Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,617
In Reply To
America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139
Subj: Re: All of them.
Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 06:32:15 pm EST (Viewed 284 times)
Reply Subj: Re: All of them.
Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 08:10:10 pm EST (Viewed 298 times)

    Me too. Some of these writers are writing the Marvel heroes like sitcom characters. On a sitcom, the characters are always to some extent moronic. They create stupid situations by being stupid. (Incidentally, I hate most sitcoms for that very reason. I hate watching stupid people be stupid.) Marvel heroes generally should not be presented as moronic.

    Unfortunately the Silver Age writers laid down a precedent for one bit of stupidity: hot tempers. Ben, Johnny, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Warren Worthington, and some other heroes had hot tempers which would cause them to lash out unreasonably, stomp away in a huff, and do other silly things. Later writers would take this aspect and expand upon it, thinking they had solid precedent in the Silver Age. What these later writers didn't grasp was the inborn restraint of the heroic nature. The Thing generally would never, while stomping away in a huff, demolish some poor guy's vegetable stand. Not under Stan Lee (once Ben's heroic nature had been fleshed out) and probably not under Roy Thomas. Continue down the line of writers and you may find some example of Ben (and not a mind-controlled Ben) lashing out blindly at some innocent bystander's bread and butter. As soon as you find that, you will have found the point where the writers have ceased to understand where the fine line is.

    Heroes do not do harm to civilians. Not even to their property. Not on purpose. This is the great principle. If Ben really needed to blow off some steam, he'd find some bad guys to pummel. Destroying bad guy property is allowed. Smashing their guns and tanks. Beating them into unconsciousness. All fine.

    As for other forms of stupidity - they shouldn't occur. A stupid hero would soon be a dead hero. The weaker a hero is, the more intelligent that hero must be in order to survive. Hawkeye should be presented as a brilliant tactician brimming over with street smarts. He goes up against all comers no matter how powerful and all he has is a bow and arrows. Without tactical genius and exceptional street smarts he would be dead.

I wonder if you aren't measuring up these characters not against how they actually were presented in the Silver Age but against of your ideal of what they were or should have been in your opinion. (And in general I think fans are more willing to make excuses for Golden and Silver Age stories than for those that came later).
Silver Age heroes could on occasion display an amazing degree of stupidity and unconcern for the "collateral damage" they caused. Take the first chapter of Fantastic Four #1:
When Mr. Fantastic fires off his signal for the first time, the other three members rush to him.
Sue Storm decides it's a good idea to do this while invisible, resulting in her knocking at least five or six passers-by and being left behind by the taxi she wants to use.
Ben Grimm demolishes the door and doorframe of the shop he leaves from, then he smashes his way in and out of a sewer. When he emerges from the ground he totals a moving car. (His own reaction is merely to call the people in the car fools and cowards, as if he was blameless).
Johnny Storm takes of through the roof of his car, mostly melting it in the process (had this been depicted realistically, there should have been a sizeable explosion, which would at least have injured the mechanic working on the car before Johnny took off, as the heat would surely have ignited the petrol in the tank?) He then is intercepted by several US fighter jets and "accidentally" destroys a number of them (one can only assume that all the crewmen from the downed planes escaped with their lives).
(Not to be outdone, the US armed forces then fire a hunter missile with a nuclear warhead at the Human Torch, but luckily Mr. Fantastic's intervention saves not only Johnny's life but also Central City from being incinerated).
Then of course there is the flashback where three of the four decide to disregard the dangers posed by cosmic rays despite Ben Grimm voicing concerns which are totally vindicated by subsequent events. Ben himself meanwhile is silenced by the simple trick of accusing him of being a coward (which exploits his hotheadedness). In real life of course the four would have ended up dead, and not gifted with superpowers.

I think there is also another reason why there is a fair number of characters who appear to be hotheaded, immature or at least slightly stupid, and that is that writers in the Silver Age found it easiler to portray the "followers" that way than to convincingly show the leaders as smart or highly intelligent. Thus Angel and Iceman, and to a lesser extent Marvel Girl and the Beast, appear as rather immature during the Silver Age in order to validate Professor X and Cyclops as leaders, and the same is true for Ben, Johnny and to a lesser extent Sue vis-à-vis Reed in the Silver-Age FF, and Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and to a lesser extent the Scarlet Witch and Hercules during the Cap's Kookie Quartet phase and immediately after. It does seem to me that these "hothead" characters generally tend to be common in team books and rare in solo titles (other than The Incredible Hulk).

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