NO FIWOTTS ALLOWED!

Friday, December 16, 2005

On the other hand . . .

I also inexplicably love some characters. There are characters who haven't been in a great book for years or decades or even EVER for whom, for some reason, I have this undue affection. It's hard to explain in most cases. Much of it is a gutteral feeling, maybe stemming from childhood love. For this list, I'm going to exclude characters who are currently in a great book (i.e. Plastic Man) or who pretty much ONLY existed in a great book (i.e. Flex Mentallo). I'm talking superheroes that are in bad or terrible books that, who knows why, I still like deep down inside. I don't have much character loyalty; I don't understand buying, say, Thor, just because Thor is in it. But whenever I hear about the following characters showing up, I hope and pray it's finally going to be good, either again or for the first time.

Anyway.

1. The first one is obvious to anyone who knows me at all. I goddam love Captain I also inexplicably love some characters. There are characters who haven't been in a great book for years or decades or even EVER for whom, for some reason, I have this undue affection. It's hard to explain in most cases. Much of it is a gutteral feeling, maybe stemming from childhood love. For this list, I'm going to exclude characters who are currently in a great book (i.e. Plastic Man) or who pretty much ONLY existed in a great book (i.e. Flex Mentallo). I'm talking superheroes that are in bad or terrible books that, who knows why, I still like deep down inside. I don't have much character loyalty; I don't understand buying, say, Thor, just because Thor is in it. But whenever I hear about the following characters showing up, I hope and pray it's finally going to be good, either again or for the first time.

Anyway.

1. The first one is obvious to anyone who knows me at all. I goddam love Captain Marvel. The real one, not some alien who died of cancer or some bland Jheri-Curl (thanks for the catch, there) nobody. Billy Batson. The kid who can turn into the world's mightiest mortal. His great golden age stuff still holds up, unlike a lot of the big superheroes. The entire Marvel Family is awesome (in theory). Great design, great idea, great adventures, just all around great. Unfortunately, they've been mishandled worse than pretty much any other characters since DC got them. The Maggin/O'Neil stories were good, but it didn't last long. Not even Jerry Ordway, with obvious love, could really make them pop in today's world. I have to think that they can work. I tell my students about them and they go wild. Captain Marvel can work, especially if you don't worry about the grown ups who want him to participate in Infinite Crisis or whatever. Give him to the kids. It's sure fire, I guarantee it.

2. Iceman. Yeah, Alex hates him. And he's not been in a good comic since, uh . . .has he ever been in a good comic? Maybe it's because of that Spider-man cartoon. I have absolutely no reason to like this character at all. He's bland, his powers are silly, he looks stupid, and in thirty, forty years he's had ZERO development. But, still, when I think of favorite superheroes, he comes to mind.

I must interrupt this important list to vent. I just wrote the whole thing, tried to post it, and it was lost. Oh, man. I had ten characters with detailed analysis and explanation. Oh, man. This sucks.

IT HAPPENED AGAIN! I WAS TO NUMBER NINE THIS TIME AND IT WENT KABLOOEY AGAIN! ARRRRRRRGHHHHH!!!! That’s it, I’m moving this to Word for now.

Anyway. Jesus. Here we go.

