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Author Topic: If comic book heroes tell us something, we should BELIEVE it  (Read 10649 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2006, 05:58:47 AM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
The way I see it, official Silver Age continuity began with Showcase #4 and ended either with Crisis 12 or "What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" Anything after that is non-canon and I can take it or leave it. In fact, sometimes I think anything that happened to any Earth-2 character after All-Star #57 is non-canon.


I'm very, very tempted to agree with you, however, to be fair, the period we're talking about wasn't all geniuses like Ed Hamilton and Cary Bates. There was Bob Haney and Gerry Conway.

My point here is, that it's possible to enjoy and appreciate something if it is not 100% great, if you judge it by the high points and not the low ones. FUTURAMA was right on the money when they joked that out of STAR TREK's 79 episodes, only 30 are any good.

I'm loathe to give up on DC for several reasons.

The first is there is a lot of writing talent. "King" Kurt Busiek, Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, and occasionally Waid and Morrison if you catch them on a good day. Superman is a recognizable character again, and using his brain, sporting a high power level yet not having this be an "obstacle," and the strong emotional stories (I have to talk about how much I love the Busiek SUPERMAN in a future post; I've been putting it off because I want to talk about it AT LENGTH, which it deserves).

The second reason I'm loathe to give up on DC is because one of the greatest strengths of it is that it is a LIVING universe.

This is why, as much as I love both mediums, ultimately I'm going to have to say I love superhero comics more than pulp magazines: we've seen all 182 of Doc Savage's adventures. We can never have any more.

Okay, there was that Phillip Jose Farmer thing, ESCAPE FROM LOKI, but still...that's the difference between supercomics and pulps: if somebody does a new comics series about a character not seen in decades, such as, say, Englehart's recent BLACK RIDER, we can accept that these are "new" adventures of that character. On the other hand, if you write a "new" Doc Savage book, it's going to come off as glorified fan-fiction.
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2006, 11:39:03 AM »

To a certain extent it goes back to Roy Thomas and his early WWII retcons (The Invaders, etc) or even earlier to Flash of 2 Worlds.

Oh, did Torch and Subby look like mortal enemies?  They were really loyal teamates all during the war!

I can see how Moore was very influential.  Even Swamp Thing was a retcon. (Is that the right word?)


Thought balloons --bring them back!

But I agree that post-Crisis Marvel and DC do not exist.
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2006, 01:27:56 PM »

ulianPerez writes:

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I'm very, very tempted to agree with you, however, to be fair, the period we're talking about wasn't all geniuses like Ed Hamilton and Cary Bates. There was Bob Haney and Gerry Conway.

My point here is, that it's possible to enjoy and appreciate something if it is not 100% great, if you judge it by the high points and not the low ones. FUTURAMA was right on the money when they joked that out of STAR TREK's 79 episodes, only 30 are any good.

I'm loathe to give up on DC for several reasons.


Well, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying it's impossible to do good comics today, or that everything in the Silver and Bronze Age was high-quality. (far from it!)

What I meant was that whatever happened from 1956 to 1986, whether treasure or trash, has to be dealt with in some way and acknowledged as part and parcel of some continuing, evolving vision of the Multiverse.  But in contrast, nothing published after the Crisis can affect in any way what happened in that previous, 30-year period.  

If a writer in 2005 says the JLA performed mind-wipes during the Satellite Era, so what?  He can't touch the REAL Satellite Era, because he's not writing about those characters.  They are gone.  If Frank Miller says Batman kidnapped and terrorized Dick Grayson into being Robin, who cares?  That doesn't change the way it happened in the Golden or Silver Ages.  

There was a time when the history of the Silver Age could be tweaked and re-written, and that time was the Silver Age (and to some extent the Bronze, since it continued Silver Age concepts).  Uncle Morty was forever messing around with the story of Jor-El and Lara, for isntance.  Sometimes in a good way, as with "Superman's Return to Krypton," sometimes in a bad way, as with the Superboy story that had the El's floating around space in suspended animation.  But love or hate those stories, you had to at least put some thought into whether and how they fit the mythos.  You are under no such obligation to reconcile modern stories.  They are interesting, but they only "count" in modern continuity, not any continuity that preceded them.

When DC published the Crisis, they wrote the last chapter on Earth-1 and Earth-2.  Anything after that involved characters with the same names, but different lives.  

