Monday, November 21, 2005

Comic Book "That's RIGHT!!" Moments!

You know what I mean by "That's RIGHT!" moments, but in case you don't, I will elaborate. "You're RIGHT!" moments are those times when someone points something out that has been present in the comic for a long time, but it just did not OCCUR to you until someone actually pointed it out. For instance, the at least HINT of homoeroticism in the relationship between Batman and Robin - when someone points it out, you say, "That's RIGHT!" That is a "That's RIGHT!" moment. Recently, David Campbell came up with a really good one, in his bit on Saliva Strand Syndrome.

Which led me to think of other "That's RIGHT!" moments in comics that I can recall, and to also open it up to you folks to see if you can think of any, as well.

Here are some I thought of:

- When I first noticed the similarities in Warren Ellis' protagonists.

- When I first saw someone parody Bendis' dialogue.

- When someone pointed out to me that I probably enjoyed every project I've read by Grant Morrison.

- When someone pointed out that Greg Rucka's female heroines do not fair that well in comics.

- When someone first pointed out that Geoff Johns comics sorta read like history assignments.

- When I noticed that Mark Buckinham was trying to keep Chris Bachalo looking like their old work

- When I figured out who the new Swordsman was (and then, as soon as I did, thought, "Watch him change it just to make me feel stupid").

- When I first noticed that the Doom Patrol are pretty similar to the X-Men

- When someone offered up the possibility that Selina Kyle would become Batwoman.

- The first time I realized that Claremont repeated a lot of the same phrases in his comics.

That's about it for me now - what about YOU folk?

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Blogger ninjawookie said...

- When someone offered up the possibility that Selina Kyle would become Batwoman.


11/21/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

Most "That's RIGHT!" moments occurred between the ages of 12 and 17:

-When it was pointed out that Jesse Custer's initials were "J.C."

-When it was pointed out that Chris Claremont wrote women waaaay better than men.

-When I read that Superman was the "ultimate immigrant."

-When I found out the Imperial Guard was the Legion of Superheroes.

11/21/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous jacob munford said...

There was some bit on Countdown at FBR, and somebody posted the whole "I'm Blue Beetle. I'm a Beetle. I'm a bug. I'm insignificant." dialogue, which is when I realized that Geoff Johns has about three different stories, just with different characters.

11/21/2005 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

- When it was pointed out that Chris Claremont's X-Men had numerous, frequent (lesbian/gay/alternate sexuality) subtext moments*.

No, scratch that. Not sub. SUPERTEXT moments.

* Read New Mutants Special Edition again and try real hard to convince me Wolfsbane isn't written and drawn as a furry.

11/21/2005 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Skipper Pickle said...

This entry doesn't need a spoiler warning. It needs a "spoil-comics-for-the-rest-of-your-life" warning.

11/21/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-- When someone pointed out that it was obviously Nixon who shot himself in front of Steve Engelhart's Captain America.

-- When someone pointed out just how often Mort Weisinger recycled the "heroes become babies" story

-- When someone pointed out that Kevin O'Neill based certain panels of Nemo in LoEG partially on Alan Moore's old book-jacket photo

-- Learning the Watchmen were the Charlton heroes, and the Minutemen (in part) were the Archie/MJL heroes

-- When someone pointed out to me that all of Mark Waid's archvillains sound exactly alike

-- When I learned that Bob Harras actually told writers to NEVER solve mystery plotlines n the X-books, because dangling mysteries kept the books selling and the fans happy

-- When someone pointed out that Garth Ennis equates comedy anal rape (or castration) with poetic justice

-- When someone told me just when Dave Sims fully committed himself to misogyny by comparing the early and the later versions of Jaka in Cerebus

-- When someone pointed out that Byrne's Luthor was just a skinny Kingpin

-- When someone pointed out that Lee and Romita's Kingpin was just an especially nasty Sydney Greenstreet

Omar Karindu, man without a Blogger account

11/21/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger David Campbell said...

