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Super hero tone and changing times


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It’s tough. On one hand, I feel like Superman needs to be about hope and an ideal. It needs to invoke a sense of wonder in the audience.

On the other hand....that’s really tough to pull off in this day and age.

I’m all for different takes on super heroes. I think the concept has a lot to offer and the genre can be mashed up with others to great effect.

But I think certain specific characters work best in very specific ways. Superman should not be dark and grim. Which is Snyder’s only mode, it seems. I just think it requires tools that he doesn’t quite have.

I’d say the same of the Fantastic Four at Marvel. You need to be able to do optimistic and awe-inspiring without being cheesy.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
As not to derail the other thread, how do you feel about different tones for the various heroes?

I don't mind a change in tone when it's done well as natural outgrowth of the character.

It’s tough. On one hand, I feel like Superman needs to be about hope and an ideal. It needs to invoke a sense of wonder in the audience.

On the other hand....that’s really tough to pull off in this day and age.

I’m all for different takes on super heroes. I think the concept has a lot to offer and the genre can be mashed up with others to great effect.

But I think certain specific characters work best in very specific ways. Superman should not be dark and grim. Which is Snyder’s only mode, it seems. I just think it requires tools that he doesn’t quite have.

I’d say the same of the Fantastic Four at Marvel. You need to be able to do optimistic and awe-inspiring without being cheesy.
I think that in this day and age, ESPECIALLY in this day and age we need some actual HOPE and WONDER.
I'm also for different takes on Superheroes but as long as you can still recognize them AS those heroes.
So we're in agreement here, especially on Superman.

I'm not a fan of and have NEVER been a fan of MURDERBATMAN. If have a Batman who casually kills, you basically have a better financed Frank Castle. I'm not a fan of that particular iteration of Batman at all.

My favorite Batman is from the DCAU. From Batman: The Animated Series right up through JLU. The pilot episode of Batman Beyond epitomizes why I love that particular version. When he picks up that handgun and aims it at that bad guy? His hands shaking and realizing that he got to a point where he picked up a gun and aimed it at someone? He realized that he couldn't BE Batman anymore. For ME, a Batman who KILLS isn't Batman. And for everyone who trots out the whole "well that's not realistic" I don't watch or read superheroes for realism. If you can believe that Bruce Wayne can do all of that training and but on a Batsuit and run out and fight crime and NOT at some point be killed, have his secret id exposed or anything like that? You can believe that Bats can find a way NOT to kill his opponents.

With comic books fans and superhero fans in particular there's a blood lust and need for darkness that's a little disturbing. When those stories are told in isolation like in a WATCHMEN or THE DARK KNIGHT REURNS that makes the tone something special. Especially when it has something to say about the characters themselves. But when it ALL has to play as dark? It's just Nihilism for Nihilism's sake and there's way too much of that in the real world...
 

GreyLord

Hero
Batman murders people now?

Is that true? That would indicate whoever is writing Batman never truly understood who he was, what he stood for, or why he existed in the first place.

I guess things change...if true though...it would mean that they sometimes change for the worse.

The biggest complaint I think I've ever had for changing a super hero can be found in one phrase which describes an abomination of people who never understood the character, their motivations, or what made the character in the first place...

"One More Day"
 

Ulfgeir

Adventurer
I love how they portrayed both Batman and Superman in Kingdom Come. Batman imo is a much darker character than Superman. That does not mean he should be killing the criminals, but for me the campy tv-series from the 60's does not work.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Batman murders people now?

Is that true? That would indicate whoever is writing Batman never truly understood who he was, what he stood for, or why he existed in the first place.

I guess things change...if true though...it would mean that they sometimes change for the worse.

The biggest complaint I think I've ever had for changing a super hero can be found in one phrase which describes an abomination of people who never understood the character, their motivations, or what made the character in the first place...

"One More Day"
I'm referring to mostly the cinematic version of Batman and the other DC characters.
 

