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  1. #1

    Default How to revamp classic characters without changing them much

    I think that when we see new series for characters like Blue Beetle (any of them), the Atom, Captain Marvel, Zatanna, Black Canary, Captain Atom or Black Lightning, we think "good for them", but deep down we know that, unless somebody like Morrison is behind the project, it is doomed to fail.

    ¿What do you think should be included in every revamp to make them stick?

    The way I see it, the problem is that they are just the same boring formula of Batman and Superman but with different, less practical powers. People even seem to actually like less original characters like Nightwing, Supergirl or Green Arrow better.

    For my two cents, I think the formula shoud be precsely what the likes of Moore, Gaiman or Morrison have done whenever they took a lesser character. They just don't solve indifferent crises with their unique powers. They go back to figure out who they are (they are pretty good at reading between the lines of those apparently bidimensional silve age portrayals), to propose how would they face new problems with their given resources.

    I'll start with some examples in the next post.
    Characters: Elongated Man, Batman, Satellite JLA, Super Buddies, Sandman, Swamp Thing
    Writers: Moore, Gaiman, Cooke, Giffen/DeMatteis, Miller, Dini, Morrison, Waid, Meltzer, McDuffie, Barr, Englehart

  2. #2
    The Dominoed Daredoll batGRRRl4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafa-Rivas-2099 View Post
    I think that when we see new series for characters like Blue Beetle (any of them), the Atom, Captain Marvel, Zatanna, Black Canary, Captain Atom or Black Lightning, we think "good for them", but deep down we know that, unless somebody like Morrison is behind the project, it is doomed to fail.
    Lol, NOT a fan of Morrison's writing, I usually think the exact opposite.
    Pull list:
    Batgirl, Inhuman, Justice League Beyond 2.0, Letter 44, She-Hulk, SM/WW, Swamp Thing, Ultimate FF (lol, 5 of my 8 titles all written by SOULE)

  3. #3

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    For instance, my favorite, the Elongated Man. The last significant attempt was Gerard Jones "Europe '92" mini. Instead of the lateral thinker that could give Batman a run for his money (and likely come out on top) or the super hero version of the confident Nick Charles -all of that part of Fox's original characterization, we see some sort excuse for a man, underdog, generic stretching hero, saving the day the last minute after a string of screw ups. How is that any fun? The man is one of the most perceptive beings on the planet and they come up with the underdog angle? In the worst case, the good thing about detectives is that it's not about what's going on with their lives but about how they use their branch of reasoning to solve cases. Holmes, Poirot, Columbo or Dupin barely had lives. But in any case, why not an apparent murder of Sue, or maybe something happens to a Dibny or a Dearbon, or better, to the Flash? As for personality, nobody can hide facts from a guy trained to read signs, why not going with a bit of a House angle?

    They changed the guy wearing the Atom suit, but that was doomed to fail since day one. How long until the novelty wears out? It could have been Palmer all along. Think about it. He has the best power for a scientist. Mr. Fantastic can't do much with stretching, and the atom is the perfect symbol of science, so how about making Ray the resident super scientist of DC. Take elements from Hawking, Dawkins, Tyson and Einstein and make him a genius that sees wonderful things but is at odds with a humanity that can barely follow him.

    Aquaman: It's not about water powers. Yes he is also super strong and fast, but that's not my point either. It's about the life of the king of 3/4 of the planet. Take a cue from Arthurian legend, LOTR or even Game of Thrones (if they take this one, please make new characters to kill). With Mera, the Fire Trolls, the Abbysm, Tritonis, Poseidon, and Orm you have different thrones (plus mercenaries like Black Manta and Black Jack). Aquaman is Arthur (duh), Aragorn, Eddard Stark, what he needs is that weight.
    Characters: Elongated Man, Batman, Satellite JLA, Super Buddies, Sandman, Swamp Thing
    Writers: Moore, Gaiman, Cooke, Giffen/DeMatteis, Miller, Dini, Morrison, Waid, Meltzer, McDuffie, Barr, Englehart

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by batGRRRl4ever View Post
    Lol, NOT a fan of Morrison's writing, I usually think the exact opposite.
    It's ok, I just meant somebody with his ability to make b-listers like Animal Man or the Doom Patrol work.

    There are some writers that can pull that without that much critical acclaim, like Geoff Johns. He still follows the formula I claim works for these situations. In fact he's a better example, since he's anything but subtle in his mechanical use of it.
    Characters: Elongated Man, Batman, Satellite JLA, Super Buddies, Sandman, Swamp Thing
    Writers: Moore, Gaiman, Cooke, Giffen/DeMatteis, Miller, Dini, Morrison, Waid, Meltzer, McDuffie, Barr, Englehart

  5. #5
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    I think it's just that comics are too expensive.
    I can't afford to follow all of the major characters that I'd like to - no way to cover extras.

