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-   -   When comic books fail to accept they don't take place in the real world (http://forums.thetechnodrome.com/showthread.php?t=63923)

neatoman 04-30-2021 04:33 PM

When comic books fail to accept they don't take place in the real world
 
Sorry for the awkward title but I think it might need to be adressed. Keep in mind, the problem I'm about to detail isn't exclusive to comic books or their adaptations, but it is where I most commonly see it and where I think it might be the most obvious.

Alright, one of the major problems I have with shared superhero universes aside from seemingly having contradictions between the books is that they tend to forget how much they differ from the real world. Much of this comes down to either editors or writers wanting to deal with real world issues, or simply making the fictional world more relatable, but I think it might be unintentional as well.

Why exactly would it be a problem? If the world depicted was actually closer to reality, it wouldn't necessarily be a problem. But you can't really fill your world with aliens, mutants, sentient robots, living dinosaurs, time travel and whatever else on such a massive scale and expect everything else to just play out like in the real world. At worst, this creates a weird disconnect where the writer just forces the story to be whatever they want without considering the setting.

For example, these are pages from the issue of Spider-Man dealing with 9/11:


Now I don't mean to trivialise 9/11 here. In the real world it was quite a horrible thing and no terrorist attack was as devastating before or since. But that is the thing, nothing compares to it in the real world. In the Marvel Universe, New York is constantly attacked and these attacks are theoretically comparable to 9/11, so why exactly would 9/11 be treated any differently in such a world?

And while most people like to point to Doctor Doom crying at this is weird, I need to point out that Magneto and Doctor Octopus stand alongside him being saddened by the events. Magneto had previously done this:


And Doctor Octopus would go on to do this:


I could probably go on to talk about how different the Marvel Universe or any similar works of fiction really should be from the real world, such as how they really should have space colonies or completely different religions but I think this one example is a clear cut one.

If you want a non-comic example, I think Star Trek would be a good one, even it mostly just involve the backstory. The eugenics war obviously didn't happen in the real world, but the episode of Voyager where they go back to the 90's they still seem to insist Star Trek is "our future", as there are no apparent differences from the real world 90's. And I'm also willing to bet WWIII isn't happening in the next five years.

IMJ 04-30-2021 05:50 PM

Please succinctly sum up your observation/point into a single sentence. Maybe even two would be fine. Regardless of whether or not you want to stand on that you did that already in your post.

Just do me the solid of chewing up that information above and sum up your head math here into a digestible sentence and then I'll ty to address what I think you are getting at.

Please humor me and trust me, it's better this way.

Leo656 04-30-2021 06:14 PM

Yeah, that Marvel 9/11 comic is some of the silliest, most emotionally-manipulative nonsense I've ever seen in my life.

I get what they were going for, and their hearts were in the right place, but as you pointed out in the Marvel Universe something like 9/11 happens every Wednesday, and some of those same characters standing there crying about the Towers are usually the perpetrators - and in many cases have done FAR worse. 9/11 would be small potatoes for a genocidal lunatic like Magneto, why would he even give a sh*t? Other than someone else doing it before he could? Same goes for Doom and the rest. Dumb. Were they just upset that the terrorists who hijacked the planes weren't Officially-Licensed Super-Villains or something? "How DARE they do Exactly What We Always Do, but without costumes or code names? There are RULES and PROCEDURES to flying planes into buildings!" What the f*ck? :lol:

People often gush about it being so awe-inspiring, but really, it was stupid. Well-intentioned, for sure. But objectively stupid. You literally have to ignore just about Every Marvel Comic Ever Printed for that issue to make any sense at all.

neatoman 04-30-2021 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IMJ (Post 1890877)
Please succinctly sum up your observation/point into a single sentence. Maybe even two would be fine. Regardless of whether or not you want to stand on that you did that already in your post.

Just do me the solid of chewing up that information above and sum up your head math here into a digestible sentence and then I'll ty to address what I think you are getting at.

Please humor me and trust me, it's better this way.

Alright:

You can't fill a fictional world with things that never happened or can't happen in the real world, then still insist that real world events happen the same way and have the same impact, nor does it make sense for the fictional world to more or less just be the same in general.

Example: If the Avengers have the ability to travel to other planets on the fly and everyone knows aliens exist, then why doesn't earth have colonies in space and why are real world conflicts relevant? If you have all this as an established part of the fictional world, then the fictional world would logically deviate far more from reality than it does.

