Comic Book characters, the 'Super Hero' genre, and their current popularity.

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Thread: Comic Book characters, the 'Super Hero' genre, and their current popularity.

  1. #1
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Comic Book characters, the 'Super Hero' genre, and their current popularity.

    I figured rather than continue derailing another thread, I'd go ahead and start one specifically on this subject.

    I started off reading comics at a very early age, and collected them for most of my life. I've still got a box of 'em sitting in the next room, as well as quite a few graphic novels tucked away in various places.

    A lot of people ( most, maybe ) dismissed the whole idea of them being anything but childish and silly, for most of the time I was the most immersed in 'em.

    These days though, they're a helluva lot harder to ignore or claim that they're just worthless, or waste of time.

    Now I know that the biggest reason for their increased popularity is due to the movie and TV industry, and them finally having the technology and means to present them properly.

    ( Having watched a lot of the earlier efforts, and knowing how bad they were, it's not difficult to see why they were seen the way they were for so long. )

    Now days though, well... I've lost count of how many TV shows there are on the air. Here's a list of the ones that come to mind, or that I can remember at the moment:

    Arrow - ( The Green Arrow, DC comics. )
    The Flash - ( DC comics. )
    Supergirl - ( DC comics. )
    Black Lightning - ( DC comics. )
    DC's Legends of Tomorrow - ( Multiple characters, DC comics. )
    Batwoman - ( Kate Kane/Batwoman - DC comics ) This one hasn't premiered yet. Ruby Rose has the title role. It'll be on sometime soon.
    Constantine - ( DC comics ) This one's been a movie, a short-term series, but the same character and actor can be found on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, currently.
    Gotham - ( DC comics/Fox ) An early, alternate universe pre-Batman story.
    There's also Riverdale, on the CW, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, on Netflix, which are both from the old Archie comics.

    The Gifted - ( Multiple characters, Marvel comics. ) Sorry folks, no X-Men yet, but these are mutants, and make several references to the X-Men. )
    Marvel's Runaways - (Multiple characters, Marvel comics. ) Similar to The Gifted. Haven't seen it yet.
    Legion - ( Marvel comics. ) Also from the X-Men books, originally. Haven't seen it yet either. )
    Cloak and Dagger - ( Marvel comics. )
    Daredevil - ( Marvel comics ) Netflix - canceled due to goings-on with the Disney/Fox merger.
    Luke Cage - ( Power Man - Marvel comics ) Netflix - canceled due to goings-on with the Disney/Fox merger.
    Iron Fist - ( Marvel comics ) Netflix - canceled due to goings-on with the Disney/Fox merger.
    Jessica Jones - ( Marvel comics ) - Netflix - Still with us, for the moment, but expected to get the same treatment as all of the Netflix/Marvel shows, for the same reason.
    The Punisher - ( Marvel comics ) Netflix - Same as above.

    Then there's Lucifer. A comic-based story concerning the devil. Was on Fox, I think, got canceled, but currently lives on, on Netflix, since they picked it up and are continuing to produce it.

    DC comics has it's own streaming service now, with several new shows, old movies, old TV shows, etc. They also have a bunch of animated movies that a lot of their live-action stuff borrows from.

    I'll add a note here that there are MANY animated TV shows that have been on over the years, some of which are among the best work their respective companies/creators have done.

    The same for animated movies as well, especially since that medium makes it easier to pull off certain effects that live action hasn't been able to touch, until recently. They also have very strong characters and stories in many cases as well.

    That's all I can think of right now, in the way of TV shows.

    I'm not even gonna try to list all the movies.
    Marvel Studios has 22 of 'em out as of right this minute, with more on the way.
    DC comics has quite a few, also with more on the way.
    Fox has the X-Men movies, Blade, The Fantastic 4, Spiderman, and I can't remember what else from a while back, as well as Deadpool, Logan, and Venom, more recently.

    ...and I know I'm forgetting or leaving out a lot more.

    None of these characters are exactly new. Most have been around for more than 20 years, with many having begun back in the 1930s or '40s.

    And none of 'em are shallow, two-dimensional characters.

    But then given their long histories and back-stories, how could they be?

    So... What's your take on all of this? What's your opinion of seeing what started out being seen as an insignificant form of writing beginning to 'take over the world'?

    ( We won't even talk about how much money this stuff has made. Several of these movies have made a billion dollars or more though. )

    Oh, and feel free to add the stuff I overlooked or just missed.

    And I'm also curious to know if any of you think that the super hero type of character is worth exploring in your own writings.


    G.D.
    Last edited by Guard Dog; February 10th, 2019 at 03:26 AM. Reason: Remembered another TV show. Typos.
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  2. #2
    You left out all the animated television and movies that have bee made over decades. To me DC's best work has been their animated movies; probably because of the higher influence directly from comic writers. You could even go back to the old radio series for Superman. As you mentioned the improvement of technology has been the difference in which characters can be made into T.V. show or movies. Imagine how a character like Groot would look if it required a person in a costume and on stilts.

    I do write characters with powers but I don't place them in a context that would have them be called superheroes. The right picture sometimes says so much more than words. The emotions and surprise created when a reader turns a page and sees an image for the first time can sometimes be difficult to replicate in words. Overall I do think the movies have illustrated how important writing is for a good story. Great actors and special effects in a poorly written story still sucks.
    K.S. Crooks- Dreamer and Author

  3. #3
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    K.S., I didn't cover all of the animated TV shows, mostly because there's just too many to list.

