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Off THEIR Minds: Should Good Always Win Over Evil?

Comic book creators give their thoughts on the question.

Before going to C2E2 I put out the question of should good always win over evil? It's something that usually happens in comic books, movies and television. People tend to want a happy ending but if we get that all the time, especially in the serial nature of comic books, things could get predictable and boring. Yet if our heroes were maimed or killed, there wouldn't be a lot of entertainment value if the stories made you depressed. 
 
We had a lot of talk about this in the comments from that original article. Continuing my Off THEIR Minds series where I ask comic book creators questions that I have addressed in the past, I thought it would be interesting to hear what they have to say on the matter. After all, they're the ones that give us the actual stories.  
 
I asked Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, Dennis Calero, Phil Hester, Nick Spencer and Jim McCann this question. 
 == TEASER ==  
    
Stay tuned for more Off THEIR Minds...
78 Comments
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Posted by NightFang

I say the heroes wins should be 60/40 or 50/50. 

Posted by Bestostero

Hurray for Charlie Sheen and winning!
 
They all said no, but their comics say yes....lol jk......well most of the time anyways

Posted by RYU/BATMAN

I think only certain villains should win the battle against a hero

Posted by AFArtist1973

I think that the villains should win maybe 5% of the time. It makes impact of the win more epic. my two cents... Jim

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Depends on the characters really. 
 
If Arcade was to beat the Silver Surfer, then something's amiss.

Posted by stuamerica

I found it interesting that only person person alluded to the parable aspect of most the stories.  We tend to forget the escapism aspects of what we read.
Good should not win every time. However, if evil is shown winning relatively common, then the hero is seen by the readers as exceptionally weak.  Our tolerance as fans for the bad side winning is far less than we like to believe.  Once in a while to prove the villains' strength and remind us that the hero is still fallible is fine, but too much and we write the good guy off as a chump.

Posted by Xenozoic Shaman

Actually, Charlie Sheen doesn't always win, he's bi-winning.  That means he's also bi-losing, unfortunately.  So if Charlie Sheen can have evil/bad win out half the time, then comic books should occasionally too. 
 
Seriously though, I agree with the general assessment that evil should be allowed to win sometimes, so that stories feel more real and plausible.  At the same time, I thought that Phil Hester had a very good point.  Why limit yourself to just good or evil winning as your goal?  You have still have variety within the whoever wins, in that there are various ways of winning, and surprises and lessons that can go with it.  (Pyric victories, moral points, etc...)

Posted by TheBatman

I don't mind heroes winning the 'WAR' (so to speak) the majority of the time BUT, for them to win all the 'battles' they face, nah, just it's unrealistic and uninteresting. It's the conflict that makes a story great. No great conflict, not real threat? No point. If I villian can't stand up against a hero and deal some damage in his own right... Pfft, LAME! XP
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

In this day and age of post-modernism, evil has as much a stake in the winning game as the side of good.  We are no longer in the Golden or Silver Ages where good was almost always triumphant and things have not been that way since Norman Osborn helped plummet Gwen Stacy to her death, the event which in my opinion spawned the Bronze Age of Comics.  Then the Anti-Monitor showed that a whole new breed of malevolence could in fact destroy universes in 1985, spawning the Modern Age of comics.  Then in 2008 evil came close to restructuring reality in Darkseid's image, which in my opinion has spawned the Post-Modernist Age.  Evil has to win sometimes if people are going to gain greater meaning from the story that is being written.  Bad things happen to good people just as good things happen, and we just simply cannot have the good guys be constantly victorious anymore.  

Posted by karrob
@RYU/BATMAN said:
" I think only certain villains should win the battle against a hero "
Posted by Nefarious

That depends on what villain it is and how powerful they are.

Posted by darkrider

yes always win

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

No... it neds a good balance..... so far, evil has a edge.... which is making franchises change too much..... and I didn't like change!

Posted by moffattbooks

Chaos vs Order aka Evil vs Good, good can do some evil and evil can do some good, Mr Fantastic wouldn't be pushed so hard if his enemies didn't stand a chance of beating him or same for Spider-Man.  The evil of Doomsday smashing his way through several comics before being stopped by good of Superman giving everything he has.  So evil should win some of the battles but not always as shown in Final Crisis 

Posted by weapon154

This is most likely Earth-1. On a different Earth (maybe Earth-2) they're asking should evil always win over good. 

