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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I initially took the title of the thread to ask "Do you like superhero families?" I
was all set to talk about the Fantastic Four before rereading it, and then
responding in the negative.
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Mitch Denoyer
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

In the initial post, I read "Superson" as "Superperson."  The idea of a character named Superperson sent a cold chill through my soul!
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 6:01pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

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.

******

I always felt like his Squadron Supreme 12 issue mini-series was him doing DC characters, in this case the Justice League, in a very Marvel fashion. I don't understand why it's not ranked with Watchmen as being influential on the comics that came after it. Though not sure that's a good thing. 



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Mike Norris
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 6:38pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'm not sure pastiches like the Squadron Supreme should have ever been given the series treatment. 
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Ron Grant
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I initially took the title of the thread to ask "Do you like superhero families?" I 
was all set to talk about the Fantastic Four before rereading it
-----------
Me too I set to talk FF,The Inhumans,Scott and Alex Summers,Wanda and Peitro.
 
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 14 July 2017 at 11:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I like the idea. As to whether or not I
want to read it, depends on the execution.
DC, right now with there Rebirth stories,
have a great opportunity to build a
Superman and Batman Family and make it
work again. So far, I'm on board.

On the other coast, Marvel has an
opportunity to build a Spider-Man Family.
I'd like to read that, but just from the
knowledge I've gathered, trying to decide
if this is something I want to read, they
haven't put it together correctly. They've
got new-ish characters that they've
already muddied and older ones that don't
resemble the characters I know. I have no
entry into this. The sad part is, it
could've worked, but you can't fit Legos
together that have been chopped up by a
lawn mower.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 4:30am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"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."

=====================

I guess in comics, because there are only two significant publishers of superhero books, any attempt at cross-pollination ends up as inbreeding. 


Edited by Joe Zhang on 15 July 2017 at 4:32am
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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 6:17am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I really enjoyed the Fantastic Four run, especially through the Negative Zone from years ago. This group was always generally portrayed with good family dynamics -- not just a bunch of "supers"-. But I generally do not care for when they do Superman, "Superson" and "Superdog", Supergirl, Superwoman, and yadda yadda yadda. It's just seems too much and starts to feel silly IMO. More specifically it generally pulls me out of my Suspension of Disbelief and reminds me too much it's not real.    
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 6:29am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I'm not sure pastiches like the Squadron Supreme should have ever been given the series treatment. 

*****

Mike, it wasn't really ever given the series treatment until JMS did Supreme Power/Squadron Supreme which kind of fizzled out with him never finishing it and more recently with the Marvel series that started a year or two ago that got cancelled. Gruenwald just gave it a 12 issue mini-series treatment (and later a graphic novel).

But if Squadron Supreme as a pastiche didn't deserve 12 issues, why did Watchmen which was a pastiche of the Charlton characters? Granted, DC owned those characters too, but it was still started as pastiche. 

Alan Moore has done quite a bit of pastiche though since Watchmen with Tom Strong and Supreme. I have to say I rather enjoyed all the comics I've mentioned, but not sure why Moore is often given a pass for what he does with pastiche while Marvel is taken to task for the Squadron Supreme. I think it all depends on what you do with it. If Marvel was selling toys and merchandising Squadron Supreme, I'm sure DC would start getting litigious.

It's not the only time Marvel has really done it either. The Shi'ar Imperial Guard were kind of an obvious Legion of Superheroes pastiche.

There has been the Avengers (and other Marvel characters) pastiche at DC here and there, but it's true they've never really done as much with them as Marvel has done with theirs. 

Edit: DC has however sued a company into non-existence and plundered their characters for their own roster because of their pastiche nature. Shazam!


Edited by Shane Matlock on 15 July 2017 at 7:08am
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 7:40am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Like the Imperial Guard, the Squadron was created from characters who were derivatives of DC characters, but new characters were added that did not have an amalgam. After Mark Gruenwald, there was an effort to remove the "new" characters and return to the Justice League format.

I didn't like the recent Squadron Sinister, despite Pacheo's great art. A villainous Justice League ends up being the Crime Syndicate...

