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Thread: The Suit: Heather or Mac?

  1. #106

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    Allan: Out of curiosity, did you watch any of the Dini Justice League cartoons? If so, what did you think of them?

    I found them to be a fairly solid blend of Silver Age simplicity and tropes, mingled with a more modern sensibility that served to leaven the final product. I've seen plenty of opinions spinning in different directions, but given your preferences, I was left wondering what your thoughts on it were.

  2. #107
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    Not really sure what you mean by 'Dini Justice League' (never seen the word 'Dini' before, unless precursing 'Petty') - might be because I've been conscious for nearly 26 hours
    Allan 'HappyCanuck' Crocker

    "Hey... Philosophers love wisdom, not mankind."
    - Stephen Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

  3. #108

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    dini(paul dini) is the writer of the jla animated series. before that batman (what many consider the best animated series ever) as well as tiny toons.

    him and bruce timm have teamed up on some of the best cartoons to ever hit a televsion screen.

  4. #109
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    Thanks Varo. I think I knew that, but as I said, sleep deprivation. On that note, let me comment on the two recent Justice League cartoons ('Justice League' and it's successor 'Justice League Unlimited'): I am, as I said, a die-hard comic book fanatic, even watching cartoon series based on them - everything from the original Superfriends (mostly for nostalgic reasons, as I remember this show from when i was a boy), to the original X-Men and Spider-Man series' in the 90's, to the Batman/Superman (and amalgamated Batman/Superman series that came afterwords) series, to the Teen Titans (tho not necessarily a 'fan' of the manga/anime genre), to the JL series'. And I loved them all for their own reasons. But the BM/SM and JL series, moreso, they are what caught me, mostly because they do on screen what I do in my head with comics - analyse the possibilities and plausibilities of natural physics and apply them to comic book escapism constructs. yes, there are areas that are either VERY grey (ie: how does superman fly, and how is he bulletproof and STILL technically weigh roughly that of a normal man - all things I have my own ideas toward, but nothing confirmed). They, like their comic book predecessors (more so since the late 90s), try to make their characters make sence from a realistic POV.

    There are exceptions of course, some blatantly highly improbably (well moreso than anything in a comic book), but nonetheless interesting in and of itself - as if the writers aren't sure how its done, so they are ignoring it for the time being until they can work out the logistics and physics (such as how the Atom can breath or see when he goes smaller than the size of a photon (JLA #20, 1998 - to which Atom replies 'Don't think about it, it'll only make your head hurt'). But, overall, the writing makes sence, and so do the characters and their abilities. Some who dont - such as the previously meantioned Atom (and a possible Marvel equivelent, Antman) - they retconn using literary devices, such as 'secret physics', creating new physical laws that just barely reside within REAL physics that it could plausibly be true. Some of these 'secret physics' fail, but are generally ignored as soon as they happen (which is the piss-off for ppl like me), or retconned out of existence. (This, naturally, doesn't include magic-using characters, since, by nature, magic isn't SUPPOSED to make sence. It's the reason why I VERY rarely comment on the hows and whatnots of magic - it's literary purpose is to do the impossible, so it gets a 'free slide' ticket.)

    Before I delve too far into babbling, let's just say I like these series because, tho they DO cater to those whom are of a strictly escapist route, it doesn't alienate me in my analytical mindframe, just feeding me enough to work out the rest of the 'how's and whatnots to myself.
    Allan 'HappyCanuck' Crocker

    "Hey... Philosophers love wisdom, not mankind."
    - Stephen Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

  5. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyCanuck
    ...Analyse the possibilities and plausibilities of natural physics and apply them to comic book escapism constructs. yes, there are areas that are either VERY grey (ie: how does superman fly, and how is he bulletproof and STILL technically weigh roughly that of a normal man - all things I have my own ideas toward, but nothing confirmed).
    As an aside, Dini was a huge fan of the Byrne reboot of Superman. That's a large part of the reason why Dini's vision of Krypton was so similar.