3. Cassandra Cain/Batgirl. Not even Dylan Horrocks made her work, but I think a uberfighting teenage girl with language difficulties has a lot of potential. It’s just never been met.
4. Longshot. Mullet, glowing eye, vague powers, he’s got a lot of hallmarks of suckitude. Somehow, though, that first Mini was awesome. Art Adams was a big part of it, no doubt. But, unfortunately, this favorite of mine got stuck in the Claremont X-Men, which destroys even Alan Moore characters. Dazzler? Shatterstar? Never happened. Longshot may not ever need to come back.
5. Lorelei. Because I liked Longshot, I loved the “L” issue of the Marvel Handbook. And second grade li’l Joey felt funny in his bathing suit parts when he stared at the Enchantress’ sister. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
6. Thermite. An obscure Squadron Supreme character that I only really liked because he had one of those full-body costumes. It’s the Snake Eyes effect.
7. Timber Wolf. I can’t read the Legion after 5YL, it’s crap to me. And the earlier stuff doesn’t do much either. But I loved wolves as a kid, so I loved Timber Wolf. Take equal parts werewolf, Wolverine, Han Solo, and Superman and you’ve got Timber Wolf. I just got myself all excited.
8. Freedom Fighters/Quality Characters: So weird and bizarre, so charming, so underutilized. I always saw them as the “weird cousins” of the rest of the DCU. The ones they all knew about, but tried not to think about. Sigh. Dead now.
9. Madison Jeffries/Box. OK, awesome robot suit? The mutant power to make it do anything? It’s like Green Lantern, Iron Man, and Robotech had this awesome baby that no one ever really used well. I hear Frank Tieri messed with him recently. A shame.
10. I’m forgetting someone. Stupid blogger and its nosaving and stupid school and its firewalls. What EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CHARACTER am I forgetting? This is driving me crazy. Wesley Dodds? No, he was used pretty well. Oh, I remember. Dr. Fate. The first time I heard of him, a friend brought his action figure to school. He was new, different, and therefore I loved him. Unfortunately, he’s boring as a white person talking about white stuff.

OK, that ought to do it for a while. Who are your unexplainable beloveds?

13 Love Letters:

Blogger Ed Cunard said...

This list can change at any time, and I may steal your idea for use later, but here's one:

Lockheed: Pet dragon! I don't think I need to say much else. Pet dragon.

10:59 AM

 
Blogger Paul said...

You know, I hate to tell you this (again), but whoever wrote the Batgirl book (some editor guy, I think) initially really did a great job. Way better than Horrocks. Subtle, understated stuff. Quiet-but-fun, done-in-one stories that felt like they were going somewhere. But then it all fizzled.

Anyway, Batgirl's one of mine, too.

The problem with your list is that you keep talking about how inexplicable your love for these characters is, but then you explain it and it makes sense. Well, except for Dr. Fate and Iceman.

But, you're right, your love for Bobby probably does come from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I think I probably have a disproportionate amount of good-feeling for him because of that, too. I thought Firestar was sexy as hell when I was a kid, too. That weird red hair.

Dr. Fate really is impossible for me to understand.

I'll have to think about my list. One recent addition is Captain Comet, who will one day lead the JLA and make Batgirl his number two. I can't believe I write fanfic like this in my head. I am so ashamed.

11:26 AM

 
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

Oo! That's right! Captain Marvel was a Golden Age character. Okay, I take it back. Not all Golden Age comics were stupid.

If I were creating my own list, it would probably include Ambush Bug, Blue Devil, the Thing, and Lockjaw.

3:21 PM

 
Anonymous daniel apodaca said...

There are characters that I love conceptually, but haven't ever been interested in their books.

The Hulk, for instance. Little smart guy tries to help and gets fucked over. Now the government wants to kill him for the results of their own pursuits. The Hulk just wants to hang out in the desert and be left alone. But sometimes he has to jump onto a helicopter and beat it to a pulp as he rides it down to the ground.

Spider-Man. Guilt, responsibility, bitterness, less-than-omnipotent powers... by all means this should be my favorite superhero book. And yet, it feels like nobody wants to write Spider-Man as the loser he;s supposed to be. The way that this character is designed, this kid is supposed to get screwed at every turn. Family dying, girlfriends dumping him, getting fired, etc. No breaks for Spider-Man. If you ask me, Mary Jane Watson was the death of the character.

Come to think of it, I really love all the concepts behind those golden age Marvel characters. The Fantastic Four should be going on all kinds of crazy existential pop adventures. But not as superheroes, as adventurers. I'm getting real tired of books being about people with superpowers playing "cops". It's stupid and naive to think of crime in terms of villains.

Oh, and the Flash. I don't know shit about the character. Hell, I've never even read a single Flash book. But goddamn if I don't love the Flash. Cool costume, fun power.

7:09 PM

 
Blogger Eliot Johnson said...

I still hope that Impulse (now Kid Flash, I guess) returns to his former glory. The Waid/Ramos run on Impulse was really really good. I don't even like Waid, like, at all, but I *love* those issues.

