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

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,656
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: Sun Dec 31, 2017 at 08:24:27 am EST (Viewed 278 times)
Reply Subj: Re: All of them.
Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 08:00:21 pm EST (Viewed 287 times)


      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.

    You can't go by FF #1. That's why I said, "Once his heroic nature had been fleshed out." The earliest issues of the FF were basically preliminary. I'm not sure where the cut-off is. I'd have to go back to my Masterworks. Eventually a point is reached where all four characters are unequivocally heroic in a recognizable way. I'm going to say it's later than the Ben-as-Blackbeard story.

Well, we have to recall that we are talking about different things here. I think even after FF #5 you'll find more than a few stories where members of the FF behave stupidly and/or hotheadedly (you'll not that in FF #1 did not really cause damage or injury worth going to court over, she just acted very stupidly).

    Now of course you'll find stories where property gets damaged accidentally as the FF fights some villain. That's different. Eventually even that gets addressed, with Reed sending money to people or sending construction crews to fix things. But Johnny getting frustrated and burning some guy's store to the ground? Once the preliminary issues are behind us, such wanton destruction never happens.

IMO that is not a consequence of the FF's "heroic nature" but of the fact that they operate as a "public" team and that they are rich. As already shown in the Silver Age, people in the Marvel Universe have the option of suing them for damages they cause in civil courts of law and they have to respect the law of the land. (Thus their unrestrained behaviour in FF #1 may actually show their inner nature more immediately than their restrained behaviour later).
That they send money or construction crews to people whose property they damage is only sensible as it avoids time-consuming trials, lawyers' fees, legal costs and the negative publicity fallout they would otherwise risk. (For that reason the FF also don't do that much damage to the property of bad guys even though you would excuse that).

Heroes who operate outside of the law rarely pay for the damage they cause, and most of them, like the chronically broke Silver Age Peter Parker, simply lack the necessary funds. Others apparently can't be bothered, leading to the 1980s saying that you can always tell where the X-Men have been. And the Punisher has literally been allowed to get away with mass murder since the 1970s.


      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).

    I think you're probably right about that. Hot-headedness is also used as an excuse for heroes to briefly fight each other.

Oh yes, hot-headedness and the teenage immaturity leading to fights even without the pretext of a misunderstanding. A classic example was the long-running series of "practical jokes" played by the Human Torch on the Thing in the FF, and also some of the interactions between the Torch and Spider-Man. In the backup story to ASM #8 for instance Peter "With Great Power Must Come Great Responsibility" Parker picks a fight with Johnny, which escalates into a fight with the entire Fantastic Four, just for giggles. (Maybe he still had a chip on his shoulder for them refusing to make him a member in ASM #1). But they have enough good sense to take that fight to a place where they apparently don't do damage to civilian property...

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