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Author Topic: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more  (Read 3851 times)

TaoPhoenix

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Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« on: November 20, 2014, 09:58:44 AM »
In the realm of literature, superheroes occupy a funny place.

Except for your choice of X older precursors, the modern superhero genre is a 20th century phenomenon.

(Tangent: It's one reason I thought Warehouse 13 was brilliant in concept, because the people mostly stayed people, and it's the objects that wandered around and did strange (and usually dangerous) stuff. )

So a lot of superhero concepts are based on really simple concepts.

For the next day or two, I am comparing the original 1990 Flash TV series with the brand new remake. (We'll see if the new one lasts ... the old one got canceled after one season! I haven't yet looked up the reason why. Was it semi ahead of its time? Are we more attuned to superhero shows now?)

The people concepts tend to be pretty simple. Flash. Fast Man.  The fastest man alive. (Almost? "Oh look, it's someone faster than you are!")  End of power.

It's the surroundings that move. The 1990's series was based on the days when police were losing the battles vs gangs. The new one clearly has the police in control of gangs, and went straight for the super-villain angle. Gangs are a thing of the past, sorta. Now there's hints that the police are too strong, and dipping a bit into Orwell's Big Brother. How times have changed!!

And the Flash show is supposed to feature a crime-solving-partner with cutting edge tech ... trouble is, that's just really hard to portray even for good writers with decent scripts. You just have the context of the times. So the 1990's show had all these DOS boxes around, (with a few Hollywood blips and beeps!). The new one has more hi-res display stuff.


wraith808

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 11:07:34 AM »
For the next day or two, I am comparing the original 1990 Flash TV series with the brand new remake. (We'll see if the new one lasts ... the old one got canceled after one season! I haven't yet looked up the reason why. Was it semi ahead of its time? Are we more attuned to superhero shows now?)

The older one was not well done- we'd not entered into the time where writers on superhero shows/movies realized one important element.  They have to be good shows/movies with a good plot first.  There are some decent analyses of the episodes on avclub.com that deconstruct them and the underlying themes therein.  There are some (several) points I disagree with... but it does inspire conversation and thought.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 02:34:33 PM »

Besides the tech, I think it's important to figure out the roles of the police when a superhero is around.

I'd think with billion dollar Homeland tech, a vigilante would have a far harder time now than 20+ years ago.

I think that changes things.

I'm not quite sure how.


Stoic Joker

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 03:08:12 PM »
Besides the tech, I think it's important to figure out the roles of the police when a superhero is around.

I'd think with billion dollar Homeland tech, a vigilante would have a far harder time now than 20+ years ago.

I think that changes things.

I'm not quite sure how.

The Homeland tech is largely irrelevant in this case, as it will - and is -  only used for targeting crime/criminals with high political (e.g. vote generating) value. This way they don't have to run the risk of exposing how thoroughly they spying on everyone by accidentally eliminating - or largely denting - crime in general - As that would be bad for "business"..

So Superheroes will become the stalwart few that actually are foolhardy enough to attempt to protect 'We The People' from all criminals and criminal organizations ... Including the highly organized, funded, and outfitted paramilitary street gangs that have an undue fascination with the color blue..

40hz

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2014, 06:01:15 PM »
The Homeland tech is largely irrelevant in this case, as it will - and is -  only used for targeting crime/criminals with high political (e.g. vote generating) value. This way they don't have to run the risk of exposing how thoroughly they spying on everyone

+1 :Thmbsup:

Prosecutors will even withdraw evidence from a trial in some cases just to avoid revealing how they obtained it.

Spoiler
Quote

<link>

Baltimore Prosecutors Withdraw Evidence of Cellphone Tracking because of FBI Non-Disclosure Agreement
Thursday, November 20, 2014



The federal government’s blanket secrecy on cell-phone tracking technology provided to local police may wind up jeopardizing criminal cases aided by the equipment.

In Baltimore, police were suspected by a defense attorney of using the StingRay system, which mimics a cellphone tower and can capture information about cell phone calls and users, to collect data about their client.