IMJ 04-30-2021 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neatoman (Post 1890884)
Alright:

You can't fill a fictional world with things that never happened or can't happen in the real world, then still insist that real world events happen the same way and have the same impact, nor does it make sense for the fictional world to more or less just be the same in general.

Example: If the Avengers have the ability to travel to other planets on the fly and everyone knows aliens exist, then why doesn't earth have colonies in space and why are real world conflicts relevant? If you have all this as an established part of the fictional world, then the fictional world would logically deviate far more from reality than it does.

Ok, that was pretty well stated. Awesome job at that. So with that said and to your point....

You can do that. It's artistic merit and in disregard of continuity in order to address a greater topic.

Now with that said, and as you pointed out and as Leo mentioned - the Spidey issue..... you know... is flawed from any POV other than 'it was an acknowledgment of the time". The simple fact is that you have to be discerning enough to bob and weave in between "continuity" and "artistic expression" and "additions for relevance". That's it. It really is that simple.

Now if we were to get really nerdy for that kind of "justify the story" kind of convo that we comic book guys have? I suppose, and this isn't to diminish the point I made above, but I suppose it could be argued that real-world things still happen around the Marvel characters because there are still real people running around doing things independent of Spider-Man or Kingpin or whoever. For example, the (Updated) Afghan war was still happening regardless of superheroes running around because Tony Stark went there, got blown up and became Iron Man.

So the first point above is to address that things like that are done for artistic merit or cultural relevance. The second point above illustrates that these things can happen. And so the role of Doom in that Spidey book doesn't diminish the event, but rather is maybe a mischaracterization. But we don't care because it's done for artistic merit.

Coola Yagami 04-30-2021 07:11 PM

I agree so much on that 9/11 issue after all the shock, horror and everything have passed. It was a different feeling back then, even though I still found the villains page to be stupid. Especially Magneto who pretty much hates humans and would have used this to further his cause. "You see what I mean Charles, they can't even make peace with each other! That's why we need to rule over them!"

I mean in the MU either this would be just another Tuesday, OR Spider-Man and crew WOULD HAVE been there, they WOULD HAVE stopped the planes, they WOULD HAVE saved the day.

It's the same thing as stuff like cancer. You can't tell me, realistically, if all the tech that existed in the MU and DCU existed in the real world, Reed Richards couldn't just blast you with a 'no-cancer ray' or whatever, and there ya go, all better. There's like this magical cloud of dumbassery that hovers above every respectable genius in the comics world that wants to seek ways to better mankind and whatnot in all sorts of ways EXCEPT curing cancer. Or have reality warpers say 'No More Cancer' or something.

And like, I know the real world reason, because if you're actually terminal and you want to read some comics to get your mind off it at least for a while, you don't want to read about in some semi-realistic world where cancer is a joke and is as easy to cure as take an aspirin for a headache.

But in the comic book universe itself, it makes no sense to just ignore that when their world is packed with super geniuses.

IMJ 04-30-2021 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coola Yagami (Post 1890890)
I agree so much on that 9/11 issue after all the shock, horror and everything have passed. It was a different feeling back then, even though I still found the villains page to be stupid. Especially Magneto who pretty much hates humans and would have used this to further his cause. "You see what I mean Charles, they can't even make peace with each other! That's why we need to rule over them!"

I mean in the MU either this would be just another Tuesday, OR Spider-Man and crew WOULD HAVE been there, they WOULD HAVE stopped the planes, they WOULD HAVE saved the day.

It's the same thing as stuff like cancer. You can't tell me, realistically, if all the tech that existed in the MU and DCU existed in the real world, Reed Richards couldn't just blast you with a 'no-cancer ray' or whatever, and there ya go, all better. There's like this magical cloud of dumbassery that hovers above every respectable genius in the comics world that wants to seek ways to better mankind and whatnot in all sorts of ways EXCEPT curing cancer. Or have reality warpers say 'No More Cancer' or something.

And like, I know the real world reason, because if you're actually terminal and you want to read some comics to get your mind off it at least for a while, you don't want to read about in some semi-realistic world where cancer is a joke and is as easy to cure as take an aspirin for a headache.

But in the comic book universe itself, it makes no sense to just ignore that when their world is packed with super geniuses.

Sure, all of that and also there are certain things that you simply can't trivialize by "superhero solutions" in a comic book universe. Cancer. 9-11.

I mean in content and context it makes more sense for cancer to be resolved in Stark Trek than it does in the Marvel U. It makes for greater poignancy that Mar-Vell can die of cancer in the Marvel U which is "current" and street level sort of science fiction.

