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  1. #16
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winslow View Post
    I would be more interested in WHY a make believe universe where anything can happen has to be internally consistent.

    Or why "deux ex machina" still sucks in a make believe universe where anything can happen.
    Because these make for unsatisfactory stories?

    Characters like Hercules or Captain America have histories that give rise to reasonable expectations. You can put Hercules in New York and have him get involved in exhibition wrestling, but nobody's going to accept that version as a definitive statement about the character. To say that a story is about Hercules is to give rise to reasonable assumptions about its theme, settings, and the general sort of plot that you will find in it. Likewise, some ass of a writer might think he's clever by making Captain America a coward, unpatriotic, a traitor, or revealing that he really was an illegal immigrant. Probably, that writer is only doing so because he imagines he's too good for the character he's supposed to be writing about. Such a version would be wrong, even if Marvel printed it. Wrong, because that's not the way Cap is supposed to be. Established characters are not the playthings of their current writers.

    'Deus ex machina' is likewise a failure of imagination; the manipulation of the plot elements by the writer is too obvious, and suspension of disbelief can't be maintained. This is why I prefer science over magic in superhero books. When the villain has a laser death ray, the fact that it's a laser suggests that a mirror could be used to deflect the attack. It's somewhat grounded, and technobabble has its own charms. Magic, unless it's already developed into a canon (e.g. Medusa turns people to stone with her gaze, so a mirror works here too) offers an open invitation for writers to pull something out of their sleeve. The resulting explanation will seldom be as entertaining as Reed Richards's pseudo-physics, either.

    It relates to the function of why genre fictions are genres. In a general way, the character and function of phasers, dragons, magic wands, or warp drive engines is consistent across creative worlds. They don't require a great deal of explanation when introduced.
    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.

  2. #17
    Elder Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    If the story was well written I wouldn't mind a story about Cap as a traitor or as a secret illegal immigrant.

  3. #18
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    Melab said:

    This will be the theory's foundational aspect built upon the notion that stories and characters are described in a versatile medium. The greatest implication is that anything is possible in fiction, even circumventing the laws of logic, because it exists in words. Realization of this fact comes from when Aristotle says in Metaphysics: "it will not be possible to be and not to be the same thing, except in virtue of an ambiguity, just as if one whom we call 'man', and others were to call 'not-man'".
    I agree; the trick is to know when verisimilitude is important to the story and when it is not-- as opposed to the story being modeled upon a supposedly consistent reality.

    For instance, when Fan A complains that the behavior of Fantasy Character X is unrealistic, Fan B will often make the statement that verisimilitude is unimportant given that "it's just a fantasy." This is sloppy logic, but the conflict comes down to: Fan A thinks a particular type of verisimilitude is necessary and Fan B doesn't. A great deal of this disagreement may come down to personal taste, and there's no percentage in arguing taste.
    Dare you delve into... THE ARCHETYPAL ARCHIVE?


    Why, it's... NATURALISTIC! UNCANNY! MARVELOUS!

  4. #19
    The Dark Knight Returns DonC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Pothier View Post
    so... fiction is fictional? Mind. Blown.
    Wait, are you saying I can't really become a Jedi Knight?

    *sniff*

    I need a minute, here. Don't mind me.
    Free your soul and let it fly....

  5. #20
    They LAUGHED at my theory SteveGus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    If the story was well written I wouldn't mind a story about Cap as a traitor or as a secret illegal immigrant.
    Maybe: but still, a story like that only works to the extent that it plays against a 'real' Cap whom the reader knows isn't supposed to be like that. 'Captain America isn't really an American?!' might work, but if it does, it's because readers say, 'Hey! That's Captain America! How can this be?' If you're not playing against Cap's established character, or at least his superhero name, there's no reason to use him in the role.

    But there needs to be a limit to this sort of thing. Story concepts like this are parasitic, in a way. They depend on the viability of a host concept. If they undermine the health of the host concept to excess, they and the host both die.
    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.

  6. #21
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveGus View Post
    Maybe: but still, a story like that only works to the extent that it plays against a 'real' Cap whom the reader knows isn't supposed to be like that. 'Captain America isn't really an American?!' might work, but if it does, it's because readers say, 'Hey! That's Captain America! How can this be?' If you're not playing against Cap's established character, or at least his superhero name, there's no reason to use him in the role.

    But there needs to be a limit to this sort of thing. Story concepts like this are parasitic, in a way. They depend on the viability of a host concept. If they undermine the health of the host concept to excess, they and the host both die.
    Does there need 'to be a limit to this sort of thing'?
    Really?
    Take your Captain America example: how he'd be supposed to being American.
    Meaning he could be anything between Afro-American Irish Jewish Italian British Scandinavian Russian Italian Asian Indian Hispanic European but with caring about such stuff as freedom of speech or religion or atheism or be it rock-n-roll or whatever part of deemably American dreamin'?

