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Jul 20th 2017 at 10:42:16 AM

I really don't want them to based them on Antifa, because they are getting a reputation for becoming very violent.

Know who else are very violent? Actual fascists.tongue

Why is this even set in Gotham if Luthor is the main villain and they're not just limiting themselves to Bat characters?

Because Gotham Garage rolls off the tongue better than Metropolis Garage.

edited 20th Jul '17 10:43:41 AM by comicwriter

Jul 20th 2017 at 11:17:56 AM

Well then call it Metropolis Mountain tongue

Jul 20th 2017 at 2:14:55 PM

Why are all the heroes female, but the villain male? Or is this an alternate universe female Luthor?

edited 20th Jul '17 2:16:26 PM by Robbery

VampireBuddha Hungry dinosaur from Ireland Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Hungry dinosaur
Jul 20th 2017 at 11:22:34 PM

It started as a line of posters and dolls in the style of 70s-style pinups, and someone said "We could probably turn this into a full-fledged comic".


You know, most of the discussion here has centred around heroes with considerable rogues galleries. There's been little mention of the Fantastic Four.

Even before the movies, most people could name a couple of Batman villains - there's the Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and so forth. Non-Superman fans could probably name Bizarro and that little imp guy in addition to Lex Luthor. Spider-Man has Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, the Scorpion, and others.

How many muggles can name a Fantastic Four villain who isn't Doctor Doom? If they know a little bit about comics, they might name Galactus. There are plenty of other F4 villains, but they don't have anywhere near the prominence or cultural cachet of Doom, and I think it's no accident that the F4 thus don't come up so often in such discussion. By the F4's very nature, it's super easy to hit them with some sort of alien, monster, or evil person from an alternate universe who can be dealt with in a single story arc and not brought up again; moreover, many of their recurring villains are of the same type, extraplanetary invaders who aren't bound by the laws of any Earth nation and as such plausibly warrant non-standard measures, and one generally doesn't run into the problem of why this person wasn't just executed. It also helps that Reed is officially the most intelligent person on Earth and is specifically designed so that he can eventually whip up whatever is necessary as long as he has a lab and the right materials.

Moreover, Doom, Blastaar, Annihilus, and Mole Man are evil overlords, so just locking them up tends to be implausible.

I think there's a parallel with the Punisher here. Since he tends to kill his enemies, the question of why they're still at large never arises.

Perhaps the issues isn't that superheroes fight criminals without a license, it's that they fight the same criminals over and over and over again that people start to wonder.

Jul 21st 2017 at 1:21:22 AM

Sort of - for most superheroes, there's the genuine threat of obsolescence in a world where SWAT teams break out assault rifles for anything more suspicious than jaywalking, while gunships and fighter jets have a scramble time measured in minutes. When you have a designated rogues gallery, the question nowadays is not just how to fight them, but how to prevent anyone else from finishing them off permanently - hence Batman having a stroke any time he fights alongside less-restrained heroes, yet being quite casual when the opponents are mass-produced mooks, the perennial excuse being that they aren't "technically" alive.

The Punisher isn't bothered by this since he goes against categories of people, rather than individuals - he goes after rapists, murderers, mobsters, even terrorists. There's a healthy supply of those at any given time. Second, he adapts and evolves his methodology - the world introducing advanced firearms only means more fun toys for him to play with. But most importantly, he doesn't deal with threats the authorities couldn't, but the ones they wouldn't. The very basis of his activities, and that of superheroes in their inception, is that the legal system willingly ignores particular criminals, and so it's up to ordinary people to pick up the slack, shaming its inadequacy. That's a message as timeless as it is controversial and perhaps uncomfortable to think about.

Instead, most other superheroes have turned to generic pathos and some noblesse oblige idea of responsibility that doesn't actually specify a particular problem to be solved. It hinges on the concept of some people simply being inherently more powerful the rest, and as such obligated to fight a perpetual quixotic struggle for its own sake... which, like I said, risks being rendered obsolete by everyone being able to match that power with mass produced tools.

On the other end of the scale, the Fantastic Four handle the problem of obsolescence by simply being the officially recognized specialists tasked with handling weird matters. Nobody thinks Reed Richards is important because he can reach the top shelf at IKEA without a ladder. He's important because he's a scientific genius, and his family is experienced in stuff most people can't even pronounce. That's also why Doom has evolved to being an overall Marvel universe villain - he's barely tied to the Four as it is (before becoming Valeria's godfather and pretty much being the uncle nobody likes talking about), they don't need him in order to have interesting stories, and he doesn't need them in turn. On the whole, the Four are much closer to traditional pulp adventurers like Doc Savage than they are to superheroes, which is what gives them a timeless quality as well, so long as writers are willing to use it.

Jul 21st 2017 at 2:19:08 AM

hence Batman having a stroke any time he fights alongside less-restrained heroes, yet being quite casual when the opponents are mass-produced mooks, the perennial excuse being that they aren't "technically" alive.