Oh my God - The Imperial Guard ARE The Legion of Super Heroes! I never picked up on that, seriously.

11/21/2005 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Tsk Dave, we'll have to take your Long Box away for that!

Have they revealed the new Swordsman's identity? He seems to have disappeared from New Thunderbolts, unless I missed an issue...

How about: When I realised that Reed Richards really is an arsehole and that Doom wouldn't even be a bad guy if it weren't for him. :)

11/21/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

When Lisa Simpson explained how Casper was just the ghost of Richie Rich, having taken his own life out of shame.

11/21/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian Cronin said...

Check it out, Omar!

You can have your name show up even if you DON'T use a blogger account!

See how we like to take care of you folks?

11/21/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

--When somebody pointed out the shriekingly obvious "Superman as Christ" metaphor. Obvious now. Not so much when you're eleven.

--Most of Howard Chaykin's heroes are the same guy: Reuben Flagg. Sometimes the face is slightly different. (I happen to love Reuben Flagg, so it's fine by me.)

--That Wonder Woman's use of a golden lasso and her weakness when her bracelets are bound together by a man is creepy and weird. As a kid, hey whatever. Puberty sets in and all of the sudden subtext jumps right out...

11/21/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

I think the Superman as Christ metaphor that some people push (especially Morrison) is actually quite a stretch. There's not really much in common between them storywise.

11/21/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

"Superman as ultimate Immigrant" was a big one for me. I've ONLY seen Superman as Christ metaphor in future-Kingdom Come type stories, and even that's not very exact.

Can y'all give me some examples of Superman as Christ metaphor?

11/21/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Uslan compared Superman to Moses when he was pitching a comic book subject at a university. I got it from the Batman 2 disc special features.

Moses parents send him down the river to escape death by genocide of first born sons.

Kal El's parent send him to Earth to escape Death by explosion.

Moses gets adopted as a member of the Royal Family.

Superman gets adopted my Ma and Pa Kent.

Moses saves and liberates a bunch of Slaves.

Superman saves a bunch people on Earth from themselves.

I guess it's sort of just the origin that's the same.

The jesus thing comes from the death and ressurection i take it?

11/21/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

If one's just going by the Death and Resurrection thing, that's just a recent development, and hardly the essence of the character. Morrison has claimed several times that Superman's character essense is Christ-figure, and I just never bought it.

11/21/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

When someone (I think it was Scipio at Absorbacon) pointed out how DeMattis starts a sentence in one panel, then finishes it in the next. And that he does this frequently.

Just sitting back and going through my Amazing Spider-Man comics in my mind, I pulled up half a dozen instances of that right off.

11/21/2005 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

You know who's even worse at that than DeMatteis? David Michelinie. On just about every other page he does that thing where he starts a sentence on one panel and puts the last word in the next panel.

11/21/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

"If one's just going by the Death and Resurrection thing, that's just a recent development, and hardly the essence of the character. Morrison has claimed several times that Superman's character essense is Christ-figure, and I just never bought it."

Yeah. Doesn't make much sense to me, either, except in the most general "Powerful Force for Good"

Superman to Moses could almsot sort of work, if you stretched it really far. It feels doofy to me to retroactively dump Christ-figure subtext on a character created by a couple of Jews.

11/22/2005 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Even Moses is a stretch, although it does work better than Jesus, that's for sure. Moses was sent off as a child and brought his doomed people to a better land as an adult. Superman was sent to earth as a child and as an adult freed the Kryptonian bottle city of Kandor. It works somewhat.

11/22/2005 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

The voiceover on the trailer suggests that they're going for the heavy-handed Christ symbolism in the new movie. Lots of stuff about Jor-El specifically sending him to Earth to save humanity...

11/22/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

I don't think Superman-as-Christ works, but:

In the preamble to "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" Alan Moore says something along the lines of Superman being a man who came to Earth to do nothing but good deeds. That's my favorite definition of Superman, and a good working definition of Jesus.

