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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 14 August 2018 at 8:59am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Plus one cameo appearance of Nomad in the Avengers.

William F. - why not keep the original hero and create a new one? Because no one wants to be first and everyone wants to be second. As my friend Mr. Hague noted... " 'regular' readers are pretty much just fans of the logo and the name." A new character would likely either be a somewhat duplicate example of an existing hero, such as Captain America or Superman, and considered a rip off of an existing hero; or it would be an original character* and written off as an entirely unknown entity not worthy of attention when the readers want to buy the latest duplicate of Daredevil (but he's deaf! And Jewish! IT'S AMAZING!)

If there were new audience, then I think there would be room for new comics and characters. Shucks, if Marvel ended up wagging the dog, there might even be a market for new characters introduced in the movies. It makes me miss "Showcase" and "The Brave and the Bold" - DC's old tryout comics.

But right now, my impression is that the reader base is the one that's been around, and that wants to see THEIR characters in THEIR type of stories. New is anathema to them, and won't attract their dollars.

*And yes, there are plenty enough original concepts left for super heroes and villains.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 14 August 2018 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Andrew Bitner wrote:
Thanks for the correction, Colin. Still, that's a grand total of eight issues. And nobody stepped into the role in his absence,


Poor Roscoe. Boy gets no respect. :-)


 QUOTE:
Marvel didn't rename the book NOMAD... it's a whole other world now than it was then.


Yeah, now #176 would've been the final issue, #177-178 would've been a four part Falcon mini, the "people trying to be Cap" would be a collection of one-shots (and would include name characters), #179-183 would've been a Nomad mini-series, all building to a new Captain America #1 (with 10 variant covers).

I like the old way better.

 William Ferguson wrote:
Why not keep the original hero and instead of doing a knock off of that hero, create a new character?


Depends on the story being told.

From what I understand, Denny O'Neil had Jim Rhodes fill in for Tony Stark for 30(!) issues because he felt Demon in a Bottle ended a little too pat to be realistic. But if Tony Stark is going to hit rock bottom and stay there for a bit, then you need someone running around calling himself Iron Man for the duration.

John Walker Captain America and Jean-Paul Valley Batman were more of the "let's have someone fill-in to show there's only one TRUE <insert hero name>" variety.

Other examples have different reasons, but those cover the two main ones. Either way, you get a different take on an established character without causing permanent damage to the real one and you get to see different sides of the real versions.

With all of these, it the stories are good, they're good, and if they're not, they're not. But it's a card you can't play too often (really shouldn't more than once every two decades or so (if that) as far I'm concerned), so it makes sense to milk the notion as much as you can before restoring the status quo.

As for why not just use new characters, it wouldn't do the same job. Jane Thor isn't just about letting Jane play with the hammer; it's also about how Thor feels about someone else doing something he no longer can. If you just empower Jane, you lose that element of the story. With Superior you need Peter to see someone else living his life and what that other person did better and what that other person did worse or it's not the same story. It would also mean less to readers. Certain characters are "pillars" of their respective universes so there's the appeal of seeing a different character attempting to serve the same function in their own way. Can't do that with a newbie.

Marketing-wise, doing Something Different with an established character can juice sales a bit, and then so can returning them to glory.

Again, my opinions of individual stories vary. John Walker Captain America got me to read the book regularly and I pretty much stuck around for 15 years following before being driven off by the Marvel Knights relaunch. Jane Thor had me deciding to sit it out until the real Thor took back over. (Although this multi-hammer thing seems kind of silly so I don't know if I actually WILL come back.) But it's easy to see both creative and marketing reasons for doing so beyond "too lazy/risk-adverse to create new characters".
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 August 2018 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Mr Phelps makes some valid points, but as stated by someone else, it's the fact they dominate the books for 12-18 months. Or more!

A Hydra-Cap story in 1975 would probably have been 2 or 3 parts. But today it was a dozen or so issues - and lots of tie ins.
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 1:01am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Walt Simonson turned Thor into a frog. A
FROG. We were ok with it because, in total
it appeared in four issues. I respect the
writers need to change it up a bit but
come on.

