monthly fandom

An Alternate Ending

I know I hated on Superman a lot in my last post, but he is good for some things. For example, this lovely video explaining how his latest movie should have ended. If you’re not familiar with the HISHE folks and their Superhero Cafe, you have several wonderful hours of YouTube ahead of you. This is a good place to start.

 

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monthly fandom

My Least Favourite Superhero

I’ve already given you the list of my favourite superheroes, and we’ve talked about a couple of the best superhero movies. So now it’s time to talk about a hero I really don’t like. This guy.

superman-the-man-of-steel-story-brainiac

I understand that, without Superman, superheroes as we know them wouldn’t even exist, and I do appreciate him for laying the genre’s foundation. But the fact that he was the first doesn’t make him the best. Here are some things that bug me about Superman:

1) His ridiculous powers. He can fly, he has x-ray vision and super strength, he shoots laser beams from his eyes, he’s indestructible…I mean, this guy can do anything. He’s unstoppable. So how can any of his stories possibly have a conflict? Oh yeah, that’s right…

2) Kryptonite. Because the average criminal, mad scientist, evil alien, etc. doesn’t stand a chance against Superman, the only sense of danger in his story comes from a supposedly rare type of space rock that drains his powers. So, of course, that rare piece of rock has to show up in every comic (and therefore every single movie). Which kind of stretches the bounds of belief, even in the superhero genre, but not quite as much as…

3) His “secret” identity. So this neon-wearing hero, whose face is all over the news all the time, puts on a pair of glasses and a tie, and NO ONE recognizes him. Seriously? Even toddlers don’t fall for tricks like that. Sure, people can be pretty stupid sometimes, but you would think that after a while, Lois Lane would notice that one of her co-workers looks an awful lot like her super boyfriend. Didn’t any of your journalism teachers tell you to observe the details, Lois?

4) His perfection. All of this is really to say, Superman is just too perfect. Most of his successors have at least a few problems in their lives–well, usually a lot of problems–but Superman has everything going for him. He always does the right thing, he always saves the day, and he always comes out of it completely unscathed. Which is fine when you’re ten and watching cartoons, but now that I’m older, I like a little complexity in my heroes.

The question is, why are they still trying to make serious movies about this guy? The most recent example, Man of Steel, was the dullest superhero movie I’ve ever seen. Zack Snyder really tried to bring Superman into the Nolan-influenced 21st century, but all he did was make him even more boring than ever. Maybe it’s time for this 76-year-old alien to retire.

Namarie!

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monthly fandom

Superhero Comic #1

As I’ve said, I’m not into comic books. But I do like knowing where my favourite characters came from. Superheroes are so popular and high-tech these days that I sometimes forget just how long they’ve been around. The first comic book to feature a hero with supernatural powers and a colorful suit came out in 1938.

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They made things to last back in the ’30s. Of course, you could argue that superheroes have been around even longer than that–The Scarlet Pimpernel, in Baroness Orczy’s novel of the same name, was basically the French Revolution-era Batman, and the Victorians had their share of powerful crime-fighters with secret identities. But I think we can at least credit Action Comics with the whole cape-spandex-and-muscles aesthetic we now associate with superheroes. Kudos to them. Too bad they can’t benefit from all the money their heroes are making now…

Namarie!

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monthly fandom

Fandom of the Month: Superheroes

Summer is the season for superheroes. Theatres are full of them, convention centers across the country are preparing to welcome thousands of their creators and fans, and they seem quite patriotic enough for the Fourth of July. So those caped crusaders are a fitting topic of discussion this month.

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I have to start off these fandom posts with a HUGE disclaimer: I am not a comic book fan.

I respect comics as an art form, but they’re one of the few nerdy things I have just never gotten into (anime is another). I was introduced to superheroes through their movies, and that’s still where I prefer to meet them. So if you’re a comic book purist, most of this month’s posts will not be for you.

But if you’re a fan of great stories, this month is totally for you. Whether they’re mutants, aliens from other worlds, humans who had accidents with mad scientists, or actual Norse gods, superheroes are the stars of modern mythology. Something about human nature has always compelled us to create fictional heroes who are more powerful than we are, who fight against evil, and who can still be vulnerable and make mistakes (because what kind of story would it be if they didn’t?). The ancient Greeks had Zeus and Poseidon. We have Superman and Batman. They’re just the latest creations in an ancient, time-honoured storytelling tradition.

spiderman on a vase

But personally, I like superheroes better than Greek gods. They tend to have a much better moral code, for one thing. In fact the superhero genre is practically the only one in today’s films that still allows clear, unambiguous lines between good and evil. The heroes in other movies are starting to look more and more like villains, but guys like Captain America still do the right thing without apologizing for it. And that’s always nice to see. Plus, superheroes have more fun than the Olympians. Zeus never got to wear a shiny suit and fly around blowing up tanks, now did he?

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Stay tuned this month for fun pictures, humor, movie reviews, etc. Namarie!

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