So eloquently put.
The problem is that the movies just make it more inconsistent. Superman: The Movie(78) is a good example. The Batman movies from 84 to present are all over the place. My issue is not with the material. My issue is with the people making the material. They’ve soddied up the medium with so much sensationalism that no movie can fix this. And even if it did its not a replacement its a novelty. I’m just as critical of the movies as I am the chronicles however. I’m ecstatic to see a filmmaker actually try to adhere to canon in a positive way. In the DC universe Man of Steel, Green Lantern, and Batman Begins are about the only DC films that even got close.
In my opinion, American Super-hero comics are a train that you eventually should get off of. My prime reading years were 10-24, and then I read Wizard for another 5 years, just to make sure…yep, I don’t want to read those comics anymore.
In my opinion, there is a strong adolescent appeal clearly, but as you get older and see one too many clones/rebirth/alternate future’s daughter/Alternate future’s son (x2) of Jean Grey…well…it is dumb. It is storytelling that I am grateful for at certain points of my personal development, but as I became older and could view a broader swath of the material and “continuity” I realized it wasn’t for me.
I think Battle Angel Alita was the nail in the coffin for me. It was a simple tight story following a single character that changed, and the world around her changed, and there were time jumps… People were reborn, but only in a solar system spanning…spoilers, I won’t go into it but I remember finding out the “Secret of Tiphares”, walking down the street, out of the comic shop and just dropping my jaw and it is, to this day such a great dramatic moment…it made sense.
This was 94ish, Marvel would or had just gone bankrupt, the anime explosion would soon happen, it made sense to me.
Just getting off the train and enjoying these movies as nostalgia works for me.
I got into Western comics VERY late, but also noticed the “hold” over me wasn’t for very long also. The funny thing is that there are small bits and pieces I still like, mostly small “gimmicks” here and there for amusement and the artwork (on occasion). But the truth is they rely on a kind of arbitrary storytelling that goes on and on and on and on.
In many ways the quality of plot progression is not unlike the kind found in modern day Pro-Wrestling with Face turns, Heel turns, Big Name characters forming stables, outrageous costumes, staredowns, rattling out one-liners, feats of strength, exaggerated posturing.
It can be just as fun… if you don’t take it that seriously.
I stopped getting Marvel by the early 90s and was buying Dark Horse movie comics instead. I kept track of comics news for another couple of years but think I gave up on it all by the mid 90s.
Later I heard from people who kept at it longer than me and the crazy storylines (Spider-man was a clone etc). And since then Marvel Zombies, Marvel and DC, Marvel vs DC, Marvel combined with DC…
Its like a soap opera but with no law of physics…
I occasionally buy Art of books (Alex Ross) but have bypassed the comics themselves.
PLEASE CLOSE THIS THREAD, it is turning into a support group for former readers of American Comic Books.
Right… luckily his publisher signed him on for an Odysseus spin-off instead.
Yeah I know right? Guess that one went down a lot like Deadpool over there… Scene stealing supporting character has fans clamoring for a spin-off.
The attitude towards the characters in the poems was probably different from how a modern audience responds to regular commercial fiction given the historical and religious significance of the poetry and characters for that culture.
I have read that Achilles had qualities that would be considered a negative for an ancient Greek audience (lack of emotional control) even though he represents their side (and the foreign Trojan side is given just as much or even more sympathy in the poem).
Some of the creative embellishments foreshadow the kind in comics though. Like the Cyclops who Odysseus blinds in the Odyssey shows up in the Aeneid written centuries later, establishing that Aeneas arrives at the same island a few months after Odysseus.
But back to comics–I had forgotten that Stan Lee has continued to write Spider-man for decades–in the newspaper strip.
Well I still think that… even those old myths (and you see a lot of Artists, Writers, Directors using that word to describe the modern film, comic books, superheroes)… The Myths have a lot of basic entertainment value as well as core values communication.
They didn’t have TV, so all they had were these poems and myth things, which I think at the time also doubled as scripture, right? But at its basic level you still have an audience and you still have a storyteller.
So you still have to sort of “sell” it… with the action… the “marquee characters”…Magic armor, magic swords, sexual content… Crossovers, spin-offs.
It is true that today it’s all taken a bit less seriously… But much of the same logic is still apparent.
Primarily that, much in the same way that say “Achilles” can have multiple pieces of work with prominence: Homer wrote him into the “Iliad” where Achilles died, but Statius wrote the “Achilleid” which is essentially Achilles Year One. Like you said, Stan Lee, the original creator of Spider-Man continues to write his own continuity of Spider-Man on his own… And therefore you can have any number of Batman within validity of canon: Nolanverse Batman, Bob Kane Batman, Frank Miller Batman…including BEN AFFLECK BATMAN… as all it takes is for a legally recognized source to sign off as author!
The Circle is Complete! :twisted:
The funny thing is that ancient storytellers and modern comic book creators have some connection (the use of magic and super powers) but they also have restrictions–in different areas.
The ancients had to follow a traditional story plot, they couldnt have Achilles escape death at Troy–or have the Trojans win the war. They could embellish but for the most famous characters their fate is set until they die then its murky but they don’t come back as normal.
Comics can have characters escape death or live a different life in another dimension or meet themselves (which doesn’t happen in ancient stories–except perhaps when a deity impersonates someone).
