Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

After reading Amazing Spider-Man's Grim Hunt arc, I got to thinking about how much I used to love Spider-Woman back in the old 90s Iron Man animated series. I was young at the time, and this was the first introduction I got to Spider-Woman, and this Spider-Woman was Julia Carpenter. Julia has pretty much faded into obscurity now, with Jessica Drew taking her place, and I started to think about guys like Kyle Rayner and Wally West who've been more or less pushed to the background now that their mentors/predecessors are back in play. I understand that Kyle headlines GLC, but it's not quite the same as being the star of GL. 
 
Does this seem fair to you? Some of us spend years of our lives investing in these characters, and then a writer who prefers another character comes along and basically erases them. 
 
The Sentry is a good example of this, a character who was used a sacrificial lamb, effectively alienating any of his fans, and this was pretty much the result of one person's wishes. As was Barry Allen taking back his mantle and Wally fading out. 
 
There are both positives and negatives to this situation, but I still wonder just what the comic companies are thinking sometimes when they just replace one character with another, or kill one outright for plot purposes. 

#1 Posted by N7_Normandy (2430 posts) - - Show Bio

It stinks when our favorite characters fade into oblivion or get the shaft in one way or another.  Unfortunately, as comic book readers, we don't really have that much power.  We are essentially at the mercy of the writer's in terms of story and characters. 

#2 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@N7_Normandy: I know, but sometimes it feels good just to say "damnit! I miss ____!"
#3 Posted by N7_Normandy (2430 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @N7_Normandy: I know, but sometimes it feels good just to say "damnit! I miss ____!" "
I'm with you there.  The only solution is to become a writer- which is exactly my goal.
#4 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@N7_Normandy: Heh, mine too :D
#5 Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio

  I agree with this completely.  It really isn't fair to sit back in your seat and read a comic issue as your favorite character fades away.  Leaving you with no way to stop it.  It's really frustrating, I don't like seeing some of my favorite characters get pushed into the ground when they deserve the chance to do more than what people are giving them. 

#6 Posted by stikfigureman2d (53 posts) - - Show Bio

i completely agree with this, sentry is an awesome character
#7 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@stikfigureman2d said:
" i completely agree with this, sentry is an awesome character "
Yes! I think so too! (thumbs up)
#8 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5416 posts) - - Show Bio

From your OP, the first thing I thought of was how Kyle Rayner just seemed to show up one day and was the Green Lantern of Earth.  And for someone who only periferally watched the book, the whole Hal Jordan going insane was a surprise as well. 
#9 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@Donovan Montgomery: Most certainly, I think that was a terrible idea (making Hal crazy), but I do like Kyle. This is more when one writer comes along and forces one character to the back to make another seem better or more interesting. 
 
What you said is basically exactly what I mean, only in the reverse lol.
#10 Posted by The Mango (1477 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah they have the right, but if their changes are not well received and people stop buying the book they will be gone.

#11 Posted by danhimself (22279 posts) - - Show Bio

the thing is that the characters that are being replaced are replacement characters...Kyle replaced Hal, Wally replaced Barry, and Julia replaced Jessica....and what's the cliche that everyone knows about comic book characters?   Characters don't stay dead.  It's as simple as that.  If a popular hero or villain dies then you can bet money that eventually they'll be back.  The other thing is that I think the publishers are kind of trying to avoid flooding the market with books (Deadpool aside) so your favorite characters may not have a solo book and with so many characters out there they can't always focus on your favorite.  The other thing is that now there are three Green Lantern books...one featuring Hal, one featuring Kyle and John, and the other featuring Guy.  So you have a book that you can pretty much guarantee that Kyle is going to be in every issue and Geoff Johns has said that he has huge plans for Wally West but with Barry just coming back they needed to focus on him for a little bit.  Who knows maybe after Flashpoint Flash popularity will be up and they'll be able to launch another book that may feature Wally and the other speadsters  who aren't getting the limelight right now.

