Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Who's the Best... Frienemy?

Doug: Friends, foes, sometimes even lovers (and haters!). What about characters who cross the line... and back?


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Frenemies aren't restricted to those that cross the line and back. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to kick off the comments by pointing out that Spider-Man's top frenemy in the 60s and early 70s was the Human Torch.

Redartz said...

Offhand, I'd go with Sub-Mariner. He's the very definition of the term, and has been filling that role for many decades. He's fought alongside, and against, just about everyone in the Marvel Universe.

Catwoman is another fine example. A more recent vintage 'frienemy' from Batman's gallery might be Harley Quinn...

Doug said...

Good call on the Torch, dangermash. Of course, the whole "why can't we be friends?" genre of hero vs. hero clashes fits into this conversation.

Redartz, agree that Namor gets the grand prize in today's question. One just never knew when he showed up what the circumstances would be.

I felt pretty weak in coming up with some examples from DC aside from the two I pictured. Any help there?


J.A. Morris said...

Thundra, I always loved her Bronze Age interactions with the Thing in FF and Marvel Two-In-One.

Anonymous said...

Short list:

Natasha? Do she & Hawkeye count or are baddies turned good and vice versa a different category? Banshee & Sunfire?

Doc Doom. Mostly enemy, I grant you, but has stood toe to toe with FF enough times to count.

Thanos – uber baddie, but he and Warlock were uneasy allies and ended up strolling off into the sunset arm in arm. Actually, that happened with Captain Marvel too, didn’t it? Thanos had some unexpected people skills.

Wanda & Pietro, sort of, although they were enemies of the X men and became Avengers, then went back to the Brotherhood, then back to the Avengers.

Black Knight Snr was a foe of Iron Man, Black Knight Jnr was a fellow Avenger.

Elektra, I guess. I mean, he was in love with her, but she did keep killing people.


OK, I’m going for Doc Doom.


Martinex1 said...

I have to go with Subby - I'm a longtime fan.

But who immediately came to mind was Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) from his early days when he was a Kree captain infiltrating and spying on Earth while at the same time helping where he could. I think that was a very interesting concept and definitely a frenemy.

Humanbelly said...

This is the fun thing about having a first-thought reaction to the question before scrolling down to see examples and read the description. My instant word-association response?

Reggie Mantle from Archie Comics. Ha!

That schnook could out-connive and had less scruples than easily half of the super-villains that he shared the spinner-rack with him! And yet his permanent spot as part of the Riverdale "gang" was never, ever in question. And if Archie wasn't hangin' out w/ Jughead, then he'd be hangin' out w/ Reggie-- and invariably being thrown under some figurative bus or another by him. Boy. . .

Hunh-- and if we don't mind jumping mediums (was there a mandate up there, Doug?), that of course makes me think of Eddie Haskell from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. Lying, manipulative, disloyal, self-centered, and flat-out abusive to young Beave-- and generally never fooling a single adult w/ his smarm-- and yet there he is every other episode, makin' himself at home in the Cleaver household.

Hmmm-- hey! And how about the Daffy/Bugs relationship in the three cartoons that worked the whole Rabbit Season/Duck Season schtick, yeah? Ha! Daffy fits the Frienemy tag perfectly-!

Dr Smith in LOST IN SPACE, of course. After seeing the first episode again many, many years ago (in which he subdues and effectively kills a maintenance guy on the ship), I've never understood how he managed to escape the unwritten laws of Television Justice. . .


Anonymous said...

Love that word - Frienemy. About Spidey and the Torch, maybe it was Spidey who was the frienemy. After all, he was the one ol' JJJ had everyone convinced was the crook.

And how about the monster types - Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing...are they frienemies?

As much as I like like the word, I'm not sure I really know what it means. :-)

I'm liking HB's word-association response. Along those lines I'll throw in Richie Rich's mean cousin Reggie Van Dough.


Unknown said...

A frienemy that occurs to me is Paladin, the gun-toting mercenary who joined forces with Spider-Man and Daredevil a few times. He first appeared in Daredevil #150, and also had an uneasy alliance with Spider-ManMarvel Team-Up #108.

Another frienemy would be Silver Sable, also a mercenary, who hunts down war criminals and leads the Wild Pack. She first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #265.

Both of Paladin and Silver Sable guest-starred in "The Assassin Nation Plot" in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #s 320-325.

William said...

How about the Hulk? He's pretty much the ultimate "frienemy". Since his inception he's been billed under the tagline "Is he friend, or foe?" An anti-hero who's fought against (and teamed up with) just about everyone in the Marvel U.

He's even portrayed as both an ally and an adversary in the Marvel Movie Universe.

Redartz said...

HB and Tom- excellent 'non-superhero' suggestions ( just love Dr. Smith...). May I add Scrooge McDuck ( who often tangled with Donald, as frequently as he aided), and perhaps an obvious biggie: Anakin (Vader) Skywalker?

david_b said...

Like everyone, the most popular answer is Subby.., but without following any comics over the last 30some years.., I'd also mention Sandman.

