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"are superheroes as a concept...silly?", 7th Oct 2018, 4:52 PM #1
ewolf20

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like superheroes were founded on the foundation of wearing spandex and flying around fighting crime. i don't why i asked, i just sometimes wonder why some folks loathe superheroes so much. i guess maybe tropes like white and black morality, crazy storylines,other things turn some people off.
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7th Oct 2018, 4:58 PM #2
MK_Wizard

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Imagination in general is all about being far fetched and having fun with it, so maybe the concept is silly, but it's silliness that's fun and can carry deep meaningful message.
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7th Oct 2018, 5:01 PM #3
Kelsey -Nutty- P.
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Superheroes actually go as far back as, say, Hercules, or Robin Hood. They exist so people had characters to look to for justice, and doing what's right.

Superheroes like Superman maybe be considered the prototypical superhero, with their tendency for spandex and fighting crimes, but their themes are so much more than that.

I dunno, I just think it's important to consider their impact, is all.
7th Oct 2018, 5:07 PM #4
Sikyanakotik
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Yeah, a little. That's what makes them fun!
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7th Oct 2018, 5:18 PM #5
inky
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they areeee

that makes me think: i kinda want to see the silliness in the aesthetic of the superheroes match that of the world they're placed in, with more theatrical performances and overdramatic themes, kinda à la german expressionism

it would come off immediately as a parody to most people though
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7th Oct 2018, 5:23 PM #6
Paulie Blade

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Nothing wrong with them being a little silly. Or, as I would put it, intentionally over the edge. All that readers need to do it simply suspend their disbelief. Comic books don't need to be 100% realistic.

For instance, my current book has a very mature theme and is more or less serious. But as someone who grew up reading superhero books, I do have a dream of creating an absolute spandex-filled book one day (it will be a superhero team, though, since the idea of roster rotations gives me goosebumps).
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7th Oct 2018, 5:40 PM #7
keiiii

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ewolf20:other things turn some people off.

This is a characteristic shared by every genre under the sun, honestly. Nothing will ever please everyone!
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7th Oct 2018, 6:05 PM #8
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as a huge superhero fan since childhood, I'm obviously biased, but I loathe people who loathe superheroes. it's fine if they don't like the genre or specific tropes, but why do they always have to be insufferable about it? they make it sound like liking superheroes is a crime >:(

salt:


here's the thing that goes over every hater's head, though: comics aren't supposed to be realistic, nor should they be. silliness is fun. fiction was always supposed to take us to wonderful places and make us laugh, and comics are especially good at that. creators who think "realistic" (aka angsty, edgy and political) comics are better are just wrong. granted, realistic superhero stories can be done very well, but they shouldn't become the overall goal of a whole superhero universe.
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7th Oct 2018, 6:06 PM #9
authorloremipsum

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You won't make everyone happy, and I think people who hate superheroes hate the idea of people who do good just to do good, at its simplest.
well, that and impossible powers and silly costumes
but fun is more important than looking silly! so HAVE FUN
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7th Oct 2018, 6:51 PM #10
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Pretty much, which is why I've always leaned toward your Tick/Freakazoid/Deadpool types. It's silly, own it.
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7th Oct 2018, 6:52 PM #11
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In their modern incarnation they're totally silly, I agree. That's alright of course, not everything needs to be able to be taken absolutely seriously. Still, I suppose that's why there are so many pieces about "how superhero X could help the world MUCH BETTER with their powers instead of putting on a costume and beating up people".

I even once went to a talk in college that was all about deconstructing Magneto's powers, it was hilarious
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7th Oct 2018, 7:08 PM #12
Fluffythespider
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authorloremipsum:You won't make everyone happy, and I think people who hate superheroes hate the idea of people who do good just to do good, at its simplest.


Playing devil's advocate, sometimes people just don't like a genre. Just because you don't like fantasy doesn't mean that it's because you have a problem with unicorns, for example. Or at least not an active hatred of what they are and what they stand for. Especially such a narrow genre as modern superhero stories.

