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Joe Hollon
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 5:36pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Making Man-Thing furry, sentient and communicative
misses the point. Why didn't Stine create another
character?

*******

It was mind blowing to me. He must have not known
anything about the character and they just let him make
up whatever he wanted. I kept thinking there was going
to be some alternate reality explanation or
something....nope.
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Valmor J. Pedretti
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 6:02pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It's weird to me that when I was younger Cyclops would always be one of my favorite characters and my friends would mock me for it.

Everybody liked the "cool" ones. Logan, Gambit or even Bishop (ok, I loved Cable!).

Then after I stopped collecting, a friend told me what had happened to Cyclops and how he was pretty much a villain those days.

So glad I stopped. Still love the character for what I remember him to be.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 January 2018 at 6:06pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

When I was young, Cyclops WAS the cool X-Man! See how much damage can be done by a character being poorly handled!
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Of the original X-Men, I've often considered which ones could or couldn't support a solo feature.

Two keep coming to mind that wouldn't make it without some substantial changes. I don't think that Angel or Professor X would be very good on their own.

That doesn't mean that a solo feature wouldn't work with a feature about a man whose powers are flying and some vague bird-ish traits, or a telepath... or even a man in a wheelchair.

But Charles Xavier just seems to work only in a team setting - which isn't a bad thing.

Similarly, I don't think the Angel is a good solo character. We all know characters whose only power is flight (winged or not) who can hold a feature... but I don't think that Warren Worthington III is one of those. There are very defined aspects to his character, but I'm not sure they all add up to a regular strip holding a lot of attention... unless, of course, his character was radically modified. Archangel might be a good book.

Also, I noticed something at 90s Marvel (and DC to a lesser degree) that I saw in late 60s DC comics. Characters of every name, type, power, smell, etc. got either their own ongoing or limited series. A metric crap-ton of X-Men, supporting characters, villains, etc.

I think about series like "The Creeper", "Hawk and the Dove", "Metamorpho", "Secret Six", etc. that DC put out for public consumption. This big difference is that a lot (not all, granted) got a tryout in one of DCs two "audition" books - Showcase or Brave and the Bold. Marvel had a lot of "feature" books that were like this, but I don't remember a lot of those post-speculator-boom Marvel titles that had try outs... it seemed like the House of Idea just flung #1s at the wall to see what would stick. So I guess the "unsalvagable" idea is a little different for a publisher...
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 12:56pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Julie Schwartz once said that after they'd done the first six issues of THE ATOM they realized all the stories were told.

***

I would always defer to talented writers where possible. I just feel there are many opportunities for small characters. Almost every household item I can think of can be a death-trap for the likes of the Atom (toasters, vacuum cleaners). There's the pet cat, too. And a small communal garden like the one outside my apartment block is a "jungle" to the likes of the Atom. 

But I don't, of course, have experience of writing superhero characters so could be wrong. 
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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 10 January 2018 at 1:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Similarly, I don't think the Angel is a good solo character.

Gambit's maybe had four years' worth of comics spread out over a few different series, and Deadpool and Cable were in the right place at the right time, but the founding X-Men and the All-New, All-Different X-Men (apart from Wolverine, obviously) haven't had much luck as solo characters.

That being said, I could see Angel as a solo character easily enough. He's a founding member of the X-Men, he's a billionaire playboy, his family has connections to the Hellfire Club...there's a lot to work with there. Build up a supporting cast at his corporate headquarters or have him start up a non-profit that helps new mutants and you don't have to make his wings "carry" the whole book.
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David Schmidt
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 7:36am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

We should do the same thread with vilains.
Look what they did to Magneto!

I must say that Cyclops was my favorite hero too as soon as I read my first X-Men book.

Then he married his lost love clone...


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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I must say that Cyclops was my favorite hero too as soon as I read my first X-Men book.

Then he married his lost love clone...

There are advantages to being an old geezer like me! My first X-Men comic was the first issue, back in the Sixties. I had years of the real, unmucked Cyclops (even if the stories themselves were sometimes less than stellar).

When he really started to slide off the tracks, I think, was when Shooter insisted the character be drawn big and beefy, so he would "look like a hero!" (Ironically, this was all turned around by the time X-FACTOR came along, and Shooter decided "Slim" Summers was the way to go!)

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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Andrew F., I considered all the factors about Angel that you presented, and I just couldn't see stories that would be interesting enough to maintain a readership. Again... that's as he started (or, let's say, as of GSXM #1. Change him around, and sure - the whole (anti-)point of this post is about characters being interesting with modifications.

That being said... I'm not a comic writer. Messrs. Byrne, Simonson, Stern, Waid, etc. could likely make a very tasty pie out of Warren and his adventures.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Reminder: No quotes from Wikipedia. No exceptions.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

When Angel was introduced, along with the other X-Men, I don't think there were that many flying superheroes. I mean, let's see:

the Human Torch (thanks for the reminder, JB!!)
Namor the Sub-Mariner
Ant-Man, who rode a flying ant (not exactly under his own power)
Thor, who flew by grabbing onto his hammer
Wasp, who shrank down to use her wingsand... who am I missing?

Including the Hulk, who had the power to fly for one issue (another tip of the hat to the Chief!), that's... seven heroes. So clearly, early Marvel didn't have a lot of skybound characters.