And...inexplicably, I did kinda like the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. His costume was awesome. I think that's why...i LOVED his costume. And the Ditko stories were pretty damn good (and is it bad that when I was younger I liked the Wein stories). Sucks that they blew his brains out and now he's super robot beetle (at least Cully Hamner's drawing that book though...Hamner is good)

Speaking of Hamner, he made John Stewart (probably my all-time favorite superhero character) pretty goddamn awesome in Mosaic, with the help of Gerard Jones (yeah...that Gerard Jones). Mosaic was the best DC series of the nineties, no doubt. so, anyway, John Stewart should be written that way again.

Um...and I kinda like Harley Quinn, too. the Dini/Timm Harley Quinn is fun, anyway...and has the potential to be very fun...too bard her DC series sucked so much.

I always liked Adam Strange too...and we saw how awesome he good be in the Diggle/Ferry series.

11:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Fate is a really cool character, or at least he was. He was a simple character, easy to get. Of course now he's got this incredibly turgid backstory that just makes me want to barf...ugh. Thank God the Spectre never acquired one of those!

...What's that? Oh. Damn...

As for Waid, he did a lot to make Flash boring as hell, come on, outside of Morrison's JLA, when was the last time Flash did anything remotely cool? Ditto with Green Lantern. No zing, just a lot of bullshit. Seriously, any time these two characters are in anything, it should be great. It should be AWESOME. But it just isn't. Similarly, reading anything with the Human Torch in it is just depressing now, apparently sometime in the last forty-odd years Johnny Storm has turned into comics' biggest full-time loser. And why? How did that happen? Nobody knows.

The Atom: also a great character that writers seem to hate. Can't figure it out. But thank God for that Diggle Adam Strange, I frickin' LOVE Adam Strange! Too bad about his planet and all that, but y'know. Adam Strange. So cool. As cool as Batman used to be, back when he was Batman. Or Daredevil, back when he was Daredevil..

Hey, that reminds me, you know who I really like? You're gonna laugh...


NIGHTHAWK.


No, seriously, I love the guy! I'd read anything with Nighthawk in it, just hoping that someone will make him cool.

6:54 PM

 
Blogger Bill Reed said...

I am like this with Elongated Man and Sleepwalker.

9:53 PM

 
Blogger Tim S said...

Captain Marvel, as you say... Alpha Flight's Puck, before some writer turned him into some mystic freak posessed by a ghost, back when he was just a studly, hairy, ass-kicking dwarf, which is awesome... Plastic Man, because he's heelarious and plays to the beat of his own fife... Doc Samson... Alpha Flight's Box, as you say. Love the phasing thing, love the guy with no legs being a hero (John Byrne back in the day at least had his heart in the right place, despite the fucknut he's become)... Black Goliath, and I don't know why... Oh, and the Creeper. He's nuts!

12:55 AM

 
Blogger Tim S said...

Also, the Question, when he's being written with quasi-fascistic tendencies as society crumbles around him. (Also, coolest costume this side of the Golden Age Sandman.) In real life, I think more superheroes with be hardline right winger law and order types, not namby pamby lefties wondering if they were going too far by helping people with their powers.

12:58 AM

 
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Iceman is my favourite X-man, he had only one episode in the cartoon - the x-factor one, but it was killer!
Plus he sort of had his moment in Zero tolerance even though the ending sucked.
I chose him because he was on a poster and i had to pick a favourite, Gambit was the popular one at the time, bleargh!

Batgirl I like, even though she is a bit token, her not talking i guess really kept her from developing after like 50 issues.

I probably would of included Superman in this list. I was never really interested until ALL Star, and before that president Lex storyline was the only thing that grabbed me.

8:11 AM

 
Blogger David Campbell said...

The Human Bomb is The Bomb.

2:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David... didn't Bizzaro pummel him to death recently?

Rich

2:55 PM

 
Blogger OrangeCoke said...

Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel are two characters that should have their own tites.

A teen radio host that transforms into a superhero is timeless. Add his long lost sister and you should have plenty of adventure ahead.

Sadly, I have read many messages that say Cap is "dated" and full of too much "whimsy". Mary is not a realistic young girl and therefore not relatable.

The worse of this bunch are the ones that feel Monica from the Avengers should be called Capt. Marvel because she earned the right. They think the original Capt. Marvel is a Kree warrior.

4:12 AM

 

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