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Jim Lynch
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Posted: 06 April 2018 at 8:25pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

42 points to Wallace.
----------------------------------------

Finally I get the reference, and I can't think of a single witty rejoinder. I'm a complete kneebiter.  
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Richard Stevens
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 7:12am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

What bugs me is people thinking Mr. Fantastic has the worst powers in the FF. They're not *flashy* and everyone else has more offensive ability, but I wouldn't turn them down.

Putting aside how useful stretching would be in real life and how quickly he could get around a city, he's super hard to hurt by conventional means! He's pretty darn resistant to punches, knives, falls, car accidents, etc. You'd pretty much have to burn or electrocute him.

Even without his brain, you could be an amazing stuntman, do search and rescue no one else could, help with disaster relief, squeeze into machinery for repair work... or even do massive artwork with ease!

Stretching and shape shifting would be practical as hell.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 7:17am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I've not encountered criticism of Reed's powers, save that there are some who consider them "gross".
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 8:16am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

And certainly, almost any super power depends on perfect control of it. What good would super strength be if you couldn't use your strength just as you do know? Picking up a can of soda could be troublesome.

Flight is a great fantasy power, but realistically, it has a LOT of drawbacks. Flight speed would be an issue. I got windburnt once in a convertible... I doubt flight would be much better.
"I'd wear a protective suit and mask." All right. As noted, breathing at those high speeds would be tough.
"If I had to fly that fast, I'd get scuba gear." Fine. How would you know where you are? From 50 feet up, you might recognize your own neighborhood. Once you get a couple miles away... then what?
"I can just use my GPS." What if it's a cloudy day, or you fly into clouds... and you can't tell if you're right side up or not? If you defy gravity, then by definition, up and down become kinda arbitrary. Underwater, one can watch air bubbles to see which direction is up. In mid-air, maybe not so much.

That's just a consideration for one power. Some other considerations...
With super strength, if you don't have a degree of invulnerability, it's useless after a couple hundred pounds. Weight lifters hurt themselves in competitions... unless you were REALLY careful, you'd tell yourself apart.

Bulletproof/invulnerability - even if you didn't take damage from bullets, they'd still knock you all over the place. Inertia is a harsh mistress.

Super intelligence - I've long thought about this, and pondered... it would be horribly lonely. How well would Reed Richards fare if he didn't have a Henry Pym or Tony Stark to relate to? To be the ONLY super mind in the world? It might be like living among chimps.

Telepathy - without perfect control (or maybe even with), if you don't have a way to shut it off... your life becomes hell. Voices in your head ALL THE TIME... insanity probably follows soon.

Shucks, even Aquaman powers... if you can't find your way underwater, you might be stuck in the middle of the ocean for the rest of your life. Without a radar-type sense, going down much past thirty or forty feet would be a dark atmosphere with no visibility.

Not to disdain any of these powers in the comics... but again, these are details that no one should contemplate in that genre. In the real world... there are a lot of aspects.

Mind you, I LOVE this discussion... I like to see what people would want and how they would treat it. Good topic.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 8:18am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Mr. Fantastic's elasticity would be pretty amazing depending on the level of control you have.  We've seen him use it for the obvious things like stretching and entering through small openings, plus being able to disguise himself, to have increased lung capacity, for resistance to puncture and abrasion, to form simple shapes like parachutes and to absorb impact without any harm.

Would you be able to do things like enhance your circulatory system?  Endure pressure at deep depths under water?  Survive in the vacuum of space unaided for extended periods of time?

Of course my brain also wants answers to the practical problems like how would you trim your nails and cut your hair if you're totally immune to being cut in any way?  Would you be prone to overeating?  How would your circulatory system work if your body was stretched to its limits?

Of the four FF members I think originally Reed Richards was given the best deal - although with the expansion of Sue's powers over the years, she became the most powerful, especially when you consider the limitations on her in the beginning.  Also Ben's powers came with a terrible price and the use of Johnny's powers on people would be rather horrifying.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 8:59am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

When working on FANTASTIC FOUR, I pushed rather heavily on the emphasis of Sue's powers. A previous writer had had her use her force field to knock out the Hulk by cutting off his air, and I referenced that several times during my run. Unfortunately it was one of the few instances where other writers had really thought about what she could do. (Some artists had treated her as a variant on Green Lantern, which wasn't quite right.)

One of my first innovations was having her use her force field in a manner similar to Iceman's slides, and that worked well.

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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

One of my first innovations was having her use her force field in a manner similar to Iceman's slides, and that worked well.