Additionally, he was raised by a foster father, left Smallville as a boy and came to Metropolis as a man with (at the time) no word about what happened between ages 12 and 20- or 30-something. Jesus went from Nazareth at age 12 to, I think, Galilee (I'm a bit rusty on the Bible, being a lapsed Cathiolic) around age 30.

Both Superman & Jesus have superpowers. Both rise above temptation and selfishness to use those powers for good.

In one of the Gnostic texts, Jesus is vulnerable to Kryptonite. Luckily, Peter (who couldn't raise Jesus on his signal sundial) got him the lead lined robe in the nick of time.

So, not exactly John Wilkes Booth/ Lee Harvey Oswald, but there are similarities.

11/22/2005 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken S. said...

My #1 That's RIGHT moment was the beginning of Kavalier & Clay, when Clay talked about how to Jewish kids of a certain time Houdini was Superman. Right then I bought the novel (then gave it as presents to damn near everyone).

11/22/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

I mean sure there some superficial similarities, but there are also a ton of differences too.

It's not enough that he has power and is sent to save people. Plenty of mythological characters have that in common. To me, a Christ-like character also has to face an insurmountable threat while also facing persecution from the very people he's trying to save. But he does it anyway, even if the people don't appreciate him. I think Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 is a good example, he feels his life is thankless and wants to give up the burden he's been placed with and decides in the end to embrace his destiny anyway. He gets crucified on the front of a train and taken down from the cross.

But Superman faces no persecution. He's universally loved. He's a rockstar. He rarely faces any insurmountable threats, most of his enemies are middle-aged fat guys like Luthor, Toyman and Prankster. He's relatively adversity-free.

Christ-like figures usually face some sort of uphill battle where more people are against them than with them. To me, Superman is that really popular, good-looking jock in high school or A-list celebrity that turns out to be a genuinely nice person. The kind that gets props because he could totally get away with being a huge prick but chooses not to. Superman is impressive more because of his massive restraint than his massive sacrifices.

11/22/2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

"The voiceover on the trailer suggests that they're going for the heavy-handed Christ symbolism in the new movie. Lots of stuff about Jor-El specifically sending him to Earth to save humanity..."

I agree, I thought the same thing. I just hope it doesn't come off forced and pretentious.

11/22/2005 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Eli said...

Christ imagery is the refuge of unimaginative, pretentious writers everywhere. I'm sure some Superman writers have toyed with it, but I agree with T. - his life is too easy.

11/22/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

The "Superman as Christ" metaphor is not a great one, yeah. But it gets used a lot.

The last (only) begotten son, sent to Earth. Bringer of justice and groovyness. T's right that it lacks the key element of Christ's story: death and resurrection. The parallels aren't great. But dammit, they're used anyway.

I blame the Superman movie of 1978 for pushing the idea over the top. Fer cryin' out loud, the spaceship he rode to Earth looked like the star of Bethlehem. Mario Puzo pushed the Jesus angle hard.

"Superman as Immigrant" works a lot better, particularly if you focus on the idea of assimiliation. He pretends to be a nondescript person to blend in. Beneath his American attire is a colorful suit made up of the very cloth in which he was swaddled by his parents before sending him away. Superman is, in many ways, the real person--Kent is the fabrication to keep the locals off his case. Keen.

A "That's Right!" moment for me came when I realized that the first six or eight issues of Liefeld's old X-Force contained virtually no story. A normal comic would have condensed it into an issue, maybe two. Thus did I understand an early form of decompression.

11/22/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger David C said...

- realizing in retrospect just why Steve Rogers' friend Artie (or was it Arnie?) was *that* broken up about the death of his "roommate."

They really were pretty good at writing "mature" stuff in regular comics, but in a way that it would go right over the head of a kid. It's glaringly obvious to me as an adult that Artie was gay, but it never once occurred to me as a kid.

