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Topic: Time to scream Get off my lawn to character reinterpretations Post ReplyPost New Topic
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 6:56am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

To many people, radical changes to characters can be problematic. I personally thought Swamp Thing and Adam Warlock both worked as examples of how to do this correctly.

Captain America in The Ultimates and changes to Cyclops are examples that go too far in my opinion.

So, what examples do you have where characters were changed for the better and where the changes damaged the characters? As a supplemental debate, what are people's thoughts on the 'why' of changing a character so radically, beyond the 'singer greater than the song' argument.


Edited by James Woodcock on 07 January 2019 at 6:57am
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 7:36am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Continuing with The Ultimates, I much prefer the Tony Stark portrayed there, that the movies have since taken and run with. The sarcastic, flippant, playboy, genius was instantly far more interesting and engaging than any version of Tony Stark I'd read growing up. I remember Stark being quite a dour, miserable character who's only defining characteristic was a very thin moustache. (Apologies to early Stark fans everywhere)

I personally liked Moore's Swamp Thing 'reinvention' inasmuch as the title had very quickly lost its direction and swiftly returned to its horror roots.

But I can see how other fans could regard these changes as damaging to the characters. 
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 8:11am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Phoenix, Angel, and the Beast are the best examples to me of characters that were changed for the better...and then changed again--and again!--for the worse!

I was actually around for some Marvel Girl appearances (in the early 70's reprint issues) and followed her into becoming Phoenix.  Never liked the Marvel Girl costume or name (really? everybody in the original X-Men had some mythical/legendary allusion except her! surprised Stan didn't call her "Psyche" or "Oracle" or something) and then she became Phoenix--and it was awesome!  "Dark Phoenix" was a great story, but eventually she (because nobody could separate Phoenix from Dark Phoenix?) came back as just "Jean Grey" (which just seemed lazy to me).  Likewise, I loved the Neal Adams-designed Angel and the blue furry Beast.  (Who became--ugh--"Archangel" and a lion man--and more!)  Those issues with Phoenix and Beast in the snow drawn by Byrne & Austin--with Cyclops elsewhere in the issues and Angel (even in red) showing up sometimes and even a Byrne Iceman over in CHAMPIONS or a HULK annual--showed us glimpses of the team the X-Men COULD have been!  All five originals with great costumes and names, written and drawn by a great team.

Instead, we got decades of increasingly complicated and unreadable stories with hundreds of less interesting characters as the originals got remade over and over, with numerous versions of Jean and/or Phoenix running around.

I still dream of a day when the true Cyclops, Phoenix, Beast, Angel, and Iceman are THE X-Men, done by a team as good as Claremont/Byrne/Austin.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 07 January 2019 at 8:12am
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

A step back? "Don't you know who I am? I'm the godamed Batman!"

Not a good idea, I think.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 1:02pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Marvel has ruined characters far worse than DC has:

Cyclops and Professor X becoming assholes.
The whole Phoenix situation post-Jean's return that led to X-FACTOR.
Iceman coming out of the closet after being around 50+ years. *
Tons of stuff involving Spider-Man (The Clone Saga was bad enough, but One More Day/Brand New Day and Sins Past' are far worse, and from what I've read they've pretty much ruined the character.)
The whole Hydra Cap storyline.
Magneto being made more sympathetic with the concentration camp backstory.
The Scott-Jean-Logan love triangle. Would have been better if Logan's feelings for Jean were one-sided.
Doctor Doom suddenly being a hero (as Iron Man) after threatening to cause a nuclear was a few years ago.

I've said for years that Marvel needs to do what DC does far too often: Reboot.

* I'm not gay bashing. I'm simply saying making a character that has been around over 50 years gay all of a sudden doesn't really make a lot of sense.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 1:07pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Why reboot? Why not just STOP doing stupid stuff?
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

* I'm not gay bashing. I'm simply saying making a character that has been around over 50 years gay all of a sudden doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Were you referring to Bobby Drake or Johnny Storm? Because I just learned that Johnny's bisexual now...and is "involved" with Wolverine's son. 

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Michael Murphy
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 2:20pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

When it comes to radical character changes, I think many people are OK with changes that occur during their formative comic collecting years and later ones that change "their" version of the characters are a problem.

For me, the change of the Beast from his original to his blue fuzzy look were fine because his blue look was how I was introduced to him but later changes bother me. 

Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing was OK because I had little attachment to him as Robin and it happened early in my life as a comic reader.

Cyclops and Carol Danvers becoming unlikable jerks bothers me because they are no longer "my" versions of the characters. 

Damien Wayne drives me nuts because "my" Batman would never let a murderer become Robin (at least not until he is reformed). Also, I really liked Tim Drake - he was "my" Robin.

Changes to characters to give us things like the Ultimates don't bother me because, to me, they are obviously intended to be different characters.  