#12 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5416 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt:
True, but you can't deny Kyle was forced.  I'm hoping what you are talking about dosn't happen to Dick as Batman.  And, yes, they should have left Barry dead, now the Crisis is even less meaningful :(
#13 Posted by Mediant (329 posts) - - Show Bio

They're the writers, so they can do really whatever they want. No matter how much fans love a character or series, the writers are the ones who are the creative and intellectual forces behind them. Does it some times suck for the fans? Yes. That doesn't change the fact. 
You can also be sure that every time one character is pushed to the back and another brought to the fore, that there are a bunch of fans who are pleased with the new prominence of the character in the fore.

#14 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

I wouldn't say its their right, but it is their job. What would you rather have, a good story about a character the writer cares about... or reading shit by a writer who doesn't care about the character. (See Karol Sofen as Ms. Marvel in the Ms. Marvel title!)

#15 Posted by Jotham (4564 posts) - - Show Bio

Whoever owns the rights to a character can do whatever they want, including screw up that character. You're right, though. Some of us have huge amounts of time invested in certain characters, but we have no say in what happens to that character. Not really much you can do about it, though, except write the companies and/or stop buying the comics.

#16 Posted by cbishop (7094 posts) - - Show Bio

It really boils down to: "You can't please everybody."  I've been reading comics since the late Seventies, but many of you probably started reading comics in the Nineties or later.  I grew up with a certain set of characters.  If I was writing, I might want to play with an older set, because a) I might know them better, and b) I might like them better.  Really though, it's this: as long as there's no continuous continuity (as opposed to ten to twenty years of continuity, and then a reboot) writers will always have the well of past characters to draw from.  Even with continuous continuity, unless a firm rule is set of "once they're dead, they stay dead," you're still going to have problems. 
 
If the older books stayed in print (in trade paperback form), writers might be more inclined to move on to newer characters in the present day books.  Because these are magazines, and the old stories have a tendency to become scarce, writers keep going back to older characters (and readers keep wanting them to go back).  Give it another twenty years.  Someone will have replaced Kyle and Bart, and you guys will be complaining about that, and wanting Kyle and Bart back. lol ;)

#17 Posted by Mediant (329 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop said:
"It really boils down to: "You can't please everybody." "
That really sums it up.
#18 Posted by asafager (84 posts) - - Show Bio

Jason Todd: America was given a choice what happened to him. And we chose death. 
The Sentry: due to the nature of his character, what with the Void creeping around in the background at all times, I would argue that his fate was sealed from the moment he entered the comicbook Marvel universe.

#19 Posted by NexusOfLight (1715 posts) - - Show Bio

It doesn't seem fair, but then again, few things in life are. I say the best thing for comic companies to do, or what they should do, is make a list of potential characters or stories to be written and have fans vote on them. I love Top Cow's Pilot Season because it does just that, but oh well. The writers have the power. If I were comic writin', I'd probably do the same thing.

#20 Posted by WoundingFactor (178 posts) - - Show Bio

Man, we're not really comparing guys like the Sentry (a character who existed for what, ten years? Not even that long?) With characters that have been around for decades, are we? 
 
It all seems to balance out, for the most part. If a writer does something that enough fans don't like, then someone usually ends up trying to fix it. Case in point: Arachne. She was basically ignored for a while, but towards the end of Grim Hunt, we see that she's going to be going through some changes. This is a character with a good deal of development and personal history.
 
Sentry, on the other hand, seems as if he was created solely to be destroyed (however temporarily)
 
But that's just the nature of the business. I mean, I'd love for Decimation to be reversed so I can see some of my favorite mutants not sidelined and effectively dead as far as appearances are concered, but is that gonna happen? Probably not.

