Stefan's death.

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Stefan's death.

Postby love_of_bob » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:09 am

One thing that's always seemed strange to me is that, although Kurt promised Stefan that he would kill him if he ever turned evil, when the moment came, the killing was still depicted as accidental.

Why not just have him snap the guy's neck on purpose? Kurt even said in Uncanny X-men annual 4 that if he had to do it over again, he would. Would it have made that big a change in his character to have the act be fully intentional?
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Stefan's death.

Postby Saint Kurt » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:54 pm

It might have. Because it never really was clear if Stephan had turned evil.

The story of Stephan's death is depicted in several different comics. I even own the original pages of the Nightcrawler Origins comic that depict it and they show it as a delibrate attack on Stephan with unexpected results (the snapping of Stephan's neck). It was never obvious though if Stephan "turned evil and killed the children" or if it was only Stephan who could "see that the children were really demons" and therefore was forced to kill them.

Much much later, the story was retold in the 12 book solo series by Roberto Agasa-Secura and Darick Robertson. In this, Stephan's death WAS a delibrate act, though not by Nightcrawler - other forces were involved at the time.

I think it might have changed his character quite a bit actually. Nightcrawler's inability to save the children Stephan killed in addition to the accidental killing of his brother always existed to haunt him. These actions make him question his past like so many X-Men characters do. If he had confidently killed his own brother, knowing he was right, I believe it would have changed his character quite radically.

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Stefan's death.

Postby love_of_bob » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:44 am

Originally posted by Saint Kurt
It might have. Because it never really was clear if Stephan had turned evil.

The story of Stephan's death is depicted in several different comics. I even own the original pages of the Nightcrawler Origins comic that depict it and they show it as a delibrate attack on Stephan with unexpected results (the snapping of Stephan's neck). It was never obvious though if Stephan "turned evil and killed the children" or if it was only Stephan who could "see that the children were really demons" and therefore was forced to kill them.(...)



Yes, in Scott Lobdell's Nightcrawler/Wolverine miniseries in Marvel Comics Presents, it's even shown as Stefan committing suicide with Nightcrawler's tail. The children WERE "monsters", at least physically, but kind and peaceful. (I should add that the story in question is NOT a good one, except as a buddy reunion tale between Kurt and Logan). There, Stefan killed himself out of guilt. I'm glad that was retconned and I wish it had never been written.

The Nightcrawler series...I didn't really like that either, personally, mostly because of the occult elements which have to do with Nightcrawler's foster family and not Nightcrawler himself, but that's a rant for another time.

I think it might have changed his character quite a bit actually. Nightcrawler's inability to save the children Stephan killed in addition to the accidental killing of his brother always existed to haunt him. These actions make him question his past like so many X-Men characters do. If he had confidently killed his own brother, knowing he was right, I believe it would have changed his character quite radically.


See, I'm not saying he should have gone in with the cold-blooded intent of killing Stefan. I was more thinking along the lines of realizing, in the middle of the fight, that there was only one way he could stop him, remembering his promise and then steeling himself to do it.
I think he would still feel like #$%$^ afterwards, he would NOT be completely convinced he had done the right thing, would forever question himself and so on. It doesn't seem like that dramatic a difference from how he feels having accidentally killed him. Because he had still PROMISED to kill him and he seems to FEEL it was deliberate. He says it outright:

"I did what I had to do. What I had...promised. If I had to do it over again, I would."

In his own mind, it was as good as murder.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Saint Kurt » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:47 pm

Originally posted by love_of_bob
Because he had still PROMISED to kill him and he seems to FEEL it was deliberate. He says it outright:

"I did what I had to do. What I had...promised. If I had to do it over again, I would."

In his own mind, it was as good as murder.


All this is true. Yet, he is often shown mulling over this incident and questioning his actions in so many other comics...

I don't know... It is a mystery.

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Stefan's death.

Postby Nandireya » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:32 am

I think it’s like the Greedo shooting first thing in the Star Wars: A New Hope special edition. Since the original version came out Kurt (and Han) became a much more honourable character, and the idea of him killing in cold blood just didn’t sit right with that…so they changed it…
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Stefan's death.

