After reading certain articles, there are four characters that are quite linked to each other, either by origin or abilities. These four are the ones I'm familiar with: Vandal Savage- the most familiar among the four, had been in the Justice League Unlimited animated series as the main antagonist in Season two. He has very related origins with the Immortal Man,and the Resurrection Man (Mitch Kelly).. where they got their powers/abilities from a strange meteor. I only wish that his powers were more than just immortality (now I recently read he need to consume DNA from his bloodlines to revitalize his immortality... sounds like he was de-powered). To be immortal, does it make you easily prone to be amoral and selfish? Or do those traits just exist within Vandal's nature? Immortal Man- the polar opposite of Vandal Savage, also came upon the meteorite, but had a different effect on him. His immortality has granted him to survive death under a different persona at all times. I haven't read a book of how he transfer his consciousness or "self" to another... but maybe it's like he's Deadman who takes residence on your body on a permanent basis. Does he have a choice as to whose body he'll transfer to if he dies again? There was one story of how he was missing from a long time. He was held captive by Vandal Savage for a long time, probably torturing him enough but careful enough to not kill him. A good story would be if he died and his consciousness is transferred onto his main nemesis, Vandal.Wouldn't that rock? Apart from immortality, he has various psychic abilites like telepathy ,telekinesis and also pyrokinesis. Resurrection Man (Mitch Shelly)- his powers came from an experiment in nano technology called tektites where they regenerate his form using whatever compositions are available to them in the nearest vicinity, giving him different superhuman abilities when he resurrects. His powers are so similar with the exception of the phyical appearance of the next character in this list. Multi-Man- consuming a chemical known as liquid light,Duncan Pramble gained the uncontrollable ability to gain different powers whenever he dies. He was a frequent antagonists to the Challengers of the Unknown. He was also part of the Injustice League International (led by Major Disaster). Among the four immortals listed here, he is the one I find most interesting, due to his powers, he suffers multiple personality disorder and manic-depression. Had this character been further developed (and his looks, where he had a big bald head and pointy ears)been changed, he could have been a good major villain, or even an anti-hero. I even thought that Resurrection Man was a re-invention of DC into making Multi-man into a main character. The best link I could give to Multi-man and Vandal Savage is the liquid light. Vandal Savage is a member of the "light", the Illuminati of DC Universe I guess. But the most interesting character I'd like to see developed is the Immortal Man. He reminds me of Doctor Who. Whenever he regenerates he becomes somebody else, be it man, woman, or any race. It has movie or t.v. series potential.The story will always be narrated by the man who came to have his powers. Every episode self-contained, and he dies by chance or by intent, depending on the stoyline... and he is after Vandal Savage, the well to do billionaire.
It does feel that everything lately is a ploy. The retcons (before they were so commonplace) have made the word itself sound like a bad word. I remember an article from All Star Squadron where Roy Thomas coined that term: "retroactive continuity". This happened during the time when the first Crisis on Infiinte Earths took place. When classic Superman with Lois and Superboy Prime was put in a paradise like limbo. They intended to write off all continuity, where the main three characters, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman never existed in the 40s up to the early Silver Age.
I was young then, but I was really kind of put off when the editorial and whomever was allowing these changes just simply let what was written be what it should be. They could have simply wrote something to explain why certain incongruities in the storylines seem illogical. Like Superman's powers. He used to be able to do super-ventriliquism, but then he can't. I am no writer, but somehow, with a group of creative people discussing, they could have made all those illogical stories... logical.
Another example is Donna Troy. Wondergirl (specially in her red outfit) was iconic all on her own.There are many ways they could have made her logical even if Wonder Woman is now almost her same age (after the Crisis event). She could have been time displaced.. an anomaly. And the Titans could then uncover how that has happened (which reminds me, after the crisis, it was only this guy who remembers the past events: Psycho-Pirate).
With much detective work from Dick and the rest of the Titans, they would have uncovered that there was space/time disturbance, and somehow, Donna Troy's attributes prevented her from being wiped off from reality.
Though change is inevitable, too much change in so short a time makes most stories feel like they were written in a rolled up tissue paper... flushed out whenever editorial or the writers find that they can't do anything worth keeping to have the story be interesting or involving anymore.
