar blob thing that killed Tasha Yar.

One ignored Superman idea is that his X-Ray Vision caused plants to grow. As Morbo from Futurama was fond of saying: "X-RAY VISION DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!"

It appears that John Byrne's DOOM PATROL, after twelve issues, appears to be suffering the same fate: in the category of unpleasant reboots everyone would rather forget (see also: the mirthless 1987 SHAZAM! Post-Crisis reboot). It's easier to pretend the Byrne PATROL "never happened" than the original PATROL "never happened."

The Weisenger writers proposed at least THREE different explanations for the destruction of Krypton, all of them ignored by writers who for whatever reason wanted to leave the reason for Krypton's destruction vague: one was that Krypton's core was made of uranium and the planet exploded as a gigantic fission bomb. Another was that Krypton was destroyed accidentally by an earth astronomer during his observation of the planet, who confesses to Superman his crime years later. The third one was the preferred Schwartz explanation, that it was the result of kryptonquakes and Krypton slipping on its orbit.

Though Superman's superbrain can do much better than be the match for a lousy computer from 1980. I mentioned the possibility that Superman was affected by Major Disaster's krypton-gas disaster and just didn't know it; that's why his big, impressive Superbrain was slowed down to TRS-80 levels for that problem.

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
That happened in an issue of BLACK PANTHER written by Christopher Priest.  He'd checked with me to see which Avenger he could shoot in the head -- he had in mind the old bullet-creases-the-skull bit.  I told him that rather than resort to cliche, he could shoot Thor smack in the head and the bullet would break the skin and bounce off the bone underneath.  So that's what he said he was going to do, and that's what the artist wound up drawing.


When I read that issue of BLACK PANTHER at the time, I didn't quite buy it. There was a time in the 1980s when Thor had been shorn of his invulnerability, requiring him to use a (very classy) suit of Asgardian armor, but I was under the impression that at some point in the interim (after Simonson's run, I kinda stopped reading Avengers until Busiek/Perez came on) that Thor regained his invulnerability.

Where was it stated (or suggested) that Thor's skin was not bulletproof?

The closest I can come to is that issue where Thor goes to Viet Nam (issue number forthcoming), and he was nervous that if something could cause the hundreds of shells to explode, it was likely that he himself would not survive it. Worrying about taking hundreds of exploding shells, however, is not quite the same as being nervous about bullets.

It's strange to imagine Thor not being bulletproof. On the other hand, it makes his actions, such as using his hammer to block bullets - make more sense.

Quote from: "Gary"
But, IMO, it's a dumb idea nevertheless. Telling Superman how many joules of energy he should output is like telling a baseball player to swing his bat at a certain number of meters per second. In all likelihood, the batter only knows how fast his swing feels; he has no idea what the numerical speed of his bat is. Supey is likewise unlikely to know the precise amount of energy he's putting out, especially with part of his brain not working.


Piloting and flying involves more than just muscle memory like sports or driving; real life pilots have to learn oodles of math in order to turn at specific speeds. It's easy to imagine that Superman, deprived of his super-brain, would be at a disadvantage when flying.

Also, Superman needs to make judicious use of his powers - if he just blasted his heat vision at the flood, he might have made it so hot that instead of just evaporating water, he would have melted the asphault, cars, and buildings. (It's assumed though, that Superman can tell how hot he's making his heat vision, the same way you or I can guess how fast we are going in a car without looking at the speedometer).
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2005, 11:12:36 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
Still, my original question stands: Can anyone give an example of something illogical in the supermythos that we're forced to have to accept that isn't a World Class Bad Idea?


The thing is, I don't think of things that way.  You mentioned the Hulk and the snake, but I don't assume that because that was dumb the story didn't happen.  I assume it happened, and either (a) we'll simply never bring it up again, and/or (b) there was some other explanation we weren't privy to.  One of the Watcher's alien pets farted, and the energy-ripple from that event weakened gamma particles throughout the Solar System for five minutes.

I don't have a problem with a story where a couple of kids with a computer wind up helping Superman out.  If pressed, I'll figure that the TRS-80, in a DCU that's been doing cool science for years and years, is a better machine than it was on Earth-Prime.  Big deal.

But heck, I'll throw out a candidate:  When Jimmy Olsen helped a powerless Superman fake his powers by holding him out the window on a glass pole, making it look like he could fly.  First off, glass poles are not invisible.  Second, where did Jimmy get one long enough and strong enough?  Third, a powreless Superman can't just rest on his abdomen on a glass pole in flying position; he's not strong enough.  Fourth, Superman's on the long part of the pole, with the fulcrum being the windowsill and Jimmy holding the short part -- that means Jimmy's superstrong, since the leverage is going the wrong way.

It's not even the only dumb part of the story (but ...what, did Jimmy wave him back and forth?  How did he get out there?), but it's no held up as a piece of illogic taking that story out of continuity.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2005, 11:18:42 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
I was under the impression that at some point in the interim (after Simonson's run, I kinda stopped reading Avengers until Busiek/Perez came on) that Thor regained his invulnerability.


"Invulnerability" isn't one of Thor's powers.  He's tough and durable, but aside from about three panels in all of Thor's history, he's never been shown to be bulletproof, and those panels directly contradict better material.

Quote
Where was it stated (or suggested) that Thor's skin was not bulletproof?


Many, many times, from Thor fleeing from guns in an early issue to Thor being knocked unconscious by a mortar shell that didn't even hit him, to Thor stating flat-out that if a bunch of soldiers fired on him, it'd kill him, to Thor defending himself against "deadly spears" (made by hand out of available materials in the jungle) to other Asgardians being operated on, to automatic weapons being treated as powerful mojo in Asgard, and on and on.

Quote
It's strange to imagine Thor not being bulletproof. On the other hand, it makes his actions, such as using his hammer to block bullets - make more sense.


It never ocurred to me that Thor was bulletproof, until Thor fans started bugging me about it and I started researching it.  As a general rule of thumb, I figure anyone who consistently deflects bullets, not allowing them to hit them, isn't bulletproof, unless they give some sort of alternate explanation.

kdb
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