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  1. #31
    Senior Member misslane38's Avatar
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    I disagree with the author's assertion that Smallville avoided suiting its Clark Kent up in his traditional primary colored spandex to preserve its realistic formula. The rationale the actors and showrunners always gave, which I agree with, was that Clark shouldn't wear the suit until he was officially Superman. Since Smallville was about how Clark Kent became Superman, it was obvious viewers shouldn't expect to see the suit until the show's final curtain call. Clark didn't wear the suit on Smallville because he wasn't Superman, in other words, not because the show was necessarily trying to be realistic and accessible. The formula they were following was more origin story than realism.

  2. #32

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    Marvel has had success on the movie screen, less success on the TV screen. DC has had success on the TV screen, less success on the movie screen. Each medium has its own constraints and conceits. Movies have more (pre and post production) time and money to devote to costumes and effects. TV shows can spend more time developing characters and exploring different kinds of plots than the standard movie plot.

    Marvel fans get the benefit of seeing their heroes in expensive productions with lots of flash for a couple of hours. DC fans, even when the series is a flop, get more than 12 hours of story (and maybe some pilots that never make it to a full series, but get leaked online).

    I think DC fans should realize that their glass is half full--instead of getting depressed about every little thing. And maybe the Marvel glass is a little more empty than their fans would like to admit.
    Last edited by An Ear In The Fireplace; 10-05-2012 at 12:27 PM.

  3. #33
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    DC has always done better for itself on television. The DCAU maintained consistent quality throughout, and Young Justice is pretty good. Before Smallville, there was Lois and Clark; and Birds of Prey also stuck fairly closely to the superhero formula.

    A more interesting question is, does the mess in the Nu52 books --- the grim travesty of Azzarello's Wonder Woman, the grim travesty of Dial H for Hero, the grim travesty of Billy Bratson's Shazam, even stuff like changing Superman's pants just so nobody makes the 'underwear on the outside' joke again --- mean that DC comics itself is embarrassed by comic book tropes?
    Superhero comic books only become art to the extent that their banal, unrealistic fantasy and garish styles go too far and become interesting. Attempts to ground them in reality can only ruin them.

  4. #34
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    TV. Movies. Two different things. It's really just that simple. (Despite all the talk about Man of Steel being supposedly "dark" and "realistic," everything we've seen and read makes it pretty clear that the movie embraces such superhero tropes as costumes, flying, secret identities, and supervillains, so it's really not part of the equation.)

  5. #35
    X-Gene Positive cookepuss's Avatar
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    I just wonder if the whole superhero formula needs updating. The hardcore fan in me says that I like my characters colorful and even a bit garish. Another part of me says that, maybe, the whole genre needs to evolve.

    I get why the idea of masks and code names exists. At the same time, I also know that many of the scariest real villains in this post-9/11 world hide in the shadows. They're seemingly nameless and faceless.

    One of the things I liked about Civil War was Spider-Man unmasking. Yeah. It brought the danger to Peter's doorstep, but it also made him more accessible in a way. No longer was he this "masked menace". No. Powers and quirky rogues aside, it made him that much more like that cop or firefighter friend you have. Spider-Man had friends and family. He was the formerly bullied geek and (then) current school teacher. He wasn't just the icon saving the day. He was the guy who actually lived next door and had Cheerios for breakfast. I think that, for however long it lasted, stripping him of his secret identity was a stroke of genius.

    At the same time, I also feel as if what motivated the costume designs for older characters such as Superman or Captain America no longer holds as much sway. Back in the 40s and 50s, moviegoers had decidedly different tastes. Cowboy & pirate movies were big. Detective serials were big. Pro wrestlers and sideshow strong men still helped define masculinity, so to speak. That's why, back then, comic characters would emulate them with their buccaneer boots, underwear on the outside, colorful masks, sidekicks, and so on. I'm not really sure that stuff speaks to modern audiences Let me explain.

    1. With sites like Perez Hilton or TMZ around, there's no way that Superman or Batman could ever have a secret identity. I get why real world undercover cops have "secret identities". However, superheroes are far more exposed. One closeup pic of Superman online and the nerds at home would identify him as Clark Kent in a heartbeat. It's much harder to keep a secret in the digital age. It's not like the old days where Lois Lane would have to concoct a scheme to unmask Superman. Heck not. Dragging Superman's pic into Google images and "visually similar" would turn up pictures of Clark. Game over.

