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  1. #1
    Viridescent Time_to_Zap's Avatar
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    Default Is Limbo a Necessary Evil?

    (No, I don't mean Illyana's crib. That's where they have all the best parties, of course it's not a bad thing.)

    "Limbo- n. The state of being used to describe fictional characters who are not actively being used in storylines."

    With the advent of Marvel NOW! and the subsequent shuffling of a lot of characters either into the spotlight or out, a lot of people (myself included) are stressing over the fact that some of our favorite characters are not being included in any of the titles. They are doomed not to be a part of any upcoming stories, except in the form of background cameos if they are lucky. This makes way for a lot of the more mainstream characters that we've seen over and over again.

    Is this a necessary evil, though? After all, comic books are essentially stories. Imagine reading a novel in which there were twenty-five main characters, and every member of the supporting cast was mentioned on every page. It would never work. The reader would be confused and overwhelmed trying to figure out which characters he/she should be paying attention to. The various characters vying for space would never be able to have rich and fulfilling story arcs.

    I have my obscure favorites. I wish Elixir, Anole, Transonic, and Cipher could go on the big-time adventures with Cyclops and Emma Frost. But I also am interested in reading the storylines of those bigger characters, as well. Is giving up these minor characters a necessary price we all pay when reading mainstream comics?

    Some smaller characters get their spotlight in certain series. Both the original and new incarnations of Uncanny X-Force are prime examples. Puck, Spiral, Fantomex...they are all getting/will get a chance to shine in these new series. As readers, do we need to accept that only a few "small" characters can ever be in the spotlight at once for the books to continue selling? After all, hardcore fans like those on CBR aren't the only people reading those books. Do casual fans and the ever-important "New Readers" need to see somewhat familiar faces filling up a title, perhaps with only one or two newbies/obscurities, in order to purchase the comic and thus keep in on the shelves at all?

    Do our fan-favorites need to go into Limbo, sans two or three luckies at any given time, in order to keep the books filled with the main characters afloat?
    "Before you save anyone else, you have to save yourself."
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  2. #2
    I probably like you. Filthy Mutie's Avatar
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    No. 10101010

    X-Poster of the Month: December 2012
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    The Best There Is At What I Do

  3. #3
    Assimilation or Death Omega Alpha's Avatar
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    It's better to be in Limbo than to be written horribly- and, sadly, after reading Ultimates, I think the latter is what's going to happen with Psylocke & co.

    Unfortunately, there's no room for everyone, and books without more popular characters will have problems staying afloat. That doesn't mean we need Wolverine in 7 different books. A compromise can be achieved, and of course, some characters can have an increase in popularity- 12 years ago, if someone said that Emma Frost and Magik would become very popular and important to the X-men, everyone here would have a laugh and find it unbelievable- becoming a hook for the readers themselves.
    That's right! Al Gore invented the internet, let's all go kick his ass!

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  4. #4
    Dilf εnthusiast Justin K.'s Avatar
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    Limbo is unappealing if the characters I normally read bout are placed there, like with X-Factor recently. I'm still gonna pick up the title, but it doesn't mean I'm liking it as much.

  5. #5
    The Slender Man vampiric_cannibal's Avatar
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    A year long time in limbo is long enough for nearly anything to be forgotten and thus be used regardless of what shape the character was in. In a few months, Jubilee will be able to return, powered and not a vampire, without anyone asking too many questions (partially because vampJubes isn't popular, I gather).

    A distinction between 'limbo' and 'hell' should be made: 'limbo' is characters unused, 'hell' is characters dead by X-Men standards. If Magneto or Wolverine died tomorrow, they're aren't in hell. It generally takes between 6 and 30 months for the transition from 'X-Men dead' to 'Uncle Ben dead'. Returning from Hell is a story within itself, rather than the single panel or dialogue box needed for un-limboing.

    Limbo is necessary for bad creative decisions to be forgotten and characters to
    Hell is necessary for deaths and resurrections to have meaning.
    Cable recently straddled the line between death and limbo. His death didn't have much meaning, for he was barely gone, but his return and new direction is a bit more meaningful, so borderline cases tend towards exulting new directions.
    Last edited by vampiric_cannibal; 11-21-2012 at 11:34 PM.
    I would like to say for the record that this is the FIRST TIME I've withheld dong when someone was so desperately asking for some.
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  6. #6
    Gallifrey endures. blackphoenix's Avatar
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    There needs to be room in the spotlight for more than just Cyclops and Wolverine. At the very least, they should restart X-Men Unlimited to showcase the adventures of lesser lights like Transonic, Graymalkin, et al.
    Thus do I write the first chapter of my new scripture. And the first verse is "Let it all burn."

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  7. #7
    Laser Life Phantom Bravery's Avatar
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    Books like "A Game of Thrones" show that it's possible to have an ongoing story with a large cast of characters. I honestly don't know if it's an issue with mandate from the higher-ups at Marvel, lack of imagination, or lack of talent but it's certainly doable. It always bothers me when writers feel the need to create brand new characters to feature in their books when theres a treasure trove of great options collecting dust.
    The Avengers can go fuck themselves." -Elizabeth Braddock

  8. #8
    Assimilation or Death Omega Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Bravery View Post
    It always bothers me when writers feel the need to create brand new characters to feature in their books when theres a treasure trove of great options collecting dust.
    So, writers should forget creativity because there's a D-lister there ready to be used? This is a silly complaint- if they have a good idea for a character, they should use it.