Besides, the Squadron maxi-series is awesome!
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 10:34am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I loved that maxi-series, Steven and I think it deserves more credit than its gotten for leaving a huge shadow on the comics that came after it. I'm a pretty big fan of Gruenwald's Marvel oeuvre but I think Squadron Supreme is where he did some of his best work. (Though I also love his first few years on Captain America, especially the Serpent Society story, and also the Serpent Crown stuff in Marvel Two-In-One.)

Apologies for the thread drift.  
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 15 July 2017 at 5:39pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

"If Marvel was selling toys and merchandising Squadron Supreme, I'm
sure DC would start getting litigious."

I'm pretty sure I've seen action figures of Hyperion. And of Gladiator
and Sentry (How many Superman rip-offs does Marvel need, btw?).

Edited by Eric Smearman on 15 July 2017 at 6:05pm
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Manuel Soler
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Posted: 16 July 2017 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

If I don't remember incorrectly, I think I read about it somewhere, Marvel started creating female analogs (Ms.Marvel, Spider-Woman, She-HulK,...) for fear the competence could create/copyright similar characters.

Edited by Manuel Soler on 16 July 2017 at 12:56pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 16 July 2017 at 2:14pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

It gets ridiculous and ruins the "brand."  There's at least two Robins too many at DC--and, for a few decades, one of them was dead!  That changes Batman from "a cool loner" to some freak that continually puts children in life-threatening danger.  (I would retcon Bruce taking in young Dick Grayson just to be kind to a kindred soul, and then that kindred soul discovers the Batcave and tries fighting crime himself, forcing Bruce to train him just to keep him alive.)  Superman and Batman tried to keep Supergirl and Batgirl out of danger for as long as possible until they both earned their place.  Those "simplistic" 50's and 60's tales often contained more common sense than the "savvy" stories that came after.

DC's families made a certain kind of sense (why wouldn't people be inspired to follow in the footsteps of inspirational heroes like Batman and Superman?), but Marvel's don't--with multiple characters going by the same name!

Why in the world would a powered Jane Foster ever be called "Thor"?  Why would Sam Wilson continue being Captain America after Steve Rogers donned the uniform again?  (Of course, why would he give up his own Falcon identity in the first place?)  Why would a teenage girl or Victor Von Doom ever call themselves "Iron MAN"?  (Doom's ego would NEVER deign to be called by anything but his own name?)  They were calling She-Hulk and Amadeus Cho "Hulk" at the same time, not to mention two Spider-Mans running around.  It's almost like Marvel is TRYING to be confusing and trash sales!


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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 16 July 2017 at 4:57pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Eric, I'd like to share that post with a friend of mine via e-mail. I'll be sure to credit you. If that's okay? 
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 16 July 2017 at 5:44pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Sure!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 16 July 2017 at 5:53pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Thanks.

You articulated my views on the "two heroes" thing that Marvel is doing. As you said, why would a teenage girl or Victor Von Doom call themselves Iron Man?
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Drew Spence
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Posted: 17 July 2017 at 3:47pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

In my mind, it was always a sign of jumping the shark or the franchise was so big, they wanted to grind it for more $$$$. Bionic Man, Bionic Woman. Although I liked Bionic Woman, it still felt like a grab for more.

Supergirl, I never bought into- didn't count.
Batgirl, I only knew from TV so it was okay for Robin to have a love interest although he never did anything about her- much to my disappointment, even as a kid.

I think the thing with taking on a  used name plus trying to LOOK like the main character is a big problem. So you need to put on the SAME SUIT?

That ALWAYS feels like brand recognition for the fans.
I'd actually like to see a spin-off with the same powers, but totally different stance and mission- or is that too close to Image Comics?

