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Post By
Evil G:DR

In Reply To
The Black Guardian 
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Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 26,110
Subj: Re: Someone always has to die. That's the law around here.
Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 09:46:10 pm EDT (Viewed 141 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Someone always has to die. That's the law around here.
Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:02:02 am EDT (Viewed 74 times)

Previous Post


    Quote:
    > > But even back in those days, there was still the notion that you could kill off a lower-tier superhero and they might actually stay dead. If you killed off a civilian supporting-cast character, they were probably going to stay dead. And, looking at the characters you named, Cypher was killed in response to fan-demand. Magik died because her story could only really end one of three ways; she becomes a monstrous villain, she 'fixes' herself and in doing so loses everything that makes the character who she is, or she dies.



    Quote:
    > I disagree completely. She could easily have transcended that and become a better character for it.



    Quote:
    And in turn, I disagree with you completely. It would be like taking away Blade's vampirism, Nightcrawler's unhuman appearance, or Rogue's inability to control her powers (........wait a minute...), if you fix all of a character's problems either their story is over, or you have to find them new problems to keep them interesting, and the new ones are less likely to be as compelling.

If characters aren't overcoming their problems, they're worthless.

Magik's demonic taint is nothing like Nightcrawler's appearance. His appearance is part of who he is. That isn't what his problem is. Magik's demonic taint was forced upon her. It's something added to her character for her to overcome.

And we probably won't see eye to eye on Rogue. She is lightyears better having control of her powers than she was. I just wish she still had the Ms. Marvel powers.


    Quote:
    > > The trouble with resurrecting characters for those purposes is that you have to put in all the time and effort to bring the character back, for the sake of them being able to star in a book that isn't likely to last long, with or without them. Was there really any point to the Necrosha crossover beyond "bringing back Cypher so her can be in New Mutants"? (and of all the dead characters we saw again in Necrosha, surely everyone here can think of at least 10 other characters we'd rather have back. Even if you just listed Maggott ten times, you're still right).



    Quote:
    > I'm no Cypher fan, but he would still have probably made my Top 10 characters to deserve a resurrection in 2009.



    Quote:
    Over everyone else who showed up in Necrosha? Really?

No, not over everyone else resurrected in Necrosha. But he would have made my Top 10 most deserving. Of the Necroshan technozombies, I think only Banshee and Darkstar would be over him.


    Quote:
    Cypher being the only one to come back is a slap in the face to every fan of Caliban, Maggott, Banshee, Fabian Cortez, Unus, Thunderbird 1 and Fat Harry Leland.

Ugh... a list of my least favourites, except for Banshee. Especially that Cortez traitor.

And I AM a Maggott Fan! I still believe he's not really and truly dead (regardless of Necrosha). One of his slugs was being kept alive by Sinister. Keep Hope Alive, Maggoteers!


    Quote:
    That the Necrosha crossover just randomly decided that Shinobi Shaw and a load of the Acolytes had just died off-panel some time ago, and they're not coming back either, just made it even worse.

Dying off panel was probably the best thing most of those Acolytes ever did.


    Quote:
    > > Can anyone truly argue that the last New Mutants book would have tanked sooner without Magik and Cypher? It's like bringing Jean back because the X-Factor lineup needed her, taught everyone the wrong lessons about bringing characters back, and subjected us to resurrections not many people were vocally demanding, and of characters who would often be right back in limbo within a year or two anyway, so may as well have been dead still.



    Quote:
    > X-Factor taught us no such thing with Jean.



    Quote:
    It taught us that if you're going to go to the lengths to bring a dead character back, giving them a starring role in a book that's going to last more than 2 years goes some way to suggest that there was a need for them to be back, because they were an important part of all those stories that someone had wanted to tell. That _IS_ an important lesson, and no-one really learned it.

Well, Colossus had a starring role in a book that lasted longer than two years... okay, it took two years to get through one bloody arc. But...

Cypher too.


    Quote:
    > People had been demanding Magik and Cypher back for decades.



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    There was demand, yes, there always is when a character is killed off, but in those two cases, it had died down long ago, there was no huge vocal demand for it, and they'd both been gone so long, and the world had carried on without them, that there was no pressing need or demand for it.

It never died off. It dwindled, like the rest of fandom.


    Quote:
    See also: Marvel bringing back Blink after fan-demand for it had died down.

Blink's an odd thing. The dead version never was as cool as the really popular version.


    Quote:
    At the absolute least, it would have made sense to launch the New Mutants book first, see how it sold, and see if there was demand amongst the readers to bring back the deadies, before doing so, rather than treating them being back as a necessity before the book could even start.



