Misused: Superman Stays Out Of Gotham

Deadlock Clock: 14th Jul 2013 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [27]
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There are two different meanings for this trope: the one written in the trope itself, and the one that people seem to think this trope is about when listing tropes for a work.

The trope itself says: there is a story with a problem, and there is something in the fictional universe (in the case of the title, Superman in the DC universe) that may solve the problem instantly. As using that resource would cause a Deus ex Machina ending, it is not used. It is either handwaved ("Superman is in a mission at the other side of the universe and can't help us with this") or simply silently ignored.

The problem with the trope name is that both Batman and Superman have their own specific franchises, and people seem to think that this trope means "Franchise A stays out of Franchise B". As in: Batman faces a threat that may justify a Crisis Crossover with Superman, but it was not planned that way, and Batman deals with it alone, with no interference from Superman. It becomes a problem when we don't talk about Superman and Batman, but about characters with similar power levels, whose interference doesn't really have such story-breaking influence. "Superman Stays Out of Gotham" is one thing, but "Captain Marvel Stays Out of Metropolis" or "Green Arrow Stays Out of Gotham" is another.

I propose:
  • Change the name of the trope to a new name that avoids the misunderstanding by using characters without specific individual franchises. For example, "The Valar will not help against Sauron", as unlike superheroes the Lord of the Rings franchise is not divided in smaller franchises (but it's just an example, it's easy to think others in that direction, perhaps better than that).
  • Create a new trope (if there is not one already) for the common usage, perhaps named as "Stay Out Of My Story!", or something like that.
  • Check the links to the trope, fixing the misuses and keeping the correct usages.
Ultimate Marvel: the best comics of all time
Examples of misuse? For the most part I haven't seen any issues with this.

edited 22nd May '13 9:54:14 AM by DashSpendar

Not a cheapskate!
I'm not seeing any misuse either, though the example or description sections might need some cleanup (not for TRS, I know).
4 SeptimusHeap22nd May 2013 10:09:09 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Never heard of any such misuse, either.
5 Spark922nd May 2013 10:47:15 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Grigor, I'm not seeing much of a difference between the two "sides" of the trope you mention.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
I see misuses in Avengers Vs X-Men, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Black Panther, Civil War (the X-Men one), Maximum Carnage, New X-Men, Scarlet Spider, The Dark Phoenix Saga... in each case, the characters who stay out have no storybreaking powers, they are simply not included in the story. For example, in the Dark Phoenix saga the Dark Phoenix trashes the floor with the X-Men as easily as she would have done with both the X-Men and the Avengers, if they came to their rescue.
Ultimate Marvel: the best comics of all time
[up][up]One is about characters, the other is about franchises. The former is essentially "superheroes don't take jobs below their Super Weight" (Superman doesn't help Batman patrol Gotham for muggers, even though he could do so nigh-instantaneously), the latter is "superhero Crossovers only happen in Crisis Crossover situations" (which sounds a bit redundant, but it's sort of a meta thing, like Interface Spoiler — "you won't see Superman in a Batman comic unless it says 'Crisis Crossover' on the cover").

edited 22nd May '13 6:23:20 PM by NativeJovian

Then may I suggest we broaden the trope?

To use your X-Men example, we don't know how the addition of the Avengers would have changed the story of the Dark Phoenix saga. Sure, she'd probably trounce them, but then she might not. However, the exclusion of the Avengers and their roster of god-like (and actual god) characters fits the trope in a certain sense.

I see no reason why the trope can't mean "Franchise A stays out of Franchise B, despite having no reason not to provide aid during this crisis".

edited 22nd May '13 6:25:06 PM by KingZeal

[up] But the two tropes have little to do with each other. What you suggested would basically eliminate the Super Weight based one in favor of its misuse.
Do we need to distinguish between them?

Either the character can get help from a powerful ally from a another franchise or can get help from a superduperpowered ally from another franchise. Either way, the story handwaves the possibility to stick to the characters at hand.
I assumed we were talking about franchises set in the same universe, such as Superman and Batman being set in the DC universe or Faith and Angel being set in the Buffy-verse, but the comments after my own have confused me a little as to what people mean by "franchise."
[up]That is indeed what's being talked about. "Franchise" in this case refers to "a series of works focusing primarily on a single character". So, the Batman franchise and the Superman franchise are both part of the DC universe.
13 nrjxll22nd May 2013 10:45:38 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I'm pretty sure the "original" definition is covered in broader form by an existing trope (How to Stop the Deus ex Machina or something like that), so I'd support redefining it to the franchise version.
14 Rethkir23rd May 2013 10:01:45 AM from the gap between dimensions
This is closely related to Deus Exit Machina, when a powerful character within a work is conveniently (for the plot, not the characters) unable to resolve the plot, when they normally would be able to do so.