Of course superheroes are silly as a concept, but silly isn't a bad thing. I think the more successful stories have leaned into that. Usually I really don't like super serious superhero movies, but I'm also not a huge consumer of them, so maybe I've just missed all the really good ones.
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7th Oct 2018, 7:29 PM #13
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Yes, they are.
It's just some people like them anyway and some don't.
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7th Oct 2018, 8:00 PM #14
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Fluffythespider:Playing devil's advocate, sometimes people just don't like a genre. Just because you don't like fantasy doesn't mean that it's because you have a problem with unicorns, for example. Or at least not an active hatred of what they are and what they stand for. Especially such a narrow genre as modern superhero stories.

yup, not liking a genre is as normal and meaningless as not liking a color. it just happens. that's alright.

my theories are specifically about hardcore haters, though. they go further than just disliking the genre. it's clear they have a problem with superheroes, but I have no idea whether it is for the reasons I mentioned earlier, or aversion to altruism (that's probably one of the reasons the dark 90s happened), or something else. and I'm honestly not that interested in finding out. as long as they don't throw their "superphobia" in my face, I don't really care.
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"No!", 7th Oct 2018, 9:58 PM #15
CrosEL

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ewolf20: i just sometimes wonder why some folks loathe superheroes so much. i guess maybe tropes like white and black morality, crazy storylines,other things turn some people off.


I hafta assume it's because it's been done-to-death? It got boring and easy to predict in most cases, and only super-fans could keep up with the (almost exclusive?!y for fan made) movies and other media.

But if you take a SERIOUS look at the idea: people who have a advantage over most, or even the rest of humanity and choosing to do what's right, is apparently based to do. Depending on how you look at it, Superheroes could be a goofy trope, or... A inspiration!

I'm trying to do a Superhero thing now, and taking a concept I once saw as idiocy, seriously: made me realize the trope's simply a more action oriented version of what few people try to do in real life.
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7th Oct 2018, 11:28 PM #16
Steven-Vincent

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If done right, they're not silly. If done wrong, they are.

The type of good-vs-evil morality that typifies the superhero genre has gone out of fashion in the last few decades, and so classic superhero stories are considered trite. There is a growing percentage of the population, especially in the creative world, that subscribes to a more nihilistic philosophy. One apparent characteristic of the nihilist is to consider anyone who doesn't share his or her perspective to be "naive" or, to use the OP's word, "silly." I have had a good friend of mine characterize the "no good and evil only shades of gray" philosophy as "mature" and "sophisticated" and "realistic."

I don't think it's any of those things. But those who do, will no doubt consider things like Christopher Reeve Superman as "silly."

Millions of people like those traditional superheroes just fine, however, so whether they're "silly" or not is really a matter of opinion.
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7th Oct 2018, 11:40 PM #17
GMan003
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We must make a distinction between "superpowered heroes", "costumed vigilantes", and "DC/Marvel/imitation superheroes".

Superpowered heroes are an ancient trope. All we've really done is swap "parent was a god or demigod" with "there was a science mishap" or "fucking magic, who cares?". Nothing really wrong with it. Whether it's silly depends on how it's played. You can do it fully serious, you can do it as a complete farce, and anything in between.

Costumed vigilantes are kind of silly. I mean, sure, if you're going around doing illegal stuff, even for a good purpose, you'll try to disguise yourself. But the realistic costume would be dark jeans, black turtleneck and balaclava, not spandex, and you'd be much more likely to fight crime with guns than cinematic kung-fu fights. That sort of story does exist (Tom Clancy's "Without Remorse" is a perfect fit), but nobody describes it as "superheroic".

DC or Marvel superheroes, of any era, or anything trying to be like they are or were, are silly as hell. What varies is whether the comic is in on the joke. Sometimes they are - I feel like Jack Kirby was fully aware of how campy and un-serious his stories were. Sometimes we're laughing at them and not with them - almost anything in the 90s, for instance, when it was all super-grimdark angsty sex and violence.

But the tropes of that specific genre are just inherently silly. The costumes? Silly. The dialogue? Silly. The villains are silly. The heroes are silly. "Oh no, my wife has cancer and even though I'm a doctor I'm not good enough to save her in time... I know, I'll cryogenically freeze her and then somehow become a crime lord?" - and Mr. Freeze is considered one of the more serious and grounded villains in Batman's rogues' gallery.

Silly can be fine. But the biggest problem is that Marvel/DC-style superheroes are just kind of bad.

