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 Post subject: Your Superhero Is Broken
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:27 pm 
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Here's a fascinating article from the guys at CHUD.

Enjoy and discuss.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 5:55 pm 
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I partially agree with him. The superhero is broken, though I would argue it always has been, a kind of four colour morality tale sold for sheer entertainment value. What happened was that the world changed (and much of its readership grew up) and decidedit wanted more from its protagonists.

One of my favorite quotes...

Quote:
Frank Miller's return to superheroes have mostly been parody. It's like he is coming back to the body he left in an alley and peeing on it.


And of course this gem..

Quote:
Imagine if Disney decided to bring the same realism to their characters that DC and Marvel have brought to theirs, and Minnie and Goofy have a torrid affair


...reminds me of the joke about Mickey at the psychiatrists saying "I didn't say Minnie was going crazy, I said she was fucking goofy"

But seriously, writers Moore and Miller simply finished the trend started by Stan Lee and his stable of Marvel artists who gave their characters personalities and complicated relationships. Ironically, pathos in comics began in the fifties with the gritty and realistic EC series (whose realism led to the creation of the comics code) and a little comic strip called Peanuts written by an introvert called Charles Schulz.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:28 am 
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Orwell was already on this back in the 1930s, before there were superheroes. His essay on "Boys' Own Weeklies" was a smart diagnosis of the politics of the form, declaring that boys' fiction not only offered an infantile view of the world, but the view of an infantile reactionary. So the superhero was broken before he was invented: the genre's limitations are pretty clear.

After Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, I thought the most promising new development was the arrival of Grant Morrison on the scene: it was a wise move in Animal Man and especially Doom Patrol to reject Watchmen's emphasis on realism and instead to indulge in the surreal elements of the genre. That was smart: I would have bet the farm that Morrison's early success would lead him away from the superheroes and their diminishing returns, into the alternative scene, where he'd have a less lucrative but more interesting career. Instead twenty years later he soldiers on at DC in a rut that's as deep in its way as Miller's - although to be fair he's a far better writer - the lunacy of The Doom Patrol's Brotherhood of Dada gradually coagulating into the imbecility of All-* Superman's Samson and Hercules.

Even so, he's the brightest light that I can see at DC and Marvel, in that he still has a critical distance from the superhero narrative contract - he isn't altogether a subscriber. After Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, the worst development was evidently the rise of the pseudo-Rorschach, and that character still has a stranglehold on the form. Occasionally there are surprises - a lot of Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier was pretty good - but I miss writers with the breadth of Moore or the drive and talent to find yet a new perspective on the form.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:49 am 
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Computer gaming has (in my case) wreaked havok* with my comic-reading. I love comics/GN's. Spent a lot of energy and time on sifting through them. Then the Mac/PC was born. Subsequently, any time that was left over from my RL-responsibilities (which wasn't much) was spent charging about as a conglomeration of polygons on some God-forsaken server somewhere.

People love pretending to be heroes. The gaming world gives a player the chance to act out these fantasies, rather than just reading about someone else being brave. :)

Nowadays it's a job to get even a minimal amount of time over for this wonderful passtime. (Which is great because there doesn't seem to be much I'm missing on the comic front).

*gaming reference there ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:16 pm 
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This is a great article.

I do agree with some of it, but I dont see the realism of not so real super heroes as being a bad thing. As comic readers we have found ourselves wanting more from our super heroes. We want to see Superman rid the world of evil, but we also want to now what makes him want to do it. We live in an age where comic's are becoming a more widely accepted form of literature, let alone entertainment. Just like when movies started coming out no one would have imagined they would be such a widely popular form of storytelling. They saw a movie as being pure entertainment. A man falls down and busts his head, hey we can laugh now because its not real. Now it is my friends, now it is.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:20 pm 
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Well, all *I* know is that after reading WATCHMEN, it was literally *years* before I could read another superhero comic.

Of course, I had stopped reading most of them by that time anyway....but I could no longer take them seriously AT ALL after WATCHMEN.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:04 am 
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saint wrote:
Well, all *I* know is that after reading WATCHMEN, it was literally *years* before I could read another superhero comic.