    Quote:
    > Heck, Doug's death in the first place earn Simonson a lot of "fanemies."



    Quote:
    Well, that death seems to have been a predecessor of the 2004 Hawkeye death, in terms of "a lot of people vocally started caring about him only after he was killed off", with added funny irony over the fact that he'd been killed off because the fans that were writing to Marvel vocally hated him enough to convince them to kill him.

That's not true at all... of Cypher or Hawkeye. Hawkeye's been one of the most popular Avengers since before either of us was born. Bendis knew this at the time, which is kind of why he "killed" him off. It was one of his attempts to "break Teh IntarWebs."


    Quote:
    > No question Nightcrawler had gone down some horrible paths. Colossus too. The correct response to this is for writers to stop doing it, not killing the characters.

    Well, yes, "stop writing crap comics" is always a good plan. But I stand by the point that if a character has been a mainstay in a team book for years, but either a) no-one's done anything of note with them in years, even decades, or b) the only things of note done with them in many years, were all terrible, then that probably IS a character you can kill off, or at least "retire", and get away with it.

It's not the character that's the problem; it's the writer(s).


    Quote:
    > Writers not knowing what to do with him doesn't suggest he wasn't needed back.

    Needed? Don't confuse "you miss him" with "he's needed". Iceman's one of my favourite X-Men, and he's also had years of just...being there, and I wouldn't for a moment delude myself that they couldn't go on without him, or that he'd be "needed back" if he was gone. What had Colossus brought to the table over a couple of decades of just being there, that was suddenly absent from the X-Men once he was gone? Of all the charges you can hurl at the Casey/Morrison/Claremont books of 2001-4, "Colossus wasn't there for any of it" isn't really going to make the list.

I'm not confusing anything of the sort. Characters are the vital resource. Just because a writer doesn't know what to do with a character doesn't suggest a lack of need, just a lack of vision. If a writer can't think of something to do with a character, that's a failure of the writer, not the character.

And we'll never know. Morrison wanted to have Colossus around, but couldn't because "some writer" stupidly killed him. He was replaced with Diamond Emma Frost. A great deal of my dislike of Morrison's run had a lot to do with his Emma.


    Quote:
    > > When the Spider-Man books brought back Aunt May in 1998, despite no demand for it, and her death being an acclaimed and beloved issue, I think that really marked the point where, if even civilian characters could come back from being Very Dead, and if Marvel were bringing back characters that the fans wanted to stay dead, we were living in an era where "death in comics" was utterly meaningless. With that in mind, yes, you have a strong argument for not bothering to kill anyone.



    Quote:
    > > But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it?

    > Apparently not. Aunt May's return proves this.

    Not really. I don't remember many people really warming up to the idea of her being alive again until about 4 years later when JMS had her learn that Peter was Spidey. Until then, the sum total of "things done with her to justify her coming back" were "Aunt May gets a new haircut".

That was my point.


    Quote:
    > > But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it? And if no-one ever died and there was no sense that anyone was in any actual danger, there'd be no sense of threat, nothing really at stake in any of the super-battles. So it's not "stop doing that", it's "do better".



    Quote:
    > That's never been a good argument, but yes, "do better" and that means "stop doing that." Other, better writers do.

    In terms of "ongoing serial fiction where people are fighting all the time and trying to kill each other, but no-one actually ever dies", the writers who are doing that would presumably be working on children's cartoons. Stopping all deaths in comics would be absurd.

I'm not saying "no one." But in most popular fiction this is the case, not just children's cartoons.

> > And in turn, I disagree with you completely. It would be like taking away Blade's vampirism, Nightcrawler's unhuman appearance, or Rogue's inability to control her powers (........wait a minute...), if you fix all of a character's problems either their story is over, or you have to find them new problems to keep them interesting, and the new ones are less likely to be as compelling.

> If characters aren't overcoming their problems, they're worthless.

In a finite story, you want that kind of ending, the character either definitively overcomes their problem or fails to do so Forever, but in ongoing serial fiction like comics, there is a risk of "so what's the point of this character now? What do you do with them after that?", which is why any superhero who 'overcomes' their problem tends to either quickly develop a new problem (right now, Tony Stark's alcoholism replacing his injured heart is about the only time I can think of where the replacement proved to have more staying-power than the original problem, which kind of had to be dealt with when real-world medical science had caught up to the problem), or have a relapse of their old one (hello, Cable's techno-virus), if they're going to be a character who stays around.

