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View Full Version : Are comics fans closet soap opera fans?



Ziggy Stardust
12-02-2009, 06:01 AM
I keep reading that much of what draws in readers is the maudlin aspect of them that is quite closely related to how soap operas are delivered.

I, for my own part, read comics DESPITE the maudlin aspects because much as I like character development, what still draws me in is that these people can do things we real-world folk can't.

And that's why when stories like Jean/Scott/Logan or Sue/Reed/Namor and the like get brought into comics over and over again, my blood just boils, but I grit my teeth and read on to see Namor and Ben slugging it out and property damage ensuing.

So, are we overt/closet soap opera fans?

SydneyFalco
12-02-2009, 06:03 AM
I've never watched a daytime soap in my life, but dramatic television and comic books are definitely "soap operas" in every sense but the lousy acting.

Ziggy Stardust
12-02-2009, 06:10 AM
Yeah, Lost is basically a night-time soap opera for sure.

This may be why I follow only that show and only becaus eit has a definite end next season.

The rest of the time, I'm watching Discovery channel.

Charles RB
12-02-2009, 06:26 AM
There is nothing "closet" about the soap opera elements that superhero comics have used since 1961. It's right out there in the open.

scout1279
12-02-2009, 06:32 AM
No closet for me. My occassional need to find out what is happening on Days of Our Lives is exactly the same as my occassional need to find out what is goin on in the X-Men.

Ziggy Stardust
12-02-2009, 06:35 AM
There is nothing "closet" about the soap opera elements that superhero comics have used since 1961. It's right out there in the open.

I don't mean the writing, I mean the readers.

As a kid reading the books, much of the soap opera nature of comics eluded me, since I couldn't even figure out why a boy wanted to kiss a girl at the time.

And then in my teens I went from basking in the drama to wishing some of it would just go away or at least be pared down.

It's one of the reasons why even though Spidey remains my fave character, I just CANNOT read his books any more.

Adam C
12-02-2009, 06:47 AM
I don't mean the writing, I mean the readers.


Arguably the same still applies, even before Claremont's X-Men. Apparently Steve Ditko wanted to have Peter Parker get over his guilt and become heroic, but Stan Lee kept him guilt ridden because he knew that's where the money was.

I find it funny though that not only did Morrison stop the endless repetition of the Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle, Claremont decided to do the same in X-Men Forever. That says a lot about how burnt out that paradigm was, but Peter Parker has been reverted back to the same position he had in the 1970s?

Alan2099
12-02-2009, 06:51 AM
If moe Soap Operas had people throwing each other off sky scraper,s huge explosions, knife fights, and plots to take over the world, I'd watch them more often.

Soap Opera elements are a nice addition to certain comics, but they take a big backseat to the action and general wildness of comics for me.

jlmoor
12-02-2009, 07:01 AM
I never got into soaps, but I fully admit the romantic elements in comics are pretty close to them :wink: I do think more interesting conversations come out of comic discussion than soap operas however. Overall, Id rather my kids read comics than watch The Young and the Restless. I'd rather have a discussion with them over the nature of evil than whether or not someone is pregnant with someone's love child. I think the difference is that soaps seem to focus on the romantic elements with plots kind of thrown in there, whereas comics reverse this. However since i don't watch soaps, I could be totally wrong. And I have to admit, some of the comic romance does have me intrigued:wink:

Venom Melendez
12-02-2009, 07:18 AM
No.



I openly watch spanish soaps.

Charles RB
12-02-2009, 07:39 AM
I don't mean the writing, I mean the readers.


Well, the success of Marvel since 1961 - Fantastic Four, Spidey, Claremont's X-Men - suggest it's not closet there either: the majority of readers openly want soap opera, that's why Marvel provides them with it. People latched on to it.

adam_warlock_2099
12-02-2009, 07:49 AM
I don't mean the writing, I mean the readers.

As a kid reading the books, much of the soap opera nature of comics eluded me, since I couldn't even figure out why a boy wanted to kiss a girl at the time.

And then in my teens I went from basking in the drama to wishing some of it would just go away or at least be pared down.

It's one of the reasons why even though Spidey remains my fave character, I just CANNOT read his books any more.