You know it would be quite the scene if during one of those crossovers DC and Marvel used to do, if one of the X-Men pointed out how Bruce's attitude towards non humans wasn't that far removed from how humans tend to treat Mutants in the Marvel universe.

On the whole, the Four are much closer to traditional pulp adventurers like Doc Savage than they are to superheroes, which is what gives them a timeless quality as well, so long as writers are willing to use it.

Sadly I think this is what makes so difficult for writers to get good stories out of them.

Jul 21st 2017 at 2:51:15 AM

I wouldn't say difficult, but rather, it's not career building. Those kinds of stories simply aren't socially relevant - which was pretty much the point back in the Depression, but nowadays everyone wants to milk social issues for drama, rather than just offer a fun adventure outside their scope. In my opinion, exploring ancient cities, abandoned laboratories, haunted castles and big dumb objects from outer space never gets old. Going for brooding and personal drama can be explained in live-action series as a limitation of the budget, but somehow, I don't think that a page filled with majestic landscapes surrounded by Kirby dots costs any more to print than a stylistically exaggerated drawing of talking heads in a dingy back alley. In that regard, the only people consistently aiming for the fantastic aspect of modern day fantasy are Hellboy and the BPRD, and they are separate from the big two publishers altogether.

Jul 21st 2017 at 3:46:25 AM

I don't know if it isn't that they aren't socially relevant but rather they aren't socially relevant in ways that are obvious. I mean, something like Kriby's Fourth World does reflect a lot of the political issues that were important at the time, it just does so with people who wear buckets on their heads. As they say, there's no such thing as an apolitical work. The stuff about ancient cities and lab experiments can have socially relevant messages while providing entertaining stories.

Jul 21st 2017 at 4:25:40 AM

It's certainly possible, yes, though I'd say that's beside the point. Namely that, to periphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes people just want to read about cigars. That's the very concept of genre fiction - revolving around a specific set of problems, with any relation to the world beyond those being secondary. Kinda like how Agatha Christie novels frequently feature less than polite undertones regarding ambitious commoners breaking into high society, but still ultimately revolve around a particular mystery that is solved within the confines of a single story. (Meaning there's no drama milked from the horrible problem of violent crime among pompous British eccentrics, or the brooding martyrdom of little old ladies that keep getting involved in gruesome murders... but lets not give people ideas for gritty reboots.)

Even when it comes to politicized stories, the concept of applicability was coined precisely to distinguish those tales that have their own consistent internal structure and make sense in their own right, from the open caricatures of real life that would become incomprehensible immediately after the events they evoke have come to pass. And the particular problem of using superheroes for such purposes is that they often have more than enough resources to resolve the issues as presented on page, or that the allegories simply can't be applied to reality altogether. If a guy with better funding and worse fashion sense than Donald Trump can't alleviate the criminal problem of a single city, he might as well declare it a lost cause and move on with his life.

Jul 21st 2017 at 1:44:17 PM

I dunno where you get this idea that all or even most Depression-era comics were Fluffy Genre Escapism, and unconcerned with social relevance. Golden Age Superman was literally all about using superpowers to get revenge on the people that Joe Sixpack thought was to blame for the Depression, like bankers, war lobbyists, crooked landlords, etc.

In fact, the Fantastic Four are emblematic of the Silver Age, where America became obsessed with pretending it had no internal problems (so please don't go over to those mean ol' Soviets!). And even then, I think it got supplanted by the more Socially Conscious Spider-Man (remember the famed drug trilogy?) for a reason...

Jul 21st 2017 at 4:20:28 PM

[up][up] To me, the problem with Superheroes not able to compete realistically is the same problem a lot of soft sci-fi has at showing the people in it are not complete idiots for using the tech the way they do instead of using it to make RKV drones. When I imagine the DC and Marvel universes having man take to the stars, I man acting like the rest of the star faring civs act, wielding similar tech. I don't want us acting as a hard sci-fi Deconstructor fleet showing Darkseid's forces as objectively weaker than the US army alone, and orders of magnitude weaker that a big rock going >.9C

Jul 21st 2017 at 11:11:36 PM

Agreed, but this is what you get when writers try to milk tension from the power difference between superheroes and conventional armies... in blissful ignorance of the actual destructive capabilities of modern day armed forces. You can't not think about it when the story itself demands you do, only with the writers doing so little research that the actual conclusions don't match up to what they'd expected.