I don't know if this really counts as "innovative," but visually, one of my favorite moments was when you had a very pregnant Sue use her force field to catch paint that had fallen off a ladder and then pour it back into the can. 
It was a "smaller" moment, but drawn beautifully.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

That’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole run!!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 11:07am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I don't remember that -- but I will happily take credit for it!
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 11:31am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Hm. Not a good period for my inking.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 12:21pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Would it bother you if I said it was one of my favorite periods for your inking?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

We'd just have to agree to disagree! :)
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 1:50pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Johnny's powers would be useful for one reason that I can think of: Barbecue restaurant. He could fire those pits up real quick!

(I can think of other useful applications, but that's what I'd do with them.)

Now, what I want to know is, if Johnny goes to the beach, is he immune to getting sunburned?


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Richard Stevens
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 5:39pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I'd love to see a Johnny Storm take on those liquid salt-based solar power plants. Maybe one of his hobbies is helping to reduce atmospheric carbon by keeping a city or two fueled up, preferably somewhere disadvantaged that needs the help.
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Jim Petersman
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply


"Hm. Not a good period for my inking."
___________________________________

Here's where my art ignorance stymies my understanding. You were both penciller and inker on this issue. What is it you see in the inking specifically that bothers or disappoints you, JB? 

I ask because my brain doesn't seem to be able to differentiate the inking from the total drawing. Or, quite possibly, I don't really understand inking.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 7:00pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

T'is enough to say I am dissatisfied. More would just be feeding the trolls.
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Jean-Francois Joutel
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 7:36pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Hm. Not a good period for my inking.

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

You were pretty busy those days. Writing the Thing; writing and illustrating Alpha Flight; writing and illustrating Fantastic Four, and doing a whole bunch of unaffiliated covers (probably forgetting some other stuff too). Not since Kirby have I seen a person carry so much on their plate.

Back to the original topic, I thought the Mystery Men had some pretty good observations on useless powers. Especially the invisibility, so long as no one is looking at him.
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Not useless at all, but I always felt Angel had the
'worst' power, followed by Cannonball. Would be glad to
have those powers myself, but in a world of superheroes
I would have felt like I got the short end of the stick.
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:18pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

It's the same with movies. The amount of times characters have been thrown through glass windows, jumped off buildings and grabbed onto something without having their arms ripped off and jumped out of moving cars without a scratch but yet we still go and watch films and TV shows. They're there to entertain. If films / TV shows were realistic they'd last maybe a minute and be very very boring.

____________________________________

Trevor, I agree with everything you said. One of the things that I really hate about most modern superhero comics from the Big 2 and most of the live action film and TV adaptions is that the comics creators,filmmakers, and show runners keep trying to make this stuff as realistic as possible. I especially hate how Hollywood feels the need to make superhero films more "grounded" and "realistic" so that they can appeal to non comic book readers, but then turn around and make action flicks with ordinary people who are doing "superhuman" feats.
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Jim Petersman
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:51pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

"T'is enough to say I am dissatisfied. More would just be feeding the trolls."
___________________________

I hear you. 

So that I don't drift the thread again, I'll choose Cloud from the Defenders as a pretty useless power as far as the Marvel Universe goes. There's a She-Hulk guest star if I ever did see one.
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:56pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Thomas - the Angel's power of flight wasn't so unimpressive in 1963 when Marvel's stable of heroes included flyers like Iron Man, Thor, the Wasp, Doctor Strange and the Human Torch.

Over the years when more and more powerful heroes were introduced he became much more irrelevant.  At least Hawkman had an arsenal of weapons to fall back on.  For a brief period of time the Angel had Hercules' mace, but eventually it was deemed necessary to give him a power boost and secondary mutation.

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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 08 April 2018 at 6:10am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I believe "R.and R." was the first FF story I read (if not, it was the second). In the second page, the powers of half the team were not only introduced (for newcomers), but also in new, fresh ways (for long-time readers). Very well done. JB!

Edited by Mario Ribeiro on 08 April 2018 at 6:11am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2018 at 6:19am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Thanks! I made it a rule that in each issue the four main characters would use their powers and call each other by several variants of their names.

Becomes a bit clumsy when the stories are collected, but at the time that wasn't anything to worry about. "Writing for the trade" was an affectation still years in the future.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 April 2018 at 6:24am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

You were pretty busy those days. Writing the Thing; writing and illustrating Alpha Flight; writing and illustrating Fantastic Four, and doing a whole bunch of unaffiliated covers (probably forgetting some other stuff too). Not since Kirby have I seen a person carry so much on their plate.

•••

I've never allowed my work load to affect the quality. But other factors -- such as spending my whole career fighting with my line -- have definitely had negative impact over the years.

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