  6. #6
    Trey Strains The One True Lantern's Avatar
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    for starters, don't let geoff johns write them. but with that said, some charcters do need a lot of changing. aquaman did, and i'd like to see johns write a martian manhunter title too.
    Anyone who accuses you of saying something you didn't say is contemptible.

  7. #7
    Mario Di Giacomo mdg1's Avatar
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    It's actually quite simple. First, you have to identify the core elements of the character, those traits that make them memorable/popular/interesting.

    Strip away everything unnecessary. Then rebuild around that core using modern tropes and ideas.
    Mario Di Giacomo

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdg1 View Post
    It's actually quite simple. First, you have to identify the core elements of the character, those traits that make them memorable/popular/interesting.

    Strip away everything unnecessary. Then rebuild around that core using modern tropes and ideas.
    I agree, the core is where every writer should start. The myth: The King of the Sea defending his country from big threats. Features: Black Manta, Orm, Mera, Aqualad, Black Jack, Vulko, Atlantis, telepathy, Fire Trolls, OGRE, Fisherman.
    The details that don't work should be dropped: hooks, Sub-diego, lost sons, swords.
    Add a twist that can be taken from the original premise: Aquaman is a King, so he is a lot about diplomatic relationships and he is the shepherd of the biggest country of the world... that's gotta weight on his shoulders. So he's Arthurian (just don't make it literally with swords and ladies of the lake, it's supposed to be analogous).

    Quote Originally Posted by The One True Lantern View Post
    for starters, don't let geoff johns write them. but with that said, some charcters do need a lot of changing. aquaman did, and i'd like to see johns write a martian manhunter title too.
    Geoff is more often than not pretty good at finding and selling the core, I'll give him that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdiggs View Post
    I think it's just that comics are too expensive.
    I can't afford to follow all of the major characters that I'd like to - no way to cover extras.
    And not only that, your time is precious. So, I'd say that there's time for interesting pitches of old concepts (like some writers achieved with Swamp Thing, Animal Man or Doom Patrol) but there's no time for more of the same. So I'd rather cut my third monthly title of Batman or Superman.
    Characters: Elongated Man, Batman, Satellite JLA, Super Buddies, Sandman, Swamp Thing
    Writers: Moore, Gaiman, Cooke, Giffen/DeMatteis, Miller, Dini, Morrison, Waid, Meltzer, McDuffie, Barr, Englehart

  9. #9
    Mario Di Giacomo mdg1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafa-Rivas-2099 View Post
    I agree, the core is where every writer should start. The myth: The King of the Sea defending his country from big threats. Features: Black Manta, Orm, Mera, Aqualad, Black Jack, Vulko, Atlantis, telepathy, Fire Trolls, OGRE, Fisherman. .
    I'd say even that is too much. For me, the core for Aquaman is this: King of Atlantis, amphibious, telepathy.

    Everything else needs to be judged and rethought. The problem a lot of relaunches have is they spend too much effort on retelling the past. To take Arthur as an example, how many relaunches started with him fighting either Manta or Ocean Master? What you end up with is not a fresh start, but a writer/editor's fanfic of "how I'd write that story". Might be good. Might be bad. But it's still a retread.
    Mario Di Giacomo

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdg1 View Post
    I'd say even that is too much. For me, the core for Aquaman is this: King of Atlantis, amphibious, telepathy.

    Everything else needs to be judged and rethought. The problem a lot of relaunches have is they spend too much effort on retelling the past. To take Arthur as an example, how many relaunches started with him fighting either Manta or Ocean Master? What you end up with is not a fresh start, but a writer/editor's fanfic of "how I'd write that story". Might be good. Might be bad. But it's still a retread.
    I think that's too little, but you actually recovered another dimension by adding amphibious. I'd resume it as the Anphibious that became the King of the Seas. You have all the elements for an epic story that rivals that of Superman right there:

    He thinks he is the abnormal son of the lighthouse keeper, as his father dies (breaking the status quo), he travels to through the Ocean to seek his mother (or something). Imprisioned, he meets Vulko (Merlin), who knows he is the legitimate king of the Seas and aid him take the throne from his evil half brother. From there, his courage is tested by numerous antagonists from inside and outside his kingdom: Mera, Black Manta, Black Jack, OGRE, the Fire Trolls. And finally, the ultimate challenge to his authority puts his kingdom at odds with the surface world, but he comes through and bonds the two worlds. Or something like that.
    Characters: Elongated Man, Batman, Satellite JLA, Super Buddies, Sandman, Swamp Thing
    Writers: Moore, Gaiman, Cooke, Giffen/DeMatteis, Miller, Dini, Morrison, Waid, Meltzer, McDuffie, Barr, Englehart

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