Attention needs to be paid to the story
before it as well. When they made Hydra-
Cap, we already hadnt had Steve Rogers
Captain America for over a year. Putting
those stories back to back felt like
piling on. Its the reason i stopped
reading Marvel altogether.
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Patrick Lemaire
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 7:28am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

If a character has endured for decades, then there are more than one version of the character that were successful. From my viewpoint the Michelinie/McFarlane Spider-Man was not (and still is not) Lee/Ditko's version (nor is it Lee/Romita's, Lee/Kane's, Conway/Andru's, etc).
The success of Michelinie/McFarlane certainly wasn't owed to being faithful to Lee/Ditko (I didn't like it, that's when I dropped the title)
Slott did many things in his ten-year stint and I enjoyed most of them.
Some of my preferred runs are Untold Tales and Sean McKeever's Mary Jane, so I do like the high school version but that has never prevented me from liking JMS' run (the run that made me return to following the character).

Now, the thread title is about the Hulk. Al Ewing decided to return to the horror roots of the character and that works beautifully. I like the Herb Trimpe Hulk, the Buscema Defenders Hulk, Peter David's Hulk, Bruce Jones' Hulk, Jason Aaron's Hulk (with Banner as a crazy Dr Moreau). These are all very different.
With only four issues, Al Ewing may prove to be the best writer. But most people wouldn't consider the Lee/Kirby run as horror. So does that prove the original version is the best? Remember Lee/Kirby Hulk got cancelled after six issues. But I'd say it was because it lacked an identity. Kirby tried to give him more powers with cosmic rays, including the power of flight, which Lee fixed at the writing stage! When you look at it, neither the FF, Spider-Man, Iron Man, nor Thor had a clear identity. They all faced the same array of aliens, monsters and freaks. And then Spider-Man narrowed to urban crime, Thor to mythology, Iron Man to corporate adventure and the FF to sci-fi.
But you have to wonder if what made these characters enduring was the multiple interpretations possible at their inception rather than the precise identity they settled on later.



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Mason Meomartini
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 1:06pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

This whole thread is why I started a similar topic a few weeks ago about whether these gradual distortions of the characters over time was inevitable from the start.  Like computer files transferred from one storage system to another, they slowly build up corrupted data.  It seems there was no way all the people working on these characters for so long could possibly all keep the same understanding intact as they were passed from one team to another.  I wish it could have been.

I think Marvel makes these knock off characters instead of new ones because they know the new ones will just be derivatives of the originals.  The main characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man and the Hulk that Marvel started with use all the fundamental type of powers, visual designs, and personality archetypes that are out there.  The main Marvel heroes are like primary colors.  Everything else can only be a mix of them.  And that's why most new characters and the new knock offs usually fail in their own series, because they're secondary versions of the same elements.  At least they fail in this tiny market.  They're usually going to be weaker variations than the originals.  I love variations of characters or fictional settings like alternative universe stories like the ones in What If? or series like Planetary,Trio, and Triple Helix.  But for Marvel or DC to create new characters that can be even close to the cast they've already been working with for so long, I don't know how they could.  Besides Deadpool, sometimes Cable and Ghost Rider, maybe Darkhawk, and Sleepwalker seemed unique or at least unusual, not many characters from after the 60s or 70s stand out.

I think Marvel editors and creators know there's nothing new left to keep the attention of mostly the same readers they've had for decades.  I'm speaking in terms of the super hero genre.  There are lots of new settings and characters in independent comics.  All Marvel can do is try to split the main heroes into other versions like Red Hulk or Old Man Logan or Ultimate Spider-Man, or create younger versions like Ms. Marvel to pass on as much from the popularity of their original characters as they can.


Edited by Mason Meomartini on 16 August 2018 at 1:07pm
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 7:13pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Old Man Logan is going to be Dead Man Logan within a year, or so I've read. 

Doesn't bug me at all. The LOGAN movie was much better than the comics story that inspired it!

I'd have less of a problem with Miles Morales if he wasn't calling himself "Spider-Man." 
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 7:15pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Also, for the record, I thought JB handled John Walker/U.S. Agent in AVENGERS WEST COAST very, very well. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 16 August 2018 at 7:30pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Miles Morales is an interesting case; Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel went to some considerable trouble to clear a spot for him as the pre-eminent character of their entire Ultimate imprint. He was supposed to be Spider-Man; the one. The only. Accept no others... well, of course they had already vitiated the brand considerably by giving Peter a number of spider-powered friends including a female clone. Nevertheless, Miles was supposed to be that publishing line's go-to Spider-Man.

That the Ultimate line collapsed and was folded into the mainstream Marvel Universe is unfortunate, especially as it kicked Miles back into second-class status. A separate identity all his own in which he might shine might be seen as a good idea, but it could also be seen as the last step in stripping him of his status as the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe.

