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Topic: Do you like "families" of superheroes? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 2:55pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In the last issue of Action Comics I found not only Superman, "Superson" and "Superdog", but also Supergirl, Superwoman, the New Superman, Luthor with Superman armour, Steel, Cyborg Superman, Erradicator and Zod. I'm enjoying Dan Jurgen's run on Action Comics, but this issue reminded me of how I dislike this concept of "families" of superheroes.
I've quit Detective Comics because it focuses on Batwoman, Batgirl, a lot of Robins, etc.
What do you think of this concept of superheroes related to a major superhero? Do you feel they show how inspiring the character is? Do you like it because  they show different approaches to the main concept? Do you feel they make the main character less unique and more vulgar?
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 3:34pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I lost interest in the Marvelman / Miracleman run when they introduced Miraclewoman and Miracledog. I know Young Miracleman and Kid Miraclemen were part of the mythology of the series but I felt extending the family even further took it too far.

And every Marvel series seems to have an extended family now. I'm not speaking from any real authority but don't they have four Hulks, four Spider-Men/Women, two Hawkeyes, two Captain Americas, two Ironmen and two Wolverines? And each of the original X-Men has a second version. As a one-off it could be interesting, but all the time is just dull.
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 3:38pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Doesn't bother me so much when DC does it (though they tend to
overdo it, particularly recently.) because it's traditionally been their
thing. When Marvel does it, however...feh!
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 4:51pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The only ones that haven't bothered me were Fawcett's Marvel family and DC Bat family. I suppose that's because both were institutions before I began reading comics.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 4:57pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Yeah, I'm fine with DC doing it, especially since they started in the innocent and playful 50's and I love characters like Supergirl and Batgirl (and I even like Man-Bat and Krypto!).

But when "modern and trend-setting" Marvel does it, it's just ridiculous!  Marvel always decides to copy DC--even in things that are mistakes.  (Again, a little is okay--I also love Spider-Woman and She-Hulk!  But now how many Hulks and Spider-people do we have?)  Marvel actually did a "Spider-Man Family" series and I thought "Are they joking?"
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 5:24pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

It's one of my least favorite things about DC. And sometimes it makes no sense within the context of the stories. For example the new Batwoman is borderline contemptuous of Batman's authority. Why would she name herself after him? 
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I like the Superman, Batman and Shazam families. Beyond that, not so much. 
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 5:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I'm not a fan.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 6:29pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I do enjoy the DC families (Superman, Batman, and Marvel) but I also think JB had a great point back when he revamped Superman that having so many characters run around with the same costumes and powers really diminishes the original character, especially in the case of Superman. In Captain Marvel's case they even made that literal.

The one derivative family character I think most of us would agree is great is Hulk's cousin, She-Hulk. 
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 6:47pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Too many redundant knockoffs make the original character less unique and special.
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James Johnson
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 6:59pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The Marvel family I did not have a problem with. 

The Batman family should have ended with Batgirl.

Superman should always be the Last Kryptonian.
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 7:21pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I don't really mind when the family extends to a female version of the original (Batgirl, Supergirl, Mary Marvel, Spider-Woman, She Hulk) but it gets ridiculous when it gets to Superboy, Wonder Girl, Red Hulk, and all Spider-Man copies! (Miles Morales... really??)

I guess the key is to not go overboard to the point where the redundancy is GLARINGLY obvious... and lazy.

-C!

PS - I would've been content with just Flash, Kid Flash & Jay Garrick.


Edited by Charles Valderrama on 13 July 2017 at 7:24pm
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John Cole
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 7:45pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Overkill always drives the characters into the ground needlessly.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 8:06pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

When I was a kid I loved the extended families of the lead characters. I was there for the introduction of Supergirl, Batmite, Bat-Hound, Batwoman, Batgirl (the first one) and a passel of others. The notion that these additional characters de-uniqued the originals did not occur to me.*

The curious -- and sad -- element, it watching DC trying to have it both ways, with grim-n-gritty versions of these once kid-friendly characters.

----------------

* I totally loved Krypto. That's why I did the best I could to break your hearts in GENERATIONS!

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Steven Myers
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 8:57pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

They can be written well, and there are some good stories with "families", but I don't like the idea.
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 13 July 2017 at 11:40pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

i don't hate derivative characters but they should be used very sparingly and have a very good story-reason for being there.

i don't mind side kicks at all, but I have never bought a "families" book so that tells me my final answer.
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Mike Norris
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 12:06am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I remember back in the 70s DC came out with Superman Family, Batman Family, Super Team Family and Tarzan Family. The Superman Family numbering continued from Jimmy Olsen's. Tarzan Family took over Korak's numbering. Batman Family was intended to replace Detective Comics,at one point, but apparently some folks at DC convinced management it was a bad idea. . 
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 2:30am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Instead, BATMAN FAMILY 'merged' with DETECTIVE, which became a Dollar Comic, as 'BF' had been for its last few issues.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 3:56am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Mr. Byrne - you broke my heart in Action Comics with what you did to Krypto. After that, I never forgave you... :)

The idea of a "family" is an intriguing one, from a point of not-fighting-crime-every-minute aspect. But there are certain points that I consider...

