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Author Topic: While we're on the subject of overrated characters...  (Read 19477 times)
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Permanus
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2007, 11:28:01 PM »

The latest issue of Superman attempts some definition of the magic that's out there

Yes! I was all set up to hate this storyline (sorry, kdb), but then these perfectly reasonable explanations started cropping up: Superman's actually consulted with practitioners of the mystic arts like Zatanna, and he knows how different spells work and can counter them, albeit with some difficulty. It makes sense of Superman's vulnerability to magic (he simply hadn't asked anyone how it worked yet), and gives a certain logical dimension to the magic itself.

(Also, I've been noticing that a lot of people don't like Busiek's thing of having Superman narrate the stuff like a sort of running commentary, which I personally really dig - well, in this issue, that narrative device is pretty central to one's understanding of the plot, so there.)
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2007, 12:00:56 AM »

I found a great interview where Walt talks a bit about that legendary story, considered to be the best Doctor Fate story ever (ok so that is not saying much, but still...):


Huh, maybe I'll actually look for this.  I've never liked Simonson's art but did appreciate the craft and research/thinking he brought to his stories, especially the writing.  Enjoyed some of his Thor and FF for this reason.



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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2007, 05:47:56 AM »

Telle, you won't be disappointed.  Simonson was definitely on top of his game on that story.
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2007, 08:03:35 AM »

Re: magic and its rules.

It didn't bother me when I was a kid.  It bothered me as a teen (and may be one of the reasons I'm no longer Catholic).  It sort of bothers me today.  What is it?, you ask.  The use of magic in fiction without any clearly defined system or rules. 

Most comics magic is random, deus ex machina nonsense.

Read an article in the weekend paper by Guy Gavriel Kay who claims that Tolkien and LLoyd Alexander's Prydain books ring true because both are based on a system of myth.  That is, even though "illogical"-seeming magic is used, it is based in some sort of pseudo-historical, logical system of signs, knowledge, music and language.

Clarification: I've never liked scientific explanations or too-logical explanations for magic in fiction, especially in "fantasy" (if you want to write sf, just write sf, don't try to cash in on fantasy's turf).

I think, from what I remember,  the magic of true-names and riddling in Le Guin's Earthsea books is self-supporting and "believable".

Are there any other comic book equivalents? 

Haven't read the books, but I hate it in the Harry Potter films when, simply by having wizard blood, waving a wand, and saying magic words, the Hogworts kids "do" magic --only some are inexplicably better than others while others repeatedly fail or do the wrong kind of magic.  Maybe, as in Peter Pan, they don't believe enough in fairies?



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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2007, 09:38:48 AM »

Magic is not easy to write correctly, for that you need rules and limits that the readers can understand, DC Comics never had any, so no one really knows what is going on or how anything actually works.

I always just assumed that DC treated magic just as they did science within the funnybooks i.e. no real limits.

After all, what's the point of limiting magic when a group of aliens can create a machine which can convert thoughts into reality? Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2007, 09:58:40 AM »

I think, from what I remember,  the magic of true-names and riddling in Le Guin's Earthsea books is self-supporting and "believable".

Are there any other comic book equivalents?

The naming of things as a sort of cornerstone for magic was alluded to in Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic (which J.K. Rowling subsequently ripped off for Harry Potter, I don't care what anyone says) and it is a recurring feature in Hellblazer, which often adopts a rather sober and pragmatic view of magic. (I haven't actually read the Le Guin books, but it seems to me that it's the same idea.)

Quote
Haven't read the books, but I hate it in the Harry Potter films when, simply by having wizard blood, waving a wand, and saying magic words, the Hogworts kids "do" magic --only some are inexplicably better than others while others repeatedly fail or do the wrong kind of magic.  Maybe, as in Peter Pan, they don't believe enough in fairies?

Thanks, Telle, for providing me with an opportunity to vent my hatred of the Harry Potter phenomenon, which continues to baffle me. Why this is so popular is beyond me - I've read a few of the books, and they are sloppily written, poorly thought-out, and the magic just doesn't make any sense: it is always tailored to the situation, so to speak, and you can tell Rowling is struggling when she comes up with one magic spell, only to realise that it clashes with something else. Hence "apparating", which is Rowlingspeak for teleportation, doesn't always work because it doesn't fit with her cool ideas like flying cars and buses. Similarly, Harry and his friends seem capable of all sorts of amazing things - becoming invisible, travelling through time, flying, you name it - but when they are confronted with the bad guy, all they can do is send some rays out of their wands and hope that Hagrid will turn up to punch him in the bonce.

I could go on, but I won't. Instead, here's a link to one of the chapters of Brad Neely's redubbing of the first film, Wizard People, Dear Reader, which is ace. I just love the line "Harry awakes to yet another Tequila sunrise". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIbGmhkjra0
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2007, 04:09:08 PM »

The inconsistency always bothered me, even playing by the rules of magic meaning transferring thought into energy or matter or both. In a multiverse full of Christian gods, Greek gods, 5th Dimensional magic, and other similar beings - I have a hard time thinking that they were really in danger from the Anti Monitor.
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« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2007, 05:31:08 PM »

Thus, you just identified a major problem with DC uber-villians. Most are giant, virtually omnipotent beings with an inkling to destroy the universe (Anti-Monitor, Parallax, Imperiex, etc.).

How many useless scenes in COIE involved a swarm of heroes pointlessly attacking the giant Anti-Monitor?

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