    2. Costumes don't really work either. Suppose that Bruce Wayne is having a night on the town. He's walking back from the theater. An attempted rape is occurring in a nearby alley. How long will it take Bruce to suit up? Imagine how long it takes you to get dressed in the morning. Now magnify that times 10 because you have to undress and then armor up. The rapist would be long gone by the time Batman got on the scene. It's like that Robot Chicken sketch with Voltron taking too long to form and everybody's dead by the time he does. I'm not saying that superheroes have to necessarily be in plain clothes. However, I'm not saying that they should be in costumes either. Cops and firefighters wear functional uniforms. The modern superhero should be more practical and less flamboyant.

    3. Do code names really work? In the real world, most criminals don't have code names. Occasionally, you'll get "The Plain Jane Bandit" or something like that, but that's just the media's way of drawing attention to them so that they can get caught quicker. You don't necessarily see real world killers calling themselves "The Mauler" or "Bloodbath". :) I think that, in comics, code names are a carry over from the days when the mafia used to have these Dick Tracy style nicknames for their guys. I don't know. Maybe it's me, but I don't see code names meaning much anymore, outside of wrestling and maybe military agencies.

    I don't see any reason to be embarrassed by super hero tropes. I just don't think that they necessarily speak to today's audiences much.

    I read a comic like Avengers VS X-Men and I just shake my head. That scene in AvX #6 with Pixie & Squirrel Girl playing with action figures is exactly what most comics are about these days. Most comics are less about people and more about action figures. The amount of human drama is getting drowned out by what elements can be made into posters, t-shirts, action figures, or other products.

    Don't get me wrong. I understand TOTALLY that this is necessary in big business. I just think that the "soul" of comics is dying. The comic book "standards" need to be updated. For these characters to feel relevant they need to move on and past some of these tropes. We moved past the Silver Age goofiness. Now, maybe it's time for us to also see comics evolve yet again. Ditch some of the tried and true and take risks by doing stories about people again. PAD does this very well with X-Factor. Code names are nearly nonexistent in his book. Costumes are barely there. When they are, they're functional and usually not very superhero-y. Secret identities? They're a detective agency. I think that a lot of what PAD does right with X-Factor should be a model for where the superhero genre needs to go.

  6. #36
    Cyclops was right OrpheusTelos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Jerusalem View Post
    With the number of $100 million + hits that the comic book genre has spawned, how much more success is needed before the suits stop worrying about comic weirdness?
    I think the problem is that Green Lantern bombed big time and Superman Returns didn't make a viable enough gross to spawn a new franchise. Save for Batman, WB hasn't been striking Gold in the Superhero genre.

    Quote Originally Posted by misslane38 View Post
    I disagree with the author's assertion that Smallville avoided suiting its Clark Kent up in his traditional primary colored spandex to preserve its realistic formula. The rationale the actors and showrunners always gave, which I agree with, was that Clark shouldn't wear the suit until he was officially Superman. Since Smallville was about how Clark Kent became Superman, it was obvious viewers shouldn't expect to see the suit until the show's final curtain call. Clark didn't wear the suit on Smallville because he wasn't Superman, in other words, not because the show was necessarily trying to be realistic and accessible. The formula they were following was more origin story than realism.
    Clark literally did everything short of wearing the Blue Spandex though. The Justice League literally formed before he "officially" became Superman. I'm of the belief that they were trying to prolong keeping him out of the tights.
    Last edited by OrpheusTelos; 10-05-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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  7. #37

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    It's too bad they never did a Jack (Starman) Knight movie or TV series.