11/22/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Harvey, totally agree about the assimilated immigrant thing. Works a lot better, especially if you take into account that Seigel and Shuster were Jewish. Many rich and powerful Jews back then would change their names and do their best to assimilate.

And David C., it never hit me that Arnie was gay! You're so right!! I still remember that song after all these years: "My name is Arnie Roth, I am a big fat sloth..."

11/22/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

It's not necessarily that Superman is directly a Christ Figure, but that Christ and Superman both have characteristics related to archetypical Apollonian Sun Dieties.

11/23/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We only call it Christ-imagery. This is ubiquitous stuff (little Joe Campbell for ya!), the fatherless hero, an orphan with a great destiny (and doubled identity) raised by adoptive parents somewhere out in a trackless wilderness, until he comes of Moses is the same as Christ, really, it's the same pattern all around. Same with Superman, King Arthur, you name it. See: World Mythology, Comparative Religion.

As to the death/resurrection thing, this is universal fertility-god imagery, which again Christ just happens to be a local expression of. (Of course in his case the fertility motifs are conjoined with the heroic ones.) Balder does the same death/resurrection act in Norse myth, Persephone (and others) do it in the Greek, and so on. Hey, wait, King Arthur again! Not to mention Osiris...although you can see in the Egyptian example that fertility and heroism are not always conjoined, because Horus as Osiris' son is the fatherless hero...

That's right!

11/23/2005 03:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Kelson said...

When someone first pointed out that Geoff Johns comics sorta read like history assignments.

Heh. If you think Geoff Johns' comics read like history lessons, you should try some Roy Thomas comics from the 1980s. Infinity, Inc. was all about the legacy, All-Star Squadron was entirely retcon (in the original sense of the word, where it was just stuff that hadn't been told, not stuff that replaced/revised older stories), and The Young All-Stars was launched mainly to fill the gaps left in the post-Crisis JSA left by Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Now, those were history lessons!

(That said, this is one of a number of criticisms of Geoff Johns' work that just don't make sense to me, since I've only really read his run on The Flash. Not having read JSA, Hawkman, or Green Lantern: Rebirth, the only "history lesson" stories I've read are the occasional Rogue Profile and Infinite Crisis #2.)

11/23/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

the fatherless hero, an orphan with a great destiny (and doubled identity) raised by adoptive parents somewhere out in a trackless wilderness, until he comes of to the death/resurrection thing, this is universal fertility-god imagery...

See, now I know you're full of it. Because by that logic, I'm a fertility god. All sorts of people are orphans with great destinies and double identites, raised in the wilderness, come of age, die, and are resurrected. Not counting me, that describes, like, six guys I know.

Not staying dead is not cause enough to label someone a fertility god. God of raging parties, sure. God of quality haircuts, maybe. But god of fertility? My houseplants would beg to differ with you.

(By the way, should you ever plan to come back from the dead, make sure you have a great lawyer. The inheritance laws were not written with revivification in mind. First three times I came back I lost everything I owned. Only the last two have I been able to recover anything. PS--To my lawyer Rick: dude, you rock!)

11/23/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, you don't like being a fertility god? Being a fertility god's not good enough for you now?

Fatherless heroes aren't automatically fertility gods. Jesus is. Horus isn't. You apparently are. And of course so am I. But Superman isn't, I think despite his death and resurrection. And also, a major point here is that these are freakin' myths, okay? Not superpowers. So I may be able to ride across the sky in a chariot and cure scurvy, and I could probably even shoot somebody with an arrow if I tried, but that doesn't make me Apollo. OR DOES IT?

Word verification: jbrad. Now that's cool.

11/23/2005 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Harvey: That reminds me of Mulder's death on The X-Files: he'd been dead and buried for a few weeks and when he came back his apartment was fully furnished and untouched.

11/24/2005 06:54:00 PM  

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