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View Full Version : What's the most any writer ever loved their own character?



Jabroniville
12-12-2014, 03:03 AM
This gets mentioned a lot in comics- writers becoming fanboys for the characters they're writing (whether they've created them or not), and have them doing increasingly-awesome stuff, often at the expense of other characters.

This can be both good and bad. A writer SHOULD like the character they're writing- if said character isn't doing great stuff, then why would you want to read about him (unless the book's focus is that they're a loser who sucks)? But this can also be overdone.

Jeph Loeb gets mentioned a lot in things like this. He wrote that whole Our Worlds At War storyline just to have an epic where Superman basically does everything and proves that he's the greatest ever. This was done at what many fans feel is the expense of the Justice League, many of whom were written like idiots, and were beaten easily.

His Supergirl comic was unreadable crap for the first few issues (which I have)- essentially it was Supergirl Fightin' Round The World, with her pummelling OTHER SUPERHEROES to showcase how awesome she was.

And he did this AGAIN with The Red Hulk, having him beat up Thor, Hulk, Abomination and others in order to prove how great he was.

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Mark Gruenwald is an example of one of the positive sides in this- his Captain America was a phenom, able to beat a half-dozen supervillains at once, and was made to look extremely great at just about everything. Despite this, he rarely one-upped major established characters- instead Gru set up JOBBER villains for Cap to beat on (even inventing many, like The Serpent Society), allowing him to get wins without damaging anyone important. Plus it was actually a bit adorable to see someone love their character SO MUCH.

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Jim Starlin of course has Thanos & Adam Warlock. Thanos routinely made Marvel's ancient Cosmic Beings look like morons, and Warlock was the only guy ever to beat Thanos, often at the expense of Marvel's heroes, who were basically helpless without Adam's help.

Kreuzritter
12-12-2014, 05:03 AM
Steve Engelhart and Mantis. 'nuff said

Kyle
12-12-2014, 01:27 PM
Much as I love his work, the lengths that Steve Gerber went to "free" Howard the Duck from Marvel is a bit silly.

Also, there are some rather...unseemly rumours regarding Chris Claremont and Storm.

Horsenhero
12-12-2014, 02:30 PM
I could understand Gerber, after all, Howard the Duck if published as an indie book, free of corporate meddling could probably find a decent following.

Starlin is a bit over the top with Thanos, but only because Thanos is actually the only big time character Starlin has ever created. Don't get me wrong, I read Jim Starlin's run on Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock and even his Epic comics series Dreadstar and I appreciate his art and his storytelling, but he only knows how to tell one story (with slightly different wrinkles each time) and the villain of that story just happens to be his favorite character. Thanos.

Jeph Loeb basicly suffers from the same problem Scott Lobdell does and the problem is...he's not that good of a writer.

Since I'm assuming we're addressing what was on the page or involved ownership disputes (like HtD or Ghost Rider), I don't believe Claremont warrants a mention. Most of the accusations thrown his way seem fairly petty and they fall just short of libel, since they're attacks on his personal character, not the way he writes his characters.

My own choice would be Rob Liefeld and Cable. Despite coming from a dystopian future, Cable seemed fairly effortlessly flawless and always correct.

If we can venture to characters that were literary first and then were adapted to comics, then I would pick Corwin from Zelazny's Amber novels.

Kyle
12-12-2014, 03:40 PM
I could understand Gerber, after all, Howard the Duck if published as an indie book, free of corporate meddling could probably find a decent following.
I'm sure that's true, and Howard was obviously an important character to Gerber, and he put a lot of himself into the title while he was writing it. I guess I just don't understand why he didn't simply start writing Leonard the Duck stories as opposed to going to the trouble of the whole Spider-Man Team-Up/Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck story.

Again, I'm a huge fan of Gerber, but it makes me kind of sad that he put so much of time and effort into fighting Marvel for the legal rights to Howard.

Ares
12-12-2014, 03:52 PM
Steve Engelhart and Mantis. 'nuff said

This. Engelhart went so far as to write Mantis analogies to the other comic companies he worked at. I don't think anyone has loved a pet character as much as he has.

The Jeph Loeb example with Supergirl is actually worse than Jab describes, because after he had Supergirl going around and showing up the other heroes of the DCU, he then had her turned evil, beat up the Justice League, only to have Superman show up and defeat her, saying that the reason she appeared more powerful than him was that she never held back, while he always holds back, and that he could beat her whenever he wanted to.

He basically used Supergirl to have the rest of the DCU job to Superman AGAIN, only this time by proxy.

Starlin is likewise bad with Adam Warlock and Thanos. He only knows how to write one type of story with them, and every story he does makes any characters other than Warlock and Thanos irrelevant to the plot. All of the 'Infinity' series were basically about how badass Adam Warlock and Thanos were, and the entire rest of the Marvel Universe was basically window dressing. Warlock even points out in Infinity Crusade how the heroes of Earth's efforts didn't amount to anything in the story.

Grant Morrison really, really loves Superman as well. And like with most Morrison stuff, it's hit or miss on how good it is. Sometimes it's All-Star Superman, which is a love letter to the Silver Age Superman and includes one of the best Superman panels ever (http://brad-ricca.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/all-star-superman-10-pg121.jpg). On the other hand, Final Crisis is an incomprehensible mess that is resolved solely by Superman showing up to save the day. His JLA run wound up being both, as you'd sometimes get truly awesome moments like Superman wrestling an angel, contrasted by Superman defeating Maggeddon by absorbing anti-sunlight, since "If I can absorb sunlight, I should be able to absorb anti-sunlight as well!"