I'm right there with you. I think that some titles have way more elements of soap operas than others. Though I will admit that I enjoy what many readers call "space operas". Not sure if that is a relation to operas, or soap operas.

JamesRitcheyIII
12-02-2009, 08:06 AM
If moe Soap Operas had people throwing each other off sky scraper,s huge explosions, knife fights, and plots to take over the world, I'd watch them more often.

Soap Opera elements are a nice addition to certain comics, but they take a big backseat to the action and general wildness of comics for me.

You would have liked General Hospital in the '80's.

It's a slippery slope in regards to the comics. While Stan's delightful '60's melodramas opened up the way for better (marginally) writers down the road to have their characters act like real people, the vast majority have just rehashed the formula. I find it a shame more writers haven't regarded Gerber or Alan Moore as the '101' on how to--developing their own intricacies, rather than cloning Claremont's distortion of Stan Lee--but that's why I don't read Marvel at all anymore.

Ziggy Stardust
12-02-2009, 08:15 AM
Frankly, while i loved the X-Men during the 80s, re-reading some of those books a couple of years ago I just could not believe how horribly mired in romance and needless melodrama they were.

Michael P
12-02-2009, 08:18 AM
Arguably the same still applies, even before Claremont's X-Men. Apparently Steve Ditko wanted to have Peter Parker get over his guilt and become heroic, but Stan Lee kept him guilt ridden because he knew that's where the money was.

I find it funny though that not only did Morrison stop the endless repetition of the Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle, Claremont decided to do the same in X-Men Forever. That says a lot about how burnt out that paradigm was, but Peter Parker has been reverted back to the same position he had in the 1970s?

Well, Marvel editorial doesn't have any particular vicarious attachment to Jean Grey.


I'm right there with you. I think that some titles have way more elements of soap operas than others. Though I will admit that I enjoy what many readers call "space operas". Not sure if that is a relation to operas, or soap operas.

More to early pulp sci-fi.

Eumenides
12-02-2009, 09:09 AM
I despise the soap opera, but I love the soap opera percursor, the 19th century novel: labyrinthine plots, infidelities, love triangles, betrayals, sensationalism. If Flaubert and Tolstoy indulged in it, why shouldn't X-Men do the same?

Weetomuncher
12-02-2009, 09:52 AM
The only soap opera I ever watched regularly was Prisoner (aka Prisoner : Cell Block H) which was an Aussie show about a womens prison.

Unless you count pro wrestling which has more soap opera elements than most actual soap operas.

adam_warlock_2099
12-02-2009, 10:29 AM
More to early pulp sci-fi.

Okay, considering that, it makes sense. Thanks Micheal. I now know what I am being accused of liking. :smile:

Infra-Man
12-02-2009, 10:47 AM
I despise the soap opera, but I love the soap opera percursor, the 19th century novel: labyrinthine plots, infidelities, love triangles, betrayals, sensationalism. If Flaubert and Tolstoy indulged in it, why shouldn't X-Men do the same?

I think back in the early 80s, John Irving said that the stuff in fiction he loves are those emotional extremes that leave marks on characters; the type of material you find to some extent in soap operas (though the presentation tends to be poor in soap operas) and particularly in 19th century novels, of which he's a massive fan and champions whenever he gets the chance.

In the interview I'm thinking of, I think he even said it's the soap opera stuff that makes an impression on readers because the soap opera-ish moments are ones which are large, that tell us no one is safe, and that focus on the types of things we care about most--love, injury, illness, and death.

Gothos
12-02-2009, 10:50 AM
You would have liked General Hospital in the '80's.

It's a slippery slope in regards to the comics. While Stan's delightful '60's melodramas opened up the way for better (marginally) writers down the road to have their characters act like real people, the vast majority have just rehashed the formula. I find it a shame more writers haven't regarded Gerber or Alan Moore as the '101' on how to--developing their own intricacies, rather than cloning Claremont's distortion of Stan Lee--but that's why I don't read Marvel at all anymore.

Why "distortion?"

Also here's a more recent soap (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192917/)that had all that crazy stuff.

scout1279
12-02-2009, 11:05 AM
The similarities between superhero comics and soap operas aren't just about the romances and love triangles though.

