Monday, February 12, 2024

Death of the Pure Good Guy


[original cartoon pending]

Rasheed, Muhammad. "Death of the Pure Good Guy." Cartoon. The Official Website of Cartoonist M. Rasheed 00 Date 2024.  [cartoon pending] Pen & ink w/Adobe Photoshop color.

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Muhammad Rasheed

Comic book history went through a whole "dark & gritty" period — perhaps originally inspired by Watchmen and the way Frank Miller treated Superman in The Dark Knight Returns — that flipped the superhero trope on its head from which it never recovered.

The fandom were trained to consider the antihero and the villain as cool and now they hold contempt for the pure good guy character whom they were trained to consider lame. This goes hand-in-hand with the modern societal attack on organized religion principles and it infests all of genre fiction.

Remember in Empire Strikes Back when Yoda point blank said that the dark side of The Force is NOT stronger than the good side? If you watched all the films and shows since then, would you be able to tell that was so? They've created an anti-good culture in which truth, justice and the generous, self-sacrificing altruistic hero of legend are no longer welcome. 

Rodney Jean-Etienne - Solid points. I completely agree.

Brett Barton - We used to talk about stuff like this.

Absolutely Miller, and many other influenced.

I still prefer a Wolverine who doesn’t play well with others.

There are certain tropes of characters and growth that are great….but some guys I just want to ride the line of what seems like a good idea at the time.

Lobo, Wolverine, The Punisher.

Let those guys just be assholes, who get the job done.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Brett... The problem is when the editorial staff allows the popularity trends of certain characters to influence the entire story-verse to the point where it damages both continuity and credibility. Of course Wolverine is supposed to be the quasi-barbaric "doesn't get along well with others" figure, but why would they make every single character introduced thereafter follow that template, and then revamp older, Good Guy characters with the same "dark & gritty" template to "make them better" and "revamped for the modern audience?"

It's stupid and a demonstration of failed leadership.

Joe Kilmartin - @Muhammad... the irony is that Wolverine is better with kids than either Batman or Superman is — and that’s just… wrong.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Joe... That reminds me of how gentle they had the feral Bixby/Ferrigno Hulk behave whenever he was around kids and animals.

Maybe that's how they translated someone who was "closer to nature."

Brett Barton - @Muhammad... I don’t disagree many comics need an editorial enema.

My favorite stuff is Marvel/DC 1980s for continuity, look, essentials.

I think the more focus of todays folks are “super heroes are people too” which is overdone and boring, but being completely flawless is as well.

It’s basically preference at this point and I haven’t read a ton of stuff since 08 the tropes and overuse and hack tactics just got to me from diehard to casual on many levels.

Muhammad Rasheed - Brett wrote: "but being completely flawless is as well."

The strength of the golden age of comics was the wide variety and the "something for everyone" appeal.

The Superman exists. The Cosmic beings exist. The street-level, costumed martial artists exist. The wild personalities like Guy Gardner and Lobo exist alongside pure characters like Meggan from Excalibur. And a rich & full spectrum of characters between the extremes exist.

A whole "dark & gritty" genre universe is gimmicky, weak and not produced for longevity, but for a quick cash grab and it does more harm than good by negatively influencing the culture.

Brett Barton - I agree dark and gritty doesn’t work for all.

I do enjoy golden age as well, but the 1980s era is specifically where my main favorites lay. Both exist in that but it seems the balance was…well…balanced.

Muhammad Rasheed - ...and then they broke it.

Brett Barton

Raymond Smith - #FACTS the whole antihero trope has been overdone to this point, instead of just putting good guys in tough situations, it has to be this whole dark gritty term about them. You can have antiheroes but you need variety.

Jonathan A. Price - It wasn't until I watched the MCU's Captain America movies that I realized how much I missed the pure hero archetype. Cap wasn't perfect but he was the closest thing to a lawful good for its own sake and that felt great.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Jonathan... And then suddenly they started having him cuss and talking about his ass, so I guess the "dark & gritty" era is about to come to the MCU. 🙄

Jonathan A. Price - yeah...there's that. But it was still pleasant to be reminded briefly.

Muhammad Rasheed - No, I totally agreed. But at this point I've come to expect the execs to start to ruin a good thing.

As much as I enjoyed the MCU while it pulled nostalgic tales from my favorite Silver Age era, we all knew it wasn't going to stay there forever.

Ben Whiting - Alan Moore, who wrote The Killing Joke, has said that he regrets writing it & being responsible for the whole shift to dark, gritty misery graphic novels

He said that by and large superhero’s are not meant to be taken seriously…”I mean…a man dressed as a bat?”

Kenneth Alexander Wright Vazquez - @Ben... superheroes walk a fine line between absurdism and idealism. Their aesthetics are definitely absurdly, but what they stand for, specifically Superman, is real and intrinsic to everyday life.

Muhammad Rasheed - Ben wrote: "are not meant to be taken seriously"

That seems a bit naïve to me for someone in his position. There's a reason we keep referring to these tales as "modern mythology" since that implies a profound influence upon culture just like the previous traditional tales passed along through the generations. These have the additional turbo-boost power of mass media behind them, so although the basic concept of a man dressed up like a bat probably won't itself be taken seriously, notice that doesn't stop PepsiCo, Inc.® from spending millions of dollars for the chance to use that same "unserious" media product to literally indoctrinate the audience.

Megacorporate's relentless pursuit of profit certainly isn't the only agenda taking advantage of this opportunity. I'm confident that Moore actually knows better than that.

Martin Jackson - I think the rejection characters like Superman (who are just good because) has more to do with a disillusionment of organized religion then an attack on it. More people see the faults of the figures in organized religions and politics and probably other things that were once looked at pillars of good moral in society.
That disillusionment cared on to how some people's creative works which then helped shaped fans views.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Martin... People have recognized for thousands of years that mere humans are flawed and the point of religion is to try and try and try again and build up a culture of trying to get it right until it gets as close as we can get it until the species expires.

Deciding to stop trying, throw away religion and just relax into degeneracy so the bad guys can win without any kind of resistance is a failure of people.

Muhammad Rasheed - There's nothing wrong with creating characters that do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and to train society to be that way ourselves. Teaching the next generation to think those characters are boring is not a good idea.

Raven Black - true, he is just boring UNLESS they have great writers, Super powered White Jesus in a cape.

Muhammad Rasheed - @Raven... The character himself is boring, or the stories are boring?

Raven Black - i liked the grant Morrison run and the Azzerllo story. So I guess it’s the character. Unless the writer is great. Too much power.

Muhammad Rasheed - Give me an example or two of the types of characters you prefer, please.

Brent Eric Anderson - Great thread. Thanks for the discussion.

Karl Dabney - The Darkside Of The Force is not stronger, just unrestrained.

Jerry Lee Brice - I agree, I look at the backlash to the preschool character Barney got from adults in society,like it's a "cool" to make sure other adults know you hate Barney, as opposed to just letting the little kids enjoy a nice thing...

I don't get it, most comic nerds are not even close to knowing what true darkness is, and if they did, they would not want to celebrate evil.

It's like the kids that fantasize about being gang members and criminals, when they are not built for any of that life, and need to stick to cotton candy and rainbows, because that's their lane.

Keith Creech - You can ask the big question, but being provocative for the sake of it is lazy writing. I thought Squardon Supreme was an interesting thought experiment: 

Muhammad Rasheed - Keith Creech I thought the Squadron Supreme was just the DC fans among the old Marvel bullpen doing fan fiction. lol

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