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Post By
Surly Rockbottom

In Reply To

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 9,474
Subj: Excellent question.
Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 09:59:31 pm EST (Viewed 108 times)
Reply Subj: Jobbing: Is it always a bad thing?
Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 08:15:47 pm EST (Viewed 150 times)

Previous Post

It's pretty common to hear people complaining about jobbing when we see a fight that theoretically should be a stomp end up as a competitive affair. But is this always a bad thing? Should fights be written in a logically rigorous fashion or is it better that writers flex the rules a bit, or even a lot, so as to make for a good fight? 

For myself I think I was a bit more of a "purist" back in the day but nowadays I think I see the merits of being a bit more laid back about such things.

I think that jobbing is a problem with most people when the fight ends up being a ridiculous stomp in the wrong direction - sort of like Black Panther arm-barring the Silver Surfer.

Personally, I'm a bit more accepting of the competitive affair. I try to judge fights on the Battle Boards, for instance, with the criterion of "would I throw the comic in a fire if I saw character X defeat character Y." A well written battle is one in which I say to myself, "Hmm, I never would have thought that Moon Knight could beat Spider-Man in a fight, but when you put it that way - I'm all good."

To anticipate where you're going with your questioning: fights do need a certain logic; if Superman gets hit in the face by a steel girder thrown by Solomon Grundy without blinking, and then gets staggered by a kick in the puss from Batman I might start to move my mouth in the direction of saying "bullsh . . .," but then again, I know Batman's martial arts training could possibly allow him to know just the right spot to kick, and sometimes Superman might not have had enough sunlight (or when Grundy threw that girder Superman was in peak form and totally expecting it, etc. etc.)

What I'm getting at is that I think like a No-Prize contender in very many comic book battles. Writers are going to make mistakes. These things come out monthly (for the most part), and its not like they're using their Master's in English to write the next great novel. The writers do want to make a good fight - and I'm all for them doing so - but if Hulk pioks up Thor's hammer from the ground and throws it back at him, I'm going to seriously wonder if the editor's credit is a fake name.

So there needs to be some logic, but it doesn't mean that they're being rigorous. In the case of Hulk and Mjlonir; yes, one must be a purist. In the case of Black Panther arm-barring the Silver Surfer? Who knows? Maybe Norrin's pacificistic nature influenced him to use the scenario as an excuse to cease hostilities and make T'Challa feel good about himself. It's not beyond Norrin's personality to do so.
Also, jobbing isn't just about specific fights. Some characters have a reputation as jobbers (Darkseid, Wonderman, and Thing come to mind). These are a result of a certain history that, for a variety of complex reasons, sort of boil down to telling a good story.
I hope that I'm answering your question. The "rules" should be somewhat flexible. I've seen a Thing vs. Wolverine end in a hilarious one-shot win for Ben, and I've seen a Thing vs. Wolverine end in a terrible maiming for Ben. Both were good stories. A "rigorous" approach might have decided that because of that one-shot victory of Thing over Wolvie that Wolvie is never, ever, ever a threat to Ben in any circumstance.
Things can go too far though. A "good fight" isn't just about the fight - it's also about the story. If writers flex the rules in order to make the Punisher kick the ever-loving crap out of Thor because "Thor is a pompous and arrogant douche and Frank is so much more real and like me," then it shows - and the story is just not a good story (unless you really hate Thor and identify with Frank Castle, which is entirely possible . . . but still, that only makes it subjectively good, not objectively good).
By all means, lay back - that's what entertainment wants you to do, ideally - but don't let them do whatever they damn well please to you while you lay there. They are supposed to entertain you, but you also need to maintain a critical mind.

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