#21 Posted by N7_Normandy (2430 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:

"After reading Amazing Spider-Man's Grim Hunt arc, I got to thinking about how much I used to love Spider-Woman back in the old 90s Iron Man animated series. I was young at the time, and this was the first introduction I got to Spider-Woman, and this Spider-Woman was Julia Carpenter. Julia has pretty much faded into obscurity now, with Jessica Drew taking her place, and I started to think about guys like Kyle Rayner and Wally West who've been more or less pushed to the background now that their mentors/predecessors are back in play. I understand that Kyle headlines GLC, but it's not quite the same as being the star of GL.   Does this seem fair to you? Some of us spend years of our lives investing in these characters, and then a writer who prefers another character comes along and basically erases them.   The Sentry is a good example of this, a character who was used a sacrificial lamb, effectively alienating any of his fans, and this was pretty much the result of one person's wishes. As was Barry Allen taking back his mantle and Wally fading out.   There are both positives and negatives to this situation, but I still wonder just what the comic companies are thinking sometimes when they just replace one character with another, or kill one outright for plot purposes.  "


It's unfair to ask a  writer to compromise their artistic vision simply to appease fans.  Put yourself in the same spot.  Wouldn't you like to be able to create an amazing masterpiece, without having to worry about catering to the desires of a few fans?
#22 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@N7_Normandy: I certainly understand what you're saying, but vision and bias are a bit different. Let's look at Bendis' Avengers, do Spidey and Wolverine really need to be on both teams? They're taking the places of characters who certainly deserve a chance to shine. 
 
Regarding the Sentry, a lot of people have dismissed my comments regarding him because he hasn't been around very long. But that's not the issue, the issue is that we invest in characters, only to have them either fade into obscurity or die in an insulting manner. 
 
Let's look at Barry Allen, his death was perfect. Noble, heroic, and grand; it was the perfect superhero death. Hal Jordan's descent into insanity is the exact opposite, as was the Sentry's. It's not just the newer characters that have been slighted, it's the old ones too. Deaths that occur quickly and quietly can also serve their purpose (likes Anya's in Buffy), but throwing a character to the wolves for scapegoat reasons (as the Sentry's clearly was) or a desire to introduce a new character (Hal Jordan), just isn't fair. 
#23 Posted by speedlgt (2109 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this if the writers are telling a good solid story then let em do whatever they want. the best example is steve rogers and bucky barnes. But most times things feel forced and thats when its a problem. 
 
in all fairness hal coming back was fine after all he really needed to redeem himself. Kyle was better at the time and I think overall hes a more intresting hero than hal and his plain sliced bread presona. But i was fine with him coming back. Barry is another story all together...........50 years of being gone and all but forgotten and it doesnt help him that WALLY WEST is the flash that 2 generations! grew up with. Wally is the FLASH barry is done who really cares about him. No one can relate to him anymore and there was no need to bring him back at all and the story was not that great. he just shows up in final crisis! for what!  
 
another issue i have is when bendis focuses on characters that just dont matter as much others like Luke cage and spiderwoman and sentry! i am sorry but when wolverine and spiderman and ironman are around there is no need to force this D-LIST heros down our face! NO ONE is buying avengers books for luke cage sorry. Now i admire him for trying to bring a hero in the light but after all this time come on its not working
#24 Posted by NexusOfLight (1715 posts) - - Show Bio
@speedlgt said:
"  NO ONE is buying avengers books for luke cage sorry. "
Everything up to here, I agreed with. For a while, I was only buying the New Avengers just because of Luke Cage. That, I'd have to say, is one thing Bendis did well. I'm a Luke Cage fan because of him. But yeah, like I said, everything else you said, I agree with.
#25 Posted by DEGRAAF (7870 posts) - - Show Bio

I think they need to stick with the newer characters. I like Hal alot but i would be just as happy with Kyle. I definitely like Wally more then i like Barry. Dick should stay in Bruces position (and not share it with 6 others). Cassie or Donna would be fine replacements for Diana and Diana should take over for her mom. They have learned to let all the younger newer characters grow but refue to get rid of the old ones. JSA has gotten better but i still look at it as a Justice League Retirement Society as long as the heroes make it to the age of retirement. You could also look at them as the AAA or minor league version of the JLA. All of those characters were in their 30's when Bruce and Kal-El were born, they should be using walkers and wheel chairs by now with as much stress and strain they have put on their bodies ofver the years.
#26 Posted by Watch Dog (834 posts) - - Show Bio
@N7_Normandy said:
" It's unfair to ask a  writer to compromise their artistic vision simply to appease fans.  Put yourself in the same spot.  Wouldn't you like to be able to create an amazing masterpiece, without having to worry about catering to the desires of a few fans? "
You are totally rite. No one likes it when one of their favorites gets killed or pushed to the side, but you have to move on and hope someone brings them back and when your guy comes back someone else's guy will die or get pushed to the side
#27 Posted by johnny_spam (2031 posts) - - Show Bio