[up][up] What I said was that pulp adventurers like Doc Savage weren't too big on social issues. Even Superman only caught the tail end of the period, and to his credit, his attitude lacked the sheer defeatism that modern stories with the same subject matter are loaded with. (e.g. Superman: Peace on Earth - one of the ugliest examples of blaming scapegoats for contractual restrictions) Ironic as it is, the more powerful he got, the less effective he became.

edited 23rd Jul '17 1:49:56 AM by indiana404

Jul 23rd 2017 at 12:55:14 PM

[up] Also, the more popular he got. The more popular he got, the less socially relevant his stories got, and the more powerful he got, driving his stories into the realm of pure fantasy. Saving the world and fighting crime were things he did in the background of stories about making sure Lois Lane didn't figure out he was Clark Kent. Also, they'd have him develop elaborate, convoluted plans to outwit foes he could have easily defeated with a single flip of his finger, much less an actual punch. Seriously, he spent an entire story once convincing aliens that Earth's environment was hostile to them so they'd give up their invasion plans when he could have just confronted them directly and said something like "Hi. I'm Superman. I defend Earth, and I can end your whole invasion with a hard stare. Get lost." On the one hand, it's kinda neat seeing Superman outwit foes (which he did often, in the Silver Age), on the other it's hard to logically reconcile his expending the effort and taking the trouble (and the story made a point to let you know how much trouble this plan caused) when direct confrontation would have been much, much easier. Still, invasion averted with zero loss of life on either side. Not a bad result, really.

Jul 23rd 2017 at 1:36:37 PM

I always assumed part of that had to do with the increasing attention from the Moral Guardians as popularity grew. The more visible you are the more controversy you're likely to attract.

Jul 23rd 2017 at 2:06:45 PM

[up] I'd say you're right. The same thing happened with Mickey Mouse; he was much more mischievous in his earlier appearances, but as he got more and more popular he was toned down to the point where Disney didn't feel they could do much with him anymore (except in his comic strip, where he was very effective as an everyman against the world), shifting their attention and resources to the more versatile (and irascible) Donald Duck. Why the Moral Guardians didn't mind Donald being a disagreeable cuss but had problems with Mickey, who at his worst wasn't as bombastic as Donald, I don't know.

Jul 23rd 2017 at 2:17:12 PM

Personally, I feel Disney preemptively set up a Mickey-Donald dichotomy to ward off the Moral Guardians; anytime parents started complaining, they could just go "Oh, Donald's supposed to be a bad role model, Mickey's the good egg!" (and I do believe Donald gets punished more in his cartoons, whether he deserves it or not).

firewriter Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Jul 23rd 2017 at 5:56:01 PM

Once you get popular you get tone down for the masses.

Shonen Is Not Just For Boys, Even If Literally Means "Boy".
VampireBuddha Hungry dinosaur from Ireland Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Hungry dinosaur
Jul 24th 2017 at 10:55:23 AM

[up]That's precisely it. Mickey is the face and avatar of Disney itself, so he has to be wholesome and nice. Donald, in contrast, is not shouldered with embodying an entire company's family-friendly values, so he gets to be an actual character; the same thing happens with Goofy.

firewriter Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Jul 24th 2017 at 11:46:10 AM

[up]

The funny thing is Bug Bunny avoids that, even though he is the mascot for Warner Brothers.

Shonen Is Not Just For Boys, Even If Literally Means "Boy".
Jul 24th 2017 at 6:33:54 PM

I dunno about that, actually... Bugs may be an elder spokesman to WB's cartoons, but WB has never quite been as closely identified with cartoons as Disney. Ask someone to name an "iconic" WB property, and you'll get the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, or any DC Comics superhero at least as often as Bugs and crew.

Bugs is also nowhere near as ubiquitous in the merchandise. Mickey's silhouette is literally three circles jammed together, so it's a perfect logo in itself; you don't need to add a single detail more if you don't want to spare the time/cash. Bugs needs a lot more effort put in for that same "instant recognition" factor.

firewriter Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Jul 24th 2017 at 6:43:10 PM

[up]

That actually is a good point.

Shonen Is Not Just For Boys, Even If Literally Means "Boy".
VampireBuddha Hungry dinosaur from Ireland Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Hungry dinosaur
Jul 25th 2017 at 12:12:23 AM

Plus, Warner Bros don't specifically try to associate their name with wholesomeness or family friendliness the way Disney does.

firewriter Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Bulla to Earthlings, Echalote to Saiyans.
Jul 25th 2017 at 12:14:15 AM

[up]

They were making fun of the Disney formula before Dreamworks was even a twinkle in anybody's eye.

Shonen Is Not Just For Boys, Even If Literally Means "Boy".
Mar 15th 2019 at 11:20:02 PM

@ Superhero Obsolescence:

There seems to have either been an increase in villain dark matter or power level / interpretation of powers to kind of address this.

The example given of gunships, fighter jets, and SWAT Teams probably can't do much against the higher level bad guys, and their presence in the field would actively be detrimental against villains like Hank Henshaw (from DC) and Ultron (from Marvel).

And going further from there, weapons like that would most likely barely affect the likes of the Anti-Monitor, Darkseid and Reverse Flash (DC) or Gabriel Summers, Apocalypse and The Void (Marvel).

Sign on for this After The End Fantasy RP.
Mar 15th 2019 at 11:20:53 PM

Except for when the superheroes use them.


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