What do you look for in a superhero?

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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Angelique » Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:49 pm

To specify, do you think powers, ambition, or virtues contribute more to set a superhero apart from the rest? Or do you think it's something else altogether? What do you think makes a character strong, heroic, and perhaps even interesting?
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Dark Bamf » Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:16 pm

I want a superhero to be (if possible) imaginative, powerful, entertaining. (again, if possible) unique, wear a dashing, colorful, and well-designed costume (unless his mission parameters don't allow it), and be strong of spirit and perhaps even noble--once again, unless he (or she) is deliberately designed to have character flaws to enrich his personality.

One of my all time favorite characters is DYNAMO, from the old Tower T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series. He got his powers from a high-tech belt which gave him thirty minutes of super strengtth and invulnerability, with an additional five minutes of emergency power once the original thirty was up. He had a great-looking costume--two shades of blue and a huge white lightning bolt down the front--and a strong, handsome face with a boyish lock of hair flipped down on his forehead. Personality-wise, he was a well-meaning boob with a tendency toward clumsiness, and it made for some very funny stories (like the time he got a vat of peanut butter dumped on him). He was attractive to women, but he didn't know how to deal with them, and that made for some great situations too. He was a well-thought-out and well executed character.

As far as female characters go, I want them to be strong and beautiful. The requirement for a well-designed aand colorful costumer is the same. I can point to any of my own female characters--Storm, Phoenix, Lilandra, Ms. Marvel, Sunswift, Mosquito, Siklie--as examples. I look for unique and interesting powers and try to avoid the sort of 'housewife heroine' image Stan Lee was so good at inventing back in the '60s.

'Nuff said.

:bamf

[Edited on 23-8-2006 by Dark Bamf]

[Edited on 23-8-2006 by Dark Bamf]
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Paty » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:36 am

:magneto

I look for honor and intelligence and complexity of character... be it male or female. I want a costume that has color and style and is functional and not stupid or frivolous. the nekkid belly button look with miniskirt is designed to do nothing but get juvenile rocks off...cuz it sure isn't serious superhero garb... and any person wearing it is NOT gonna be taken seriously... so the only ones wearing such a ridiculous costume are, of course, girls.... and women who should have enought taste to know better... but boys draw and write these things. Notice I said BOYS...not men. Men know better than to talk down to female readers... cuz we control the purse strings, baby! and the female market could put the comics publishing back on the map if the damn boys club would realize it.

OK... they don't want to realize it...

Strong female superdoops should stop acting like bimboes or sluts or demented, incompetant tootsies. What was done with the Scarlet witch is horrific and stupid to boot. They will rue that storyline one of these days if they don't already. The other side of the coin is the dominating bitch... so a female character at major companies these days are almost always brainless, clueless tootsies or dominant bitches with a burr up their ass.
Damn little in between. I won't say none... cuz there are still some writers out there who DO like strong, intelligent female superdoops...but damn few.

Male superheroes should be strong, intelligent and heroic. Villains should be self centered and ego centric...as they are in real life. Then you have the most interesting group... the complex, enigmatic adversaries who have a valid point... like Magneto...or even Juggie... who have been developed beyond the cookie cutter version of eeeeeevil villain. these are the most interesting characters of all.
Icons, like Captain America, SpiderMan, Supes or Bats have to be icons... standing for truth, justice and bugs for dinner... They can be a bit stuffy and anal... like Scott... but they should never be petty or egocentric. they should be counted on to do what is RIGHT... simply because it IS right.
Complex characters, be they male or female, can be more ambiguous... more nebulous... like real life. Real life is not black or white, but varying shades of gray. We like our heroes or villains to be white or black cuz we have to deal with the shades of gray all the time... but these same shades of gray are the most interesting. great power combined with very human frailties and vunerabilities can make for a wonderful spectrum of story possibiities with a talented and astute writer. Unfortunately there is a derth of those, lately.

I want diversity in personalities. Not evry character is a wise cracking clown or a berserker nutball. I want to see females acting like females would really act... not like some pud puller WANTS them to act. I want to see consistancy in characterization...a character's development proceeding logically and intelligently given the traumas he or she is exposed to and the way they choose to deal with them without violating the core characterization that identifies them as an individual. Scott, for example, is NOT a drunken, whining irresponsible adulterer. No. NOT!
Magneto is a basically good man whom circumstance of his early years and an overflowand backup of his power drives nutsy fagan every once in a while...but he's working on it...LOL
But, in spite of everything they try to tell me, Emma Frost is still the bitch white queen of the hellfire club. Why? She dresses and acts like the slut she is and she obviously still acts in a self centered selfishness that is only barely hidden... so what she does speaks so loudly I cannot hear what she or her writers say! If they think that real super heroines act and look this way, they have another think coming to their puerile minds.