    That being said, and looking at the way he treats Superman in the series, it seems that he's using the same basis for powers as well: that while genetically "perfect" and stronger than human norm, the major portion of Superman's might and invulnerability don't come from straight physical resiliency, but rather from unconscious kinetic manipulation. He's easier to hurt when you surprise him, he has an easier time lifting things if he's trying to fly with them, he's far more dangerous when focused on taking someone or something down (which is why he always seems more powerful when mustering the willpower to defend innocent people), etc.

    The explaination also forms a convenient literary tool, allowing a writer to have villains challenge Superman without necessarily being the powerhogs it would take to overpower him when he's at his peak.

  6. #111
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    Spider-Man, perhaps not. Wolverine, on the other hand, definitely is. The fascination with the connection between man and animal has persisted since the dawn of time. Whether as feral being, wildman, or hunter, Wolverine spans some very old archetypes.
    They are icons because of exposure. If Heather was clearly seen as team leader in the Guardian battlesuit in most other outlets such as the 'Repo Man' cartoon, she would reach the iconic standard. The character seems not allowed to fill that role by Marvel's Powers That Be.
    They are also icons because of their nature. Exposure does not an icon make. I contend that there are reasons why the PtB at Marvel are conflicted on the public depiction of Alpha.

    We cite Wonder Woman as iconic. She is, in the warrior woman archetype. By the archtype, Shanna the She-Devil and Red Sonja are also archetype...but they lack the popularity and instant recognition as a character to be ICONIC to the general population.
    Much of the population are also incapable of describing or naming various types of fish. They still know one when they see it. Red Sonja may lack recognition, but she is no less iconic because of it. People see the image, they have an immediate expectation of it.

    If you think she cannot do that, blame goes to the writer for not writing her in the strong smart brave mold. She usually has been written in that way, and without crossing the line to make her seem threatening to insecure males.
    A sexist assertation. It may be that instead, since the character was never depicted as having certain traits, that she was never instilled with them as a sense of continuity. She lacks the self-contained nature to achieve the status accorded to the strongest of contemporaries in her genre.

    That's laziness or being cheap with the research time, all corporate decisions that do more to detract from Heather by her typical absence than to truly boost Mac.
    It's inconsistent marketing and lack of brand reinforcement. It absolutely boggles my mind, and I wish I could figure out why it's done. I'm left with the feeling that there's some marketing suit somewhere, left banging his head on his desk in frustration.

    The superhero genre is more than one thing, and power fantasy IS a part of it.
    At best, a means to an end. There is certainly a fantasy of power there, but the heart of the fantasy lies in what is achieved with it, not the power itself.

    There's also a line of thought that decries the notion of altruism; the stereotypical example being those who claim that Mother Theresa only did what she did because it made her feel better about herself. My thought on this is that if people are constantly looking down, they'll only ever see dirt.

    But what hurt the title during his run is that the Hulk is the ultimate power fantasy, and when that element is removed from the Hulk, the character and title are just not the same.
    The Hulk was not created as a power fantasy, but a nightmare: Kirby had issues with his own rage. The Hulk was a loss of control; reason consumed in rage, and the devastating effects that has on one's life.

    I'd said: "The key to superheroes is that they succeed where normal people would fail. Where they come back down to earth, become mortals again, is in their personal lives. When the two mix, they are stripped of potency."
    Such as Heather crying over the death of Snowbird and her family...Heather removed the mask. She did not cry as Vindicator, she cried as Heather Hudson.
    No, by that point she'd already failed. She'd had to resort to killing a team-mate to achieve her end. That's where the potency fails. Mind you, that's not a failing of the character, but of the writing. Heather's personal life and her heroic life were continuously blended. There was no separation.