    If you mean to be saying that the limit would be saying how basically anything would need to go then I'd agree with you.
    Comics or stories pivot around how anything would or could basically be to go.
    No comics and no stories need to be specifically read as one thing only, as that would make no sense whatsoever. So well said, Stevey!
    Last edited by Kees_L; 11-24-2012 at 09:27 AM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    Does there need 'to be a limit to this sort of thing'?
    Really?
    Take your Captain America example: how he'd be supposed to being American.
    Meaning he could be anything between Afro-American Irish Jewish Italian British Scandinavian Russian Italian Asian Indian Hispanic European but with caring about such stuff as freedom of speech or religion or atheism or be it rock-n-roll or whatever part of deemably American dreamin'?

    If you mean to be saying that the limit would be saying how basically anything would need to go then I'd agree with you.
    Comics or stories pivot around how anything would or could basically be to go.
    No comics and no stories need to be specifically read as one thing only, as that would make no sense whatsoever. So well said, Stevey!

    Functionally there's no limit. Aesthetically there is.

    I'm not worried here about vitiating the franchise by, say, having Captain America be Afro-American in one writer's treatment, Irish-American in another's, etc etc. I think that it *could* vitiate the franchise as it's demonstrable that a lot of readers like consistency and don't like seeing the rules rewritten at a new author's whim. But that's not what concerns me when I agreed with Melab (One! More! Time!):

    The greatest implication is that anything is possible in fiction, even circumventing the laws of logic, because it exists in words.
    As long as "Black Captain America," "Irish Captain America," or even "Teenage Mutant Ninja Captain America" exist only in words, it's always *possible* that any one of them could prove a good take on the template of Captain America as it has thus far been constructed.

    However, because as Steve points out there is a history behind Captain America thus far, that history is going to make the constant re-invention less than winsome. Further, if you accept Sturgeon's Law, then 90% of these re-inventions will be crud rather than brilliant new ironic deconstructions, and therefore you're back to the same cruddy place you were with a more consistent character-template.
    Dare you delve into... THE ARCHETYPAL ARCHIVE?


    Why, it's... NATURALISTIC! UNCANNY! MARVELOUS!

  8. #23
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothos View Post
    However, because as Steve points out there is a history behind Captain America thus far, that history is going to make the constant re-invention less than winsome.
    With this I strongly disagree, while solely speaking for myself as a reader. (I feel Steve there wouldn't be teaching me if he got hit by a lawnmower, or only gooy particle-y and metaphorically I'd wager).

    Because as a reader I have to take into consideration that how I can be reading anything will depend on whatever my grasp onto context or my outlook would be amounting to be.
    I feel if I wouldn't know about how people would be or have been reading him as from the getgo than this would or could affect things or at least my grasp of such and therefor also my reading.
    If I wouldn't know anything of Joe Simon or Jack Kirby or for instance of Timely comics then this would affect my reading.

    On the other hand I would feel that reading will depend on the person doing the reading in any case. Primarily. Which is why history or tradition or canoninical context won't be everything, or how come comics or stories can be pretty much anything, because the reader will actually be deciding how any reading would get done, for better or worse. It would even be out of the writer's hands or the publisher's hands for the most part. Because the reader decides - the reader cannot be grasping stuff they couldn't be to grasp.
    Which makes comics or fiction so fun (or anything aesthetical), because people can share or agree or not but still it will be personal as well in any case.
    Making aethetics themselves or taste as proving to be mostly a personal thing in a big way.

    Which doesn't mean there wouldn't be good teachings or tips onto discovering a fruitful outlook on such.
    But any saying that Captain needs to be purely white or just this successful masculine winner, or inherently a righteous and truthful Christian straightshooting guy would just be utter bullshit in my view.
    I swear Captain America wouldn't need to be some kind of closed-minded asshole for all I know. And I even read Kirby stuff once or twice.

    Like my own personal 'theory on fiction' would be that imagination both as keeping an open or inquisitive mind for any reading could well be playing a beneficial role within it. The less words or context any comic might seem to contain won't change the fact that no closed-mindedness, no dismissiveness or no all-too-singular thinking would be necessary for the reading of it.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 11-26-2012 at 03:27 PM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  9. #24
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    I consider fiction to be more "transpersonal" than "purely personal." But that's speaking for myself as a reader also.

    Is the lawnmower a metaphorical lawnmower?
    Dare you delve into... THE ARCHETYPAL ARCHIVE?


    Why, it's... NATURALISTIC! UNCANNY! MARVELOUS!

  10. #25
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothos View Post
    Is the lawnmower a metaphorical lawnmower?
    Ehm, myeah better that way I guess, but still a pretty fierce one, creeping up on a man like a m*therfucker.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

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