So the lawyer pressed Detective John L. Haley in court about how the department obtained certain evidence against the accused. Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams sided with the defense and compelled the officer to answer the question, threatening him with contempt of court. But before that could happen, the prosecution withdrew evidence, including a handgun and cellphone, from the case so they wouldn’t get in trouble with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union agreed with the judge’s decision. “You can’t contract out of constitutional disclosure obligations,” Nathan Freed Wessler, who has been tracking these kinds of cases, told The Baltimore Sun. “A secret written agreement does not invalidate the Maryland public records law [and] does not invalidate due process requirements of giving information to a criminal defendant.”

The FBI has provided StingRay to law enforcement agencies around the country as long as they agree not to discuss it with anyone.

“Law enforcement officials in Maryland and across the country say they are prohibited from discussing the technology at the direction of the federal government, which has argued that knowledge of the devices would jeopardize investigations,” the Sun’s Justin Fenton wrote.

A similar case came before Williams in September. Again, a suspect was traced by means that the prosecution would not disclose and the state was forced to drop the evidence gained via that search.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


40hz

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2014, 08:38:18 PM »
The people concepts tend to be pretty simple.

True...however...

Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

Or Doc Savage? His powers derive mainly from a physical and mental developmental training program that started when he was conceived. No super anything with Doc. The implication is he's just a more 'realized' human potential. And that what he is, you could be too.

Where do these characters fit into the general superhero continuum?

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2014, 09:06:07 PM »
Besides the tech, I think it's important to figure out the roles of the police when a superhero is around.

I'd think with billion dollar Homeland tech, a vigilante would have a far harder time now than 20+ years ago.

I think that changes things.

I'm not quite sure how.

The Homeland tech is largely irrelevant in this case, as it will - and is -  only used for targeting crime/criminals with high political (e.g. vote generating) value. This way they don't have to run the risk of exposing how thoroughly they spying on everyone by accidentally eliminating - or largely denting - crime in general - As that would be bad for "business"..

...

Complex notion there, and I slightly disagree with it. I think too many modern shows have become near-ads for Homeland Tech. Besides the CSI type shows, looks what happened in the Mentalist. CBI - a few desktops, a few DMV lookups, a few other things, then hit the streets. Then that season change recently, and suddenly it's the FBI that wants Jayne, and they play with the Big Toys. So while corrupting the actual practices, they made sure to keep in the "be scared of us" mentality.


wraith808

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2014, 09:06:26 PM »
Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

I posted a video that has a funny... but relevant line in it to the silly humor thread.  Namely, Drax tells Batman you should be called normal man in a suit that looks vaguely like a bat. And in all truth, as much as I love the Batman as a character, his real superpower is the audience's suspension of disbelief, and a lot of cool.  Either that, or he actually does have powers.  Because he does a *lot* that a normal human, no matter how well trained, cannot do.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2014, 09:11:37 PM »
The people concepts tend to be pretty simple.

True...however...

Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

Or Doc Savage? His powers derive mainly from a physical and mental developmental training program that started when he was conceived. No super anything with Doc. The implication is he's just a more 'realized' human potential. And that what he is, you could be too.

Where do these characters fit into the general superhero continuum?

Batman and IronMan I would put in a different category, to be "addressed later". (I'm not really up on my Doc Savage lore.)

I meant this time around that for "simple-metahuman" heroes, except for Superman who (writer-wise) was struggling with being handed too many powers, nearly everyone else was pretty simple in concept.

Level of control matters. I credit Bryan Singer's Xmen for really refreshing what "fine control" can do. At the bare (non-Jean-Grey) limits of powers, Ian McKellan's Magneto really shows what mastery can do with an ability. (Yank the Cali Bridge off its moorings, or assemble 300k molecules of iron out of someone's blood.)


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2014, 09:15:22 PM »
Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

I posted a video that has a funny... but relevant line in it to the silly humor thread.  Namely, Drax tells Batman you should be called normal man in a suit that looks vaguely like a bat. And in all truth, as much as I love the Batman as a character, his real superpower is the audience's suspension of disbelief, and a lot of cool.  Either that, or he actually does have powers.  Because he does a *lot* that a normal human, no matter how well trained, cannot do.

He's not a "normal" human. He's closer to a western version of a gifted natural martial arts talent from China etc.

