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Latest Topics

5

Who's the best Robin?

A comparison of characterization, compatibility, and narrative function of the Robins within the Batman and greater DC universe.

The writer has five potential options to choose from, Dick Grayson a.k.a Nightwing, Jason Todd a.k.a Red Hood, Tim Drake a.k.a Red Robin, Stephanie Brown a.k.a Spoiler, and Damien Wayne.

Each served as Robin for an extended period and all contrast Batman in their own ways. The writer can present a case for and against each of them both from the text and metatexually such as referring to sales or fan receptions.

  • Good start. Rather than just "who's the best," however, consider going deeper and doing a full compare/contrast between the five incarnations. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of everyone, and when you choose an overall "winner," explain why their strengths rise above the others', while their weaknesses are less egregious or more humanizing/endearing. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago
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6

Are Superheroes Fantasy or Science Fiction?

Superhero stories are filled with fantasy tropes: wizards, knights in shining armor, dragons and other monsters, gods of various mythologies, and so on. Meanwhile, many superhero and supervillain origin stories seem like science fiction premises (mutated DNA, aliens, and so on). Most superpowers, even the ones that are supposedly based on science, defy science to the point where they would be indistinguishable from magic in a fantasy setting.
Consider the characteristics that differentiate the Fantasy Genre from the Science Fiction Genre. Then consider the central characteristics of superhero stories – Marvel, DC Comics, Invincible, pick your favorite – and analyze whether they fall more on one side or the other. If some superheroes belong to one genre and some belong to another, what happens when those superheroes team up with each other?
What are the implications of which genre superheroes "belong to"? Does this affect the future of superhero stories?

  • I'd consider seeing if superheroes might fall into an in-between category like science fantasy as well. – Siothrún 4 months ago
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5

On the character and continuity of Superman

Analyze the variation versions of some of the mediums’ most popular characters and the narrative through lines (canon events) that define the character despite the other notable shifts between the character’s developments.

A good example of this is the contrast between Communist Superman in Red Son vs. Criminal Ultraman in Justice Lords vs. Tyrant Superman in Injustice vs. All-Star Superman va Mainline Superman.

What makes the character the character when a comic’s multiverse can extend infinitely? What traits define the character in relationship to their world and their readers?
What makes a Superman a Superman?
Strictly within DC of course, no pastiches such as Homelander and Omni-Man.
What is the distilled version of Superman and what does it mean when the character becomes alienated from that "ideal" ?

  • Topics like this are a little too broad. Pick one character, like Superman, and some particular aspect for writers to discuss. Provide some questions for writers to answer. – noahspud 10 months ago
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  • I love this topic, Sunni. I might even undertake writing it. – Nyxion 8 months ago
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  • You mention specific comics here which give a potential writer somewhere to start, do you have anything you would like to add about how particular writers have portrayed Superman? – Elpis1988 7 months ago
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5

Batman, Realism and systemic problems of Gotham

Batman as a character is one of numerous contradictions. He’s a normal human but a superhero. He’s a vigilante who fights crime. He’s a hero who fights in cruel often dark and unethical ways. Batman is often criticized for not taking more systemic solutions to the problems of crime within Gotham. This is not without merit as a billionaire with virtually limitless wealth when it comes to supplying his crusade of crime and punishment. But, at the same time, what actually can be done within the continuity of DC comics to counteract the criminal element in Gotham? He’s just as likely to fight a woman with the power to control every nearby plant as he is to fight a carjacker. Even if he was able to use his liquid funds to curb homelessness and food insecurity, he’d still have a killer clown shooting poison gas. How does one reform that?

At what point does the reality of comics diverge from the goal of realism many fans and writers desire?

  • I would suggest the article's author expand to more than just Batman. Consider other comics' takes on "realism." In The Boys, it's almost like crimes are planned and staged by the corporation that owns the heroes, and the public perception of these crimes is carefully curated. In alternate versions of the DC universe, such as Injustice, the only way to reform crime is conquering the world, dystopia-style. – noahspud 8 months ago
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6

The Problem With Sliding Timelines in Comic Books

Major comic book publications DC and Marvel have been around for the better part of the century. In that time, the most popular superheroes in the world have been through a lot — far too much for just one life. Comic books use a sliding or floating timeline to allow characters to remain relatively ageless and storylines to stay relevant. For example, Peter Parker (Spider-man) debuted in 1962 and aged in real time for 3 years until his high school graduation in The Amazing Spider-man issue #28. Yet, nearly 60 real-time years and 900 issues later (not to mention countless other limited and extended runs), Peter is still a young adult. While engaging storylines can still be written in the ongoing Spider-man comics, some readers may find there is a limit to how far their suspension of disbelief can be stretched. Discuss the prevalence of the sliding timeline in major comic book publications and how it creates problems with continuity, character development, and reader engagement. Consider solutions to these problems, such as with DC’s ever-rebooting universe, the increasing popularity of standalone series, ‘Elseworlds’ and ‘Black Label’ stories, and limited runs.