Edited by Michael Murphy on 07 January 2019 at 2:23pm
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 5:50pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Magneto- I want my ruthless, unrepentant, human hating mutant supremacist back. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Were you referring to Bobby Drake or Johnny Storm? Because I just learned that Johnny's bisexual now...and is "involved" with Wolverine's son.

++++++++++

That's it, right there. These books are no longer about the characters and the stories, or respect for the past. Just identity politics and knocking over applecarts for shock value. Well, Get Woke, Go Broke.

This is partly why the comics are dying, and the ancillaries (movies and TV) are quickly becoming the dominant storytelling form for these characters. For the moment, at least. The tail is definitely wagging the dog, now.


This is why these characters--in their classic print form, at least--are dying.

And, y'know what? Maybe they should. Better to see Marvel stop publishing comics altogether than to watch them continue to mangle The House That Stan and Jack Built. F*** 'em.


I've found it remarkably easy to stop supporting modern, mangled iterations of beloved franchises. It's time to take a stand for quality and creative integrity. Stories and characters first. Respect what came before. Otherwise, you don't get one red cent. It's that simple. Plenty of other things to spend time and money on.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 07 January 2019 at 7:49pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I've been reading AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and to my surprise, Peter Parker seems fine. Yeah, older, but that's not going to be reversed. But Nick Spencer is writing Peter like he should be written and all of the nonsense of the last...I don't know how many years...none of it matters, none of it's being mentioned...the comic feels "normal." (Except that JJJ now knows that Peter is Spider-Man and is trying to "turn over a new leaf." But he's still acting like the same old JJJ. So...should I be bothered? Probably. But I'm not. What can I say. It's been entertaining so far.)
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 12:27am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

And after reading that about Johnny, I'm definitely glad I quit reading comics (for the most part) years ago and only follow what is going on.


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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:02am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Were you referring to Bobby Drake or Johnny Storm? Because I just learned that Johnny's bisexual now...and is "involved" with Wolverine's son. 

----

Weirdly, I'm more bothered by the idea of Johnny having a fling with Daken than I am with him being bisexual. The guy is kind of a gross scumbag.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:27am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

It is an issue that crept (crept? More like steam rollered in) - heroes hooking up with people that no way on earth would they hook up with.

Cyclops and Emma Frost being a poster child for this
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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 2:53am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

It's just lazy writing, and trying to seem "ahead of the curve" with what is going on in society.

If a writer wants a bi-sexual or gay character create one. Don't shoehorn it in to existing material. A writer's job is to be creative and take chances.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 5:59am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Creating characters does not get the same kind of media attention as changing existing characters.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Changing characters definitely merits a headline. 

But this does make me wonder if diluting through revamping will be repeated so often until eventually (sooner than later?) nobody cares.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 6:22am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

How long until Johnny and Bobby Drake book up? Y’know, the fire and ice lovers?
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 6:43am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Brian, will you please, for the love of God, STOP GIVING THEM IDEAS.
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 7:11am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Iceman. Changes to Iceman went too far.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Weirdly, I'm more bothered by the idea of Johnny having a fling with Daken than I am with him being bisexual. The guy is kind of a gross scumbag.

***

I think one of Daken's powers is an ability to seduce absolutely anyone. So I don't think Johnny will be shacking up with any other guys ever again.

(I don't mind some characters turning out to be gay or bi if they never had a clearly defined sexual orientation to begin with -- when Moondragon "became" bisexual, nobody blinked -- but Johnny's all about the ladies, and only the ladies, and it should stay that way.)
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 08 January 2019 at 10:42pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I have a much bigger problem with the changes to Cyclops than Iceman.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 09 January 2019 at 6:04pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Daken has been bisexual from the start and that's fine, just like I had zero problem with Northstar being gay, but having the girl crazy Johnny Storm suddenly be into a dude is even more wildly out of character than when they did it with Bobby Drake.

That said, I'm with Paul in that the changes to Cyclops have basically ruined an otherwise great character. If I had a real life friend that suddenly came out as gay after being straight for the twenty or thirty years that I've known him, I'm not going to stop being friends with him (and this has happened though it's likely they were just in the closet). But if I had a friend that changed in the way Cyclops did, I would run for the hills. 


Edited by Shane Matlock on 09 January 2019 at 6:09pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 January 2019 at 6:19pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Shane — you do know people don’t BECOME Gay, right? Realization, sometimes, but not transformation.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 09 January 2019 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Yes, that's why I say it was more likely they were in the closet rather than suddenly transforming from straight to gay, even though both had been married and in multiple relationships with women. In the case of fictional people like Bobby Drake and Johnny Storm though, we've seen their thoughts for years. I do think human sexuality is a bit of a spectrum, but I also believe you are born gay or straight and that it isn't a choice. 
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