So while his body could "almost make sense" to a doctor in a hospital if he overdoes it, he doesn't exactly have super-powers, not something that he can just whip out and pummel disbelief with. Instead, it's more like "a grown-up prodigy". (For ex, ever seen those types? You play a 3 minute piece of music four times and they can play it note perfect?)


wraith808

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 09:29:25 PM »
Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

I posted a video that has a funny... but relevant line in it to the silly humor thread.  Namely, Drax tells Batman you should be called normal man in a suit that looks vaguely like a bat. And in all truth, as much as I love the Batman as a character, his real superpower is the audience's suspension of disbelief, and a lot of cool.  Either that, or he actually does have powers.  Because he does a *lot* that a normal human, no matter how well trained, cannot do.

He's not a "normal" human. He's closer to a western version of a gifted natural martial arts talent from China etc.

So while his body could "almost make sense" to a doctor in a hospital if he overdoes it, he doesn't exactly have super-powers, not something that he can just whip out and pummel disbelief with. Instead, it's more like "a grown-up prodigy". (For ex, ever seen those types? You play a 3 minute piece of music four times and they can play it note perfect?)



Even a gifted natural martial arts talent could not do a fraction of what he does in all truth.  And the cross-section of all the things that he is incredibly gifted in- it's not just physical. 

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2014, 09:37:18 PM »
Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

I posted a video that has a funny... but relevant line in it to the silly humor thread.  Namely, Drax tells Batman you should be called normal man in a suit that looks vaguely like a bat. And in all truth, as much as I love the Batman as a character, his real superpower is the audience's suspension of disbelief, and a lot of cool.  Either that, or he actually does have powers.  Because he does a *lot* that a normal human, no matter how well trained, cannot do.

He's not a "normal" human. He's closer to a western version of a gifted natural martial arts talent from China etc.

So while his body could "almost make sense" to a doctor in a hospital if he overdoes it, he doesn't exactly have super-powers, not something that he can just whip out and pummel disbelief with. Instead, it's more like "a grown-up prodigy". (For ex, ever seen those types? You play a 3 minute piece of music four times and they can play it note perfect?)



Even a gifted natural martial arts talent could not do a fraction of what he does in all truth.  And the cross-section of all the things that he is incredibly gifted in- it's not just physical. 

Granted to you. I'll leave you expertise as the upper in this discussion! : )


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2014, 11:46:36 PM »
The older one was not well done- we'd not entered into the time where writers on superhero shows/movies realized one important element.  They have to be good shows/movies with a good plot first.  There are some decent analyses of the episodes on avclub.com that deconstruct them and the underlying themes therein.  There are some (several) points I disagree with... but it does inspire conversation and thought.

I think this is a bit slippery - "we stand on the shoulders of who has come before".

I think the first version isn't the worst TV series ever to emerge in 1990 ... So 24 years later, sure it looks better ...

It's like we gave Star Trek a one-time-pass to look awful first time around, and few other series since. Not that I am a Flash fan, but just sayin', we don't give very many other shows that kind of second chance.

Back to the Flash theme, it's important to note the first version spent half its time trying to stay "domestic" without the "meta-human" side of things ... filling in gaps of normal (for then) police work. The new version gives the police its due and races to solve meta-human episodes.


wraith808

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2014, 07:24:20 AM »
Back to the Flash theme, it's important to note the first version spent half its time trying to stay "domestic" without the "meta-human" side of things ... filling in gaps of normal (for then) police work.

And personally, I think this was the problem, and was what my statement was addressing.  There are two warring concepts:

1. People watch superhero shows for the fantastical.  Just as people watch procedural shows for the procedure, suspense shows for the suspense, etc.  Agents of SHIELD had this problem during its first season.  It was a spy/superhero show.  But it had neither.  The reason, of course we see in hindsight, is that they were treading water waiting for Captain America: Winter Soldier to drop.  Then it turned into a completely different (actual) spy/superhero show.

2. People watch entertainment to be entertained.  To be entertaining, you have to have certain elements.  And the group of people that you have to appeal to in order to have a successful movie/TV show is a lot greater than the people that are usually attracted to your genre.  When you only have a group of people that like to watch your genre watching?  You end up with a cancelled series/flop of a movie that's labeled 'cult'.