    3

    The Iterations of Tony Stark and Ultimate Comics

    The MCU has taken a lot of it’s inspiration specifically from the Ultimate line of comics. Thor’s Stormbreaker, Spider-Man being in high school again, and Tony Stark’s personality. Tony Stark has always been snarky, witty, and a pretty swollen ego, but a lot of the mainline comics’ Tony Stark’s rough edges have been sanded down. Stark was one of the founding members of the Illuminati, working for Kang the Conqueror, shooting Hulk into space, lots of his actions in both Civil War storylines, and not to mention his stint as Superior Iron Man, exploiting people and lots of other dubious actions.

    My question is, have we lost something? Are the rough edges what make Iron Man so compelling in the comics? Has the MCU’s more palatable Iron Man worse or just different? What about other comic characters who’ve lost nuance like Wolverine in every movie besides Logan?

    Further, how do we go about adapting these characters from these thousands of issues to hours of film? Is it even possible? Is the loss of some nuance a necessary evil?

    • Might be useful to include some examples of what Ultimate Iron Man did and how he was different from mainline Tony. – noahspud 1 year ago
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    • I think that the rough edges in 616's Iron Man positioned him as more of an antagonist in many popular storylines. I think that the MCU definitely made conscious attempts to water down his actions, even in the Civil War storyline. Whereas in the Ultimate line of comics, he was definitely still snarky and narcissistic, but didn't make as many huge mistakes as 616 Tony, who's contributions to making the 'Thor' android lead to the death of Goliath in 'Civil War', who literally took Peter Parker in to Avengers tower and then sent a squad of villains after him who very nearly killed him. In the Ultimate Universe, Peter looks up to Tony, and I feel that the MCU very much ran with this idea, especially after Robert Downey Junior had endeared this character to so many people through the Iron Man and Avengers Films. I think that for this topic, it's worth considering the loss of the original characters' personality, and the replacement of something new — but not necessarily less palatable or less nuanced. I think that nuance depends greatly on the writer, director, and actor concerned with whatever iteration of Stark is present, whether in comics or film — such as with Logan, which you referenced. Adapting characters with nuance is definitely possible. It's all about going into the character with confidence, in my opinion. – Patrick 1 year ago
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    2

    The Red Ten vs The Boys

    From 2011 to 2017, Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano created a ten-issue comic book series in which a parody of the Justice League were mysteriously murdered in a plot eerily similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As in Christie’s novel, it was slowly revealed that the superheroes were being killed because they were guilty of dark secrets.
    This series bears a resemblance to The Boys, the comic series by Garth Ennis currently being adapted into a TV show. This series has its own parody of the Justice League, hiding their own dark secrets. The titular characters, the Boys, set out to test the heroes’ limits and, if necessary, deal out bloody justice.
    Compare and contrast these series, their characters, their themes, etc.

      15

      What makes some superheroes more popular than others

      Why is Ant-Man, despite being integral to the MCU, still considered a lesser-known superhero, with jokes being made about it as recently as Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania? Why did Drax come out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the most popular Guardian, going up against the likable charm of Starlord and the reserved bad-boy archetype in Rocket Raccoon? Why is Iron Man, who was once considered a B-list superhero in Marvel comics, now the pillar for the MCU and Marvel heroes as a whole? Why are Batman and Spiderman *so* timeless, that they will likely continue to see adaptations long after we’re gone?

      There’s an unmistakable draw to some superheroes. Captain America, a symbol of America in a time of strife, is now a symbol of the entire world. It’s interesting to look back on superheroes, someone six years ago might not be able to tell you who "Doctor Strange" was, but is now a household name. Writing, staying power, casting, exposure, and adaptation all likely carry some weight in explaining why some superheroes refuse to die, while some fade into obscurity. With the unimaginable popularity of superheroes in modern culture, it should be analyzed just what, and how many factors make certain characters so integral to our culture.