    And of course, regarding the ASOIAF example you give, new characters (and major ones at that) are introduced at every book. And of course, GRRM kills them by the dozen.
    That's right! Al Gore invented the internet, let's all go kick his ass!

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  9. #9
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Yes, limbo is necessary if you're going to have these massive shared continuities.
    Marvel has thousands upon thousands of characters, and each and every one of them is somebody's favourite. It's not possible to keep them all active in current stories.

    U-Go Girl was a great character, but she should not be permanently part of some X-Team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Bravery View Post
    Books like "A Game of Thrones" show that it's possible to have an ongoing story with a large cast of characters. I honestly don't know if it's an issue with mandate from the higher-ups at Marvel, lack of imagination, or lack of talent but it's certainly doable. It always bothers me when writers feel the need to create brand new characters to feature in their books when theres a treasure trove of great options collecting dust.
    And if at some point Marvel would change completely, opt to permanently kill tons and tons of characters, including favourites like Spider-Man and Captain America, and just do one story every couple of years, that's be an option.
    Last edited by carabas; 11-22-2012 at 02:36 AM.
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

  10. #10
    Veteran Member airdreams's Avatar
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    No, there are innumerous methods to handle a lager number of character in an ongoing story, but it's kinda sad to see the safest but least creative one is chosen. Huge names sell, so well-known characters are used frequently; it's just like Matthew Effect, the more they appear in comics (and films, cartoons, videogames etc) the more they become famous, and the more famous they are the more they are used, it's a circle; quite the opposite, the smaller characters have a circle too, but sadly it's a vicious one. Fortunately some characters did have increases in popularity. It's partially due to their luck – an awesome write loved and depicted her/him amazing in comics providing a golden opportunity to the character.
    In dog days, all we need is Frost.

  11. #11
    C'est kinky Seresecros's Avatar
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    I think most characters in limbo are beloved BECAUSE they are in limbo. Fans love feeling persecuted, more than anything else. A character in limbo is essentially a blank slate, and readers can transfer all kinds of warped ideaology onto them without being told that they're wrong. Take Elixir, who has been gone for a few years now. While he was present, he had a story and a fairly simple one at that. With him gone, readers can rose-tint the character, make up ideas for what his personality currently is, and think up reasons why he should come back. If he does come back, those same readers will be happy for a moment, then realise he's not what they thought he was. They'll then move along to the next limboed character.

    It's like whenever a character dies, suddenly a thousand fans come out of the woodwork. Where they were before the death scene is anybody's guess, but suddenly they're demanding blood vengeance and complaining everywhere possible. This also applies to comics - the number of people complaining about Hellblazer being cancelled is vastly more than the number of people who actually bought Hellblazer every month.

  12. #12
    Few days on drugs? Lovely pepper's Avatar
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    Yes. There are only so many characters the writer has time to focus on, in each book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seresecros View Post
    I think most characters in limbo are beloved BECAUSE they are in limbo. Fans love feeling persecuted, more than anything else. A character in limbo is essentially a blank slate, and readers can transfer all kinds of warped ideaology onto them without being told that they're wrong.
    Yup. I've been guilty of this.

  13. #13
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airdreams View Post
    No, there are innumerous methods to handle a lager number of character in an ongoing story...
    Define larger. Marvel has well over 5000 charactes running around.
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

  14. #14
    Veteran Member airdreams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carabas View Post
    Define larger. Marvel has well over 5000 charactes running around.
    After excluding characters that were created to be wallpaper, say, ugly-John, whose mutant power was having three faces or Alain Weiss, who's killed by Iceman, Marvel actually doesn't have that many characters. And I guess what OP talked about was characters in Limbo who had fans (but not popular), so the list can be further narrowed.
    In dog days, all we need is Frost.

  15. #15
    BAMF Brigade Sundowhn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackphoenix View Post
    There needs to be room in the spotlight for more than just Cyclops and Wolverine.
    This. Too much focus is now on a handful of characters with them showing up in multiple titles and featuring prominently in every major story arc. It also becomes cyclical. The more Marvel just focuses on these few characters, the more new readers expect to only see those characters -- they don't know a damn thing about any others. Take Cyclops and Emma for example. They were semi-popular in the 80's and 90's, Scott more than Emma of course. For the past decade, readers have been inundated with these two characters in every freaking story arc involving the X-Men. Why? Because Alonso and Lowe like them. They've become A-list as a result, and there's more demand from readers for stories centering on them. We have more Scott and Emma fans than ever before. Yet other good, fan favourites have been side-lined as a result. If Marvel hadn't developed two characters at the expense of what, 8-10 others(speaking of other fairly well-known X-Men with a strong fan base), there would be many more for fans to choose from, right? With what they're doing now, they're limiting their own fan base. This doesn't attract new readers, and, in fact, eventually drives away old ones who finally get fed up of seeing the same characters over and over, ad nauseum.

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