Renegade

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2014, 07:54:58 AM »
(Tangent: It's one reason I thought Warehouse 13 was brilliant in concept, because the people mostly stayed people, and it's the objects that wandered around and did strange (and usually dangerous) stuff. )

The original was the "Friday the 13th" show.

http://en.wikipedia....the_13th:_The_Series

Warehouse 13 just rehashed the same thing. (Most good stories do that.)
The people concepts tend to be pretty simple.

True...however...

Where would you classify characters like the modern Batman and Iron Man? Wayne and Stark are both normal humans. Perhaps a lot more technologically sophisticated and wealthy than most people. But their 'super' powers derive mainly from the technology and powered bodysuits they employ. If they have any super power it's their high IQs.

Or Doc Savage? His powers derive mainly from a physical and mental developmental training program that started when he was conceived. No super anything with Doc. The implication is he's just a more 'realized' human potential. And that what he is, you could be too.

Where do these characters fit into the general superhero continuum?

Check the GURPS or Palladium or Heroes RPG systems. They work very well. :)

Many other systems also have the same situation.

I think I'd like a polar bear with shape shifting, mimic, transferal possession, and a specialization in snake style kung-fu. Oh, and for psionics, we'll go with mind trap and bio-manipulation.

In the Palladium world... that's just friggin' SICK! :D A TMNT martial artist with super-powers? Yeah... move over... :P

Sigh... haven't played in many years now, but I sure as heck know how to game the system and make the most disgustingly powerful characters you've ever seen. :P ;D

But just think of these characters in terms of some gaming systems or worlds.

Call of Cthulhu anyone?

There are 3 systems where it doesn't matter what your character is:

1) Call of Cthulhu - they all go mad & die
2) Paranoia - they all die
3) kill puppies for satan - uh, yeah... they die too

:D

Movies are little different. With numbering from above:

1) All horror movies
2) All sci-fi horror movies
3) All comedy horror movies

:P

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2014, 09:06:15 AM »
But just think of these characters in terms of some gaming systems or worlds.

Call of Cthulhu anyone?

But that's because it's the story not the game that makes the difference.  How does your character go insane?  What is he looking for?  What did he find?  Which then leads into what the other characters/new characters have to deal with from the fallout.

CoC was more of a novelty with me, until the recent spate of storytelling type/narrative games.  Then **** got real.

A few examples of systems/campaigns:

1. Trail of Cthulhu
2. Delta Green (and a whole lot more - http://rpg.drivethru...&pfrom=&pto=) including a Free introductory adventure.
3. Tremulus - uses the absolutely awesome Apocalypse World system, which is worth checking out also.

And my favorite...
3. Nemesis with Delta Green - Free.  Definitely worth a read.

There's a lot going on on that front... well worth getting back into it.

40hz

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2014, 09:42:12 AM »
^Delta Green is great! Best modern Cthulhu/Conspiracy stuff to date. Extremely clever and logical reconciliation of the Lovecraftian Mythos with modern government conspiracy and UFO theories presented as a techno-thriller. The companion fiction collections are all good reads. :Thmbsup:

FWIW, it any scenario involving Cthulhu, there are NO superheros. Cthulhu is IT. Period. You either have a copy of (or know how to make) the Elder Sign or you don't. If you don't, you're finished. If you do, you get a brief respite since the sign can hold Cthulhu temporarily at bay.

But tomorrow is another day. And Cthulhu, being multidimensional and immortal, has all the time and space he/she/it needs to deal with anybody. And Cthulhu never forgets. ;D
« Last Edit: November 21, 2014, 09:50:24 AM by 40hz »

40hz

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2014, 05:42:05 PM »
Semi-OT since this character is far from being a superhero. He's more the eternal Everyman.

But Marvel is planning on bringing Howard the Duck back. Yay!

He's got a whole new look:

howard.jpgOf Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more

Maybe a little too anthropomorphic this time around, but there you go.

Too bad Disney sued. I thought the original cigar smoking Donald Duck version was priceless:

Howard-the-Duck-01-00-FC.jpgOf Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more

Details here.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Of Superheroes, Remakes, Flashbacks/Forwards/Sideways and more
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2014, 08:42:06 PM »

I think I am noticing the old series has more campy humor scenes.