Postby love_of_bob » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:51 am

The thing is, though, the fact that he actually killed someone he loved with his bare hands is something that I see as having a HUGE part in how he turned out as a person. It's probably also one of the keys to what makes his friendship with Wolverine work so well: Kurt knows first-hand the price of killing. He's not just sitting on a high horse pointing a finger at Logan, he sympathizes, understands how easily violence gives birth to violence, that everything is not black and white and so on. BUT he is also adamant in his hatred of killing and that resolve has helped him tame the beast on several occasions.

Saying he's not REALLY guilty seems to defy the point.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Saint Kurt » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:12 am

Originally posted by love_of_bob
Saying he's not REALLY guilty seems to defy the point.


I totally see what you're saying (and with the Star Wars analogy Nandy - I think you're right!).

I think what the thing is though, is not so much that he killed Stephan, but the way in which it happened. When Kurt initiated the fight - he didn't know how it was going to turn out, but at least there were possibilities. He might have been able to over power his brother and then solve the mystery of why he was killing children, but allowing his brother to live. Or, he might have been forced to fight him to the death as he did. Or, Nightcrawler himself might have died at his brother's hands.

When Kurt snapped his neck in such a sudden and accidental way, all those possible outcomes ceased to exist, but without ... any real resolution for either Kurt or Stephan.

Nightcrawler's question is, I think, "Did I really NEED to kill my brother that night?", not "Am I guilty of his murder?"

Kurt does take full responsibility for taking Stephan's life, yet the circumstances in which it happened fill the act with questions that might not have been there if Kurt had simply "killed Stephan because his brother had turned evil".

Cool question though. :)

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Postby JD-HIV » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:22 am

I think they just made it seem like an accident cause I don't think they wanted to turn Kurt into an actual muderer... if that made any sense to you.... :P
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Stefan's death.

Postby rain360 » Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:06 am

I agree with what Saint Kurt said,
then maybe they did the whole 'accidental killing in front of the townspeople' to have someway to get Nightcrawler into the X-men.
With Professor X coming in and saving Kurt before the townspeople killed him for what they thought he was,
was a good way to get him onto the Team.
If that makes any sense what so ever.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Saint Kurt » Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:29 am

Well, I don't know... I suppose you could look at every character's backstory up to the present day and wonder if anything happened for a particular reason.

Actually, that scene on the roof with the villagers all waving pitchforks and torches has never sat well with me to be honest. If you think about the time that the X-Men comics happen in, it is generally now. Not, July 1st 2007 now, but the generic "it's happening in today's world, but different" now.

If this is the case, there is no way that scene could be happening before about... 1960. (Even if you stretch it and say it happened in the 40s or 50s it still doesn't make that much sense.) Think about it, you're living in a village in Bavaria Germany. You have access to electric lights, radio, and the telephone. Something scary happens and there's a killer in your neighborhood. You happen to be the vigilante mob type. So...

What would you do?

Would you go into your garage and look for a pitch fork? Grab some firewood and light up one end like a torch to carry around?

No!

You'd get a flashlight and perhaps a gun right? It's the 1960's! Post war Germany was modern! I know I'm nit picking, but it's a big nit.

The authors and artists were clearly trying to evoke the mood and tension of the old classic monster movies that were rife with torch and pitchfork bearing mobs chasing down misunderstood monsters. Except those movies were always supposed to take place in isolated areas of 1800s Transylvania and places like that.

Kurt's backstory, particularly that piece of his backstory is always drawn during a period that would make him like, 170 years old at this point. It's always bugged me. With just a little effort the artists and writers could have evoked that mood, that situation, and everything about it, but set in a modern 20th century world and that would have been totally awesome because without a single word of explanation it would have told Kurt's story while simultaneously saying "look how far we've come and yet we still have so far to go" - a common message woven throughout the X-Men's entire saga.