Geoff Johns really loves his bad guys. He promoted Black Adam over Capt. Marvel, making the former a star in the DCU at the expense of the latter. He focused on the Rogues so much in the Flash that they pretty much became the stars of the book as opposed to Wally. Sinestro has constantly shown Hal Jordan up in the Green Lantern books. We've got Lex Luthor on the Justice League. Hell, we had an entire crossover event that was nothing but bad guys called 'Forever Evil'. He also bent over backwards to bring Barry Allen and Hal Jordan back, and then one upped himself further by making Barry Allen the source of the Speed Force, doing everything he could to make Barry THE Flash, which seems like a middle finger to Waid's run.

Ares
12-12-2014, 04:26 PM
On the positive side of things, Alex Ross really, really loves Captain Marvel, though he's stated that Superman is his favorite character. Still, on another message board (populated by somewhat . . . extreme Superman fans), Ross actually gets called an irrational Capt. Marvel fanboy because he portrays Cap as someone of equal power to Supes as well as being someone who sees Superman as a friend and peer, rather than being over-awed by him.

Kreuzritter
12-12-2014, 05:20 PM
On the positive side of things, Alex Ross really, really loves Captain Marvel, though he's stated that Superman is his favorite character. Still, on another message board (populated by somewhat . . . extreme Superman fans), Ross actually gets called an irrational Capt. Marvel fanboy because he portrays Cap as someone of equal power to Supes as well as being someone who sees Superman as a friend and peer, rather than being over-awed by him.

not to derail, but if you mean where I think you do, that forum has a lot more problems than fanboyism

Ares
12-12-2014, 05:29 PM
No doubt, but it's something I get a chuckle out of regardless.

"Superman is clearly the most powerful character ever, and it's well established that any limitations he has are all mental blocks he imposes on himself out of nobility. If he ever cut loose, he could reduce Thor, Captain Marvel, Black Adam and the Hulk's faces to red clouds of blood with a single punch. His mind is so powerful that it's only natural he eventually develop advanced abilities like shapeshifting. He is the most powerful hero ever, as shown by excellent writers like Grant Morrison, Jeph Loeb and many, many others. He could beat the entire JLA if he wanted to, without breaking a sweat."

"Hey, Alex Ross thinks Superman and Captain Marvel are equals in terms of power, nobility and personal herosim."

"What an insane fanboy."

Gilliam
12-13-2014, 01:03 AM
Grant Morrison really, really loves Superman as well. And like with most Morrison stuff, it's hit or miss on how good it is. Sometimes it's All-Star Superman, which is a love letter to the Silver Age Superman and includes one of the best Superman panels ever (http://brad-ricca.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/all-star-superman-10-pg121.jpg).


For me that panel sums up perfectly the type of hero Superman is and should be.

Jabroniville
12-13-2014, 02:19 AM
Yeah, Englehart & Mantis is probably the greatest single example of all time- made all the weirder by the fact that NO OTHER WRITER SEEMS TO CARE. Mantis basically vanishes whenever Englehart does, and he brings her EVERYWHERE with him. I'm not even really sure where his fascination comes from- I assume naturally that he has a fetish for Asian girls, as she shows up immediately as a Vietnamese hooker in an Island Girl dress with giga-cleavage, but the antennae? The "This One" conversation patterns? What's the deal?

And let's not forget her debut- handing the ENTIRE AVENGERS their asses to showcase her own capabilities. It was FanFic before FanFic was a big thing!

ResplendentFire
12-13-2014, 05:05 AM
And let's not forget her debut- handing the ENTIRE AVENGERS their asses to showcase her own capabilities. It was FanFic before FanFic was a big thing!

No, fanfic was a thing in 1973. See also: Trek fandom.

Horsenhero
12-13-2014, 12:06 PM
This is so true. Only the lack of an internet kept things relatively contained...after all, the editors at "Analog" or the other science fiction literary magazine's of the time were looking for serious, original work...so...no fanfic. My sister wrote some absolutely cringeworthy Star Trek stories back in the day though. However, in 1973 I was 9 and she would've kicked the crap out of me for criticizing it (not that I would have...I was busy watching Ultraman and Speed Racer at the time).

Jabroniville
12-14-2014, 06:38 AM
No, fanfic was a thing in 1973. See also: Trek fandom.
I said before it was a BIG thing :). FanFic has exploded in even the past 15 years.

Narsil
12-14-2014, 05:08 PM
For me that panel sums up perfectly the type of hero Superman is and should be.

That is of course completely wrong. That's five panels perfectly summing up the type of hero Superman is and should be. :P

ResplendentFire
12-14-2014, 11:27 PM
I said before it was a BIG thing :). FanFic has exploded in even the past 15 years.

Nah, the internet exploded. The fanfic was always there.

Nevius
12-15-2014, 02:40 PM
Wow, two pages already and nobody has even mentioned Pete Wisdom yet?

Jabroniville
12-15-2014, 03:05 PM
Nah, the internet exploded. The fanfic was always there.
Yeah, but it wasn't as big then. Certainly most ordinary people had never heard of Fan Fiction in 1973. The tropes like "Mary Sue" weren't common knowledge (the story that gave the trope its name was released the same year Mantis was, coincidentally enough, and the phrase shifted over time as well).

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And yeah, Wisdom's a good one. Though he was a bit vulnerable and not that powerful- he struck me more as a flat-out Author Insert of Warren Ellis, to the point where he lived a million fanboy dreams by sleeping with Kitty Pryde.