Matt Comics:I often theorized that such people have a massive inferiority complex and thus loathe the idea of anyone making them look weak with their superhuman powers, even fictional characters, but this can't possibly explain every case of superhero hater. superphobia (yes, I just made that word up) is also a possibility, because some people hate supernatural beings for no good reason, and loathing superheroes would just be a modern version of "let's kill those fairies and imps because they're so much cooler than us and we can't stand it". but again, I doubt it's the only reason.

here's the thing that goes over every hater's head, though: comics aren't supposed to be realistic, nor should they be. silliness is fun. fiction was always supposed to take us to wonderful places and make us laugh, and comics are especially good at that. creators who think "realistic" (aka angsty, edgy and political) comics are better are just wrong. granted, realistic superhero stories can be done very well, but they shouldn't become the overall goal of a whole superhero universe.


As someone who really doesn't like superheroes, in the "DC, Marvel, or wishing it was one of them" sense, allow me to explain why, instead of you just guessing.

It isn't that they're overpowered. I enjoy the story of Magic: The Gathering of late, and it's got a lot of the superhero elements. You've got a team of ridiculously powerful magic-users - one who's literally indestructible, a super-telepath, an overpowered-even-for-the-setting necromancer, and a couple others - going around the multiverse fighting evil, ranging from eldritch world-eating abominations to millennia-old dragons.

I don't care about it being silly. I play video games, I can deal with camp and surrealism. Every JRPG story is "a bunch of spunky teens and their talking animal companion use the power of friendship to kill God" and it's wonderful. Mario is a plumber that eats various mushrooms to gain powers so he can rescue a princess from a giant lizard, and I love it.

I don't care about the "black-and-white morality" you talk about. I like Star Trek: TNG, the most optimistic bright-future scifi ever filmed. The Federation is a force for capital-g Good, spreading peace and democracy and learning through the galaxy. And while some enemies can be turned to friends, there are some that are just capital-e Evil and that's that. And I'm perfectly fine with it.

No, what I dislike is that they just suck.

I tried reading DC once. New 52 had started like a year before, I figured a reboot was the perfect chance to get into it. Nope. There's still massive piles of characters that you have to know. Four different Robins or ex-Robins running around. Heaps of melodrama. The dialogue was stilted, no flow to it. The plots were stretched out, to fill more issues. At some point there was a big crossover event, which consisted of everyone else's story getting set aside for one issue so Batman's could take precedence - shafting everyone else. The art was well-executed but lacked artistry - like, they clearly spent a lot of effort on it but there was nothing creative going on.

And the "continuity" was all over the place. The story would freely ignore stuff that happened a few months ago, but might randomly decide "hey, this story from two decades ago is once again relevant". You both needed an encyclopedic knowledge of the lore, and a willingness to completely ignore it when needed. There was nothing of lasting consequence because they can't really alter the characters. Arcs would get reset, any actual growth or progress was merely illusory.

(I did a similar test with Marvel, same results.)

Some of those things I've criticized are considered staples of the genre. Overly-long mid-fight expository dialogue? That's not seen as a flaw, it's seen as one of those charming features that prove it's a Real Comic-Lover's Comic. The overdone moralizing? Who cares if it's completely incongruous with the actual story, it's part of the appeal. The lack of any lasting character arcs? It's because they're timeless! The bright spandex costumes? Used to be there just to make it cheaper to print, now they're just there because comic readers hate change.

Despite this, I do enjoy adaptations of superhero comics. I've watched every MCU film, the Dark Knight trilogy, and the Teen Titans cartoon, and I've played through the entire Arkham quadrilogy (yes, even Origins), and I clearly enjoyed them all. Moving to a different medium forced them to drop all of those legacy conventions - and divorcing from the massive churn of actual serial comics let them tell an actual story. There's arcs. Things happen and then the consequences stay there. Even when they're being mostly ignored (Batman's leg in TDKR), there's at least an acknowledgement of it (a small scene showing a bionic aid).

And, clearly, I enjoy the comic medium. Non-superhero comics are fine - Sandman was awesome, if a bit confusing, and I literally read over a hundred active webcomics. (Plus kinda made my own once). But none of them try to be Marvel or DC superheroes, because that's just not something you want to aspire to.

