Friday, July 17, 2009

Things I love about (superhero) comics

As I'm away for the weekend and won't be online tomorrow I'm doing 2 posts today, this is the second.

A while back I thought I’d do a post listing the things that I particularly love about superhero comics. So here goes.

1) Wally West and Linda Park’s relationship
She is his rod and serves to anchor him to this plane of reality, not get dragged into the speed force. They love each other so much that even when he’s trapped in some distant place he can find his way back home by focusing on her. During Infinite Crisis (or thereabouts) he ran home to say goodbye to her as he knew he was getting pulled away somewhere unknown and her reaction was ‘you’re not bloody going without me’ and promptly hung on.

I just love the idea that you can be (mutually) in love with someone that much that they serve as a way to ground you and bring you back home when you’re in danger. I think it’s wonderful and oh so perfect.
Yes, I am a product of a broken home.

2) You don’t need words
There’s an issue of Young Justice, # 31, which has no text in it at all. You’ve got Bart’s thought bubbles which are just images and no words. The art is impeccable and flows so well it tells you all you need to know. I'm someone who didn't pay a lot of attention to stuff around her when younger. Now I'm relearning how to be observant and take everything in and part of that involves really paying attention to the images use in comics, as well as how they're used.

3) The sheer epic scale of it all
Two things about this point really. One is that because it’s epic you quite often get huge universe spanning wars and then there’s lots of lovely tragedy. I enjoy a good bit of tragedy.
The second thing is that because the Universe is so bloody large and it’s got such a lot of published history there is so much to learn. Let’s face it, as a new reader, started reading comic properly about 5 years ago, I’ve got a hell of a lot of catching up to do. Considering I get frustrated when I come to the end of a 6 book fantasy series, because I haven’t learnt enough about each character, or the world’s history, or the culture or whatever, superhero comics are a bloody godsend.

4) Powers
Flight, laser vision, ice breath, telekinesis, supra intelligence, actual wings, shapeshifter, pyschics, Godlike powers, magic, super strength, shrinking people, growing people, time travel, space travel, robots, cyborgs, super speed, talking to fish, sonic screams, magic rings.

5) Fandom
Comics fans are so obsessive about what happens, why it happens, what it means and why it's wrong. Or right, if the individual is in an optimistic mood. I love it, we get so immersed in our fandoms it all becomes so important. I love having a community I can talk to about this stuff.

6) What Avalon's Willow said

Now, fancy throwing in your favourite things about the genre?


John M said...

I love secret identities!

cerebus660 said...

At the risk of coming across as too pretentious, I love the idea of comics as mythologies. Superheroes are the modern-day equivalent of the heroes and gods of ancient legends, when handled correctly. Writers like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis are experts at myth-building, often revealing just enough of their characters' worlds to suggest a lot more.
Hmmm.. maybe I should have just said "Wolverine's claws are cooool!"

Saranga said...

@ John M: You can have a lot of fun with secret identities. From the suspension of disbelief of Clark's glasses to Ollie Queen getting called out by Mia about how his mask hides nothing, to wondering how non masked folks like Dinah Lance manage to live any sort of normal life without a secret identity. And that's even before you get into the fun of the dual personalities that can develop. I love the phycial stuff of how Clark and Kal stand differently and hold themselves differently.

Saranga said...

@ Cerebus: I don't think you're being prententious, I agree about the mythology angle. However when I've mentioned this to non comics folks they've looked at me oddly...
Re Wolverine, his claws are cool but they'd be nothgin without the physicality of him. I'm not too familiar with the X-Men comics but I reckon Hugh Jackman did a great portrayal with the hunching over, the crazy look and the jumping and the stabbing. Specifically I'm thinking of the scene in X2 where the army folks turn up at the house and then Logan gets rather angry.

Saranga said...

Oh and welcome to John M and thanks for the comment both :)

Anonymous said...

5) Fandom
Comics fans are so obsessive about what happens, why it happens, what it means and why it's wrong. Or right, if the individual is in an optimistic mood. I love it, we get so immersed in our fandoms it all becomes so important. I love having a community I can talk to about this stuff.

You know, there was a time when I'd have agreed with this. A time that might be as long ago as you think. But, honestly, today I feel fandom is one of the things that is most WRONG with comics (superhero or otherwise) today.

You rerasoning on why they are so obsessive over it, eespcially the last two parts (i.e. what it means and why it's wrong), have so poisoned the well of enjoyment for me, that I'm not sure it could even be untainted again. The Internet has a lot to do with this, allowing all opinions an equal platform (when said opinions are anything but) and giving folk "false courage," to badmouth people without fear of the reprocussions that doing so normally would entail, but when you get to the heart of it, while the Internet has certainly tapped into this cesspool of humanity's vile natures, it didn't create them. It had to exist before, underneath the surface. The Internet just gave it a very easy outlet.

Seeing supposed "fans" who do nothing more but rip apart creator and fellow fans, over what is nothing but a difference in opinions of works of fiction, or worse, letting their own petty-minded and infantile scoio-political agendas and personal axes to grind dominate how they choose to express themselves, has just soured me on comic fandom as a whole. I know not every fan is that way, but those who are certainly are loud and obnoxious enough that I don't care about that.

Comic fandom seems to have forgetten it's place. It has gotten bigger than it's britches. And it really needs to die. That would mean the end of comics, too, but at this point, I think that would be a sacrifice worth making. Anything that can bring out some of the nasty and vile things I've seen folks say, to people they don't even know, probably needs to be put down.

Comic fandom, you fucking suck! You are a destroyer of joy and a demon of hatred. You deserve to have your toys taken away from you. At least then you'd have something to really bitch about, if nothing else!

Saranga said...

@ Anonymous: Fair enough! I can see your point, but right now I'm loving the fun stuff about fandom. Sure, there are nit picky jerks out there who feel like they are entitled to their 'perfect' story and have a fit if something isn't quite right, and that is very annoying. I try not to read those sites, instead I try to read the positive ones where people are celebrating the medium.
I try not to get too negative on here too, althugh I'm not sure how successful I am.
Anyway, thanks for the comment!