I preferred it when they just put the character in limbo, or fighting the norse gods in a never-ending battle...
I thought of making my own Global superheroes... but with the vast research that it will require, I simply let it go and crumble into the limbo of my imaginations. Besides, some countries don't need superheroes, since they claim to be a near utopia. And some countries don't even like their own flag. Or they are hardly patriotic at all (wonder how they survive as a nation).
What country would work to have a flag-insoired superhero? There's already Captain America (representing Uninted States), Vindicator/Guardian (for Canada), Captain Britain and Union Jack (for Great Britain), and perhaps Silver Samurai (for Japan). Although Africa (specifically the fictional country Wakanda) has Black Panther, he isn't exactly wearing his nation's flag as a costume (or does he?).
Over at DC comics you have Wonder Woman (yet she isn't American), the Rocket Reds (though the Russian Federation is no longer communist and has a very different flag now)...
What country would you like to see have a flag inspired costume? What would be their powers? Are they locally based or globe-trotting? Fill in your ideas and I'll get back to you with mine.
Wally West was very succesful as a character, thanks to good writing right up till he got kids. But before that, he was a sidekick to the Flash (Barry Allen). And then formed a group called the Teen Titans. With Barry Allen's sacrifice in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, he took the role of the scarlet speedster at his lowest point. His speed was not as fast as before and he had to "carbo- load" to re-fuel. And then he discovered the Speed Force. He also had a family of speedsters, which made his characterization more fun to read, as he interacts with each "family" member. He became a member of the Justice League (doubting it was just by legacy and not by merit). Great characterization on that part. Somewhere, the powers may be decided to bring back Barry Allen. Just because they can. Where is he now in the new 52? we have to wait it out, I guess.
Cannonball is not a legacy character, but just like Wally West, he was a part of a teen group called New Mutants (I know the X-men were disguised as superheroes with their masks and all, how do you explain New Mutants? With the name and the X-logo, didn't that give away the illusion they were trying to bring? Perhaps Professor X has created a psychic illusion for the New Mutants, ah well...) He with his southern upbringing is like how Clark Kent could have been if Smallville was like Kansas. His powers give him strength and invulnerability as long as he is in flight and in rapid motion. And he graduates from being part of the new Mutants, to being a heavy hitter in the X-Men. Recently, he's back with his old gang , the New Mutants. Is that a step up, or a sideways walk towards characterization development?
Somehow, art imitates life, as our graduates, go from promising careers to being shot back down to either being background characters... or simply forgotten
The best game I got to play has been GTA San Andreas. You can swim, fly an airplane, go inside houses, hotels, fly almost every vehicle , even a bike.
But I've never been a fan of multi-player games. Simply because I'm a recluse and somehow most internet communities have "devolved" to plain, rude, self-centered, opinionated people.
Just recently, a thought came up where you can play a character in a comic book almost the same way as you play CJ in San Andreas. I'm also aware of the online game at DC. But, it feels like it's a battleground (which it is).
The thing I like about this idea is where you can either fly, swing, jump about, teleport or use a transport but do so in the way GTA applies their physics and looks.
Not everyone is mobile in the internet world (meaning some are wheel-chair bound, pardon the frankness), and most of us always wonder how it feels like to fly or travel from place to place in your favorite comic-book persona.
So, the game is like a sandbox... then builds up to be an open world... you may have the option to play by your own (like iin minecraft), Or interact with other players. I also like the idea that time moves there... sometimes it's night, sometimes it's day. Winter and the rest of the season cycles in, and your character, depending on his/her abilities, would dress appropriately for the climate he/she is in.
Perhaps they could start out with five default characters. One who can fly, one built for speed, one with amazing agility and unique way of travelling (teleport/swing with ropes), one with inhuman strength (enabling himself to leap at long distances), and one who can either survive the deep of the water or the coldness of space). From there, every mission achieved, they can unlock either new characters, or new abilities.
As for outfits, perhaps it can be varied just like in Soul Calibur. And for appearance, just like Soul Calibur's or something better. Their women characters were very fetching.
