Sunday, October 23, 2011

Discuss: The Evolution of Personality

Discuss characters who began with one personality, but morphed over the years to something far astray.

Doug: Hey, 2-for-1 today, kiddies! I was just catching up on Marvel's tpb/hardcover solicitations and spied this beauty. And I just knew everyone out there in BAB Land would be all over it! From what I can tell, this will be in color. You can read the full specs, as well as take note of some other Bronze Age goodness by clicking here. But don't forget to leave us a comment on the main post above!

UPDATE: I didn't realize there had been a 1960's version of this book (of course, most of us have those stories reprinted in a gazillion forms). There are details for that book, as well as a cover image and details for the second volume of the 1970's book -- all available at Amazon.


Rip Jagger said...

The one that comes to mind first is Green Arrow.

He of course started out as just another well-heeled playboy superhero, but in the big relevancy push of the 70's became the often obnoxious and usually provocative Ollie Queen we came to know and sometimes love in the pages of Green Lantern and elsewhere.

I loved his ongoing feud with Hawkman, another character who got a smidge of personality back in those days.

Rip Off

Inkstained Wretch said...

Guy Gardner. He started out early in Bronze Age as very much a straight character who figured in a few Green Lantern stories as an alternate for Hal Jordan.

Then around the time of the Crisis, he was revived as a dangerous, edgy character a'la Wolverine. The notion was his time in a coma had warped his personality.

Then he was drafted for the Keith Giffen "Bwah-ha-ha" Justice League where he mellowed into a simple jerk and was used as the butt of jokes.

Then there was a long joke storyline where he banged his head and became sweet-natured and friendly.

Then he got his own series and became a straight-up hero again. Then he was revealed to be part shape-shifting alien ... or something like that. By this point, I had lost interest.

Now I understand he is back to being a normal Green Lantern. Or not. I haven't seen what they have done with him in the relaunch.

Lemnoc said...

Batman, adventuresome foster parent and mentor >> Goddamn Batman, ranting OC sociopath, misanthropic loner.

Edo Bosnar said...

To some extent, I think Wolverine fits into this category: he started out as an obnoxious borderline psychopath (remember his "beserker" outbursts?), but then as he got more popular, he became this universally cool tough guy. I actually preferred his initial personality by the way...

As for your second topic, i.e., that "Firsts" book - I gather it just reprints the first appearances of the various characters. In which case, I think I'll pass, because just looking at the cover, I know what I'd rather see is a nice (preferably) color reprint of the original Cat series, or a Greer Nelson Essentials that would collect that series as well as all of the later Tigra stories. Same with Shanna. As for Killraven, I have the Essentials, and I'm still wondering why there's no color reprint editions of that (while we do have color reprints of, say, the Champions and Invaders...)

William said...

Your "main topic" here brings to my mind more villains than heroes. They always seem to be screwing with the personalities and motivations of the bad guys much more than the good ones.

Some good examples would be:

1. MAGNETO - Starts as classic villainous mastermind bent on world domination. Then "evolves" into mutant rights advocated with a "by any means necessary" philosophy and becomes "Malcolm X to Xavier's MLK Jr.. Then he seems to completely reform and even eventually becomes the leader of the X-Men for a while. Then he relapses back into world crushing villain mode, and then... I don't know. Since I quit reading X-Men years ago, I have no idea what the heck his status is now.

2. VENOM - Started out as psychotic villain bent on Spider-Man's destruction. Then became a sort of anti-hero (still bent on Spider-Man's destruction). Then went back to being a villain. Then a hero. Then a villain again, and now…??? You know I really don't know what the heck is up with Venom. They lost direction of that character years ago and never got back. IMO.

3. SANDMAN - Started out (and remained for many years) a classically motivated, super powered villain. Then for some unexplainable reason he suddenly became a "hero". (I think he was even a member of the Avengers for a while. Wha?????) Then for another unexplainable reason, he suddenly decided to become a villain again. Guys obviously a schizo. The Avengers should really have a better screening process. Which brings us to...

4. SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER. Started out with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (can't get more "evil" than that unless your in the Masters of Evil). Then they both reformed and became long-time and valued members of the Avengers. Then they both suddenly and unexpectedly reverted back to their original "evil" ways. (I think.)

Then there were characters who started out as villains and then became heroes and actually had it stick. (At least for now).

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW - Both started out as Iron Man villains and both reformed and eventually joined the Avengers (what's up with the Avengers and heroes that used to be villains?). As far as I know they are both still operating on the side of the angels.

I could pick dozens of villains at random (Juggernaut, Sabretooth, Doc Ock, The Riddler, The Prowler, etc. etc.) and keep this up all day, but I think you get the gist.

William said...

As for your secondary topic... That book looks totally awesome. If it's in color I'd definitely pick up, but at 392 pages for $29.99 ($19.93 on Amazon) I'd have to guess it's an Essentials style B&W volume. It doesn't say either way, but if I was a betting man...

BTW, Amazon also has a "Volume 2" listed as well. Go check it out.

And while were on the subject of Marvel's January solicitations, did you see this little gem?

• Who wants to be a Defender for a Day?
• When the gregarious Dollar Bill takes out an ad for new
Defenders, heroes from all walks of life heed the call!
• The real Defenders are swamped — but they might just need all
the extra muscle to defeat the hordes of villains that have come out
of the woodwork!
• Collecting DEFENDERS (1972) #62-65.
72 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ ...$5.99

I am definitely down for this one, and for just $5.99! I can't wait!

Edo Bosnar said...

William, thanks for the info. on that Defenders book. But I have to say, am I missing something? They're doing a nice reprint of that story, and not the 'Death of Scorpio' arc?
Also, if they can do that little 4-issue arc, I'm seriously wondering why a nice TPB of The Cat (issues 1-4 plus her appearance in MTU) couldn't be done.

Doug said...

I've put in an email to the shop that I sometimes do business with. They order just about everything that comes along, so I'm confident I'll get a solid answer on the 1960's tpb (which is supposed to already be on the shelves). I'll comment again here as soon as I know anything definitive.

William raises a good point about the probability that this is/is not in color -- if it's B&W, I'm not interested.


Anonymous said...

They never quite knew what to do with Hawkeye, but I liked the way he developed over the ‘kookie quartet’ period, first resenting and eventually respecting Cap, the changes in his relationship with Natasha, and his fatal attraction to Wanda, the whole thing with his brother & the Swordsman, etc. He always seemed to have a lot of back-story going on.

Cap handling his Sleeping Beauty issues always seemed better handled by Stan in the Avengers than in TOS, but maybe that’s because he kept fighting WW2 foes in TOS.

There have been a few developing romances that I’ve enjoyed. Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man would have been interesting, though I wouldn’t have wanted the apartment underneath them!

William – I always thought Magneto was better handled than that. Claremont fleshed out his motives, but he was never just a petty villain. I thought the fact that the Beyonder put him in with the goodies was a nice touch.

Hercules changed a fair bit during his time on Earth (at least while RT was writing him). They tended to have too much fun turning him into an other-wordly buffoon after that.

I liked the period where Wanda was learning proper witchcraft from Aggie Harkness. It moved along nicely though the zombie-voodoo-resurrection of Wonder Man times into what is probably, let’s face it, the only successful bit of ret conning that’s ever been done.....her origin story in Avengers 185-187.

And the Elephant In The Room award goes to.... Hank Pym. Why, oh why, oh why?


Anonymous said...

Personally I only enjoy Green Arrow stories from before he grew the beard and became a knee-jerk liberal loudmouth. That's not a personality, it's a lecture from Denny O'Neil.

Anonymous said...

I liked Batman when he was a nice guy with friends and a father figure to Robin (Dick Grayson). Now he's just portrayed as an A-hole.

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