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Saturday, August 07, 2004
Responding To Myself
See, this is the precise reason why I try very hard not to take part in these endless, back-and-forth, circling the point but never quite landing arguments/debates between bloggers.
[For the record, I like JSA but it does presuppose you are familiar with several decades worth of DC continuity. Teen Titans is fun, and I think it has the right amount of nostalgia to keep long-term fans happy but not too much to alienate newer readers, and judging by the fact that we still sell tons of copies to kids and people who don't normally read DC books I'd guess that I'm mostly right about that. I do think the tone he has established for Flash is completely wrong for the title and characters. I never read his Avengers because it was the freaking Avengers! Any team with both Iron Man and Thor can't possibly be worth reading about...]
Why are Superman and Batman more interesting when they're not really Superman and Batman? I think most people commenting on that thread have at least a partial answer. I usually find the characters are more tolerable in one-shots and minis than in ongoing books. In those situations the creators are usually much freer about what they can do with the characters. And when you put the characters in another book entirely you can focus on the essential elements of the characters, emphasizing what makes them interesting and has caused them to last as long as they have. And when you make them an entirely different character you can place even more of an emphasis on "what's right" with the character. I don't think it's impossible to make the characters appealing in their own books, though. I like Superman/Batman quite a bit. It's an event book, and it's short on plot, and it really isn't very good, but it entertains, and it places the characters of Supes and Bats on that same iconic level that they don't seem to get in their regular books. And God help me, I actually like Austen's "Superman hits things for twenty pages" approach to the character in Action.
I was asked who I think should play Wildcat if there were ever a movie. Without hesitation I answered Jason Statham. He's got the right look, build and screen persona to pull off Ted Grant. But, I knew comic fans would object to that casting because Statham is a diver and martial-artist, and thus doesn't have a heavy-weight boxer physique. Because we all know that the particular fact that Wildcat is a heavy-weight boxer is far more important to the character than the fact that he's a blue-collar, rough-and-tumble brawler who fights crime. I mentioned this bit of hypothetical casting to another comics fan, and sure enough, first words out of his mouth were: "But he's not a heavyweight!"
Of course, it was Pete who said that, so I'm not allowed to get too annoyed about it.