Soap operas have the same revolving door of death, evil characters turning good, good characters turning evil, characters getting brain washed and mind wiped, characters being wrongfully accused of crimes, evil organizations, evil men inexplicably obsessed with a single good guy or their family...the list goes on and on. I'd argue that the similarities arose not from real influence, but out of the fact that they are maintained in a similar way. Both have many different writers working with the same characters and have the burden of having to maintain those characters over the course of decades.

Really, a soap opera is anything that's a continuing saga. Some people are attracted to characters and long, highly involved plots that don't necessarily have any pay off. These people are soap opera fans. They don't necessarily have to be interested in who a character is sleeping with (although, I find that caring about the romantic subplots tends to arise naturally from caring about a specific character). It's interesting that both day time soaps and superhero comics are struggling to a certain degree, or at least not nearly as popular as they once were. I would guess this has a lot to do with the growing immediacy of popular entertainment. People are much more anxious for conclusions.

scout1279
12-02-2009, 11:07 AM
Why "distortion?"

Also here's a more recent soap (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192917/)that had all that crazy stuff.

I miss Passions.

jlmoor
12-02-2009, 11:11 AM
I miss Passions.

Passions was a documentary!!! It was filmed in real time!!!

Charles RB
12-02-2009, 11:53 AM
Both have many different writers working with the same characters and have the burden of having to maintain those characters over the course of decades.

Soap operas, however, have characters that age and get replaced (since the actors age and need replacing) - comics don't have that most of the time, which is going to be a disadvantage with soaps. You can't recycle an old plot with some new characters, the old one's are still there.

Toy-license comics - Marvel's GI Joe and Transformers - were able to avoid this to some extent thanks to all the new toys they had to promote.

Vakanai
12-02-2009, 11:56 AM
So, are we overt/closet soap opera fans?

I'm not.
I'm more of a Martha Stewart fan actually. You know, when I'm awake, the channel's coming in, and I remember the time. Also, love those gardening shows on Create.

...I am so weird.

scout1279
12-02-2009, 12:09 PM
Soap operas, however, have characters that age and get replaced (since the actors age and need replacing) - comics don't have that most of the time, which is going to be a disadvantage with soaps. You can't recycle an old plot with some new characters, the old one's are still there.

Toy-license comics - Marvel's GI Joe and Transformers - were able to avoid this to some extent thanks to all the new toys they had to promote.
I agree to a certain extent. A lot of the characters on day time soaps have been around for decades and gone through the same plots multiple times. New characters get brought in, but many of the old ones stick around, and recasting happens a lot (though certain characters are iconic and couldn't be recast - no one will ever replace Susan Lucci, for example).

Even the new characters are essentially the same as the old characters they replace, just with different first names.

AaronJ
12-02-2009, 12:21 PM
Back in the day, when I was teen or in my twenties, I used to love soaps. They were just so nuts, and fun. Interestingly, I didn't read comics at the time.

Now that I read comics, I don't watch soaps.

But they definitely have a lot in common. I don't think anyone would argue that.

JamesRitcheyIII
12-02-2009, 06:13 PM
Why "distortion?"


Ziggy gets it. Them '80's Claremont funnybooks ain't good--some interesting, inventive plots, but piss-poor characterization. Stan wrote soapy stuff in the early '60's like a guy who was still trying to write for kids, but, y'know, was actually a grown adult who had been in a long-term relationship, and read a few real books. While Claremont wrote like a 'parents basement'-type who grew up solely on Stan Lee, and was busy trying to impress fan-chicks with how sensitive he was. Some of those Cinemax-quality soliloquies about Ororo literally made me wanna puke. Gerber, who developed in the same environment at roughly the same time, with the exact same single influence, was ten times the writer, on a bad day.

Brutal, I know--but I call them as I see them. :biggrin:

Gothos
12-04-2009, 10:55 AM
Ziggy gets it. Them '80's Claremont funnybooks ain't good--some interesting, inventive plots, but piss-poor characterization. Stan wrote soapy stuff in the early '60's like a guy who was still trying to write for kids, but, y'know, was actually a grown adult who had been in a long-term relationship, and read a few real books. While Claremont wrote like a 'parents basement'-type who grew up solely on Stan Lee, and was busy trying to impress fan-chicks with how sensitive he was. Some of those Cinemax-quality soliloquies about Ororo literally made me wanna puke. Gerber, who developed in the same environment at roughly the same time, with the exact same single influence, was ten times the writer, on a bad day.