Above all, I demand intelligence and deductive ability in a hero or heroine.They are presented daily with earth shattering problems and they have to think and deal with them to save all of humanity. They are larger than life and as such, are icons and must act their parts faithfully... stiff upper lip and all that. Villains are rarely moustache twirling crazies...well...except for the Joker, of course...and even HE doesn't have a moustache... but rather sneaky and
underhanded opposition to the heroes. They, too, are icons in a different way...icons of what NOT to be in life.

And, of course, I want stylish, colorful costumes...not prurient interst and T and A...just to give the junenile boys a thrill.
and that's not just because I am an old fartess...I have always had a strong sense of heroism. In both the male AND the female. And I am a very opinionated old biddy...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAA

Paty
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Paty » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:38 am

:magneto

Oh, yeah... and a SENSE OF HUMOR!!! Heroes have gotta have a sense of humor... some raucus, some dry and terse... but you gotta have humor or you go craxy with the drama...

The best line in Jaws was "I think you're gonna need a BIGGER BOAT!"

LOL
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:magneto
Magneto Rules!
Xavier drools!
Write support the Claremont Magneto! Cast a vote for complexity in characterization! And write to protest THE USELESS KILLING OF NIGHTCRAWLER !!!
Write to :
Isaac Perlmutter , Alan Fine, Alex Alonso and Nick Lowe at
Marvel Entertainment Inc.
135 W 50th Street
New York, NY 10020
:magneto
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Angelique » Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:10 pm

Thanks for your responses. But my goodness... the effort writers might have to put into actually writing characters like that might delay releases. (Then again, I am perfectly comfortable waiting longer for my X-Men fix if it means the book will be better when I do eventually get it.)
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Paty » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:45 pm

:magneto
Heh... for seventeen years Chris Claremont wrote characters like that and he wasn't late once... to my knowledge. You write the characters, you KNOW them... you respect their histories and know these histories and the stories will flow...and you can logically build your characters...just like Chris did. this takes talent and thought... something sadly lacking in great measure at Marvel today...but it can be done.

You don't have to know EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY right up front... you pick a character to focus on and immerse yourself in them as you tell stories with them...then you focus on another character...and so on...and pretty soon, you have a deep relationship with all the characters you are writing and they are like family to you... you know and love them..or not, as the case may be...LOL...
some characters you might not like, but their diversity makes for good stories, so you tolerate them and try to understand them so you can use them most effectively and logically.

It's all in being a writer. Artists need to understand the characters, too, because when they draw them doing stuff, body language will tell the reader as much as the blurbs and word balloons, sometimes...if you are a good artist who integrates every element of the characters you are drawing.

It's not "just a job"...not really. some creators look at it thus... but you can have more fun with the art form if you love the characters and their stories.

John Buscema, one of the greatest of the comic artists, used to tell me that he thought of comics as "just a job to pay the rent". He wanted to do fine art...to paint in oils or acrylics...but the comics work paid the bills for his family. He was looking forward to retiring and painting. He died shortly after he retired from drawing comics and I don't know if he ever got his wish to paint... and that is so sad. He was a consummate artist and storyteller... it is just too bad he never enjoyed the wonderful art form he was so good at.

You don't get into comics unless you love it... well...some do... but hopefully they don't stay long... but, unfortunately, some of them do.
Let's put it this way... you SHOULDN'T get into comics in any form unless you LOVE the medium... the characters... and telling their stories. And you can tell who loves the medium... the ones who know the characters, respect the histories and canon and the former writers and artists and who BUILD on what was laid down before...rather than destroying it just so their own pitiful efforts will not be compared with the wonders of the past.... the GOOD storytelling.
It's a wonderful medium...it deserves the best writers and artists available... and nepotism, favortism and bigotry are keeping us from getting the best out there... and that is sad. And unnecessary.

but I am not gonna hold my breath waiting for this sad state of affairs to change.
Paty
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Xavier drools!
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Dark Bamf » Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:07 am