That ability to have multi-threaded stories and ideas all happening at once, maybe without the reader even consciously realizing it is what makes comics such a rich and amazing medium. It just burns me up when creators don't use the opportunities comics give for great story telling just to get "an effect" like hitting the reader over the head with the obvious "It's just like in one of those old monster movies!".

I still think he's a cool character though. :)

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Stefan's death.

Postby love_of_bob » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:07 am

I agree completely. It's such a shame that that scene has been repeated so many times, but it was never really altered to feel like it took place in present day. It really kills the impact.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Angelique » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:30 am

Originally posted by Saint Kurt

If this is the case, there is no way that scene could be happening before about... 1960. (Even if you stretch it and say it happened in the 40s or 50s it still doesn't make that much sense.) Think about it, you're living in a village in Bavaria Germany. You have access to electric lights, radio, and the telephone. Something scary happens and there's a killer in your neighborhood. You happen to be the vigilante mob type. So...

What would you do?

Would you go into your garage and look for a pitch fork? Grab some firewood and light up one end like a torch to carry around?


Well, I've noticed a tendency in comics to portray rural or small-town people, for better but more often for worse, as about a century or so behind the times.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Feuerstein » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:55 am

I agree with Saint Kurt and Angelique. Mostly I think it's just that at the time, stereotypes were used incessantly in comics. (I remember a thread on marvel.com's forums about how Banshee was the epitome of Irish stereotypes, and some of the stuff people submitted was incredible.) Stereotype of a misunderstood monster? Frankenstein. Beauty and the Beast's Beast. Grendel. King Kong. They just wanted to hype up the image with a traditional fairty tale-esque mob scene. And now it's the future, X-men has lasted a long time, and that spur of the moment "we need something evocative of evil and danger for Nightcrawler!" decision has caused... problems.

I was also wondering if anyone knows if Kurt's family life (with Margali and Stefan, etc.) had already been decided on by the writers when he made his first appearance. In the very early issues he was in, Kurt makes it sound like he was raised by a typical modern family. Beyond that, in his very first scene ever, he's saying "oh, I came out into the open to see what the real world was like, and ja, it sucks," and that sort of stuff, which makes it sound like he was initially supposed to have been totally isolated by his parents for his appearance. Later he says, "The Wagners were just ordinary people... until I came along." So it sounds to me like the "I grew up with Gypsies, and I killed my brother" story must have come along incidentally, maybe even invented for the sole purpose of writing that "enter into Dante's Inferno" story. In which case, it makes sense the writers didn't put much thought into how the story would affect Nightcrawler, since they were only looking to entertain.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Angelique » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:40 pm

If I remember correctly, Kurt's gypsy upbringing was written in after the character was created, at a point when it was trendy to cram gypsy upbringings into as many characters' back stories as possible.
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Stefan's death.

Postby The Drastic Spastic » Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:53 pm

Originally posted by Feuerstein
I agree with Saint Kurt and Angelique. Mostly I think it's just that at the time, stereotypes were used incessantly in comics.


This. Personally, I think the writing has come at least as far as the art since then. The artform is still evolving and improving in general, and better writing is a big part of that. I am so excited about how many great writers there are in the superhero business right now.

Saint Kurt, I don't think "subtle" was in the typical comic writer's vocabulary back then. It would have been better for sure, but they just weren't at that point yet. They weren't thinking like that. Probably comics still were for kids back then, as well. (Are they still pretending to be for kids? Not so much.)

lol, gypsies. Thank God for the information age. Now people know that romanticized crap is bullshit and the raised by gypsies craze will never ever make a comeback.

I'd say he needs a complete overhaul to get rid of all the goofy crap but we already got one. Oh, Ultimate X-Men. Keep rocking, Kirkman.
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Stefan's death.

Postby Feuerstein » Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:56 am

Thing is, if they wanted to, I really think they could figure out a way to make his murky, too-quickly-thrown-together past work in modern writing. If someone just worked it out, they could make it fit. You couldn't say, "Gosh, I know someone that happen to!" but you could say "Now his past fits who he is." It's not an irredeemable situation, but it's not a priority for anyone either. Everyone cares about the future, not the past. *sigh*
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