How big is this world? Depending on current game design and technology, but maybe as big as GTA, and each sector let's say four corners, has varying motifs. One has an Art Deco feel for its cityscape, the other a futuristic one (with the vehicles and futuristic putfits), the third has forests and mountains and rough terrain, and the fourth a vast wasteland filled with abandoned towns... and yes, the whole island is surrounded by water (making that the fifth environmennt with an underwater city or laboratories). And the sixth would be tunnels....
What are the denizens? From the four major areas, we have the normal humans, the altered humans in the tech world, the strange fantasy like creatures in the forests and jungles, the mutated creatures in the desert/wasteland (probably zombies, malforms and anything that bumps in the night). And the merfolk under the deep.
How it starts. You begin in the normal folk city. and progress your story from one sector to the other and back. and after you finish the game, you can still play on and travel the place.
And you can interact to all the denizens depending on your reputation... if you started as a hero, you are cheered on... if you are a dark vigilante... you are either feared or hated upon. If you are a mutate, you are mostly shunned in most sectors except where the other mutates reside. If you are royalty, you are looked upon with fear and respect. And if you are a creature of the dark, you stay in shadows... or the tunnels.
Another good thing here is you have secret identies to fall back on, well for most characters. Some can't due to their size or they have too strange an appearance (like insect antennaes). So, be either villain or hero, you go to a quick change area to fend off cops or hoodlooms chasing you. But this only works on the normal world.
All in all, it's a place where you go do missions (be it for the bad or good side), and then just roam anywhere and discover stuff along the way (like a secret passageway leading to the tunnels... or discovering a sunken city undeneath the ocean.
Not too many characters of color become renowned by their own merit. Most of the times they were either sidekicks (like the Falcon) or borrowed/inherited another characters identity (Dr.Light). A lot of times, their names/codenames are labeled with colors that represent their ethnicity (Black Lightning).
But there are a number of characters that can be noted to be set apart from these usual stereotypes. One good example is Storm. Although most depictions of her image make her look more caucassian than her true ethnic roots (pun intended). White long hair being a big departure from what we are more familiar with. I am not as acquainted with her bloodline so that is just probably a minor setback as far as her design is concerned. Bishop is also a great character to take note of, as well as Luke Cage. Although there was a time when Luke Cage was written like a blaxploitation movie character.
The more recent character of color that I would like to focus on is Static. Both his Milestone depiction and his celebrated cartoon persona (Static Shock). Among all characters mentioned above, his run on the cartoon series has left a mark on the public. And he wasn't exactly depicted as a white guy with dark skin either.
His abilities are quite unique as well, electromagnetic powers. Not unlike Magneto's but somehow surpassing it in how it is used. Hopefully, if handled well, Static can have his own title back (written and drawn by people of color may work).
Why should it be done by people of color? From what I've seen from other colored characters, they were hardly done right, or designed rather almost humorously. One example is Cyborg. His old cybernetic design looked so much like a lingerie of sorts. I have respect for George perez as an artist, but sometimes, they just don't work for me.
The current Cyborg design is ok, but somehow it would have worked if he can still fit in normal clothes. (you'd think comic book technology could easily streamline armor design, but no, big is always cool). There's an article here in the forums regarding re- designing Cyborg's exterior look. And I do agree with his points.
One more quip about colored superheroes: either they show too much skin (almost ridiculously), or they cover them up so much you can't tell who's inside it.
Here's Tyroc from the Legion of Supperheroes before his re-design:
A lot has improved... but it does makes you ask the question: have our sensibilities as humans progressed, or racism is more careful these days?
You'd think by now, after so many superheroes, after different vigilantes have popped up,criminals would wise up and would simply think it's just too hazardous a work to maintain?
In a real world scenario, would you still think of robbing a bank knowing god-like beings (Superman, Wonder Woman, Storm, Thor) are out there to stop you even before you are at the doorstep?
The crime would definitely be lowered at a sudden rate if a costumed being, backed with powers far beyond mortal men are out on vigil to safeguard a city, town you wanted to prowl on.
Perhaps the only best way of explaining why criminals have not ceased their nefarious activities is no hero would take drastic actions to stop them. Most criminals are conditioned to be roughed up, since it's part of their job/career to be so close to dangerous situations.