    I did mention DC's streaming service, where things like Young Justice, Flashpoint, etc. can be found.

    And yeah, I agree that's some of DC's best work.

    Also, I'm using the term "Superhero" as a sort of generic thing, meaning "People with powers or abilities".

    See Marvel/Fox's The Gifted for an example of that. ( The people in it are just trying to survive. )
    Also, Jessica Jones in the Netflix series actively rebels at being called a hero, super or otherwise.

    I'll add that people really need to stop and remember, when they're oo-ing and ah-ing over their favorite move, that it all had to be written down first, before it could be translated into that visual medium.

    Thanks.


    G.D.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    Soon enough, nations will play second fiddle to corporations.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  4. #4
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    I'm gonna add a TV show in here that I just saw, that although not from the comics ( that I know of ) is from a book, and could be viewed in the "super hero" vein:

    Siren, on Hulu, at the moment.

    It's about Mermaids... ( And Mermen. )

    You can forget all about Disney's Little Mermaid, or Daryl Hannah's Splash. 'Cause Ryn, ( a mermaid ) is one bad bitch. All of her folks are. And they are an interesting twist on an old legend/myth. Definitely 'superhero-ish'.

    You can find info on the show all over the 'net, and as I said, Hulu currently has it.

    Edit: Here's an interview with the cast, for anybody interested. They explain things a lot better than I did here.


    G.D.
    Last edited by Guard Dog; February 11th, 2019 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Correcting a spelling.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    Soon enough, nations will play second fiddle to corporations.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  5. #5
    Superheroes have always been popular, and will remain so for some time. As someone who started collecting comics when he was 10 years old, I can tell you that they are a way of envisioning oneself as something greater than we are. Comics and their superheroes are escapism at its finest. In a lot of cases, comics and their heroes have taught us important lessons about the world, life, and even ourselves. They can be empowering and informative, helping us see beyond what we usually would.

    We see a superhero and sometimes try to emulate said superhero, becoming better people along the way. Comics have something for everyone, no matter who you are or what situation you're in at that moment.

    Comic heroes are in no way 'worthless' or a 'waste of time'. People who slam comics in general seem to have a lack of creativity, and that's sad. When I was a kid and was only 20 comics into my collection, my late grandfather encouraged me to read comic books, even suggesting some titles from his childhood which I started to seek out. Not only did I find new heroes, but also learned the history lessons behind them and how they came to be almost 50 years before.

    I still collect on and off today, and my collection is over 730 titles. Sometimes I go into my boxes just to look at a cover from yesteryear, and remember how and when I got said comic, the memory of the day bringing a smile to my face.

    -JJB
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    Comic heroes are in no way 'worthless' or a 'waste of time'.
    I think it's safe to say the rest of the world might finally be catching on.

    Someone a long time ago said that comics and comic heroes were "modern mythology"... Like Hercules, King Arthur, Robin hood, and Beowulf.

    I certainly agree with that.

    I can also say that for me, they were very educational... in a lot of ways.


    G.D.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    Soon enough, nations will play second fiddle to corporations.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  7. #7
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    A lot of people dismiss a lot of things as childish and silly in spite of actual merit. People dismiss all the major genres that women stereotypically like reading, for much the same reason that they gush about the masterful wonders of bacon and make jokes about pumpkin spice. They sneer at anything aimed at the younger crowd, until the younger crowd isn't young anymore. They sneer at anything aimed at PoC. You really need to pay attention to who "they" are, and what groups "they" want to see dismissed and belittled.

    The dismissal of the genre as 'childish and silly' was done in error because THEY weren't reading them. Now the people who grew up reading that genre are movie producers and they want to make things they like. And the wheel continues to turn.

  8. #8
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    Ignorance, a lack of imagination, and a lack of intelligence have always been the hallmarks of the people that gave me grief about reading comics.

    I never noticed any inclination to do so based on age or gender. Probably because there were none. Male, female, young, old... the naysayers always shared the traits I listed at the beginning there.



    G.D.
    Leave it be and it won't bother you.
    Screw with it, and it'll eat you alive.

    Soon enough, nations will play second fiddle to corporations.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."
    "Freedom is the value, not protection."

  9. #9
    Never been much of a fan for superhero comics or any derivative materials. The abilities of superheroes and villains alike are generally ludicrous, and their costumes tend to be much too gaudy for my tastes. The recent movies have even further strengthened my negative view on the genre, especially after they made a black Heimdall in "Thor". I get that minority quotas are the thing nowadays, but for the love of God, shoehorning a Black guy in the role of a Norse deity is just too much for my taste.

    My favourite character from superhero fiction is probably the Punisher, precisely because he has none of the hallmarks of a traditional superhero - no real superpowers, no tasteless gaudy attire and no bleeding-heart do-gooder moral code. Unlike all those other heroes, he is probably the closest thing to realistic and plausible in the realm of superhero fiction.

  10. #10
    I'm a Marvel fan from way back. My first foray into collecting started with Daredevil #18 (Gladiator) in 1966 and went backward from there. I managed to find single digit issue numbers for DD, Spiderman, Fantastic Four and X-Men (I actually had a copy of #1). All those (several hundred) were donated to a paper drive by my mother while I was off working at a summer camp. So I still have a soft spot for superheros, and have seen many of the movies but the schitck is getting old. Special effects don't impress me anymore and the stories are buried under under them. It's good mindless entertainment, but for me that's all it is.
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    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


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