Ryujin

Hero
I love how they portrayed both Batman and Superman in Kingdom Come. Batman imo is a much darker character than Superman. That does not mean he should be killing the criminals, but for me the campy tv-series from the 60's does not work.
The best description that I ever heard about Batman and Superman was from a film maker friend of mine. He said that they're two sides of the same coin; Batman is a Night God and Superman is a Sun God.

The times have changed and so has Batman. He's gone from being a detective with some combat skills, to a vengeful killer, and everything in between depending upon the times and who is writing him. Superman has had less variation though his powers have changed, in scope. I think that the Schneider Superman was a big misstep despite there being some precedent, mostly in one-off stories.

I think that the Steve Rogers Captain America has been more consistently the Boyscout, with the exception of the Nomad detour in the mid-'70s. Fortunately that was very short lived. I don't know anyone who enjoyed that.

The past couple of decades, especially, have been more about the anti-hero than the legitimate hero. I agree with some others who sai that we need some hope.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Batman murders people now?

Is that true? That would indicate whoever is writing Batman never truly understood who he was, what he stood for, or why he existed in the first place.

I guess things change...if true though...it would mean that they sometimes change for the worse.
He's killed in most movies, I think. Even back in Batman 1989 he blew up a chemical plant full of bad guys.
 

Ulfgeir

Adventurer
I think that the Steve Rogers Captain America has been more consistently the Boyscout, with the exception of the Nomad detour in the mid-'70s. Fortunately that was very short lived. I don't know anyone who enjoyed that.
I don't really read superhero comics now, but wasn't there quite recently a long series of Captain America, where he was actually a Hydra-agent, and had always been such. Granted it was due to reality having been rewritten through the Tessaract if I understood it correctly.
 

Ryujin

Hero
I don't really read superhero comics now, but wasn't there quite recently a long series of Captain America, where he was actually a Hydra-agent, and had always been such. Granted it was due to reality having been rewritten through the Tessaract if I understood it correctly.
And, as I recall, it caused huge outrage.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
On the other hand....that’s really tough to pull off in this day and age.

On the gripping hand, it is probably more necessary to have in this day and age.

I’d say the same of the Fantastic Four at Marvel. You need to be able to do optimistic and awe-inspiring without being cheesy.

So, there are times when embracing your cheese and owning it and not being scared of it is the way to get past it being cheesey. Kind of like... disco music. It is the Will Smith, "I make this look good," moment. It is Zombieland. It is Shazam.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
And, as I recall, it caused huge outrage.
Well, they teased it very badly. "oh, this is absolutely real." as opposed to either an alt-universe story or a mystery for the reader to watch unfolding. So, of course doing that to their prime upstanding hero was going to ruffle feathers. They invited outrage.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
He's killed in most movies, I think. Even back in Batman 1989 he blew up a chemical plant full of bad guys.
I think a lot of people would argue that Tim Burton didn't really 'get' Batman, or even comics, either. He certain said some pretty unflattering things about the genre at the time.

I think there's one thing that has been pretty consistent over the years and in comic adaptation after comic adaptation - before the MCU, at least. Movie makers aren't thinking of the same story conventions as comic book writers. They're thinking more along the lines of movie heroism and morality based on what will sell with the movie-going public - a public at least partly shaped by westerns and gun-laden, violent fantasies like Death Wish and Die Hard. Comic morality, particularly with long-standing IP like Batman and Superman, was at least partly shaped by the Comics Code. That eroded with the Bronze and Iron Ages in the comics, but it makes up a substantial aspect of heroes that dominated the Silver Age (and who still dominate the Silver Screen Age).
 

Ryujin

Hero
Well, they teased it very badly. "oh, this is absolutely real." as opposed to either an alt-universe story or a mystery for the reader to watch unfolding. So, of course doing that to their prime upstanding hero was going to ruffle feathers. They invited outrage.
I would go a little further. They lied. They created outrage, then seemed confused that it existed.
 

Batman murders people now?

