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Rod Collins
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 12:11am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Salvaging a character/characters seems to mean getting a creative team who understands the characters and is able to recontextualize them for a new audience without taking away what made them unique/interesting.

I enjoyed what David Walker did with a group of what could be considered "lame 70s villains" in his recent Power Man And Iron Fist run. He kept them true to their past and made them formidable and interesting to read about.

Edited by Rod Collins on 06 January 2018 at 12:19am
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

How about the Spirit's sidekick Ebony?  He was smart and valiant, but his appearance--!  Recent update attempts have made him a street-smart girl or a handsome young cab driver.  How far can you change a character before it's no longer the same person?  (Was Neal Adams' Green Arrow the same person as Jack Kirby's?)
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 9:37am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

ITEM: Mr. Byrne, of course that was Neal Adams' quote. I just paraphrased because I was trying to "touch it up a little" for the topic.

ITEM: Thanks for everyone's opinion about the Man-Thing. You aren't going to change my mind... but always glad to hear what others think of my opinions.

ITEM: It seems that most everyone thinks that any character is salvageable without radical transformation. I don't see it for a number of characters... but then, I wanted to know what YOU think.

ITEM: The list of characters I made were ones whose books were cancelled, or were in imminent danger of cancellation; and then, thanks to changes in creators, stories, changes in the characters themselves, etc. suddenly became hits. They weren't always hits. Shucks, I recall a time in the early 60s when Batman's popularity was waning, or when Iron Man was not such a fan favorite.

I'm enjoying what y'all think. I'm interested in seeing more!
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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I always liked Man Thing and found his latent sentience seemed to work very well with his surroundings. I think, though, you have to have a careful writer who works toward that goal. I do not think it is easy.
In my mind Marvel Two-in-One #43 seemed to really capture this essence well when the Man-Thing reached its vegetative hand out and you could see a human hand forming as it almost touched the entropic crystal.

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Brian Kirk
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Exploding from the pages of Doctor Strange: THE MINDLESS ONES in their own book at last!

Edit to add: fake milestone, 1234 posts!


Edited by Brian Kirk on 06 January 2018 at 10:59am
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Green Arrow was like almost every other DC character of the '50s and '60s -- made out of cardboard -- until Dennis O'Neil gave him a personality and a purpose. And made him stop being a Batman clone. 

I don't see that as "salvaging." More like "there's nothing here, so let's put something here."
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 1:47pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

As many times as people tried, even JB himself, I don't think Hank Pym has ever recovered from hitting Wasp.  
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 2:09pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Because others keep going back to it.
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Rod Collins
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 6:54pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Kurt Busiek did a good job of bringing Hank Pym back, but as Tim mentioned other people continue to go back to this moment.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 12:09pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The subject of Cyclops is a tough one for me. He'd always been my favorite X-Man until it seemed Marvel no longer wanted him to be a hero.

Pairing him with Emma Frost was a betrayal of the character.

If I was going to write X-Men with Scott reborn, I'd let the Frost affair lie in the past and move on. It was a horrible idea and deserves to be forgotten, not explained or otherwise honored.

Shaper of Worlds? I would LOVE that.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 12:11pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

As many times as people tried, even JB himself, I don't think Hank Pym has ever recovered from hitting Wasp.

Miserable little fanboys who won't let go. Fah!!

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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 2:35pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Many responses here have hit the nail right on the head! Fanboy writers and their followers have been responsible for poorly received, unsalvageable characters.

Part of why I've enjoyed following JB's career is that he's taken characters many found lame, awful... laughable even... and has reinvigorated them.... found ways to write fun, compelling stories with them.

-C!
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 4:20pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Don't even get me started on the treatment of Hank Pym.

But even when he's portrayed at his worst he's still an interesting and usable character.

I think the only characters that are really hard to salvage are characters who are representative of the time they were created and show how much society has changed since then.

For instance, It's hard to take a character like Mahkizmo or Firebrand who would need to be overhauled to be taken seriously or characters like the Red Guardian who represents a bygone political era.

I'm sure they could all be re-worked for a new audience, but would they still be the same characters?