I think it's the result of several successive iterations of fanboys-become-creators. You get into the comics industry if you grew up obsessed with comics, and you make the kind of comics you grew up on, with maybe a few changes. We're on what, fifth-generation comickers now? Things that were just artifacts of the medium or the process have turned into laws of the genre. And after enough of that, your only making comics for True Superhero Comics Readers, and nobody else... and thus the next generation simply can't make something that appeals to anyone but True Superhero Comics Readers. I can make the same criticism of a lot of anime - things they do not because they're good ideas, but because it's How You Do It.
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8th Oct 2018, 12:06 AM #18
ewolf20

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I can understand that sentiment. Comics from dc and marvel are hard to fully understand. I tried once, only to say suck it and never bother.

Indie comics on the other hand have less of this problem. It's just that most are in the mindset that comic equals superheroes. People who quit the medium and go to places like manga (a medium I'm personally not into). They believe there is no such thing as slice of life comics, comedy, high fantasy, etc. I find these people absolutely stupid and possibly full on weebaboo converts. If you're a avid reader of manga, that is cool. Just please don't be "anything Japan makes is awesome".
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8th Oct 2018, 12:06 AM #19
Steven-Vincent

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GMan003:I tried reading DC once. New 52 had started like a year before


That was your big mistake. The New 52 is utter sewage. I say this as someone who for years as a child was a DC fan (back when comic-books were actually good).

You've perfectly described the awfulness of the New 52. And this description fits all current, or as I call it, "Dark" age, Marvel and DC comics. But things weren't always like this. Both DC and Marvel used to put out good stuff, once upon a time.

Present-day comics are hampered by two things: First, the writers are terrible. They do not have the talent or cleverness of the old guard. And they are utterly disrespectful of that past material, precisely because even they (the DC/Marvel writers) think that superheroes are "silly." They don't respect their own source material so how can they do it justice?

But even worse, it doesn't matter if the writers are any good or not because the writers don't control the story -- marketing does. Plots are written by the marketing execs now, not by the writers. Comic-books are little more than click-bait anymore. And since even one movie makes more money in a few weeks of release than the entire Marvel or DC line will make in several years, the comics are just IP farms for the movie producers now.

So, you won't find much that's any good on the stands anymore, and haven't been able to for years. People like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Jason Aaron -- the "top writers" of today? -- they're all hacks. They have no idea how ton construct a story, execute a plot, or write dialogue. It's all universally terrible.

But it wasn't always thus. Back in the 70s and 80s, the "bronze age," comics had some pretty damn amazing writers. Bill Mantlo (Rom and Micronauts -- comics based on toys of all things). Doug Moench. Paul Levitz (during his original LSH run). Walt Simonson (his Thor remains the greatest run in the history of superhero comics, IMO). Barbara Kesel. Mary Jo Duffy. These people knew what they were doing back then. They wrote great stories that kept you turning pages and coming back to the comic shops.

But most of those people are gone from comics. The few still employed, like Levitz, don't turn out what they used to anymore. Either they've lost their touch, or (more likely) aren't allowed to write the stories like they used to because the marketing department won't let them.

But that's all just a pathological situation within modern print comics. It's not really got anything to do with superheroes, as a genre. The same happens to any storytelling process when you put the marketing department in charge. Just look at the new Star Wars movies as another example.
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8th Oct 2018, 12:25 AM #20
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Some objective personal observations about the perceived silliness of superheroes:
(Emphasis on "objective" here! I don't mean to disrespect the genre, I am just trying to describe my gut feelings about it!)

When it comes to superheroes, I would describe myself to be more in the "casual fan" corner. Which means that I never got into reading the comics much, but I enjoy watching superhero-themed TV series and movies.
A fandom I am more invested in however is Star Trek.
Over the years, there have been several comics which are crossovers between Star Trek and superhero franchises (like e.g. X-Men), and in my mind that... just doesn't really fit.
So, the superhero genre by itself is perfectly OK for me, but it becomes too silly in combination with other genres.
Meanwhile, I am perfectly aware that there are many aspects of Star Trek that could likewise be considered silly. But, as far as my personal "willing suspension of disbelief" is concerned, it's a different "level" of silliness, if that makes any sense...
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