Another aspect is, the super-being, costumed vigilante becomes pre-occupied with other tasks, or scenarios that the writer would think up to add more conflict. But still, if you'd do the math, with so many super-powered beings and costumed vigilantes, people who are more prone to do acts of nefarious deeds would think twice to fulfill their dastardly ways.
You can retell stories as old as time, like how it's been passed on from one descendant to the other. But do you make complete variations on it just to please your listener or viewer for that matter? Just like values, good stories doesn't need to be bent to match or please the current audience. Although re-imaginings may work (like in the case of Star Wars which is in its entirety is a mish-mash of different mythologies), some stories stand on its own relatively untouched.
One very good example is Peter Pan, a tale of the boy who never grew up... it has withstood time and movies, plays have been made about it with some minor changes (with the exception of the movie Hook, which depicted a grown- up Peter, as portrayed by Robin Williams).
With comic books, publishers are aware that telling a story has an ending. And with characters being exclusive properties, they have a responsibility in sustaining its longevity. And to safeguard their ownership to it.
However, most works of fiction whose story lines have ended with one book have been re-ignited simply because of its readership's desire to sustain its popularity. Or simple nostalgia, like Zorro, Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and so on (although the last three were mostly from radio serials than in comic books if I recall).
So, what books (or comic books in particular) have story lines that has definite end to it?
Four from DC Sandman, Y the Last Man ( a vertigo imprint), and Starman (by James Robinson), Preacher (Steve Dillon)
They ended those books on a high note, and never really required of re-opening their stories...
What existing comic books that appears to have a finality in their stories?
Two that I'm currently reading are from Robert Kirkman (yes, I admit I am a fan of his):
Walking Dead and Invincible....
With Walking Dead, it's obvious that the story is leading up to a very sure end... I don't know if it would be tragic or a pyrrhic victory.
In Invincible, it's obvious it also has an ending... but as to when? Who knows?
What if you don't want your stories to end?
Then don't show the passage of time.
Like: your sidekicks growing up, the stories reflecting current trends (example your character is based in the 1920s. period) And stories end every episode not continuing on to the next one.
Just like the Archies does it (except they do reflect the current trends, like fashion, latest technologies, and social progress). But the characters are perpetually in High School and never graduate.
Reality in comics is very vague. They can discuss or reflect what's happening in real life without affecting the age of a character.One good example is Iron Man... his origin is based on the sixties when communism and the vietnam war was the current topic in media and society. quite recently it has been retconned that he was captured by middle eastern terrorists... which is quite fine since Iron Man has never been on the big screen before compared to Superman or Batman. Still if he was in the Gulf war era or the Taliban or whatnot era of the current war, does his experience of discovering Captain America with the Avengers in a sub all moot and useless now? Or do we just simply follow the Ultimate line for that explanation and just shrug off the other histories that transpired before the retcon...
But the good thing about Iron Man is he never started a legacy of sidekicks... which would create back stories of large proportions and may make the character older than usual.
With Batman's case (his origin starting from the 1940s), his sidekicks grew up... and here lies the debate... how is it that he hasn't aged in comparison to his sidekick (in particular, Dick Grayson). If Dick Grayson is in his early thirties, shouldn't the current Batman be in his 50s now? The new 52 changed a lot of stuff but hardly changed Batman's. Wally West and Kyle Rayner is not on the new 52 but the Bat Family is ok...
Should we blame this all on the Crisis on Infinte Earths? Where writers and editors realized they can just re-do all of history and just leave out the good ones and let the readers digest what they think is okay and worry about the next backlash. Superboy Prime would be a scapegoat by him punching through reality... but he's gone right?
So what came after that? Armageddon? Zero Hour? and now the new 52? Aren't we being shortchanged by most of these comic book publishers? I'm not sure if I've blogged this already... but the current state of comic book reality has just been too... flexible. So, if a bad writer messes up... all the company needs to do is do a retcon?
Or maybe hire better writers (if it's a group of books like Batman, they should talk about how they write their plots. and how it connects with their partner books like JLA or teen titans)
Speaking of characters in different books... are we just too dense (the audience) to let it slide that these characters can go from one book to the next and just joke about it that hey.. they can teleport? sheesh.