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William Ferguson
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Posted: 17 August 2018 at 1:31pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Some interesting points being made here. 

When I started this thread, I tried to make the point that I finally understood what John has been saying all these years. John was right about Dan S. not getting it. Dan tried to hold up the changes John made in the FF as a justification of his Spider-man run. Changing Spider-Man alter ego to Doc Ock was wrong, and he carried the story out way too long. 

Where Dan's stories good? To some. I'm not debating that. But he made changes to a character that up until that point everyone knew Spider-Mans alter ego was Peter Parker. 

Same with the Grey Hulk storyline... the Hulk is green, and that storyline was too long also. I honestly didn't care for it.

I get the argument that a new readers introduction to a character is his character. My point is don't make changes to that character that make a character that's been around for decades into something he's not. 

There have been runs on titles that resonate with a group. I get that. But Marvels brand, one that needs to be protected, is each of these characters. 

What characteristics of these characters makes them so appealing for so long? Is it Peter Parker is a guy that can't catch a break but never stops being a superhero? Boil it down to the characters fundamental essence, a specific set of powers, and you have your standard that everyone should follow.

If a creative team can't come up with any original ideas that are within the characters established personality and powers, then they shouldn't be on the title. 
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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 17 August 2018 at 1:55pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Also, for the record, I thought JB handled John Walker/U.S. Agent in AVENGERS WEST COAST very, very well. 

Yeah. That's one of the many character arcs I wish I (we) could have seen played out to its proper end. 
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Mason Meomartini
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Posted: 17 August 2018 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I just realized I kind of made it sound as if variations on the originals are always inferior, but sometimes I like them equally.  With the character or visual similarities to the Fantastic Four in Danger Unlimited, I loved them just as much as who they were based on.  Doesn't matter to me which came first.  Same with some of the characters in Astro City.  Sometimes the appeal for me isn't close to the original.  I like Midnighter and Apollo from The Authority, but not as much as Batman and Superman. They're still pretty good visually though.  With Triple Helix, Trio, and the Conclave, they're just as appealing as the X-Men, FF, and Avengers for me.  Partly because JB's design sense is so great.  These are all based on the original archetypes so are still pretty powerful representations.  In the same way, I think temporary replacement heroes are also visually fascinating, like the example mentioned here with U.S. Agent.  Always loved the costume and how it was similar to Captain America's but an interesting variant.  

It's when Marvel and DC create new characters, still derived from the original templates, but making the variations more distant, as much as they can, with characters like Motormouth and Killpower, or Annex from the 1993 Amazing Spider-Man annual, that things aren't as compelling.  The visuals and basis for the characters aren't lasting.  The further out the variations go, the less power those characters have to grip the audience.  

This has gone into a tangent from the topic that started this, but to bring this back to William's point, that's exactly what I think he's saying about the original main characters.  The further out you go from their original intention and depiction, the more off model you go into variations of their initial depiction, the less appealing and popular they are.  Neil Gaiman noticed this when the Hollywood movies started coming out about ten years ago with the first Hulk movie for example, when he said that it's interesting that there seems to be a correlation between when the movies don't do so well and the director taking characters away from their fundamental characterizations.  Maybe this isn't true in every case.  But it might be accurate most of the time.  

The Hulk is an interesting case because I wonder, even if the comic book market were more mainstream and the hardcore fans weren't the center, would the original Hulk be more popular than the intelligent Hulk?  Peter David wrote about that version for a really long arc that breaks the principle William described here.  What if a later version of a character is more popular with a large audience than the original?  Should the original still be adhered to?


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William Ferguson
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Posted: 17 August 2018 at 10:10pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I remember when the first Hulk movie came out and a reviewer asked how can you make a movie about a green monster that goes around smashing things and make it boring to kids?


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Mason Meomartini
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Posted: 18 August 2018 at 5:44pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Yeah, by trying to make something like an art film out of it.
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William Ferguson
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Posted: 18 August 2018 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

If a character has endured for decades, then there are more than one version of the character that were successful. From my viewpoint the Michelinie/McFarlane Spider-Man was not (and still is not) Lee/Ditko's version (nor is it Lee/Romita's, Lee/Kane's, Conway/Andru's, etc).
The success of Michelinie/McFarlane certainly wasn't owed to being faithful to Lee/Ditko (I didn't like it, that's when I dropped the title)
—————-
It seemed to me that Todd was trying bring his artistic spin to the Ditko Spider-Man... big eye, lanky, awkward poses etc. Also, I don’t remember any story during that run were Spider-man was not Peter Parker.