Truth, justice, and bugs for dinner?!? :LOL

Paty always says it so much more succinctly (if long-windedly) than I do. I forgot to mention honor, dignity (well, not always), and a sense of outrage at injustice no matter toward who. And that all-necessary sense of humor. Humor is always welcome, even from villains. One of the things that most humanized Magneto for me in the first movie was his gentle amusement at Senator Kelly trying to escape out the window of his cell. 'Senator, where do you think you can go?'

nd you can find honor--and heroes--on both sides of a question. I just saw the movie 'Troy' once again. 'The Iliad', from which the movie is taken, is an old favorite of mine, having first read the 'Classics Illustrated' version when I was about eight years old. There are heroes on both sides: Hector and Achilles, for example. Or our own American Civil War. Heroes abound on both sides, though since the Union won the war, they villainized the South, as winners always do. Or another old favorite of mine, 'Treasure Island': Long John Silver isn't a hero, he's a villain pure and simple, but I love the old bucaneer nonetheless, because he's such a well-rounded character.

Or Marvel's own Sub-Mariner. He was a villain in the early days of the Silver Age, and yet he was rife with nobility. Ditto the Tower villain, Andor, who was T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent Dynamo's counterpart. There were several stories where he exhibited valor and courage of the highest order even though he was on the 'other' side.

Even the villains can be worthy of respect.

:bamf

[Edited on 25-8-2006 by Dark Bamf]
'I'm in love, I'm in love with Atilla the Hun--
Atilla the Hun, Atilla the Hun.
He may pillage your village and kill everyone
but I still love Atilla the Hun.'
--Atilla's Hunny
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Paty » Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:39 am

:magneto
Dignity??? DIGNITY???
what about Kooey Kooey Kooey???????
Oh, right... that comes under humor...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA
Paty
:magneto
Magneto Rules!
Xavier drools!
Write support the Claremont Magneto! Cast a vote for complexity in characterization! And write to protest THE USELESS KILLING OF NIGHTCRAWLER !!!
Write to :
Isaac Perlmutter , Alan Fine, Alex Alonso and Nick Lowe at
Marvel Entertainment Inc.
135 W 50th Street
New York, NY 10020
:magneto
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Paty » Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:41 am

:magneto
another great Magneto line...
"when ar these people going to learn how to fly?"

I love it!
Paty
:magneto
Magneto Rules!
Xavier drools!
Write support the Claremont Magneto! Cast a vote for complexity in characterization! And write to protest THE USELESS KILLING OF NIGHTCRAWLER !!!
Write to :
Isaac Perlmutter , Alan Fine, Alex Alonso and Nick Lowe at
Marvel Entertainment Inc.
135 W 50th Street
New York, NY 10020
:magneto
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What do you look for in a superhero?

Postby Dark Bamf » Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:43 am

For those of you who don'tt recognize the name 'Kooey Kooey Kooey'--it was the name of a tripicalk island in a Justice League of America story arc, and my very favorite JLA story. Keith Giffen was writing JLA in thokse days, and he was wsriting it for laughs. Tbe 'Kooey' arc was outrageously funny: Booster Gold and Blue Beetle embezzled the JLA contingency funds and set up a luxury resort on the island of Kooey Kooey Kooey, having bribed the chief, who could have been a prototype for the chief of the 'Woponi Wus' in 'Joe vs. the Volvano'.

As I said, it was outrageously funny. Beetle and Booster were outrageously larcenous, Batman and J'onn J'onzz were properly outraged, and most of the other JLAers couldn't make up their minds whether to be scandalized or hysterical. Finally Aquaman showed up and pointed out that Kooey Kooey Kooey was a living organism, and it was about to pack up and change locacion, being irritated by all the frantic activity on its back. All the money earned from the hotel and casino wound up floating away on the waves, and Booster and Beetle wound up in disgrace and on suspension from the JLA for several months.

And it was from Giffin's humor writing that 'BWA-HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA'! comes from. The villains laughed like that, and so did the good guys when they wanted to SOUND villainous.

Paty's right. 'Dignity?!? What dignity?'

BWA-HAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!

:bamf

[Edited on 26-8-2006 by Dark Bamf]
'I'm in love, I'm in love with Atilla the Hun--
Atilla the Hun, Atilla the Hun.
He may pillage your village and kill everyone
but I still love Atilla the Hun.'
--Atilla's Hunny
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