Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Stealing topics from somebody else's geeks

Something to really.....REALLY.....enjoy:

The Dark Knight meets Superman

Did you watch it? Classic.

Now let's move on.

I may never have time to spend time thinking about what I'd like to blog about again. I have a new strategy; I'm going to read other forums and comic blogs and allow the terribly stupid and the incredibly insightful commentary that I find there fuel me.


Today I was thinking about the parallels between this year's theme at both Marvel and DC and I ran a Google search to see who else was reflecting as I was. One of the sites where the issue had come up was The Atomic Think Tank (a bulletin board site based on Mutants & Masterminds) which provided me with the following comments, all of which elicited a reaction I felt was blog-worthy.

Re: The Heroic Age
"What especially gets me about the announcement is the feeling that optimism and heroism are somehow a bold new thing that nobody's ever done. You can't take away my chocolate for ten years and then act like you invented a new flavor when you hand out the cocoa."
~ Overdrive                                      

If what Overdrive posted was true, and that was how Marvel was marketing The Heroic Age, I think he would have my full support it condemning them for their arrogance. In that scenario, everything he stated would be spot on accurate. It wasn't my impression when I saw The Heroic Age's promotional material though, nor did it feel that way to me when I started reading The Heroic Age books. To me it felt not so much like the idea was being put forth that they were achieving optimism for the first time, but that they were moving out of an age of darkness and back to a brighter time that they had forgotten.

The question that should be being asked is who had the idea first? DC or Marvel.

Re: Character growth and development
"One of the biggest complaints with serialised story-telling is that no major changes ever happen to the characters. It's the reason I've never been a huge DC fan. Constant resets mean that any time I get invested, the character just returns to who they were at the beginning of any writer's run.

The Marvel Universe has gone from a standard superhero universe, to one with political and ideological ramifications for its characters. It has gone through some darkness (starting with Disassembled and ending at Heroic Age). The heroes have suffered defeats, and have had little time to revel in their triumphs.

Taken as a unified whole, the Marvel Universe has grown and changed in a lot of amazing, innovative and interesting ways. I'm not a blind fan-boy. I had my own backlashes (damn you Quesada! Bring back my Spider-Marriage!) but at the same time, I'm still enjoying the stories that are being told.

Overall, I'm glad that the Marvel Universe doesn't undo its history every couple of years to entice new readers. It just lets people know what the current status quo is. I'm pretty comfortable with that.

Also, last time I checked, Superheroes were still punching villains, kissing lovers and dealing with soap operatic tragedies. What's different between now and the pouch lovin' 90s?"
~ Nighthunter                                               
I'm pretty sure I could write about Nighthunter's post for days without running out of contempt for the flippant inaccuracy of his summation, and the fact that his obvious preference for Marvel has, in fact, qualified him as the very definition of "blind fan-boy" that he assures us he's not. Anyone who's biggest decrying of Marvel "reset" buttons is the dissolution of the Spider-Marriage can't be taken for very much of an authority on any topic. Plus.....you know.....Spider-Man fan.

First of all, his complaint against serialized story telling can be deconstructed with some very basic examples from both universes. Northstar is homosexual. I'm fairly certain that anyone and everyone (including the character's creator) would consider that a major change that took place in the character's development and is maintained to this day. Superman revealed his identity to Lois Lane, and then married her. Contrary to the argument brought forward, that was not the longstanding canon for Superman books, and was actually a very modern development (although it had been done in one-off fashion here and there before, but never truly blended into continuity) that has been maintained, marked a clear and important change in the character's life and relationships and has survived multiple crisis resets.

Second of all, by singling out DC for constant resets, this blind Marvel fan-boy has discredited himself. Marvel has an equally repetitive history of pressing the reset button as a way of allowing incoming creative teams to refresh and redevelop a series from its "base" canon. From a quick, and admittedly gap filled, reflection I would summarize the differences not in either company's propensity for using the reset button, but in the scope of that button. DC has made a bigger event out of company-wide resets, while Marvel's have tended to be book or title-group specific. But that does not mean that there have been significantly less of them (although some books have, perhaps escaped with less.)

Need examples? How many times has Squadron Supreme been redone, re-envisioned or re-interpreted? The entire Ultimates line is a giant reset button that has allowed Marvel to do what they wanted to do, while doubling their revenue stream from readers (Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man now both get purchased!) Brand New Day? Guardians Of The Galaxy. Magneto and his agenda. Any number of time travel related stories with Kang, Immortus and the Fantastic Four have been 'reset' using the explanation that they didn't/won't happen in this reality because of time travel.

Thirdly, is he (she?) really suggesting that Marvel is the only company to introduce political and ideological ramifications for its characters? Based on what? The abortion that was Civil War (which while not erased with a reset button might as well have been given how little I've seen of its far-reaching impact on inter-personal relationships amongst the heroes - I'm still annoyed that Rogers and Stark have made peace so easily!) The power Osborne achieved in Dark Reign? Been there, done that: Luthor was President. JLA members conspired to rob Batman of his memories.

The point, I think, isn't that Nighthunter is wrong in his assessment of one company or the other, but rather that he's wrong about both of them. Each is guilty of using resets, though perhaps in different ways, and each has found opportunity and purpose to develop and enhance their characters and their universe in ways that have survived those resets. Painting either one with a singular brush would be an enormous mistake and a sure sign that the pool from which you're drawing your information isn't nearly deep enough.

But he's a Spider-Man fan.....so what else should I expect?

Alright....there's more from the same thread.....but we'll leave it until next time.  I thought I might get it all into one blog.....but there's a lot of stupid (and a little smart) that needs to be pointed out. 



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