DrTestani

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    The Superhero Origin. Why?

    Do you know the origin of how James Bond came to be a spy? Does it take away your enjoyment of the Bond films if you don’t? What about Indianna Jones? Movie after movie after movie, it’s still fun, they are like issues of a comic book series. Why does Hollywood insist on pummeling us with repeatedly telling us the origin of a superhero? Whether it’s 45 minutes of the "first" Spider-Man film, or a five minute recap to remind you (Batman vs Superman) before the next installment commences. Is it necessary? Can’t we just go into the next installment of the movie?

    • I agree. Origin stories lose the whole mystery. A good example is LOST where the final season explained how everyone got to the island and then proceeded to undermine the whole backstory with a finale that made everything out to be a dream. What a total waste of time and so disappointing. I definitely agree with you that I don't need an origin story. Familiarity breeds contempt! – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • I personally love origin stories, if they're good and come out gradually. It's the same reason I love learning about an author after reading their work -- it often explains the actions and reactions of a character in a way that makes you want to read the story or watch the movie again and search for subtleties you may have missed in the character's various interactions throughout. – Cait 4 years ago
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    • I personally don't mind the background story as long as there are variations, of some aspect. If i were to go see two or 3 or etc. version of spider man movies and they all showed the same origin story then it would be pointless and i understand what you are saying then. Although by giving a back-round this also attracts the rest of the population that might not know all the facts about spiderman or etc. . – tranpreet 4 years ago
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    • It's a difficult question because on one hand fans want the film to be so faithful to the comics, the origin is necessary but on the other hand, it does take away a large chunk of the film which could have been used elsewhere to enhance the film further. Not having an origin could also confuse those who aren't familiar with the characters comic history. Depending on the character and context to the film, an origin should be explained in some way or another, whether it be ten minutes or even one simple line. – ajgreen94 4 years ago
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    • The origin of the superhero is interesting because it provides insight into the character's motives and drives. Knowing certain aspects that occurred before the individual reached this level allows the viewer to understand why they act the way they do and it does create a level of understanding and acceptance. The background of Batman is probably one of the most interesting; yet it does not have to be reiterated in every single franchise installment--this I agree with, 100%! I hope someone picks up this topic, especially with the upcoming onslaught of superhero films set to hit the big screen in the upcoming months. – danielle577 4 years ago
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    • In my opinion, an origin story, done well, brings a lot to a story because it shows you something about the hero's attitude to their status as hero. For Batman, understanding that he does what he does because of his parents' death throws light on what he's going through internally while he's out fighting bad guys. For Spiderman, seeing him first as a nerdy outcast brings a kind of humour to his sudden freedom when he becomes a superhero. All this brings vulnerability to the characters, which isn't easy to achieve in a genre when victory is mandatory and usually absolute. Interiority obviously isn't the main point of a superhero, but you've got to have some or the thing falls flat. For that, you basically have to reach into their past. – TKing 4 years ago
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    • I actually really love origin stories. In fact, you talking about how James Bond became a spy or how Indiana Jones became a treasure hunter really got my mind working. I don't think its necessary, but I think it's fun for audiences to realize why a character does what they do and feel a little more sympathy towards them. The same goes for villains, before I knew Harley Quinn's backstory, I didn't really have an opinion about her one way or another. Now that I do, I love her and think she's a super interesting character. – Jenae 4 years ago
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    • Ok, let's agree that an origin story is fun and interesting. I think 99% of the people by now know Spider-Man was bitten by a spider. The story is so well known. Spider-Man began in 1960's and ran monthly ongoing to the present with over 1,000 issues to his name. Only ONE issue contained his origin. (And that was in another title). We had 45 min origin in the 2002 movie, we had another 45 min origin in the 2012 movie. We wait so long for a movie to come out, do we really need another 45 min origin story in 2017 when there is sooo much to be told that hasn't. – DrTestani 4 years ago
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    • This depends on how the creator wants to the story of that character to be played out. Origin stories are good in order to see how the character came to be and why. Some origins stories can come in the beginning, like how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, or in the middle of the plot, like how Marinette and Adrien became Ladybug and Cat Noir in Miraculous Ladybug. Sometimes, there is no origin story and that is what makes it interesting; it makes the audience guess and look for answers on that specific character. Origin stories are what help make the entire story plot come together, as long as it makes sense. A good plot makes a good origin story. – Sagemaster1 4 years ago
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    • Any discussion of this topic needs to reference this article: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2017/07/11/536508517/origin-al-sin-what-hollywood-must-learn-from-spider-man-homecoming – derBruderspielt 3 years ago
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    • Isn't the origin story part of the whole superhero story formula? For many superheroes, it's the explanation of how the human crosses some sort of line, enters a new realm, becomes the superhuman. I agree that the origin story needs to be creatively retold every time it's told, but I'm all for keeping it in the superhero story formula. – JamesBKelley 3 years ago
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    Comic Book Superheroes with Guns

    Punisher. Deadpool. Vs. Batman, Spiderman and so many others. Growing up, I read about superheroes like Captain America who fought with their fists. Of course, a cool superpower like throwing fireballs, e.g. Human Torch is even better. But then there is a rise of characters that use guns. Should comic heroes use guns? To me it doesn’t seem to fit. What makes someone who shoots a gun special? But they are undeniably popular. What does that say about our view of superhero comic characters?