Of course Star Trek has "future analogs" for cancer - but again, all in context of content.

neatoman 04-30-2021 07:35 PM

I mean you "can" just do it for cultural relevance, obviously these comics wouldn't exist otherwise. But "can" isn't quite the same as "makes sense".

The problem is that things don't happen in a bubble, in real life or in fiction, and it's questionable how these real life events would occur without influence from the fictional elements.

Let's say Donald Trump was elected president in both the real world and the Marvel Universe, that is fine. However, in real life we can see why one of his campaign promises, the wall, makes sense because he adressed some issue important to people in the real world. In the Marvel Universe, the promise of a border wall might come across as a strange subject, since alien invasions are clearly a bigger problem than illegal immigration.

If Donald Trump became the president in the Marvel Universe, wouldn't it make more sense to change his promise from a border wall to making counter measures against alien invasions more robust?

I get that the writers want to be relevant, I'm just not sure superhero comics are really the best platform to talk about real life issues, at least not Marvel/DC style superhero comics? Maybe in a comic where the hero has relatively low-tier powers, all his allies have fairly simple powers too, they only deal with human threats who are (at worst) only capable of doing something like 9/11 and stuff like time travel never really happens. I could see a comic like that dealing real world issues in a believable way, but not really the aliens and mutants variety we get from Marvel/DC.

I get that these are the big sellers and it is what most writers spend their time working on, so of course they're going to use these comics to deal with those issues, regardless of how bizarre it may seem. They're not going to make some relatively down to earth indie comic to talk about 9/11 or the election of this or that president. But ultimately, it is just bizarre to ignore what the setting is like, just to make a point about the real world.

Andrew NDB 04-30-2021 09:30 PM

I understand and agree with the point I think he's trying to make.

It's like when Imperiex massacred hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people in DC and it's business as usual a week later... but the World Trade Center got hit with a couple planes and it's a big months long mourning thing? It doesn't really compute.

The solution, I think, is to either treat real life events as happening, but not as big of a deal... or simpler still, just avoid mentioning them at all.

IMJ 04-30-2021 10:03 PM

To be clear, I understand what O.P. is getting it. It's not that "it doesn't compute" it's that I think there is a direction-of-reason that it should compute in automatically to most readers. I think part of this is perception.

For example, from the get-go I did not perceive those events to be in comics as Marvel canon, but rather in comics as tributes to tragic affairs. And because as a publisher, you wouldn't want to trivialize those events, you then maintain the event as the status quo in your "world". And so it's "event canon" out of respect for the affair rather than "story canon" out of story opportunity.

I mean the other hint that what I'm describing is the correct perception is that they don't do this for every global event. It's for things that hit home or are noteworthy, otherwise it's for comedy. I'm telling you - LOL- Iron man vol 1 is like a history lesson. If you comb through enough issues there are little nod to past Presidents or story content to minor political affairs. But most of us understand those nods rather than embracing them as canon continuity.

I think I've explained my perspective on this pretty clearly at this point. I can't help but feel that it's just common sense. I dunno. I respect the initiating of the topic in the thread, but I can't understand how anyone can't understand these sort of acknowledgments in the books.

MsMarvelDuckie 05-01-2021 09:52 PM

With Marvel, it's not that hard to understand, since the MU was ALWAYS a close analogue of the real world, places, and events, just alternate versions of them, and an alternate history to account for all the weird stuff. They had the massacre in Genosha, we had one in Serbia. It's harder to pin down in DC, where there are places that don't even have any basis in reality, like Themascera(sp?) and Gotham City. Granted, Marvel has a couple of made up countries (Latveria and Wakanda), but they are still based on real ones (Latvia/Lichtenstein and Congo) so it's easier to translate those to a real world scenario. Whereas Gotham has no actual real world parallel. Any city as crime-ridden as Gotham would have been declared under martial law or simply abandoned by most people in our world, because nobody wants to live in a city where someone like Joker or Two Face or Mr Freeze routinely escapes the local asylum. (For that matter, I feel like Gotham's legal system keeps dropping the ball with these guys- in our world, they'd be in Ryker's or have long since been sent to death row.) Marvel villains tend to stay put a little better unless there is some calamity.

Also, I feel I should note that that page is completely out of context. It goes on to show that even villains were HELPING to find survivors, repair or clean up the damage, and actually showing some humanity. They weren't just shedding tears. They were impacted by it, just like everyone else. It's different when you read a story where they cause a lot of damage in a fight or where they are holding nameless, faceless millions hostage for whatever scheme, but then when they see the devastation of a senseless act by terrorists first hand, and see the aftermath, it's a bit of a different story.