    You seem to rely solely on the "iconic" element. We are talking role of a hero, not fixing the suit...How does Heather lack the ability, Ed?
    We've gone around that merry-go-round several times: We're not talking about the role of a hero, but the role of a superhero. Someone above and beyond. That's where Heather lacks the ability. The world is full of heroes. What allows the suspension of disbelief in superhero tales to work is that they are not merely heroic, but beyond the human norm in their capacity. Heather is not.

    To argue that Mac should use the suit because he created it is a thin arguement... but it's one commonly used in the genre. The heart of the genre is, after all, based around the concept of direct use of ability through an active means for bettering the world. So while thin, it fits.

    Heather, on the other hand, has no ability that is not matched or surpassed by any number of cops, firefighters, or soldiers. As soon as Heather dons the suit, the question becomes "why her"? There is no answer to that, either in terms of the (thin) conventions of the genre, and especially not in terms of realism.

    I've always found Superman extremely boring, even when written by top creators. Cap can be far more appealing, when he is being handled by a good writer and being presented as something other than a one-dimensional archetype.
    I think therein we have a substantial part of the root of our differences. Many people complain that these two characters are boring, yet without them as lynchpins of the Avengers or JLA, those titles tend to slow down and eventually slack off in sales. A baseline must always be held for the others to be compared to.

    Except for the bond between Pete and May, the failure of his powers due to his self doubt, the sacrifices he was enduring in being hard luck because he was Spider-Man...wow, and there's more, just from the second movie. Sorry Ed, I think you're wrong there, and I think it has to do with Spider-Man being an iconic character only in the popular cultural sense, but not in an archetypical sense.
    In that we see more intense dramatic elements from Harry, MJ, and the villains? It's debateable... but you're right. Peter had a rough go of it.

    You seem to refer to popular culture icons in an almost "less than" sense, as if it makes them somehow less powerful. I may be misreading it, but this is the second time you've done so. I don't see new icons or archetypes as less powerful for their recent transformations, but rather on par with some of the older types on which they're based. This modern era of mass communication has allowed for swift development of ideas, and those that resonate shouldn't be discounted.

    No fault to the ambition, but geez Ed, that sounds DANGEROUSLY like Scott Lobdell. Aim to tell good stories for the characters on your plate and let the franchises worry about themselves. Claremont and Byrne's X-Men was not being written to support or build a franchise, a franchise was built because they concentrated on the stories they were writing and did spectacular work.
    Byrne's Alpha work may not have been, but I guarantee that you're incorrect on both Claremont and Byrne's other work. The continuation and strength of the franchise is always something that a comic writer must keep in mind. If they forget it, they're reminded quite directly by their editor. It's far from the whole equation, but it's undoubtedly a part of it, and remains so for any successful ongoing series. There are always exceptions, but they tend to fizzle and fall by the wayside.

    As for the Lodell comparison: I have sincere doubts that the health of the franchise was kept in mind. Had that been the case, then Marvel's marketing of fringe products would have been in line with the relaunch of the series.

    That was both an unfair and terribly inaccurate brush to try and paint me with, Kozz.[/quote]
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  7. #112
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    The question of the day: 'Why Heather in the suit?'
    I've thought about this, and I think I've figured out an answer.

    You're right, -anybody- could take it after Mac died. Sean Benard. Some nameless soldier. Anybody.

    But if it -was- them, we'd really be asking 'Why him / her / it?'
    An Alphan? Why double powers?

    But Heather proved herself as a team leader long before she put it on. She was the heart of the team, the one who gathered them together, etc...
    There was nobody better while Mac was dead.

    After he got back? It seems inefficient to take her out of it. She's had much more experience at it than Mac. And, think about it, who's the better driver? Michael Schumacher, or Ferdinand Porsche? It's the guy who drives, not the guy who designed the car.

    I vote the redhead.
    Did anybody else notice the Llan idol in the latest Uncanny X-Men?

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  8. #113
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    Couldn't phrase it better myself.
    Allan 'HappyCanuck' Crocker

    "Hey... Philosophers love wisdom, not mankind."
    - Stephen Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

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