Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comic Stereotypes

No, I'm not going to talk about my dissatisfaction with Native American superheroes or why Black Racer's suit is blue & grey. No, today I want to get something off my mind that's been bugging me for awhile, especially after reading Teen Titans for the past two years.

There are story elements to every character that I realize will always pop up. Sherlock needs his blow, Spidey has it tough, Batman is a bit of a control freak. It's to be expected in a continuing series that certain elements remain consistent. How many times has a friend of yours hooked up with someone who they break up with three months later? How many times have you had to remind your drunk friend he can't hold his booze? Recurrence is natural.

There are however some story elements that writers continue on with characters that have nothing to do with the characters' personalities, just with people's stereotypical view of the characters. Like with Teen Titans, The Judas Contract was a great story about the Titans being infiltrated by Terra, who posed as an ally, but was really working for Deathstroke. Great read, check it out when you can(the cartoon has a bastardized version I don't recommend to anyone who wants to keep their high opinion of teenagers). While this could have easier been a onetime or just one of three cases type of thing, we have now been thrown two storylines in two years about a Titan Traitor. Like we, the readers, were waiting for it to happen. It's a lame kind of storytelling were an outstanding story element of a popular storyline has become ingrained into the title by dent of writers trying to recapture the feel of the popular story.

Think of how people view the X-Men and the emo tone of the last three X-Men crossovers. The X-Men didn't start out with depressing storylines and to be truthful, the characters had their share of fun inbetween the drama that people remember most from the Claremont/Byrne years. Now, though, it seems an X-Men story has to be overly emotional week after week, like that was always the case with X-Men stories. There were freaking X-Babies and bar fights in X-Men before the 90's screwed them up. 

Just take a look at any random Spider-Man book from the 90's and you can see that hard luck Spidey's life was turned into a miserable existence where pretty much everyone he loved was killed and he could barely make it out the front door before something bad happened. Yes, the classic Spider-Man stories had him broke or missing a date with Gwen, but that's yards and miles different from being told you're a clone, having you're child being stillborn, your wife leaving you and then having your wife being blown up on a commercial airliner.

I like it when old stories are relevant to a current storyline, and I like when characters have certain quirks and things like that pop time and again. What I don't need is yet another Rogue loses control of her powers or Raven scared of her Trigon heritage story. It's lame because not only was it done before, the story goes in the same way with only a few differences to mark one story from the other. We need progression, something that stays true to the characters. Think of the Justice Society of America, who were a team of superheroes like any other but now are mentors for emerging superheroes. It marks a reasonable change and opens up for new stories.

Had to vent a little. WizKids was shut down, now HeroClix may be no more. Sucks.

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