Superheroes, are presented as by their nature disruptions to the "natural order" of the world. That is to say many are presented in worlds more or less analogous to that of the reader, either in the urban setting or something that perceivably realistic. But, this presents a disruption to the world they exist within.
Many heroes are, in some interpretations, read as virtual gods amongst men, invulnerable, nigh unstoppable, with only "benevolence" as the check against them dominating the world. How does a world function similarly to our own while also inhabited by a living god or gods?
Many exist only in reactive states, that is to say, many heroes and their stories are written to respond to "crime" or "disasters" but rarely are we presented with them proactively pushing for some sort of shift. How does this materially affect their world? How does a world of heroes and supervillains, one of constant impending doom have any sense of normality? How can that world even function?
Part of this can be blamed on the medium, crime being punished is an easier comic to sell than crime never happens, but that reinforces the idea of crime without interrogating the why of crime. The material conditions, not to mention the motivations of criminals within worlds of sentient nuclear weapons is rarely examined.
Returning to the core question, superheroes exist in worlds similar to our own, but how in fact is that possible? How is it that a world where Superman and Batman exist is virtually the same as a world where they don’t. How is the world of Marvel, with aliens and spirits, and devils, and sentient robots not dissimilar entirely to the world that exists today?
How do writers square the circle that is the "status quo" ? Status quo being read as a world that has enough parallels to the real world to be read as similar to our own. A sense of normalcy that can allow for the reader to feel connection with the world of the heroes. How can you reckon with the fact that the existence of these walking myths has little impact on their worlds?
The writer could interrogate the idea of the superhero as it compares to the prior age of myth, but the more challenging question would require some understanding of the main universes of some of the major comic book publishes and their distinctions and similarities from the real world along with speculation/analysis of why or even how those similarities exist.
One idea from the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD: organizations like SHIELD exist to keep the majority of the weird stuff away from the public, so the world will not change dramatically.
Another idea: if the existence of super-people did change the world, the most likely result would be something like Injustice: Gods Among Us - the super-people ruling the world, whether the regular people wanted that or not. Many of the superheroes know this and willingly avoid impacting the world in such a way because free will matters to them.
Also consider Watchmen, a fairly popular story about super-people very much changing the world. – noahspud3 months ago
Scholars look back on the myths and mythological figures of ancient societies to understand the cultural, sociological, psychological, and anthropological aspects of those societies. Those myths and legends indicate the issues, concerns, and priorities of the day, as well as perhaps the character and values of the people who perpetuated them. Will the comic books and superhero films of our day serve the same purpose for scholars of the future? If so, what conclusions might they draw about us? To what extent will those conclusions accurately reflect who we really are?
Hey. Thank you for the topic suggestion. I want to make one thing clear.
Before discussing anything else, it's crucial to address the question of whether or not we can properly grasp ancient societies without imposing our own values, viewpoints, and way of life on them. The same principle applies when we consider how others could view us in the future: Are we truly capable of thinking via their lenses? How specifically? Or is it simply pure speculation?
When this question has been addressed and it appears feasible or at least practical to carry out such an exercise, it is recommended to make a more general statement about heroes and their relationship to the situation of people in cultures throughout history: do these heroes, putting aside all other factors, reflect the condition of individuals in such societies as we examine them? If not, should scholars reevaluate how much they rely on these characters to establish sociological, psychological, etc.-level claims? – Samer Darwich4 months ago
Comics and films are cultural products and expressions that will and should be read as such in a possible future, not as "myths." Myths are something different and they don't exactly work like it is suggested here. – T. Palomino4 months ago
Comics will definitely, even if inadvertently, be useful for future scholars to depict the times of our day. – Montayj794 months ago
You might already be aware of the link, but some of these ideas remind me of Henry Jenkins's work about fandom. I just mention it in case you think it's worth looking into :) – Caylee4 months ago
Reflecting on DC Comics’ Most Influential Event: Crisis on Infinite Earths! Let’s consider the impact it had on DCs’ multiverse of characters & how the comics industry changed going forward. Did it affect you profoundly?
It seems that you are trying to suspiciously rush the process of publishing in The Artifice by submitting comments, notes, a sloppy topic and even an article on the same day. – T. Palomino5 months ago
I actually had a few things ready to go from a project that was DOA. That's why there was so much that day. I don't ever write without contemplating first. – BVIS975 months ago
superhero comics can be very hard to break into because they have years of (often convoluted) continuity that people feel they need to understand in order to fully engage with the comics. Why do comics insist on linking connecting everything into a confusing mass of continuity, and how can we make it easier for new and potential readers?
This is a great topic to discuss. From a storytelling perspective, I find this to be one of the biggest frustrations with the industry. Even the MCU films are reaching a point where I feel that the continuity is beginning to weigh it down and restrict it. – Sean Gadus10 months ago
Cool topic, though would suggest tweaking the wording of the title.
Title - Why do comics have such complicated continuity? OR Why are comic series continuity so dense and what can be done about it?
I suspect this continuity issue you're talking about applies to super hero series mostly.
The continuity issue could be compared to long running manga or independent comic series. I think there are super hero comics that are not the main Marvel/DC series that do not have the same issues as those ones. – Jordan9 months ago
I love the mcu
And it is an issue.