Posted by Project_Worm

Of course not it keeps it fresh... but they should eventually win, thats one of the reasons I liked dragon ball Z

Posted by The WeatherMan

Not always. It should make sense for good to win. Good doesn't win just because it's good. Same goes to evil.

Posted by devilvert

like the guy said; 
 
it goes with the message. obviously people are good hearted and write that way.   
 
 
except zombie films...gotta love'em 
EVERYONE DIES!

Edited by Gokujam

Haven't watched the vid yet but strictly from a practical point of view, if the villain killed the hero, wouldn't that end the comic book?

Posted by punisher1313

Bruce Wayne/Batman=Always Win!!!
Dick Greyson/Batman=Always Lose!!!

Posted by sparty-dbq

Depends on what the bad guy would get away with if he/she won.  If maybe they stole something or performed some kind of shocking act (like how Sin gave the Statue of Liberty a "black eye"), then it might be better for evil to win this one day.  But if the hero or innocent people end up dead, and the villain doesn't get justice, then that's something I wouldn't want to see.

Posted by Mumbles

if evil never won, there would be no superhero's. evil should win more. it always make the hero better after losing once in awhile

Posted by xybernauts

I don't think it should be that black and white. Yes they should  win most of the time, but not all the time. I think victory is a key ingredient necessary when portraying  the paradigm of the superhero, but the victories should come with it's fair share of angst. Most important, if they do win all the time all I ask that the make it so the stories make sense. 

Edited by kiss_lamia

Haha Jim McCann Cracks me up lol

Posted by JonesDeini
@RedheadedAtrocitus said:
" In this day and age of post-modernism, evil has as much a stake in the winning game as the side of good.  We are no longer in the Golden or Silver Ages where good was almost always triumphant and things have not been that way since Norman Osborn helped plummet Gwen Stacy to her death, the event which in my opinion spawned the Bronze Age of Comics.  Then the Anti-Monitor showed that a whole new breed of malevolence could in fact destroy universes in 1985, spawning the Modern Age of comics.  Then in 2008 evil came close to restructuring reality in Darkseid's image, which in my opinion has spawned the Post-Modernist Age.  Evil has to win sometimes if people are going to gain greater meaning from the story that is being written.  Bad things happen to good people just as good things happen, and we just simply cannot have the good guys be constantly victorious anymore.   "
An apt breakdown
Posted by The_Warlord
@kiss_lamia said:
" Haha Jim McCann Cracks me up lol "
So true
Posted by Outside_85

As they said; good doesnt always win in real life. 
 
Also it would be very boring if comics were so predicterble that the heroes always win, or if theres never any risk for them.

Posted by TDK_1997

No,it's so predictible

Posted by CATPANEXE

i cant say good does, it seems more whoever is the stories main character does, which there's been many where that was an "evil" character.

Edited by the creator

Well it doesn't in real life, so why should comics be any different.
Posted by The Impersonator

WINNING! 

Posted by entropy_aegis

Bane made me proud so crush his spine boy.
Posted by limbani

THEY SAY NO, BUT MOST OF THEM DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!!!!

Posted by Roy_G_Bamf

      I agree with what many of you have said: in our day and age, it's unrealistic to believe that good will always win. Superhero comics, originally flourishing in the boom after WWII, were used as an escape. After experiencing so much senseless death and destruction (including the lives of over 10 millions people in concentrations camps, etc) we needed something to help us remove ourselves from a world that had become inherently evil. We needed something to triumph over that darkness. 
      However, we don't have that same need today. We don't need spandexed men and woman punching the lights out of villains. We need REAL people that we can relate to, that we can respect. The people that are easiest to respect and admire are not those who are flawless, but those who know how to handle their defeat, harness it, and learn from it. Give me a real hero any day.

Posted by Mezmero

Oh give me a break. Of course writers would say no to that query, but the fact is that bad guys lose too often.  I'm reminded of the Dark Reign saga which depicts one of the greatest super villain victories with Norman Osborn.  Sure he was given an insane amount of authority over the newly formed HAMMER as well as leadership over the "Dark" Avengers but if you go back and read that saga leading up to the Siege, he loses to almost every hero who stands up to him, regardless of his position.  
 
His team gets toyed with by the Molecule Man, trounced by Harrow, harassed by Ronin, even grief'd by Deadpool, etc.  Only the most minuscule victories are had thanks to his partnership with the Sentry who is technically already a hero. So basically the only true victory Osborn attained was the honor of killing the Skrull queen which started the story in the first place.  That's just one example but naturally most comic creators lean heavier on the side of good far more than evil.  So I don't want to hear writers talk about striving for "realism" or "balance" unless they actually mean it.  So of course I want villains to win once in a while but I want it done in a way that doesn't feel so cheap.