  8. #38
    Observer Vibranium's Avatar
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    Embarrassed no...Id say cautious considering the failures of Green Lantern and Superman Returns and the success of the Nolan franchise
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  9. #39
    Senior Member misslane38's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrpheusTelos View Post
    Clark literally did everything short of wearing the Blue Spandex though. The Justice League literally formed before he "officially" became Superman. I'm of the belief that they were trying to prolong keeping him out of the tights.
    They were keeping Clark out of the tights because the second he put on the tights, then the formula of the show was dead. Again, the Smallville formula wasn't explicitly to make its universe and characters more realistic, but simply to tell the origin story of Superman. If Clark ever wore the iconic primary colored suit, the show was over. The fact that the show's version of the Justice League formed before Clark donned the suit is irrelevant because all it means is that the League formed in that universe prior to Clark becoming Superman. Clark, however, was still an integral part of the proto-JLA from the beginning. It was Clark's positive influence on Bart, Arthur, Victor, Oliver, Dinah, Zatanna, etc. that brought the team together in the first place. Just because some of those team members wore their iconic costumes before Clark didn't erase the fact that he was the one who originally made the team possible. In addition, based on the show's final season, it ultimately took Clark becoming Superman in all of his red, yellow, and blue glory for the Justice League to become fully accepted by the world. The origin of the League was tied to Clark's origin story.

  10. #40
    Blue Boba ABH-1979's Avatar
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    It's hard to argue that the Smallville formula was not a success -- 10 seasons is nothing to scoff at, but that's not going to work for every character. If they plan to do the same for "Amazon," well, I don't see it working.
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  11. #41
    Senior Member stewart48's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namtab View Post
    It's hard to argue that the Smallville formula was not a success -- 10 seasons is nothing to scoff at, but that's not going to work for every character. If they plan to do the same for "Amazon," well, I don't see it working.
    Success is relative, it was on the CW. It didn't have a high bar to climb for ratings success compared to other programs in that network time slot
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  12. #42
    Observer Vibranium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewart48 View Post
    Success is relative, it was on the CW. It didn't have a high bar to climb for ratings success compared to other programs in that network time slot
    you're right, it is relative...but 10 years on TV

    you don't stay on for that long without doing something that keeps people watching
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  13. #43
    Best In The World Legato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vibranium View Post
    you're right, it is relative...but 10 years on TV

    you don't stay on for that long without doing something that keeps people watching
    This. People can discredit Smallville all they want but for it to last 10 seasons they must have been doing something right to keep the viewers tuned in
    Last edited by Legato; 10-05-2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  14. #44
    Observer Vibranium's Avatar
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    leaving genre out of the conversation...just look at the spread of primetime TV...now look at the shows that last longer than 7-8 years....there is something appealing in those shows that justifies their longevity
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  15. #45

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    I agree with the article 1,000%. By that I mean that WB is doing it's best to distance itself from the source material.

    The new Superman movie looks to be dark and grim and gritty. Something Superman isn't and shouldn't be. I think it was Ty Templeton who said he was happy to have Batman movies that he couldn't go see with his young son, but he'd be upset if he couldn't see a Superman movie with him. I agree with that sentiment. Kevin Maguire had similar comments. Even the costume in the Snyder/Cavill movie is proof of how much WB is embarrassed by the source material: they ditched the trunks and most likely would have ditched the cape as well since capes are at least as "silly", "goofy", "lame" and so on as trunks. Unfortunately, this fad has made it into the comics in the nuDCU. One can say that the costume doesn't make the movie, but that's not true for comic book superheroes who's costumes are very much a part of the characters. Ruining the costume is the first step (and not the only one taken all too often) in ruining the character.

    The Nolan/Bale movies have been good movies, but you can't really say they're good Batman movies since Batman is in them so little. Batman appeared about as much in the (fantastic) Gotham Central comics (which should serve as a perfect example of how to make a "realistic" comic book movie or television series) as he did in the Nolan/Bale movies.

    The recent rumor of WB executives stopping into a comic store asking about reaction to Frank Miller being attached to a Justice League movie and comments about needing to go darker from people attached to the Green Lantern movie just shows how much they don't understand about what makes the characters work.

    WB should really turn over ALL of DC (comics, animated television shows, animated movies, live action movies, video games, etc.) to Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Greg Weisman. All of them have produced a lot of good work in various media which has been well received by fans, more general public and critics alike. All of them also really seem to "get" the DC characters in a way that Nolan, Synder and others don't seem to get (I'd much rather the nuDCU be the DCU that's shown in Young Justice).

    Seeing Captain America in the Avengers showed that Superman could still fight for "Truth, Justice and the American Way" in movies if WB had the guts to do it well instead of having him fight for "truth, justice, all that stuff."

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