But the ancients were more free to have characters act out of self interest than comic books can. Ancient heroes dont do much public service–a lot of the time their motives were self interest (i.e Perseus is returning home and sees a girl being sacrificed to a monster so he rescues her–and takes her as his wife. Not exactly “thank you Superman!” and he flies off).
Modern comic super heroes are primarily motivated by public duty.
And there’s a lot of restriction in what they can do even with no comics code.
And commercial interests play a big part. Having to have new stories every month (or week).
We dont know how much commerce was involved in ancient storytellers’ decision making. For the audience it may have been a choice between “listen to a street story or go watch a sunset.”
maybe the storytellers got paid in bread or didnt get paid. Who knows.
There was oral poetry and plays, but also ancient novels for those who could read. They had stories that focused on the adventures of every day people with very little or no supernatural involvement like Daphnis and Chloe.
I think they would be the equivalent of a “chick flick” to some extent.
So yes there are things the same between ancient myth stories and modern comic ones, but I think some big differences too.
There is only a vague similarity between Hercules and Superman or Odysseus and Batman when you look at each of their actions and motives.
Same for other ancient heroes like Gilgamesh or Samson.
I think there is that element of “building upon what was built before.”
Like you said… there’s that old Greek way of writing/telling these stories.
Then later someone says: “OK… but what if…?”
And they write something… and then later on someone thinks: “What if… ?”
And something else comes out. In a way today’s stories are a result of all this building-over.
The fact you can mention in a sentence how Achilles can “escape death at Troy”… You weren’t writing a new story. But the thought occurred to you because the current text with him dying already exists. Someone else may think that would be a good idea…because it’s another “What if?” question.
Same with Earth 1, Earth 2, in the DC world…in the Marvel universe… it’s all this building over.
You can argue it’s now hit overdrive and we got all this stuff… but all of that is an evolution of what came before.
So in a way it’s all Original but also Un-Original.
It also occurred to Homer. In the Iliad Achilles does talk about leaving the war and having had a choice (I think a prophecy) that he can go to troy and die soon or not go and live a long life. But to do that latter will deprive him of glory which was of value–immortality through exploits. But not literal immortality.
Zeus also talks about altering Fate to save one of his demigod sons who is about to be killed but “cant” because it would create more problems (including other deities in Olympus doing the same for their demi-kids).
But its very linear and concrete and the talk of alternatives is wishful thinking–not “hey lets create another dimension!”
They didnt do that from what I can gather.
But I digress.
No my point was they had used their “current time and effort” to come up with Fate or Choice… then stopped there.
Having established that for future generations opened up the idea of “Well why can’t we do that AND the other one in an ALTERNATE DIMENSION?” - that becomes the use of “current time and effort” of generations later that didn’t have to think about Troy in that way.
Alternate Dimensions, in turn, become the raw material of future imagineer’s “current time and effort” to do something else.
It’s not digressing… I think in reality this is the thought process of humanity going forward.
It’s like how we can only build a Hadron Collider today and at no point earlier in history.
People have different views of this… And if you think the Batman discussion is something, there’s a lot more overflowing on the plate labelled: “Ghostbusters”.
Oh I see.
There was an ancient greco-roman story about a time traveler but I think it was like a Rip van Winkle situation. There may have been discussions about alternate dimensions though. I dont think we can assume it didnt occur to some people and just wasnt picked up or circulated. The idea of biological change in species was theorized by some ancient Greek (forgot the name).
There are also robots in the Iliad too–golden tripods that move by themselves on wheels and mechanical servants made of gold. They are powered by divine influence but the idea of a physical machine that can move on its own is there.
How long before that concept appeared again in a literary product I dont know but it was there.
Ha! I had to dig back into this after seeing this picture.
The artists got it right.
Yes, exactly… my theory is that it’s a “building over” like I said where we go one over anything previous either towards something with more subtlety or something more outrageous.
If you trace for example the “ancestry” for some of the things we do… like PACIFIC RIM… you can trace its “ancestry” through things like MAZINGER Z… and then further back until possibly to those self-moving machines you refer to in old Greek tales.
But it is also in our nature to imagine different situations. Surely the creators of Batman and Superman didn’t always envision them meeting together from Day 1. Surely many of the villains that existed in either line of books, and eventually in the Justice League body of work didn’t exist as well.
However, that is the nature of it… because people in the future will try to re-apply it. And it’s not just in the team-ups or relationships… The character Batman looks physically different from book arc to book arc, and from crossover to crossover.
For example, there’s this version of Batman:
Yes, I know that’s Damian Wayne… but that was just to “soften” the impact of what was really an artist imagining if he could put the BELT on the OUTSIDE as well as the “briefs”. lol.
So in that way… even if not formally placed in an “alternate dimension”… It is “sort of” an alternate dimension each and every time.
Having said that… This Batman/Superman thing is at par with what DC/Warner is allowed to do.
Which is summed up in what I said at the start of the exchange: “It can end up being anything now.”
It’s “Canon” AND it’s all “Non-Canon”… simultaneously. Such is the joy of being in the entertainment business! :applause:
Thanks for the trip down Nebezial lane. After following the link I was at his gallery for an hour.
Ha! Yeah, his stuff is pretty awesome and inspiring.
Saw Gotham recently. I was thrilled to see that they may actually try to tell this part of the Batman story. I’ve only seen two of the shows so far but I’m intrigued by the whole Superhero story without a single costume to date. So far it seems to be mostly a story about Gordon, but if it does a slow transition to Bruce Wayne as the lead role, it might be an interesting product. The visuals, so far, are absolutely stunning.