Is that true? That would indicate whoever is writing Batman never truly understood who he was, what he stood for, or why he existed in the first place.

Batman used a gun in the very beginning Every Time Batman Used A Gun (& Why)

Sups has even killed people

I think most folks tend to forget all this due to the cheesiness that was the time during the comics code. I mean, thanks to that age we did get super dickery Superdickery - Be sure to catch Avengers 4: The Unsnappening
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I think that in this day and age, ESPECIALLY in this day and age we need some actual HOPE and WONDER..

With comic books fans and superhero fans in particular there's a blood lust and need for darkness that's a little disturbing. When those stories are told in isolation like in a WATCHMEN or THE DARK KNIGHT REURNS that makes the tone something special. Especially when it has something to say about the characters themselves. But when it ALL has to play as dark? It's just Nihilism for Nihilism's sake and there's way too much of that in the real world...

Theres a quote from CWs Supergirl that goes something like “People dont fear Superman for what he can do, they fear what he might become” and I think that becomes a fundamental to understanding the symbolism of Superman and also in contrast Batman And I do think it is about HOPE and WONDER.

It actually doesnt matter if either of them have a justifiable kill within the context of a good story as long as Superman is still the symbol of Justice, Truth and HOPE - but not as a self questioning, angst driven Messiah, thats a failure, Superman must be the Boy Scout - the best qualities of humanity - because anything else makes him an Alien Invader.

Equally Batman is the symbol of mortal resistance, he can be grim and gritty because despite his many foibles he has the Indomitable Will to Fight against ALL threats and turn the Darkness that threatens society back on itself.

The problem with certain modern interpretations is that they have turned Superman into Batman...
 
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ShinHakkaider

Adventurer

Batman used a gun in the very beginning Every Time Batman Used A Gun (& Why)

Sups has even killed people

I think most folks tend to forget all this due to the cheesiness that was the time during the comics code. I mean, thanks to that age we did get super dickery Superdickery - Be sure to catch Avengers 4: The Unsnappening
I havent forgotten that the very early iteration of Batman killed people.
But the iteration of the character that has been around the longest in comics and even on TV in animated form DOES NOT KILL.

The story in Superman #22 or #23 where Superman executes that Phantom Zone villains is a complicated affair. They had literally murdered everyone in that universes earth and threatened to get to Superman's earth and do the same. It was just blind luck that he's been knocked into where the vault where the kryptonite was that affects the P Zone villains but not him.

He used (Gold Kryptonite???) to strip them of their powers. It was at that point they threatened him and his world. He couldn't risk the chance that they'd get their powers back and find a way to his earth. Three fully sociopathic, superman level power villains were to much to risk. So he executed them using the Green Kryptonite.

But here's the thing, the guilt and ramification of that action took its toll on Kal-El for over a year of stories afterwards. If there was any people that needed killing it was those three and Superman was STILL broken over it. and now it's been established in the comics AND in the animated series that Superman WILL kill if the threat is big enough. You wanna know who tries to stop him each and every time that possibility occurs?

BATMAN.

To me? Those stories are a lot more interesting and humanizing.
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Theres a quote from CWs Supergirl that goes something like “People dont fear Superman for what he can do, they fear what he might become” and I think that becomes a fundamental to understand the symbolism of Superman and also in contrast Batman And I do think it is about HOPE and WONDER.

It actually doesnt matter if either of them have a justifiable kill within the context of a good story as long as Superman is still the symbol of Justice, Truth and HOPE - but not as a self questioning, angst driven Messiah, thats a failure, Superman must be the Boy Scout - the best qualities of humanity - because anything else makes him an Alien Invader.

Equally Batman is the symbol of mortal resistance, he can be grim and gritty because despite his many foibles he has the Indomitable Will to Fight against ALl threats and turn to the Darkness that threatens society back on itself.

The problem with certain modern interpretations is that they have turned Superman into Batman...

Reeves Superman
Points Up

THIS. ALL OF THIS.
 


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