Superman Stays Out of Gotham is the Shared Universe equivalent.

edited 23rd May '13 10:04:26 AM by Rethkir

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16 SeptimusHeap5th Jun 2013 09:12:17 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
How to Stop the Deus ex Machina is not a trope, so it can't replace this one.

I am not clear on the OP distinctions, though.
17 Rethkir5th Jun 2013 10:23:14 AM from the gap between dimensions
I think the OP's concern is that the name is confusing since Batman and Superman don't normally live in the same universe (I don't think so, anyway) except in the event of a Crisis Crossover. It would make sense if Superman stated out of Gotham if Superman didn't exist in Batman's universe. This trope is really The Doctor Stays Out Of Cardiff (except to refuel), or something like that.

edited 5th Jun '13 10:27:28 AM by Rethkir

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Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Imagine a Looney Tunes short with Bugs Bunny getting chased by Elmer Fudd. The OP is pointing out this trope is being used for when Duck Dodgers doesn't arrive in a space ship. The OP suggests expanding it to when Daffy Duck doesn't arrive.
19 DRCEQ5th Jun 2013 10:57:11 AM , Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
I really don't see an issue with the Civil War example.

Context: The government wants every superhero to register their public identity so that they work for the government and are not branded as vigilantes. This causes a war between two factions of heroes who are both for and against it.

This trope is applied with the X-Men, who stay out of the entire issue because:

1. They've been dealing with Mutant Registration issues for years, and believe it only puts everything one step closer to mutant genocide.

2. No other superheroes came to help out the Xmen when they needed it at the massacre that happened at Genosha.

I see no misuse there.
I think the OP's concern is that the name is confusing since Batman and Superman don't normally live in the same universe (I don't think so, anyway) except in the event of a Crisis Crossover.
It's the exact opposite of that, actually. Batman and Superman do nominally exist in the same universe, and Superman could do everything that Batman does in a week in about ten seconds, but he never does — because if he did, there'd be no Batman story left.
21 Rethkir5th Jun 2013 05:37:32 PM from the gap between dimensions
[up] So, in that case, I think the trope is fine. amaybe it could use a better description and a cleanup, but nothing more.
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Could we just... not have Death anymore?
^^ Green Arrow also lives in the same universe. So why doesn't Oliver go to Gotham? Usage indicate not this trope. OP wants to expand this trope to cover that situation.
Is there any actual misuse in that sense? The question was asked earlier in the thread and never answered.
24 DonaldthePotholer11th Jun 2013 07:06:04 AM from Somewhere in (not)Miami
Strikes me that the "expansion" (The whole ''CaptainN doesn't go to The Mushroom Kingdom") is a MissingSupertrope...

Which makes Superman Stays Out of Gotham a cross between Deus Exit Machina and "Crossovers that can (legitimately/legally) happen but for some unexplained reason don't." The latter of which (meaning the expansion) is essentially People do not sit on clouds.

Heck, outside of the Crossover aspect, how different is the original Trope from Deus Exit Machina?

Furthermore, most of the "misuse" are actually inversions, i.e. Super Hero Y doesn't mess with threats above his Super Weight.

In sum, the original is just character-based Deus Exit Machina plus inversions, whereas the "expansion" is just not Tropable.

EDIT: And now I look and see that DEM is already Character-Based. So, if anything, we need to merge DEM into this Trope, giving this Trope a more general name, and recreate Deus Exit Machina as the Super Trope to this one and Holding Back the Phlebotinum.

edited 11th Jun '13 7:46:00 AM by DonaldthePotholer

Could we just... not have Death anymore?
See, while I understood the OP, I didn't agree. [up] This, I can agree with. It makes sense to me for us to hammer out definitions and trope relationships here, using the sandbox namespace. If we agree to do this, we should probably put DEM into the repair shop, with a link to this thread. I wouldn't want DEM changed without telling other editors that something's going to happen.

Total posts: 27
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