Posted by Journey Into Chaos
@xhavoc86:  wth?  Team Free Will is alot better! 
 
To answer the question no good shouldn't always win. But in the world of Team Free Will, it depends. 
 
BUNSHIES!
Posted by Billy Batson
sometimes
Posted by leokearon

This video cements my opinion of a lot of comic writers and artists

Posted by fox01313

Wouldn't say that we all need evil defeating good in a Batman back breaking way but the only way that many heroes will evolve with thier powers or gadgets  (or just develop new ways to use them) is by getting defeated & needing to figure things out. Tricky bit is for the comic book writers/artists to figure out how to do this without overblowing it.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

They all made great points, specially Gail Simone, Phil Hester, heck everyone.
If good is going to win, make it unexpected.  How do you not let your audience or readers predict the ending, make it seem like the opposite is going to happen.  If good will win make it seem like there is no chance good can win.
In the old comics, like the first comics, I think good would always win right?  And the good guys were good and the bad guys were evil and they had no depth to the characters or story.  But now people want depth.  But they still want good to win,
also, I think if the good guy isn't killed, and the bad guy doesn't succeed in something truly evil like killing someone, then there is always a chance for good to win.  Like if Spider-Man didn't capture Doc Ock, but he wasn't killed by Doc Ock then he can still stop Doc Ock later.  He can still win.
So in that way good will always win in comics, because they aren't letting their heroes be killed off right and left. 
Another thing to think about is how much evil should win.  For example, in the original Spider-Man comics Peter would often be defeated.  Usually before figuring out a way to come back and win, and then eventually he would be defeated, and maybe not win but learn from it.  But then things happen like Gwen getting killed, or even the hero himself dieing.  So how much should evil win?  How much should good win?  Should good always win, stopping the bad guy, but never capture him/her?  I think again, it would be nice to have it mixed up.  Not always capture the bad guy, maybe not always stop their evil plans, but try and keep the body count low.
Great video, love hearing creators talk about their creating.

Posted by aouric

Simply no... It doesn't work like that in the real world and it should happen in comics, it's the law of nature.

Posted by turoksonofstone

Evil will always Triumph, because good is..DUMB.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

Good should always win the war, but evil should win a number of the battles. Comics may work best (in the modern age) when grounded in reality, but it's still a form of escapism, so in the long run, good should come out on top, although that may not mean the good guy coming out on top.

Posted by sladewilson30

no, because that would get boring

Posted by guardiandevil801

depends on the story,but also should teach the hero a leeson,so i'll say evil because we need to relate to the real world and teach the hero or heroes a lesson to help them
Posted by Out_of_Space

I think that heroes must win and lose about 60% / 40% or 70% / 30% !
Posted by ddaann1985

Heroes should win most of the time, i think like 70%.....but if heroes should fail.....let the consequences be lasting.... and unfortunately that is not always what happens.
 
For instance, Civil War was amazing, Dark Reign was waaaay better then i expected....but then after Siege it was like...ow ok, registration act is gone....just like that... I found that too easy and too bad, cause there could have been many more stories in that climate.
 
And face it, at least in my opinion, most stories where the heroes lose (with lasting consequences) have become legendary.
 
I mean look at thing like Kraven's last hunt... Legendary because Kraven won, and after that killed himself....so Spider-man could NEVER beat him again.
 
The Death of Gwen Stacy, with Spider-man not saving the day this time to the person that was most special to him. 
 
But also the Phoenix saga, in wich the Phoenix died.
 
So, let them win most of the time, but if they lose, let it stay that way.

Posted by feargalr

50/50 is a good ratio.... though I like stories where its not entirely clear, like the end of secret invasion.. the skrulls lost, but osborn kinda won.. or civil war where its not clear who the bad guy is

Posted by tim2081

I think the best stories are the ones where good and evil aren't clearly defined. That's the way the real world works. Good and evil is too one dimensional. 
 
Also, I like the Bomb Queen series, in which the villain unquestionably wins all the time.

Edited by ApeKindaBaked

 
Thinking about this actually made me laugh because even in Lee Bermejo's "Joker", through the whole comic Batman is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile Joker is out killing everybody who split up his turf after he went to Arkham, until the VERY end when Batman swoops down and kicks his ass. 
Showing how the hero usually always wins.
 

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