My thought is this: As the role of the reader you don't have any control of the story and you must accept sometimes things you don't like will happen that is the role of being a reader.  
 
As for Kyle and Wally it comes down to those characters were made in the context of killing the last guys in desperate attempts to get attention it worked but for a shorter time then the appeal Hal and Barry had with Kyle and Wally both lost a number of fans and had lost attention it also very much says about why they may have not been the most long term because they are not what the franchise and legacy is built on.

#28 Posted by Caligula (12417 posts) - - Show Bio

yes it is fair.
that's the writers job, who are the average people to tell a writer what to write about?
 
If i was a writer, and some whiny fanboy came up complaining about my work, i'd just tell him to write something better or STFU

#29 Posted by Jotham (4564 posts) - - Show Bio
@Caligula said:
" yes it is fair. that's the writers job, who are the average people to tell a writer what to write about?  If i was a writer, and some whiny fanboy came up complaining about my work, i'd just tell him to write something better or STFU "
Good point, except that sometimes the fanboy can write something better.
#30 Posted by Caligula (12417 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jotham said:
" @Caligula said:
" yes it is fair. that's the writers job, who are the average people to tell a writer what to write about?  If i was a writer, and some whiny fanboy came up complaining about my work, i'd just tell him to write something better or STFU "
Good point, except that sometimes the fanboy can write something better. "
if he does write something better that's fine, it helps the industry. but if you aren't going to write something better then don't tell me how to write
#31 Posted by CiaranStatham (39 posts) - - Show Bio

The argument does seem especially bland, to me. Kyle wasn't shunted out of the spotlight - He was given the lead role in GLC after DC had tried to get support for an Ion ongoing and it failed. He's still there, they haven't faded into obscurity. And more to the point, what of the other Lanterns? It's always about Kyle. What about Guy or John? Does no-one care that Hal usurped them as the lead in Green Lantern? 
 
Also, Julia Carpenter was obscure for YEARS until recently, when she appeared in Omega Flight, then Grim Hunt. No-one was doing anything with her, and now she's in a position where she's primed to become more involved with the other Spider-Characters than she's ever been. Jessica Drew didn't take her place. For years, no-one gave a shit about ANY Spider-Women, especially after Mattie Franklin's title bombed. Bendis just happened to pick up using Jess because he had wanted to use her in the first place in Alias. 
  
It seems to me that this argument is really quite flawed. Julia and Kyle aren't comparable to the Sentry and Wally West. Now, if you had said Mattie Franklin had gotten the shortest straw lately, I would've happily agreed.

#32 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@CiaranStatham: It wasn't an argument, it was just a commentary. I was mostly pissed off about the Sentry, since he was one of my favourite Marvel characters, so this was just a rant for the most part. It wasn't meant to be a highly intellectual piece.
#33 Posted by lykopis (10756 posts) - - Show Bio

Oooh --- another cool blog. The comments are really good as well -- the points about how older comic fans want to see characters they are loyal to kept in circulation as compared to newer and the idea writers should hold true to continuity and popular characters that than introducing or re-introducing characters to suit/fit the direction they want to take the story.