> Magik's demonic taint is nothing like Nightcrawler's appearance. His appearance is part of who he is. That isn't what his problem is. Magik's demonic taint was forced upon her. It's something added to her character for her to overcome.

And yet it's also the thing that makes her Magik, and not just "Colossus' younger sister who is still just a powerless child". Even if you took it away and didn't de-age her, you'd effectively have a totally different person.

See also; "why X-23 will never ever be fully rehabilitated and normalised". It's because then they wouldn't be themselves anymore.

> And we probably won't see eye to eye on Rogue. She is lightyears better having control of her powers than she was.

While I was at least open to the idea of her having control of her powers as a short-term status quo, I can't say anything I've read focusing on her since then has convinced me it was a good idea.

> I just wish she still had the Ms. Marvel powers.

I just wish she hadn't become someone who could get killed and I'd be saying "That'll do, Eric. That'll do."

> > Over everyone else who showed up in Necrosha? Really?

> No, not over everyone else resurrected in Necrosha. But he would have made my Top 10 most deserving. Of the Necroshan technozombies, I think only Banshee and Darkstar would be over him.

At least we eventually got Darkstar back (sort of). Only for the entire Winter Guard to be seemingly killed off not long afterwards.

> > Cypher being the only one to come back is a slap in the face to every fan of Caliban, Maggott, Banshee, Fabian Cortez, Unus, Thunderbird 1 and Fat Harry Leland.

> Ugh... a list of my least favourites, except for Banshee. Especially that Cortez traitor.

Surely, whether you like them as people or not, you can understand the need for quality villains, and villain-teams, and for bringing back some of the ones who were gratuitously slaughtered? Especially in these post-M-Day times, where the X-Men's rogues gallery were hit particularly hard, and most villain teams from then onwards have tended towards "random gatherings of whoever's left".

Fabian Cortez is the Starscream of the Marvel Universe. Love him or hate him, things are just that much more interesting and entertaining with him out there scheming than when he's dead.

> And I AM a Maggott Fan! I still believe he's not really and truly dead (regardless of Necrosha). One of his slugs was being kept alive by Sinister. Keep Hope Alive, Maggoteers!

As much as I'd like to hope he'll be back, I can't see it happening anytime soon. And I'm not sure how we'd get a whole Maggott back from one of his slugs.

> > That the Necrosha crossover just randomly decided that Shinobi Shaw and a load of the Acolytes had just died off-panel some time ago, and they're not coming back either, just made it even worse.

> Dying off panel was probably the best thing most of those Acolytes ever did.

As our resident Acolytes enthusiast, of course you realise, this means war.

> > It taught us that if you're going to go to the lengths to bring a dead character back, giving them a starring role in a book that's going to last more than 2 years goes some way to suggest that there was a need for them to be back, because they were an important part of all those stories that someone had wanted to tell. That _IS_ an important lesson, and no-one really learned it.

> Well, Colossus had a starring role in a book that lasted longer than two years... okay, it took two years to get through one bloody arc. But...

It took almost four damned years to get through that run. And as soon as it was over, no-one knew what to do with him or had any sane plans for him, and thus he goes staggering from one drastic status-quo shift to another. Start your countdown for Colossus to a) become a cyborg, 2) grow a metal beard, or d) grow extra pairs of arms.

> Cypher too.

I just checked, and I was surprised to see that the New Mutants relaunch actually made it to 50 issues, I hadn't realised it had lasted so long. I'm still not convinced that was enough to justify bringing back Cypher and Magik, though.

> > > People had been demanding Magik and Cypher back for decades.

> > There was demand, yes, there always is when a character is killed off, but in those two cases, it had died down long ago, there was no huge vocal demand for it, and they'd both been gone so long, and the world had carried on without them, that there was no pressing need or demand for it.

> It never died off. It dwindled, like the rest of fandom.

I'm going to disagree with that, purely on the grounds that in the early 1990s, when the books were selling at an all-time highest level, and the audience was larger than it had ever been before, an awful lot of those people were newer readers to whom Cypher and Magik were largely irrelevant, to whom Cypher was dead and gone before they ever got there, Illyana was just a child, who also died, and then we had Douglock, who was greater than the sum of his parts.

I'm not going to argue that the audience dwindled in the 2nd half of the 1990s, like comics' readership in general did, but demand to bring back characters who were gone in the 1980s had already been drowned out by an influx of newcomers who didn't know or care.

> > See also: Marvel bringing back Blink after fan-demand for it had died down.

> Blink's an odd thing. The dead version never was as cool as the really popular version.