Originally a Spidey villain all the way back in ish 4, he moved from the Enforcers to the Frightful bunch to menace the FF, Hulk, Wonder Man, and later Spidey again.

Yeah Doug, it's really hard to name DC characters of old, with the exception of Catwoman and perhaps a couple of others (Two-Face..?). I doubt if any of Flash's Rogues ever did outright 'good', but others who followed the titles can probably fess up to some isolated 'good' incidences.

Hard to think the stalwart DC Silver Age characters could do any harm or otherwise even manage an argument with each other.

Pat Henry said...

Harry Osborn I think fits the bill.

Chris said...

Except for Catwoman, I'd have no DC suggestions either Doug!

My favourite would be The Black Cat as I really enjoyed the romance when I returned to comics in the 1980s. She is still a favourite character.

But trying to be a bit clever, what about Curt Connors/ The Lizard? One is my friend, the other is my enemy.

Anonymous said...

@Thomas F: I always liked Silver Sable, though she was written inconsistently sometimes.

The one that jumped to my mind first was Sandman; I really liked him as a good guy (and an Avenger!) so I was disappointed when they changed him back. Same goes for Molten Man. Even Flash Thompson could qualify, since he was a real jerk to Peter in their younger days and they became really good friends later. Of course, they tried to reverse all that by putting Flash in that car accident and turning him back into a jerk...

As for Doug's question, there really aren't many DC characters that fit the bill. I guess DC is more "black and white", while Marvel leans toward "shades of grey". Talia would probably qualify, as she loved Batman (and saved his life several times) but ultimately remained loyal to her father. As David B mentioned, I think there was a member of Flash's Rogues that went straight...Pied Piper, maybe? But I think he later participated in Bart's murder, so I guess it didn't stick. And what about Star Sapphire? She was GL's girlfriend and enemy, though I think Carol might've had amnesia about her villainous alter-ego, so maybe that doesn't count?

Mike Wilson

Anonymous said...

Black Cat seemed derivative to me. The premise (cat-motif female criminal who flirts with the hero) was so much like Batman and Catwoman, I'm surprised that DC didn't sue Marvel.

The 1950's TV series Space patrol had a villainess named Tonga who had brain surgery, or something, that rehabilitated her, and she joined the heroes' team. Sometimes the treatment lapsed, though, and she temporarily became evil again.

On the soap opera Dark Shadows, Barnabas and Angelique were adversaries, but there were times (as in an arc set in 1897) when they were forced to become allies.

Betty & Veronica were the epitome of frienemies.

The Prowler said...

This, this is what I will post:

Loki - brother, by adoption, to Thor. Growing up, they shared many adventures. If you include Norse mythology, they stole some cows!!! Cows!!! And they fought giants and what not. Then Loki got older and tried to kill Thor every chance he got.

Batman (of The Dark Knight) - He came out of retirement to take the Superman. In some of the Justice League tales, he kept files on each of his team mates and how to take them out if they went rogue. Then his computer got hacked and those files were used to take out his team mates!!! Who would have thunk it!?! (Look at me, I'm talking DC!?! Don't tell STAN!!!!)

Lucy - if were going "out of genre", then I got to go back to Peanuts. Is there a more iconic image of "freinemy" than Lucy jerking that ball away!?! (Look at me, I'm mixing "!" and "?").

Back to genre, where would we throw the whole Cap V Iron Man?

(When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

At night, when all the world's asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am).

PS: Still not roboting........

Dean Compton said...

Punisher. It's all about Castle here.

Redartz said...

Prowl- Thank you! I'very wondered for years about the lyrics to the "Logical Song"! "Vegetable"; it always sounded like unmentionable...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was gonna mention Loki too but my buddy Prowler beat me to it! He's always plotting against Thor but always eventually falls in with him when an ultimate menace threatens him too. The Punisher is another obvious frenemy, as is Namor. In the early days of Marvel, yes even the Hulk was occasionally on the side of the bad guys (thanks for reminding us William!).

On the DC side, of course Catwoman always seems to mess with Batman's equilibrium for some reason. Hmm what about Guy Gardner from the Green Lantern corps?

- Mike 'my own worst frenemy' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Eric said...

Not much else to add except that I agree that Marvel tends shift the moral compass of their characters more than DC does. Maybe that has to do with Stan Lee and his world outside your window approach whereas DC was more about archetypes.

Glad to see Thundra, Wanda and Pietro, Natasha and Clint and finally Felicia Hardy here. Of course I feel compelled to mention that other bad girl turned good Emma Frost.

Enjoyed seeing the Archie and Leave it to Beaver examples.

Martinex1 said...

Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace. And is Willy Wonka a frienemy?

BobC said...

Namor for me, hands down. I think his arrogance makes his interactions with other characters way more interesting. His classic feud with Hercules in the Avengers was one of my all time favorite plot devices. Remember when Namor got kicked out of Atlantis and was moping around--which infuriated Herc! Herc called him Prince No-More and son of a sea slug. Those were the days...

tetrahedron said...

Captain Cold from Flash's rogues' gallery would count for the DC side.

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