But now...? Heck, lots of superfolks fly. Angel's big problem is that there's not very much that makes him special AS a flyer. His signature ability, constrained as it by needing wings to work, is upstaged by a raft of newer characters.

That's not to say he couldn't be made to work as a solo character, but if you start from the notion that he's lost what made him really different, there's some obstacles to deal with. And it's almost certainly why he's gone through so many drastic changes, from Archangel/Death to mind-wiped Angel to "wings of fire" Angel. Seems like even in the team books, they don't know what to do with him.

Edited by Andrew Bitner on 11 January 2018 at 2:37pm
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 12:57pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Oh, we might add Iron Man, who "flew" in the old days by means of magnetic levitation, but it wasn't exactly true flight. Nowadays the guy can zip around the world like a ballistic missile...

Let's see Angel keep up with that!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Human Torch?

And the Hulk -- for one issue!

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Andrew W. Farago
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Andrew F., I considered all the factors about Angel that you presented, and I just couldn't see stories that would be interesting enough to maintain a readership. Again... that's as he started (or, let's say, as of GSXM #1. Change him around, and sure - the whole (anti-)point of this post is about characters being interesting with modifications.

I don't think I suggested anything that changed the character, just a change in surroundings. When Gomer Pyle was spun off from the Andy Griffith show, they didn't keep him in Mayberry, but the character stayed the same. Wolverine's solo book moved him to Madripoor so that he wouldn't just be hanging out at the X-Mansion all the time, right?

As far as flight being his lone power, look to books like Hawkman and see what worked and what didn't. A one-on-one aerial battle with another "just flying" villain? A battle of wits against a heavily armed opponent like the Titanium Man? Angel's power tends to work best in a big group battle against a bunch of villains, one of whom also has the power of flight, so the trick is making a conflict like that interesting enough to be the centerpiece of an issue.


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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

 Robbie Parry wrote:
I would always defer to talented writers where possible. I just feel there are many opportunities for small characters. Almost every household item I can think of can be a death-trap for the likes of the Atom (toasters, vacuum cleaners). There's the pet cat, too. And a small communal garden like the one outside my apartment block is a "jungle" to the likes of the Atom.


But that's kind of the problem. All those examples are situations where your super-power just makes yourself a lot easier to kill. Doesn't play well into the "wish fulfillment" element of super-hero comics. :-)
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 6:54pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
Of the original X-Men, I've often considered which ones could or couldn't support a solo feature.

Two keep coming to mind that wouldn't make it without some substantial changes. I don't think that Angel or Professor X would be very good on their own.


This kind of goes back to my original comment - how long do they have to support a solo feature for it to "count"? They'd both be pretty offbeat, but various talented creators could probably put together a solid run of 25-50 issues for either of them that embrace who they are rather than work against it.

(Professor X is a little trickier given that his whole reason for being is to teach the X-Men, so it becomes a question of how much a change of context can be seen as "changing the character.")

One of the better DC Comics of the 90s was the Jack Knight Starman, who had an 81 issue series with a clear beginning, middle and end and hasn't been seen since. Pretty solid run there.

It's not like our only options are "able to support a solo book indefinitely" or "eh, don't bother."
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

But for the same of this discussion, it is "able to support a solo book" - except that I tried to specify "feature" and not "book." I mean, technically Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk didn't get a solo book for a while (or didn't have it for long.) But their features were as popular as water.

Look at Superman or Daredevil (for example), and try to determine what was changed to make them must-have books. While there were changes, I'm not sure I would call them "radical." 

I was wondering who couldn't make it into that rarefied atmosphere unless changed so much that it might be hard to recognize them.

There is no question at all that any character can be made mega-popular... Messrs. Adams and Byrne are entirely correct.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 12:52pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

 Dave Phelps wrote:
But that's kind of the problem. All those examples are situations where your super-power just makes yourself a lot easier to kill. Doesn't play well into the "wish fulfillment" element of super-hero comics. :-)

I understand your point. 

To be honest, maybe shrinking better suits a non-superhero character. If I could shrink, I'd love to turn my bath into a "giant swimming pool". Maybe I could turn my wardrobe into a "mountain" to climb. It'd be good fun.

But I suppose there can be limited uses for it, although there are many uses, e.g. shrinking to break into a bad guy's lair, shrinking to enter the brain of a robot that is out of control, etc. 
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 5:30am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I'm guessing DC won't be bringing back ISIS any time soon.
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 7:16am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I'd much rather read a good book featuring the original X-Men than any
other incarnation of the team. The Beast is my favorite member of that early
group, followed by an "unrefined" Iceman.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 January 2018 at 6:31pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Same here, Wallace. I'm trying to get my hands on as many early X-Men issues as I can (well, in a sense, via reprints). 

I agree about an "unrefined" Iceman, too.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 15 January 2018 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Didn't a thinly veiled reimagining of Isis just appear on Legends of Tomorrow as Zari Adrianna Tomaz, a variation on the character's original name of Andrea Thomas? Erica Durance's Lois Lane was possessed by the spirit of Isis on a late season episode of Smallville as well.

The local Isis spiritual bookstore in my city which had been in operation for decades recently changed it's name to Goddess. That's really all that would be needed to bring the character back in the comics.

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