There is no right or wrong, equally strong arguments can be made for both (actually there is more than just two sides here) so since it's subjective, I would lean more towards the mind-set that writers should be cognizant of what fans enjoy, respect continuity and character development established up to when they tool over the reins and either create stories which fit that, or prove their worth as writers and take characters and stories into an entirely new direction after taking the time and due diligence to make that divergence believable. Some writers want to make a splash so quickly it's jarring to the reader. Killing off characters or changing their personalities so drastically (which can sometimes come off feeling like the same thing) is unfair. You are entering into a literary world in which you have the gift of an established reader base - you are not putting out some book no one has ever heard before. So keep that in mind and keep that ego in check -- it might not that ego is the reason for hacking and slashing away characters and continuity but it will come across that way and the attitude that it's "just too bad, I am the writer" is frankly stupid because the real boss of these people isn't editorial, it's us -- the guys who buy the product.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

#34 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (5772 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis said:

Oooh --- another cool blog. The comments are really good as well -- the points about how older comic fans want to see characters they are loyal to kept in circulation as compared to newer and the idea writers should hold true to continuity and popular characters that than introducing or re-introducing characters to suit/fit the direction they want to take the story.

There is no right or wrong, equally strong arguments can be made for both (actually there is more than just two sides here) so since it's subjective, I would lean more towards the mind-set that writers should be cognizant of what fans enjoy, respect continuity and character development established up to when they tool over the reins and either create stories which fit that, or prove their worth as writers and take characters and stories into an entirely new direction after taking the time and due diligence to make that divergence believable. Some writers want to make a splash so quickly it's jarring to the reader. Killing off characters or changing their personalities so drastically (which can sometimes come off feeling like the same thing) is unfair. You are entering into a literary world in which you have the gift of an established reader base - you are not putting out some book no one has ever heard before. So keep that in mind and keep that ego in check -- it might not that ego is the reason for hacking and slashing away characters and continuity but it will come across that way and the attitude that it's "just too bad, I am the writer" is frankly stupid because the real boss of these people isn't editorial, it's us -- the guys who buy the product.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

Definitely agree with all this!!!

#35 Posted by BumpyBoo (7676 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a really interesting blog. I think personally that although writers should be allowed a certain amount of freedom - after all, what is the point in writing for a character otherwise - there is such a thing as TOO much freedom when it comes to writing for established characters. How much can you change Peter Parker's origin before it becomes someone else's story? How much can you change about Batman before he becomes someone else entirely? While new ideas and fresh perspectives are vital in keeping the industry alive, I do believe that a lot of these ideas would be better channeled into new characters, rather than altering the old ones beyond all reasonable recognition. Some change is good - but as I say, how much can you change before you have created an entirely new character, far removed from the original source material? In these instances, I do not feel it is necessarily fair for writers to superimpose their own ideas onto such strongly established characters and notions. Why not just create a new character, if you want to change so damn much about this one?

That's my two cents anyway ;)

#36 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (5772 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome blog!!! Even though writers should have the right to create their own stories, I don't think that it's ever a good idea to drastically change a character just to fit whatever stories they want to tell. It's not like independent comics where they could create a character's history right then and there, the characters from both Marvel and DC have been around for many years and they already have an established history that writers can try to build on. It just feels like some writers want to totally reinvent the characters, despite the fact that the characters are already established and that normally causes long time fans to lose interest in the characters that they cared about because they had changed so much over time that they are not recognizable anymore. Some of the writers should at least read some of the older issues of the comics that they are going to write about in order to get an idea about how to develop the characters without forcing their changes on the fans.

#37 Edited by Manwhohaseverything (1825 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's the other way around. The companies are at our mercy as to which characters stay or go, depending on how we spend our money. You may have loved Spider-Woman, but you were, unfortunately, in the minority. I doubt when Marvel first introduced Wolverine in Hulk #180, that their future plans were for him to be the most-used character in the Marvel Universe, but guess what? Fans liked him, bought book with him in it, and voila...Wolverine everywhere. They didn't push him down our throats, we demanded him, and Marvel "Gave the people what they wanted." As for character changes, if we don't like the change..it won't stick. If there are no changes, people will complain about that as well. The writers can't worry about whether or not everyone will like what they do, because someone will always not like it. If they think they have a good idea, all they can do is write it, and see how if flies once it's out there.