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William Costello
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 8:05pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Man Thing was recently revived as a limited series by MARVEL with R.LStine as the series author. In this version, Man Thing was quite "sentient" and, of all things, somewhat funny. More in tone with the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books than the traditional MARVEL treatment of Man Thing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 8:23pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Man Thing was recently revived as a limited series by MARVEL with R.L. Stine as the series author. In this version, Man Thing was quite "sentient" and, of all things, somewhat funny. More in tone with the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books than the traditional MARVEL treatment of Man Thing.

sigh

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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 10:03pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Man Thing was recently revived as a limited series by MARVEL with R.L. Stine as the series author. In this version, Man Thing was quite "sentient" and, of all things, somewhat funny. More in tone with the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books than the traditional MARVEL treatment of Man Thing.

_______________________________


I can't help wondering if that was current Marvel's way of stomping on Steve Gerber's grave since Gerber was very outspoken about Marvel hiring another writer to retell/reboot his original Omega The Unknown series instead of hiring Gerber and Mary Skrenes to write the series. He also pissed Tom Brevoort off over a SPider-Man Team-Up story from the 90's featuring Howard The Duck that unofficially crossed over with (I think) a Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck comic in which the real Howard the Duck and Beverly left the Marvel Universe at the end of the story and was replaced by a clones. IIRC, Brevoort took real offense to the ending of that story and said that Gerber snuck that last scene in without him knowing about it since he didn't edit or even know what was in the Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck comic.

Edited by Rick Whiting on 08 January 2018 at 10:56pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 12:20am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

They just released MAN-THING collections proudly touting Steve Gerber's name on the cover (even though other writers were involved).  Marvel is guilty of a lot of things, but I don't think this is one of them.  Unlike Howard, Gerber did not create Man-Thing and plenty of other writers have written him before and since Gerber.
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Rod Collins
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 3:43am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

A mini-series by Gerber called "Infernal Man-Thing" came out in 2012, illustrated by Kevin Nowlan. I think it was an old project that had been gathering dust for twenty years or so, until Nowlan decided to complete it.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 4:04am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Skateman. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 11:05am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

All that is really required to "redeem" a lame character is for the writers and artists to take them seriously. Unfortunately, in the past few decades we have seen far too many "creative" teams that started by not taking the characters seriously. Thus we get characters deliberately created to mock the whole concept of superhero comics. Not much to be done there.
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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 3:03pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

The RL Stine Man-Thing comic was a total travesty.
Really have no idea what was going on there or why.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

*Googles Man-Thing/R.L. Stine*

*Immediately regrets it*

EDIT: Why do that?

My favourite car is a Range Rover. Imagine if I went to work for Rover and said, "I want to make your car into a three-wheeled model. And I'll change this, too." Rover would tell me to piss off and find a job where I can do those things.

Making Man-Thing furry, sentient and communicative misses the point. Why didn't Stine create another character?

What's next, Spider-Man working as a moon cop and shooting laser webs from his eyes?


Edited by Robbie Parry on 09 January 2018 at 3:16pm
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Ed Love
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 3:22pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Too often, being able to hold a series is equated to being a viable or successful character. The Atom has always struggled to maintain a series. I don't think this means that there is something inherently wrong with the character. As conceptualized, the Atom or Man-Thing might be limiting for ongoing monthly stories. But, in short doses - one-shots, graphic novels, mini-series, team-up books there can be great stories generated and their presence enriches the overall concept of the shared history to which they belong. This is why I hate it when the companies look at a character whose series has failed as being a failed character and ripe for cannon fodder in the next event storyline.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

 Ed Love wrote:
As conceptualized, the Atom or Man-Thing might be limiting for ongoing monthly stories.

I agree about Man-Thing, but I always thought miniature/shrinking characters had virtually unlimited tales to tell. 

Just my view, of course, but if I look around my apartment, communal garden, street, city, etc., I see many hazards and challenges for a tiny character, whether it be trapping them in a park pond to face fish or being stuck in a washing machine. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Julie Schwartz once said that after they'd done the first six issues of THE ATOM they realized all the stories were told.
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