Biggest item is that we have to define "family." I have siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews... but NONE of them are a significant part of my life. My "family" are friends and fellow actors...

A) Is a duo a family? Batman and Robin? Cap and Bucky? Hawk and Dove? I think some characters work great in a partnership. And some, perhaps not so much.

B) Do non-powered supporting cast count as "family"? Is Commissioner Gordon in the Batman family? Jimmy Olsen in the Superman Family? J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man family? I don't think that anyone would argue the above, and they surely appeared regularly enough that everyone who read the book knew who they are.

C) Must family be literal? Or similarly, must family be NON-literal? Superman and Supergirl are cousins, as are the Hulk and She-Hulk. Hawkman and Hawkgirl or Storm and the Black Panther are husband and wife. But Batman and Batgirl are no relation to each other. Neither are Thor and Beta Ray Bill. And part of the Marvel family are siblings, but Captain Marvel Jr. is no relation. Are we establishing a distinction?

D) Is a super team a family? I don't think anyone would say the Justice League of America or the Avengers were a family, but the new Teen Titans and the Fantastic Four are definitely families. Or are families and teams distinct classifications?

I love the idea of Superman not being the last Kryptonian... although between the Phantom Zone and Kandor, he kinda got de-uniqued pretty big time. I loved the Marvel Family, but part of what I liked was that there were four of them... and they appeared together as well as separately, so there wasn't a lot of demand for interaction... it was there.

I think that "family" works best when the members are a little less duplicative. When we get to Supergirl, Superdog, Superhorse, or Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Batgirl, Batdog, it's getting kinda redundant. Same with Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, Spider-Kid (WHOOPS! :)

But the biggest issue I see is calling in family to help. The Supergirl TV show kinda demonstrates this... when a problem gets too big, are other members of the family called in? If so, does it weaken the main hero? If not, what's the excuse when the situation is a threat to a large group of people? There's a huge earthquake in Central City - does Barry call Wally and Jay to help him? Does he call Green Lantern? 

I am a big fan of super hero ineraction, and if it's more regular, sometimes I really like it - and sometimes it's a little off-putting. Loner characters wouldn't work as well, you'd think, but as always, it is the quality of the writing and the story that makes it work. Maybe what works for Batman wouldn't work for Daredevil.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 5:21am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

As a kid, I liked them. Who didn't like Bat-Ape?

As an adult, not so much. It's not the only reason for liking our host's MOS, but a big part of the appeal of MOS is the fact it's Superman on his own. 

I know it's not quite the same, and is a poor comparison, but it's a bit like how certain wrestling groups "dilute" themselves. You had the wrestling group nWo (New World Order), initially three people. Then a few more. And eventually you had several dozen members, spin-off groups, etc. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 5:24am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Mr. Byrne - you broke my heart in Action Comics with what you did to Krypto. After that, I never forgave you... :)

ACTION! Not GENERATIONS! D'oh!!!!!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 5:28am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Marvel always decides to copy DC--even in things that are mistakes.

Marvel and DC cross-polination began in the Seventies, when artists and writers began casually bopping back and forth between companies. So many did not have a real sense of the individual identities of the companies.

And then, with the arrival of folk like my late buddy Mark Gruenwald, the blurring of borders became deliberate. Mark was a DC guy at heart, and once given the power, he did all he could to turn Marvel into DC. And others followed.

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 7:44am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Families of superheroes aren't an intrinsically bad idea. I LOVED Superboy as a kid, and thought Supergirl was a pretty terrific character. I liked Batgirl. Even the silly aspects of Bat-Hound and so on have some currency when done right.

To me, that's the key. ANY trope can be a bad idea when written badly.

Teams of heroes? The idea has some basic problems, if you look at it logically, but there are teams of heroes all over the place.

Even more problematic, really, is the idea of solo heroes. The CW has addressed this by having every single one of their heroes develop a team of support staff to enable their missions--but the lone hero is still a staple of comics.

Does it make sense in a real world way? Probably not but we buy into it because most of the time it's written well enough for us to suppress disbelief and go along.

On that basis, families of superheroes are not a worse idea than most of the many others served up in superhero comics. They have been done brilliantly, they've been done poorly-- but that's no reason to do away with them.
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Thad Studebaker
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 9:44am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Way back in the early 70s, my grandparents kept a handful of comics for my perusal.  The stack of comics included one giant-sized Superman title.

The Superman comic included a Superman Family feature with all of the Super-characters at the time.  Even at a young age, the only such character that I liked was Supergirl. The rest seemed to be too much and took away from Superman the distinction of being the sole survivor of Krypton. I don't recall why Supergirl was okay with me.

I suspect that my exposure to the Superman TV show and the old Fleischer cartoons prior to the comics had a heavy influence on shaping my opinion.
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John Popa
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

It always felt like a DC thing to me and I was more a Marvel guy. I did like Spider-Woman, though, and actually really liked the second version that came out of the first Secret Wars.

As if often the case with these things, the ones that were in place when I started reading comics I was fine with but the newer ones seem more shoe-horned in.
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