And at the end of the day, each one of those villains shown has their own code of ethics and honor of sorts, things they value and won't go against. Even Magneto never killed innocents without remorse, and Dr. Doom actually DOES care about the people of his own country. Octopus is a scientist, so he's pragmatic, but he still believes in decency, as shown when he tried to marry Peter's Aunt May and still wanted to even when he discovered her "inheritance" was a fraud. He cared about her. There was a reason for that scene, and it was showing the humanity in ALL of us, even the ones we usually see only as monsters. That was the whole point.

Leo656 05-02-2021 03:58 PM

Nah, that only makes it even screwier.

It's literally "We try and kill innocent people all the time. But this One Time, we have to act all upset, logic be damned... because essentially, someone else got to kill all these people before we got around to it. They committed an act of terrorism while wearing People Clothes and not fancy capes and spandex, therefore they're SUPER Evil and we're just like, Comic Book Evil."

It's nonsense. Why should Magneto or Doom get all weepy about This random group of dead people when they've killed lots of other people under similar circumstances?

I get that "logic" and "comic books" aren't good pals anyway. But no amount of "context" does anything to address how nonsensical the events of that book were. Manufactured Shmaltz and Emotional Manipulation that completely falls apart upon more than a minute's worth of thought.

At the very least, I'm pretty sure that Marvel donated the money they made off of it, so that's nice.

IMJ 05-02-2021 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo656 (Post 1891072)
Nah, that only makes it even screwier.

It's literally "We try and kill innocent people all the time. But this One Time, we have to act all upset, logic be damned... because essentially, someone else got to kill all these people before we got around to it. They did committed an act of terrorism while wearing People Clothes and not fancy capes and spandex, therefore they're SUPER Evil and we're just like, Comic Book Evil."

It's nonsense. Why should Magneto or Doom get all weepy about This random group of dead people when they've killed lots of other people under similar circumstances?

I get that "logic" and "comic books" aren't good pals anyway. But no amount of "context" does anything to address how nonsensical the events of that book were. Manufactured Shmaltz and Emotional Manipulation that completely falls apart upon more than a minute's worth of thought.

At the very least, I'm pretty sure that Marvel donated the money they made off of it, so that's nice.

Exactly. And that was the point I was making. It's like there are three levels to this -

-People who can't wrap their head around these events in comics because they just aren't malleable thinkers
-People who try to justify it by shoehorning it in to a continuity, and are sort of compelled to do so. Again, non-malleable thinkers.
-People who can bend with the art and just understand the acknowledgment even when some things are referenced in continuity again or never.

Only one of those groups is walking around operating with a real grasp of the situation. There is no rigidity involved. You simply have to properly judge and assimilate in the brain that a given event is a continuity update (i.e. Iron Man was injured in the Vietnam War, then the Korean War, then in Afghanistan, etc) or when a given event is a relevancy commentary (Water Gate in comics from the late 70's) or a relevancy commentary that is reflected casually in the books (9-11).

I mean, I'm even overcomplicating it by applying that language above. The simple truth is that the majority of readers just understand these things.

Leo656 05-02-2021 06:43 PM

I always wondered: Did Richard Nixon still exist, or ever get mentioned again in the Marvel Comics Universe, after he shot himself in that one issue of Captain America back in the '70s?

Comics are f*cking nuts. :lol:

People like to pretend that making hard-left political statements in comics is a fairly new trend, but as we saw back then when they revealed that Tricky Dick was secretly the head of some massive shadow cabal trying to create a New World Order, or whatever, that kinda thing's been going on for quite a while.

Like it would've been one thing for the writer of that story to simply make some kind of statement about Nixon being corrupt and dishonest; but no, they went ahead and made him a full-blown super-villain (albeit while never explicitly showing his face, but c'mon, it was obvious who it was supposed to be). And then he shoots himself. :lol:

Story read like Matt Groening wrote it. :trazz:

neatoman 05-05-2021 06:49 AM

I needed to look that up and yes, it is indeed Richard Nixon, it couldn't really be anyone else. Anyway, any implication it couldn't be him established later on?... He doesn't have bullet wound when he comes back as a zombie? Not that it proves anything, Lincoln didn't either in the same Deadpool story... But Kennedy does... Hm...

Anyway, I find it kind surprising they didn't take many jabs at Donald Trump. An alternate universe MODOK looks like Trump but that's really just it. The main universe version of Trump only appears twice and both times were before he became president.

... Anybody thinking the 2016-2020 president might have been someone else in the Marvel Universe?


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