    • Given today's battle for gun rights this topic is very timely and fits in well with the discourse in the media. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • I'm not terribly familiar, but it seems that comic heroes that use guns usually have a military background or some other specialized training with arms. That might feed into peoples belief that having guns can keep them safe, because if you give a comic character a gun, all of a sudden they've got superpowers of a kind. – chrischan 4 years ago
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    • It also seems that superheroes that use guns are the anti-hero and not the hero like Captain America. Deadpool is considered a hero / anti-hero for the most part, as well as, Punisher at times and etc., so maybe that is something to think about also when writing this! – scole 4 years ago
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    Overweight Superheroes

    Is lean and muscular the only physiological type for a superhero? Are there overweight superheroes? What does this say about our concept of heroes? Is there a need for different body types as heroes?

    • could also talk about the plus-sized superhero named Faith, who recently has come out with a comic - and what that shows for the future of comics and how we are broadened into a way to show different physiological superheroes. – scole 4 years ago
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    • See, the amount of strength required to perform heroics need to reflect what the viewers believe to be the ideal body type for such strenuous actions.Here's an example that might be on the extreme side: You have three guys. One is morbidly obese, one is anorexic, and one is average built. You ask all three of them to lift at least 50 pounds worth of baggage with one hand only. Who do you think can lift the 50 pounds without the problem? The morbidly obese guy who look like he could have a heart attack any moment? The anorexic guy who look like the wind can blow him away? Or the average built guy who hasn't been to the gym but eats a balanced meal every day?Yes, there are cases when a person is deceptively strong even if he/she doesn't show much muscle. But if you are specifically looking for the anatomical errors, you can look up the infamous Captain America's torso portion or Spider-Woman's pose on comic book covers. – ADYang 4 years ago
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    • Even if an argument is made about "realism," it's worth noting the large diversity among people who are "in shape" (there was a photo floating around the Internet a while ago highlighting the different body types of Olympic athletes that seems relevant.) Heroes today are drawn with extremely defined muscles, and that level of leanness is rarely healthy, and not really necessary for a hero defined by strength. There's also a trend of making characters with entirely non-physical abilities extremely muscular; check our how Magneto looks in the comics. – bbctol 4 years ago
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    • Wow, I've never before thought of this. Anyone wanting to write on this should not forget Mr. Incredible!! – Tony13 4 years ago
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    • I think the hardest part to get such a super hero popularized in the franchise is that none already exist and those who flock to the new marvel movies etc. are doing so for childhood memories. Even Hulk and The Thing aren't plus sized, they are just hugely muscular. The only memory I have is of a (literally) obese x-men mutant from a tv show who was a bad guy. Will the best way to approach introducing a plus sized be to create a new one or re-shape (punny) an older hero? With all the current gender bending and race changing going on in current Marvel movies would this be acceptable? – Slaidey 4 years ago
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    • When I offered this topic, I was thinking on my days of playing D&D, and that there was a role for every Archetype, and each archetype had a stereotypic body type. The thin "anorexic" wizard, the paunchy "obese" clerical healer, the muscular warrior, etc. Each body type was honored as having a particular strength within the context of group work. When I looked at comic superheroes, yes they do have superhero groups, but they almost all have the muscular body type. – DrTestani 4 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I can be very focused in what I do and how I experience the world. Someone once said I am so intense, I’m like a laser beam. When I listen to music, nothing else in the world exists in that moment for me.
    When I first listened to John Cage, I had an immediate “I don’t like it” reaction. Then I read some of his written work and believe I developed an understanding of what he may be trying to convey; as this article superbly did.
    I brought a cd player outside and listened to one of his pieces (I believe it was ‘Cartridge Music’) with the volume at a moderate level. As I listened, I consciously “added” the ambient sounds around me as part of the John Cage piece. My world expanded, as it was no longer “Me + Music”, but “Me + All Sound”. A new way to listen to music. A new way to experience the world. John Cage expanded my choices on how to be.

    The Popular Music Dilemma: What John Cage Can Teach Us about Listening

    I agree with your assessment, in that if the change contributes significantly to the story, then it is worth making the change. Otherwise, in my opinion, altering archetypal symbols seems artificial and fabricated. Not sure if my point is clear, but it almost seems like a well established figure becomes stamped into our psyche and changing it ‘willy nilly’ creates some cognitive dissonance. Therefore making a change should be done with care and well thought out reasoning.

    What Marvel Hopes to Achieve with the Changing of Race/Gender in Pre-Existing Characters

    Excellent review. In my humble opinion, what stands out about Lovecraft’s works is that he focuses his efforts on describing the narrator’s (and thus often the reader’s) physiological and emotional experience, while often neglecting descriptors of the “monster”. I believe this is a significant variable that maximizes the medium of literature and makes his work virtually untranslatable to other mediums, particularly movies which most have been pale approximations of his stories.

    Lovecraft: Why His Ideas Survive