The title of the thread has less to do with the Hulk then the point that Dan tried to justify what he was doing was okay because of what John had done. 

You liking Dans run is fine. But it proves the point that you enjoyed Doc OCK as Spider-Man. It didn’t bother you that Spider-Man was not Peter Parker, or that Peter became rich and became a character kind of like Tony Stark. 

Spider-Man is Peter Parker and he is far from rich. Two very core elements of the character that should never change for extended periods of time.
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Patrick Lemaire
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 4:52am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

If you decide that your character is going to age, there are going to be changes. "Core elements" is an arbitrary notion. No two people are going to agree on what they are. Peter Parker should be a high-schooler or a student or in the school system could be one of them.
But you miss the points of Dan's plots. First off, there are tons of different versions of Spider-Man around so that at any time you will always have a poor or a Peter P.arker Spider-Man. This is not the 60s anymore when you had only one version and you couldn't depart from the formula.
But even then, second point, Lee and Romita would have Spidey as an amnesiac working with Octopus for a number of issues. Those experiments just last longer and longer because while the average reader stayed for two years then they now stay for twenty.
Third point, by departing from the core elements, you can bring these core elements in focus. Everything Ock did as Spider-Man acted as a reminder of what Parker would do. Not only that but Ock himself kept comparing himself to Parker. This is clever from Dan's because whereas Spider-Man was the odd superhero in the 60s, he's now the standard and has been imitated endlessly. For instance, when Byrne had Spider-Man as a girl, it was certainly (John will correct me if I'm wrong) as a nod that originally Spider-Man was originally a boy posing as a man.

As for Parker being rich, this is just Dan answering to those fans who claim that as an genius adult, Parker shouldn't be written as a constant failure but should be like computer whiz-kids who launch their start-ups as an adult. Dan demonstrates that by prioritizing his Spider-Man life he jeopardizes his Parker life and this has nothing to do with whether he's a teen or an adult.
All along Dan's tenure, and all along Spider-Man's existence, there have been fan commentary on what is proper or not for the character. Modern writers always make comments on their own as part of that continuing debate. Remember when Conway brought back Gwen Stacy to make the point that she was dead?
Maybe I see these things because I teach literature but the readers that made Dan's tenure a success can't be all lit teachers.
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William Ferguson
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 6:46am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Thanks for the response Patrick. Some of the things you point out I get, I just think the stories lasted to long. 

And I have to strongly disagree that the core elements that make a character popular for decades is not arbitrary.

My point is, that as you say there are many Spider-Man around, is the biggest problem Marvel has. 

Imagine you are a writer and told to write stories about a character. You should be give guidelines of whats makes this character unique, guidelines on what you can and can’t do with this character. Similar to the example I gave of brands style guides. 
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William Ferguson
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 6:53am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

As for Parker being rich, this is just Dan answering to those fans who claim that as an genius adult, Parker shouldn't be written as a constant failure but should be like computer whiz-kids who launch their start-ups as an adult.

——————-
Dan shouldn’t answer to fans. Just because Peter is a genius doesn’t mean that life works out for him. Charlie Brown will never kick that football. 
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Peter Parker is rich? How fucking lame. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 9:44am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

"Never give the fans what they THINK they want."

                                                   Stan Lee

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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Wise man, that Stan!
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Trevor Smith
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

"As for Parker being rich, this is just Dan answering to
those fans who claim that as an genius adult..."

**

Hey, wow, it's almost like making him an adult in the
first place was a mistake!
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Parker didn't stay rich for long. His life is as big a mess as ever as of the new AMAZING SPIDER-MAN series written by Nick Spencer, which is really fun so far. (I still can't believe Spencer is writing something I'm really enjoying considering what a wreck SECRET EMPIRE was. Clearly he should write certain characters and not others.)
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Sam Karns
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 4:52pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

How cool would it be if someone hired Mr. Byrne to do a multi-commission piece to flesh out what he wanted to do with the Hulk after issue #319 vol.1?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 August 2018 at 6:09pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

How cool would it be if someone hired Mr. Byrne to do a multi-commission piece to flesh out what he wanted to do with the Hulk after issue #319 vol.1?

••

Ohhh -- let's not start that again!!!!

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