Does 'passing the torch' count?
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 17 July 2017 at 7:42pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I agree with Eric on many points. I think the multiple Super-, Bat- and Spider-people and others are mostly a marketing gimmick (or a means to avoid someone else ripping off your characters) and/or an attempt to please everyone ("We're introducing a new Captain Hero, but we don't want to upset long-time fans, so the old Captain Hero will continue to exist or the old one will come back and the new one will take another name.).
They can work if a writer takes a new approach with the concept. From what I've read, Superboy was portrayed at least initially as less experienced and seemed to care more about his personal life than the adult Superman at the time(for whom it seemed a distraction. "Looks like I have to save Lois/Jimmy/Perry again!")The early Supergirl stories seemed a bit more fanciful, and She-Hulk has usually been a different take on the Hulk character.
By the way, I recommend Gruenwald's Squadron Supreme series to those who might think it's just Marvel's version of the JLA. It's essentially a DC Imaginary story that suggests what might happen if the JLA set out to "make the world a better place." It came out years before "Identity Crisis" and is much less convoluted.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 18 July 2017 at 7:29am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I personally liked SPIDER-WOMAN and SPIDER-GIRL, but they didn't seem "forced" (even though Spider-Woman's existence was decreed to protect the copyright).  Spider-Girl was literally part of the "Spider-Man Family" but she seemed more organic than female Thor or teen Hulk--all three of which were first WHAT IF...? stories!  (I wonder if Roy Thomas gets residuals on all these ideas.  It seems like half of Marvel's present line-up first started as a WHAT IF...? !)

For some reason, the one Marvel hero who lends himself to the idea of a "family" never had one--Captain America!  Given his (normal) standing in the Marvel Universe (and the fact that he was originally intended to be the first of many), you'd think there'd be all sorts of "Ms. Americas," "Kid Americas," and "Lt. Americas" running around!  If half a dozen people at DC decide to dress like a bat (taking after a notorious and scary loner), you'd think there'd be at least that many at Marvel with a patriotic spirit.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 18 July 2017 at 7:31am
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Dale Lerette
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Posted: 18 July 2017 at 7:41am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

As I read through this thread I recalled how much I enjoyed Gruenwald's Squadron Supreme series. I knew the Squadron was kind of an amalgam of DC/Marvel -- kind of. But I never got the impression Gruenwald was trying to DC-fy the Marvel Universe.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 18 July 2017 at 9:41am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

My simplest answer is I don't like superhero families.

She-Hulk is sufficiently different to the Hulk to justify an existence. The same goes for Robin and Batman. But multiple iterations on the same theme aren't a good idea though, I think.

When Robin grows up and then is replaced by another Robin, who then gets replaced, and on and on, it is a problem. And that's just Robin, with his unique costume and name! Throw actual Bat variants into the mix and it's way, way too much, especially for this weird figure of the dark.

Strangely enough, I'm down with the dogs though. Ace and Krypto I can live with.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 18 July 2017 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I don't know if I disliked them or there wasn't enough of a draw for me to justify buying their stories.
By the time I started reading comics the "families" seemed to be in those Giant 60cent/$1 issues. At my weekly allowance back then 3 comics outweighed the one.

I certainly didn't mind them as a guest star in my regular monthlies, and even bought the first issue of Man-Bat thinking there may be some connection.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 23 July 2017 at 4:51pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I always felt like his Squadron Supreme 12 issue mini-series was him doing DC characters, in this case the Justice League, in a very Marvel fashion. I don't understand why it's not ranked with Watchmen as being influential on the comics that came after it. Though not sure that's a good thing.

****

I think the main reason is that the art on Gruenwald's series just wasn't as good as Dave Gibbons' on WATCHMEN. Not a crime, since few artists are as good as Gibbons. 

As for superhero families -- Marvel shouldn't have any. With DC it's fine until it gets out of hand. The Batman extended "family" is too big. Too many people with Flash/speed force powers. Too many Green Arrow/archer types. Too many Green Lanterns from Earth (the GL Corps was born as a Corps, so no point in complaining about all 3600 or however many there are of them). 

Strangely enough, there are only couple "Wonder Woman family" people -- Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark. (I'm not counting other Amazons for the same reason I don't count the GL Corps writ large.)
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 23 July 2017 at 6:17pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I think the main reason is that the art on Gruenwald's series just wasn't as good as Dave Gibbons' on WATCHMEN. Not a crime, since few artists are as good as Gibbons. 

****

I rather liked the Bob Hall art on the first 9 issues but switching artists for the last three issues probably didn't help either. Not that Paul Ryan isn't a good artist and storyteller too, but it would've been nice to have gotten the same artist for all 12 issues of the mini-series. Wonder why Hall didn't complete it? 

Anyway, you're right that the art on Watchmen was better. It's also some of Gibbon's best art ever. He really raised his game on that series and some of the best stuff he did, like the segues between panels, were things that you hadn't seen much in comics before.
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