Having said all that, it's not impossible for me to enjoy modern stories on their own merits.  After all, I could enjoy some episodes of "Enterprise" without ever accepting that it fit in the continuity of any other Star Trek.  I rather like "The Seven Percent Solution" though I don't for a moment accept it as part of Holmes "canon."  And when Pierce Brosnan's 007 did that embarassing para-sailing scene in Die Another Day, it didn't retroactively taint Sean Connery's portrayal.

Today's DC can say whatever thay like about any previous age, but it doesn't matter.  When they pulled the plug on the Multiverse in 1986, they removed their own power to revisit the era.  They can't have it both ways.

Anyway, coming in at this stage and casting aspersions on Silver Age characters is pretty pointless.  Today's audiences are too young to be shocked or appalled (since they don't even KNOW the SA characters) and anyone with any attachment to the Silver Age has moved on anyway.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2006, 02:54:51 PM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
To a certain extent it goes back to Roy Thomas and his early WWII retcons (The Invaders, etc) or even earlier to Flash of 2 Worlds.

Oh, did Torch and Subby look like mortal enemies? They were really loyal teamates all during the war!


Interesting observation. Incidentally, it was Roy Thomas that first coined the term "retcon" all the way back in the INVADERS letters-pages.

Though when Roy the Boy said "retcon," he had a much more specific definition of it than is often used today: "a retcon is a change to the past that doesn't afffect the present." (emphasis mine)

Though I wouldn't worry about the Subby/Torch fights. Isn't it a rule of "guy" behavior that if two guys fight, they later on will probably become friends, but if they go for a long time not talking to each other, they'll probably be enemies forever?
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2006, 12:06:07 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
In other words, there's a difference between the DC heroes and Marvel heroes that makes the Marvel heroes ultimately more real: the DC heroes were driven by GOALS, whereas Marvel heroes and villains were driven by FEELINGS, and more complicated motivations than "serve and protect" or "respond to a crisis" or "take over the world."  


While this may be overall true, is it more realistic to be "feelings" driven than "goals" driven?  There seem to be abundent real-world examples of both...personally, I like heroes to be goal-driven.

I always think its interesting to look at the Justice League's debut in Brave and the Bold and Avengers #1...both have drawbacks, the Justice League acts more in a solo manner, each showing up and being trapped one-by-one...in contrast, the Avengers story is far more focused on heroes matching up to the Hulk, more of a distrust and take each other on angle.
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2006, 02:37:28 AM »

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When DC published the Crisis, they wrote the last chapter on Earth-1 and Earth-2.  Anything after that involved characters with the same names, but different lives.  
....
Today's DC can say whatever thay like about any previous age, but it doesn't matter.  When they pulled the plug on the Multiverse in 1986, they removed their own power to revisit the era.  They can't have it both ways.


Nightwing, a big fat "Amen" to that.  You have a knack for eloquently stating some of my own feelings better than I ever could --even if I don't like Batman as much as you (who does?).
And maybe I am starting to like Bob Haney A LOT --can't wait to read the second half of his Comics Journal interview, out this month.

Julian, I agree that the Marvelman/Miracleman retcon was inspired and basically harmless.  Especially since it is possible to put quite a bit of stock into dreams (and especially if you know no other reality).

On feelings vs goals --maybe it is more heroic by our (long-time superhero fans') standards to be goal driven since so much of the world seems to be rule by feelings (rage, greed, jealousy, pettiness of all sorts) whereas someone who says what she stands for and what she is going to do is a relative anamoly.
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2006, 03:08:35 AM »

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Julian, I agree that the Marvelman/Miracleman retcon was inspired and basically harmless.  Especially since it is possible to put quite a bit of stock into dreams (and especially if you know no other reality).


Not to mention an amazing read, too bad it is trapped in legal "heck". If you are going to recon you better make it a lot better than what came before, and he did just that.

99.9999% of all re-cons are not.
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2006, 03:57:23 AM »

Alan Moore is the master of the retcon, but I don't really like Marvelman past Book One. The same goes for Watchmen: it is critically acclaimed out the wazoo, and I own it, but I guess Moore's fascination with Nietzche at the time doesn't quite do it for me. He basically ends up completely deconstructing/destroying all of the characters involved.

Contrast this with his run on Swamp Thing, or Supreme, and it is completely different. He rethinks the characters' origins, but doesn't deconstruct them. Improvements are made, and they end up better characters at the end.
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