Of course, I had stopped reading most of them by that time anyway....but I could no longer take them seriously AT ALL after WATCHMEN.


Me Neither! I mean, the other day I picked up this old favorite of mine, read like, the first panel, then just...put it back. what's the point? Watchmen went and pulled a Doctor Manhattan, almost everything else is obsolete.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:41 am 
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ThatWeirdMirrorGirl wrote:
saint wrote:
Well, all *I* know is that after reading WATCHMEN, it was literally *years* before I could read another superhero comic.

Of course, I had stopped reading most of them by that time anyway....but I could no longer take them seriously AT ALL after WATCHMEN.


Me Neither! I mean, the other day I picked up this old favorite of mine, read like, the first panel, then just...put it back. what's the point? Watchmen went and pulled a Doctor Manhattan, almost everything else is obsolete.

Watch out, we've got a couple of bad-asses over here.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:43 pm 
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Godziller66 wrote:
ThatWeirdMirrorGirl wrote:
saint wrote:
Well, all *I* know is that after reading WATCHMEN, it was literally *years* before I could read another superhero comic.

Of course, I had stopped reading most of them by that time anyway....but I could no longer take them seriously AT ALL after WATCHMEN.


Me Neither! I mean, the other day I picked up this old favorite of mine, read like, the first panel, then just...put it back. what's the point? Watchmen went and pulled a Doctor Manhattan, almost everything else is obsolete.

Watch out, we've got a couple of bad-asses over here.


I like how it's been about 4 years between the posts and your come back

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Dr. Brooklyn wrote:
Godziller66 wrote:
ThatWeirdMirrorGirl wrote:
saint wrote:
Well, all *I* know is that after reading WATCHMEN, it was literally *years* before I could read another superhero comic.

Of course, I had stopped reading most of them by that time anyway....but I could no longer take them seriously AT ALL after WATCHMEN.


Me Neither! I mean, the other day I picked up this old favorite of mine, read like, the first panel, then just...put it back. what's the point? Watchmen went and pulled a Doctor Manhattan, almost everything else is obsolete.

Watch out, we've got a couple of bad-asses over here.


I like how it's been about 4 years between the posts and your come back

Well, I wouldn't have seen them at all had it not been for that spam bot that's not been deleted.

But anyway, my point is that not reading superhero comics after reading Watchmen is sort of stupid.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Godziller66 wrote:
But anyway, my point is that not reading superhero comics after reading Watchmen is sort of stupid.


I obviously agree with you on that point.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:10 pm 
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I think I understand them. I still read superhero comics, but some of them are left obsolete after Watchmen.
Try to go and read Justice League from the early 70's, there's no joy in it.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:23 pm 
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ElOctopodo wrote:
I think I understand them. I still read superhero comics, but some of them are left obsolete after Watchmen.
Try to go and read Justice League from the early 70's, there's no joy in it.

Admittedly, I haven't read much Justice League, but I still enjoy Avengers comics from that time period.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:34 pm 
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ElOctopodo wrote:
I think I understand them. I still read superhero comics, but some of them are left obsolete after Watchmen.
Try to go and read Justice League from the early 70's, there's no joy in it.


I enjoy the hell out of pre-Watchmen comics

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:03 pm 
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ElOctopodo wrote:
I think I understand them. I still read superhero comics, but some of them are left obsolete after Watchmen.
Try to go and read Justice League from the early 70's, there's no joy in it.


I think the real lesson Watchmen taught us (among so many) is to remove from our heads the idea that a masked individual, with a catchy name and a colorful outfit, beating people up is taking a morally correct course of action.

To me that means that I can perfectly read superhero comics from any era, but it would be pretty stupid of me to assume that what I'm seeing is anything other than entertainment.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:08 am 
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I just went to read the article and the link took me to an "article not found" page...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:07 pm 
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As long as those comics are trying to purely entertain you, they could still hold up to this day.
But at least in that Justice League run I read, when they tried to give some depth to the relationship between the group... it all felt unbearably fake.
Now, it could either be a cause of either post-Watchmen trauma or about how bad those comics have aged. But still, I understand them. I thought after reading Watchmen "Yep, I'm probably done with the superhero genre now!" I was lying to myself, of course, but maybe them took it more seriously.

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