Brutal, I know--but I call them as I see them. :biggrin:

Let me see if I can respond and keep on topic--

I'm not going to try to convince you that you should like Claremont. That's just a matter of taste. But I was surprised that you thought him derivative of Stan Lee since I think Claremont's style has the least resemblance to that of Lee or, more properly, of Roy Thomas, who (imo) was the more pivotal influence on the Marvel writing-style of Conway, Wolfman, Wein, Gerber, and Isabella. I think all of them are stylistically closer to Lee and Thomas than Claremont is, even if they're all working with roughly the same content.

I base my opinion of Claremont's style somewhat on one of his old interviews, where he talked about an early love of Heinlein. Where Stan was all about overwrought melodrama, sesquipedalian bombast and very funny gags, Claremont was all about clipped military dialogue, a more naturalistic form of melodrama and character-based humor (when there was any at all).

Whatever one thinks of his stories, I think that Claremont's naturalistic/Heinleinesque approach to melodrama became one of the dominant commercial-comics styles for good reason. This approach conveyed necessary info to the reader very effectively, whereas Lee and Thomas usually had to have this or that character stand around giving an idiot lecture to bring readers up to speed. It emphasized a degree of verisimilitude about the ordinary technology of (say) airplanes that enhanced one's feeling of the reality of a story involving airplanes, which is something you'd never find in Lee or Thomas. And it always carried a strong sense of conspiratorial powers constantly beating about the heroes' heads, which was took the Marvel motif of "they're all against me" into new soap-operatic territory.

And that's my take on why Claremont really isn't much like Stan Lee.

mgs
12-04-2009, 01:37 PM
not a soap opera fan here (the US televised versions) but I can see the appeal, I think.

PatrickG
12-04-2009, 01:42 PM
I keep reading that much of what draws in readers is the maudlin aspect of them that is quite closely related to how soap operas are delivered.

I, for my own part, read comics DESPITE the maudlin aspects because much as I like character development, what still draws me in is that these people can do things we real-world folk can't.

And that's why when stories like Jean/Scott/Logan or Sue/Reed/Namor and the like get brought into comics over and over again, my blood just boils, but I grit my teeth and read on to see Namor and Ben slugging it out and property damage ensuing.

So, are we overt/closet soap opera fans?

I'm not big on the maudlin aspect OR the violence. Pity me.

PatrickG
12-04-2009, 01:54 PM
I base my opinion of Claremont's style somewhat on one of his old interviews, where he talked about an early love of Heinlein. Where Stan was all about overwrought melodrama, sesquipedalian bombast and very funny gags, Claremont was all about clipped military dialogue, a more naturalistic form of melodrama and character-based humor (when there was any at all).


... Clipped? Claremont writes like he gets paid by the word.

Isn't Claremont the guy who made Wolverine a Samurai with a dead wife, Psylocke into a british woman in an asian body, Cyclops into the son of a space pirate, etc? Props like these aside, Claremont is about as unnatural as it gets. At best, he's working in a universe with its own invented rules of human psychology and expression... Like David E. Kelly without an off switch.

I mean, I think of Claremont's work, in general, as being roughly comparable to CSI in terms of its, "I have to completely forget reality to appreciate this or mock it viciously as a hostile audience member" factor. I think Jim nailed it in his assessment.

FeminineMystique
12-04-2009, 02:57 PM
I never got into soaps, but I fully admit the romantic elements in comics are pretty close to them :wink: I do think more interesting conversations come out of comic discussion than soap operas however. Overall, Id rather my kids read comics than watch The Young and the Restless. I'd rather have a discussion with them over the nature of evil than whether or not someone is pregnant with someone's love child. I think the difference is that soaps seem to focus on the romantic elements with plots kind of thrown in there, whereas comics reverse this. However since i don't watch soaps, I could be totally wrong. And I have to admit, some of the comic romance does have me intrigued:wink:

Any pairings you're particularly interested in right now darling? My favourite will always be Mystique and Destiny

If Necrosha ends with Destiny once again alive and well in the Marvel U I'll be VERY happy:smile: