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America's Captain 
Maintainer

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 10,953
In Reply To
Menshevik

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 3,948
Subj: Re: All of them.
Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 at 11:12:30 am EST (Viewed 140 times)
Reply Subj: Re: All of them.
Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 at 06:28:03 am EST (Viewed 120 times)



    Quote:
    Heh. You keep wondering about my motives for posting and I keep wondering why you attach such importance to it. I would say that I often have difficulties leaving categorical general assertions (such as "hero x never did this" or "writer x wrote only bad stories") uncontradicted, sometimes even when I agree with the general sentiment. When one or more counter-examples come to my mind, I feel an itch to bring them up.


Ah. OK. Now I get you. You're a member of the "never say never" and "never say always" police. If someone says "almost never" or "almost always" it doesn't bug you but if someone say "never" or "always" it triggers you to look for counter-examples. That explains a lot.

I often run afoul of the "never say never" and "never say always" police because I only care about general trends. If something is almost never true then I treat it as never true. If something is almost always true then I treat it as always true. I simply don't acknowledge exceptions. Only overall patterns are real to me. When I encounter exceptions it will often cause me to drop a book - but despite making that decision, I drop the exception from my memory banks, because as far as I'm concerned it's not real.

But even so, I think it's not valid to take a character's origin story and treat it as emblematic of how the character behaves post-origin. Many characters were deeply transformed by their origins. Peter Parker was. Stephen Strange was. Tony Stark was. There are also some characters who were deeply transformed by Captain America. These include the Falcon, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch. Marvel heroes often had turning points, after which they were almost different people.


    Quote:
    I am also of the opinion that perhaps too many fans and, more problematically, fans-turned-creators tend to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses while conversely refusing to give more recent stories and creators their due credit. (In this particular thread I think you are exaggerating the difference between Silver Age and more recent heroes - not every present-day hero is a Deadpool, and there aren't even that many Silver Age heroes that are as nice, self-effacing and pleasant as Squirrel Girl is in her current series).


Oh, there are some very inspirational recent heroes. Squirrel Girl certainly. Hawkeye the girl. Ms. Marvel. America Chavez. All-New Wolverine. Ironheart. These characters are very intentionally being written as inspirational. I applaud them.


    Quote:
    Also, my skepticism is aroused when people say that this or that counter-example doesn't count because it happened "too early" in the series or for whatever reason.


The "early in the series" comment is most applicable to the FF. You can't seriously tell me you see no difference between the FF as depicted in the first few issues and the FF as depicted in later issues. Ben in particular is very different.


    Quote:
    The thing is that Marvel's heroes often were portrayed as fallible persons, and doing the right thing is often shown as something they have to learn, becoming a superhero as a redemption story often involving their hubris being punished (the origins of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange are classic case-studies).


Exactly! Their origin stories were transformative.


    Quote:
    Thus I think that if they could get away with it quite a few Marvel heroes would engage in irresponsible behaviour more often, and that things like the negative publicity it would gain them or the danger of suits for damages etc. would be at least as important as questions of the act being ethically right or wrong.


Why do you even WANT to think that? Abuse of power is the essence of evil.


    Quote:
    Again, look at Silver Age Spider-Man, who starting early in the Ditko run developed this habit of webbing J. Jonah Jameson to his chair and/or webbing his mouth shut. In-story it is presented as a "funny" prank, but of course taken seriously it is not so harmless (just consider how JJJ must feel experiencing breathing difficulties when his mouth is webbed shut), and it certainly did nothing to de-escalate the feud between Spidey and the head of the Bugle. Early on JJJ had contented himself with negative articles and editorials (which he often enough would retract when it was revealed that they were actually based on false information), but then he progressed to actual criminal acts like funding various Spider-Slayers and the origin of the Scorpion...


I never thought of the breathing difficulty angle. I'll have to give you that one. But I doubt the writer thought of it either. Or the artist. Or most readers. As for webbing Jonah to his seat - we're talking about a man who was deliberately targeting Spider-Man for profit. The fact that all Peter did was web the guy to his chair is pretty amazing. (Again, I never thought of the breathing difficulty angle. I don't typically analyze so deeply.)


    Quote:
    Well, we probably won't agree on the Punisher as I see him as a villain powered by self-righteousness and protected by the authors contrivances ensuring that he never (seriously) hurts an innocent person and only kills guilty ones against all realistic expectations. For others the time when he opened fire on jaywalkers etc. was an exceptional case they like to discount, for me it brought his true nature into sharp relief.


I don't know how people see the Punisher as a villain. Agent of chaos, yes. I see him as chaotic good. If he was in the room with you and some criminal shot at you and the only way the Punisher could save you is by taking the bullet himself, he would take the bullet.


    Quote:
    In the end Juggy wins and leaves unhindered by the two other X-Men. As an added bonus, it is Juggernaut who leaves a big roll of banknotes "for the owner t'fix this place" even though from his POV it clearly was Colossus who had started the fight. Now I wouldn't say he was "actually heroic" in this scene, but apparently there may be a code of honour for many supervillains that leads to similar results as that of superheroes.


That was cool. I definitely think it's true that some villains have a sense of honor. Ordinarily I wouldn't have counted the Juggernaut among them. I'm not sure if that scene was really in character for him. But it was cool nonetheless.


    Quote:
    (On a much less serious level, there was a scene in a 1970s X-Men story where the X-Men are sitting in the mansion and Wolverine passes the time by playing noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) by carving the lines and symbols fairly deep into what appears to be an antique coffee-table belonging to Charles Xavier. Not exactly respectful of other people's prized possessions.)


Yeah, that was a stupid scene.






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