Comics. What are they good for?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Postby Moderator » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:58 pm

This story device cuts far deeper than Steve Barber's reference to Superman's ideal of "'G' for Goodness", because the test was so constant, and not even the Surfer was infalliable.


Actually, it were the "other" Steve (the ugly-dude avatar, I'm the dalmatian), but the point's agreed upon.

Of all the Marvel characters, Surfer and Nimoy... err.. Namor come the closest to icons-in-training. And possibly the Phoenix (all versions: green, Dark, burning, and white-chocolate). Being true to an ideal is, to me, a fundamental aspect of creating that mythos. The Surfer, in particular, suffers because of his dedication to that ideal, and his dreams and aspirations make him try for more. This is what separates the character from the icon. The icon represents something greater than themselves.

(This is also why, at the core, the characters of Star Trek, Star Wars and Alien are iconographic, while those in films such as Blade Runner and Close Encounters are not -- even though those are considered better films.)
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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:15 pm

Gee whiz, he's moderator for a day and gets credit for my brilliant ideas. :D

Don't forget that the surfer is plagued by the intolerable guilt of having casued billions of deaths. I thought that was even more central to his character.

(And is it just me or was Ron Lim the only artist who could drop him properly - as a gleaming silver man and not some lumpen lead figurine?)

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:58 pm

Listen, you see one Steve you've seen 'em all.

The Surfer having come to represent such an ideal - though the stories took more intriguing turns than all that Superman crap, as directly confronting Mephisto and the Stranger, for example - created a major problem for Stan Lee because the character had less ploblematic emotional range than many of his other quirky fucked-up characters.

Namor as an icon. Shakey example, I think, because - well talk about surmounting absolute HATE - he was really weighed by the challenge. The reason I always liked him is because whether on his villainous days or his "good-guy" days - even in his noble moments - he was probably the BIGGEST asshole in comics. He was great!

Barber...I think your fixation on iconography limits the possibilities of your debate. I mean it can only go so far after every's got it.

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Postby Eric_Martin » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:01 pm

Random comments on the DC gods:

Superman -- still number one. The movie will be huge...he's the American way.

Batman -- the most intriguing. A little over-exposed now...too many movies, funny books, and toys.

Wonder Woman -- the only female hero everyone knows. Get Britney for the remake.

Green Lantern -- the mythos became mush, when they resurrected the ambigously gay Hal Jordan...I liked him as a lunatic.

Green Arrow -- fanboy's hero.

Flash -- well, he's really fast. Coolest idea for a gimmick hero.

Aquaman -- Peter David's take was fun. Hard to keep things exciting in the ocean.

Martian Manhunter -- who?

MARVEL demigods:

Spidey -- way overbaked now. Time to kill Peter Parker and get a gay Chinese spidey.

Captain America -- ruined by Mark Waid, flag-waver.

Thor -- what can anyone say. A true 60s hero.

Iron Man -- coolest idea at Marvel, although Tony Starck is a bit rote.

FF - yawn.

X-Men -- bigger yawn.

Hulk -- why Marvel will never be DC.

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Postby Hathor » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:01 pm

The "Batman Mythos"

Huh. Well, he's a man. A paranoid, demented man. Heeheehee.

I think the one story the always stuck out for me about Bats is when The Batcave got breached by Hugo Strange, and he discovered Batman's contingency plans to destory the other heroes of the Justice League if the need arose. (Well, the are from other planets for the most part)

Who needs Kryptonite when archetypical God-given Hubris always works as a weakness?? Batman's "Impregnable" fortress breached. Neato.

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:21 pm

Shakespeare said it best: Marvel is the coolest; DC sucks.

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Postby Moderator » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:41 pm

Okay, now for my next subject, "The Anti-Icon" (registered trademark):

"Brad, Paris and Britney were walking along Central Park West one day when a speeding Noxema delivery van careened out of control..."
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Postby Moderator » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:43 pm

On a different note, anyone else notice that Peter Parker outed himself today?
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Postby robochrist » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:56 pm

The Anti-Hero Icon: The REAL Heroes

Let's start with the team-up between Namor and the Hulk, as we listen in on their mutual thoughts as they stand together...a great moment in chivalry and honor:

Hulk of Namor: 'I'll string along for a while, then smash the trusting fool when he's off guard!'

Namor of the Hulk: 'He's too strong! Too unreliable! When he's served his purpose I'll destroy the trusting fool!'

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:42 pm

...I'll add one more thought to the "ICONS" loop:

I submit that the biggest reason Superman and Batman are of such grand magnitude in "public appeal" - which seems to be your priority - is that they've been merchandised heavily since the early 40's; that's over 60 years of "ingrain". What they "stand for" was secondary.

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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:31 pm

My theory is that they both dress like gay porn stars.

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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:37 pm

Steve Evil wrote:
(And is it just me or was Ron Lim the only artist who could drop him properly - as a gleaming silver man and not some lumpen lead figurine?)


Drop him indeed. Draw him! DRAWr him!!!! Friggin' cover letters mucked me up real good.

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:56 pm

"My theory is that they both dress like gay porn stars"

Who? The Hulk and Namor?

Why do I find myself suddenly getting aroused?

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Postby Eric_Martin » Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:04 am

In a way, all superheroes are either "Superman-type" or "Batman-type." (If there's a third prototype, chime in).

Superman-types are super-powered in some alien or supernatural way. They include the obvious Capt. Marvel, Flash, Wonder Woman, Thor, The FF, Spider-Man, Aquaman.

Batman-types are humans with a special tool or training. They include Green Arrow, Captain America, Iron-Man, Green Lantern (ok, the ring is a little mysto), Batgirl, Batwoman, Batbabe, Batdyke, and Bathottie.

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Postby Moderator » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:54 am

robochrist wrote:...I'll add one more thought to the "ICONS" loop:

I submit that the biggest reason Superman and Batman are of such grand magnitude in "public appeal" - which seems to be your priority - is that they've been merchandised heavily since the early 40's; that's over 60 years of "ingrain". What they "stand for" was secondary.


Well, no, not priority. It's an element, but popularity is only one of the factors I cited. Otherwise I'd have given many more examples of Marvel characters than I have.

My reaction is "Well...yeah." regarding the marketing -- but the marketing for a large extent concentrated on those values they stood for. Consider that Batman (other than an alternate universe Batman tv series that, while a lot of fun, thankfully isn't canon) has always been presented as haunted by his past, fighting his inner demons, destroying evil by employing the same tactics but still maintaining ethical standards, blah, blah, blah.

More to the point, tell me how many kids in the 1950s and '60s couldn't recite the opening monologue to the Superman tv series (which was one of the first heavily marketed tv shows) understandihng that Supes represented "Truth, Justice and the American Way"?

(Yes, we were a nation of NeoCons even way back then.)

The branding and marketing did speak exactly to the values of the characters.

(Eric - I know of no third type, except perhaps Red Tornado and other humanoid robots? And speaking of marketing, I've always perversely liked the Booster Gold character and I couldn't exactly explain why...)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.


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