And yet people frequently did insist that they'd been fans since the original version's 2-issue appearance in Phalanx Covenant.

> > Well, that death seems to have been a predecessor of the 2004 Hawkeye death, in terms of "a lot of people vocally started caring about him only after he was killed off", with added funny irony over the fact that he'd been killed off because the fans that were writing to Marvel vocally hated him enough to convince them to kill him.

> That's not true at all... of Cypher or Hawkeye. Hawkeye's been one of the most popular Avengers since before either of us was born. Bendis knew this at the time, which is kind of why he "killed" him off. It was one of his attempts to "break Teh IntarWebs."

I have no doubt that Bendis killed Hawkeye and Vision because they were two major, important, popular Avengers and it would be a big, attention-getting, shock-event, but considering the falling sales of the pre-Bendis Avengers, and how quickly the 2003-4 Hawkeye book had tanked (if it hadn't, there's not much chance Bendis would have been allowed to kill him), the outcry over his death was something that seemed very disproportionate, a lot of it coming from people who didn't care enough about Hawkeye to actually read things with him in.

And in contrast, hardly anyone seemed to care about poor Vision and Scott Lang, so in conclusion, the Internets are full of jerks and I hate them all.

> > > No question Nightcrawler had gone down some horrible paths. Colossus too. The correct response to this is for writers to stop doing it, not killing the characters.

> > Well, yes, "stop writing crap comics" is always a good plan. But I stand by the point that if a character has been a mainstay in a team book for years, but either a) no-one's done anything of note with them in years, even decades, or b) the only things of note done with them in many years, were all terrible, then that probably IS a character you can kill off, or at least "retire", and get away with it.

> It's not the character that's the problem; it's the writer(s).

I'm going to disagree. The widely-repeated line about how "there are no bad characters, only bad writers" isn't true. There are bad characters, there are also characters who only really work in ensemble-casts, and don't work so well in solo stories, there are characters who only work and/or are only tolerable in small doses, and there are characters in team books who are better off just leaving the team if the writer has no plans for them.

> > Needed? Don't confuse "you miss him" with "he's needed". Iceman's one of my favourite X-Men, and he's also had years of just...being there, and I wouldn't for a moment delude myself that they couldn't go on without him, or that he'd be "needed back" if he was gone. What had Colossus brought to the table over a couple of decades of just being there, that was suddenly absent from the X-Men once he was gone? Of all the charges you can hurl at the Casey/Morrison/Claremont books of 2001-4, "Colossus wasn't there for any of it" isn't really going to make the list.

> I'm not confusing anything of the sort. Characters are the vital resource. Just because a writer doesn't know what to do with a character doesn't suggest a lack of need, just a lack of vision. If a writer can't think of something to do with a character, that's a failure of the writer, not the character.

In a solo book, you're absolutely right. If the writer of Spider-Man can't think of anything to do with Spider-Man, they have serious problems and should leave the book quickly. If the writer of X-Men can't think of anything to do with, say, Storm, Gambit or Beast, it's hardly a problem, there are plenty of other characters they can use instead, and there's no reason they can't write them out until someone else DOES want to use them.

> And we'll never know. Morrison wanted to have Colossus around, but couldn't because "some writer" stupidly killed him. He was replaced with Diamond Emma Frost. A great deal of my dislike of Morrison's run had a lot to do with his Emma.

Well, making the not-unreasonable assumption that if Colossus had lived, he'd have gotten Frost's role in the book, and would have seduced Cyclops, I think the real lesson to be learned here wasn't "don't kill Colossus", but more "don't let Morrison write comics".

> > > > But on the other hand, it's all in the quality of how well it's done, isn't it?

> > > Apparently not. Aunt May's return proves this.

> > Not really. I don't remember many people really warming up to the idea of her being alive again until about 4 years later when JMS had her learn that Peter was Spidey. Until then, the sum total of "things done with her to justify her coming back" were "Aunt May gets a new haircut".

> That was my point.

But isn't that example of a bad resurrection story for a character no-one had any real plans for, proving my point, rather than an "apparently not"?

> > > That's never been a good argument, but yes, "do better" and that means "stop doing that." Other, better writers do.

> > In terms of "ongoing serial fiction where people are fighting all the time and trying to kill each other, but no-one actually ever dies", the writers who are doing that would presumably be working on children's cartoons. Stopping all deaths in comics would be absurd.

> I'm not saying "no one." But in most popular fiction this is the case, not just children's cartoons.

In terms of "ongoing serial fiction" that can run for many years, the other main options are soap operas and sci-fi or fantasy novel series, all of which totally kill characters off.


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