I will like to say that you should make the distinction between the marvel comics and the MCU as they do it differently In the comics continuity only works if it sells. If not the character gets a new back story etc. plus in comics there are multiple writers, where they have the license to do something different with the characters. They are more flexible. Just look at any of the characters, like spider man he went through so many reruns that he has a lot of what makes his character rewritten. It’s comical . Where as in the MCU
Every director/writer is under the control of the glorious Kevin Figie (forgive me for misspelling)
He is the one who calls the big shots
I love what he does but sometimes as of late it feels like every movie must be connected some way and that leads to a restriction on what writers/directors can do with their own movies.
I feel the weight of continuity started with endgame and it’s convoluted time travel which constantly gets rewritten with every new installation I hope that with the multi verse we get more diverse stories but at the same time not every thing needs to be connected – Amelia Arrows9 months ago
At the end of the day, this tactic is used to drive sales. Comics have done this for decades and will continue to for the foreseeable future. I think a better topic might be "How to break into dense comic continuity" or "How new readers can make comic continuity less daunting/intimidating." Trying to change the industry especially now that movies and tv shows have adopted the same kind of continuity will only leave you disappointed, but guiding those who want to enter the scene is a great way to introduce fans to the world of comics! – Taylor6 months ago
"Lady Mechanika" is an independent comic book written by Joe Benitez, telling the story of a woman having lost all her memories. More importantly, she doesn’t remember what happened to her as a child, as she’d been the victim of horrific experiments that have left her deeply scarred. Her limbs (arms and legs) were replaced by prosthetic limbs made of metal and her eyes have turned red, with the sclera now black.
The main character is shrouded in mystery, which is one of the main themes of "Lady Mechanika". The identity crisis she’s going through shoves challenges and obstacles in her quest of finding out the truth about her past, although it raises questions that shouldn’t be ignored: is it that important to find out about your past, despite it being horrific enough to blow your mind, while you could just rebuild your life and move forward?
Shouldn’t it be better for the main character to rid herself of the shackles of the past and look forward to the future?
It would be interesting to confront these questions in regard to the main character, who is so focused on her quest for identity throughout her adventures in the world created by Joe Benitez that it might seem borderline obsessive. While she has every right to find out the truth about her past and why she’s been mutilated, going through such ordeal could also be seen as torment or being a glutton for pain.
The lore of "Trese" is as mysterious as it’s intriguing, because the comics are based off Filipino mythology. This is quite uncommon to write about, as the comic book industry is vastly dominated by the super-hero genre, with issues coming out with brand new storytelling that haven’t won over the public lately, but rather pushed them away. There are several reasons for the decline of the American comic book industry, such as a focus on a character’s sexuality instead of writing a substantial story or rewriting a character that has already been established years ago to fit the present narrative.
Consistency, originality, characterization and creativity seem to have been shoved aside to push an agenda forward. This agenda also drives comic book readers away, who can’t stand to see their favorite characters becoming a figure of representation and diversity. This issue is problematic, as comics themselves offer a deeper introspection into the universe created by the writers; this is their vision they’re willing to show to their potential readers through the characters, story and lore they create. The more original and creative a story is without the problems associated with diversity and representation, the more interested readers will be in comics.
The "Trese" series have been ongoing since 2005 and have recently been given a Netflix adaptation, due to the success of the comics in the Philippines. What has been observed is that not only is it still coherent and consistent in its story-telling, but the originality and creativity in its lore keeps eliciting curiosity and a need to learn more about Filipino myths. The black and white style used by the creators also compliments the essence of "Trese", fitting the theme of horror. Such series that have remained unaffected by the drastic turn in the comic book industry is a rare sight to behold nowadays. It would be interesting to analyze the pros and cons of "Trese" to understand why and how the series succeed where American comic books have been failing for some time.
It seems as though, when comic books (Japanese or Western) get adapted into movies or TV series, they become less over-the-top and stylized. The visuals may be toned down, for instance, and some of the characters may talk, act, or even look more like real people would in their situations. For instance, many of the characters in the "Deadman Wonderland" anime talk and act much more realistically than their manga counterparts did. The Netflix adaptation of "The Umbrella Academy" is also supposed to be more realistic and restrained than the original comics, and makes more of an effort to flesh out the characters’ personalities and motivations. Are most comic book adaptations like this, or does it depend on the individual adaptation? If indeed it is a trend, what are some of the factors driving it? For instance, do characters simply have to become more realistic once a real person is charged with bringing them to life?
This would be a good topic to write on. However, the perspective of the reader/viewer should also be included to lay emphasis on the change in expectation level if any when a comic book is adapted into a movie or TV series. Also, if there is much difference when an animation adaption of a comic book is compared with anime adaption of a manga. – Abhilash Roy2 years ago
It's a good topic, definitely! For me, the term "realistic" needs to be defined. Obviously the characters are usually going to be depicted more realistically, if they're actors being filmed rather than figures being drawn, but that's not the meaning of "realistic" that you have in mind here. Do you mean something like "round" (in the sense of round characters versus flat characters), "developed," and "psychologically complex"? – JamesBKelley2 years ago
I think this a topic important to write about. – Diani2 years ago
Calvin and Hobbes is a widely well regarded comic that is liked by the young and old alike. While the comic has much to say about art and philosophy, it can also be noted for it’s deliberate usage or occasional abandonment of a standard layout of it’s panels. While a good deal of the strips adhere to a more rigid and standard layout and let their content shine through, as the comic went on Watterson began to explore more novel layouts, allowing the interweaving of Calvin’s fantastic imagination his mundane world together in new and compelling ways, or creating strips that exist in a much more dynamic fashion with very few actual panels at all.
An article could discuss how these panels and strips make use of both the traditional and the irregular to better serve the comic’s storytelling and narrative capabilities.