Saturday, January 12, 2013

Today's Open Forum is Do-It-Yourself

While Karen and Doug are on vacation in January, our readers have been entrusted with carrying on the daily conversations.  Today's Open Forum is a do-it-yourselfer.  As we've done in the past, the first commenter gets to pick today's topic of conversation.

Generally speaking, the Open Forum is for broader topics.  For example, in the past we've started conversations such as "The Role of Inkers" and "What's So Great About the Bronze Age?"  Start a conversation that is broad enough to elicit an ongoing conversation, and that even might lend itself to tangential musings.

Thanks for holding it down for us!


William said...

Since no one else seems to have anything, I guess I'll give it a go.

I have often wondered why some people are drawn to one kind of character, and someone else likes another. Let me explain. I personally like straight forward, down to Earth crime-fighter types like Spider-Man, Daredevil and Batman, but I don't much care for the solo adventures of characters like Dr. Strange, The Silver Surfer, or Thor. (However, I like them quite a lot in a team situation or a supporting role).

So I guess my question would be "Who are some your favorite characters, and WHY are they your favorites."

For instance, I have always loved The Wrecking Crew, Ultron, and The Absorbing Man, and all of them stem back to the earliest stories I ever read with those characters in them. The first time I ever saw the Wrecking Crew was in Iron Fist #11-12, and the first story I ever read with Ultron was Avengers #161-162 and the Absorbing Man was Avengers #183-184. All of those comics left a lasting impression on me, and those characters are still some my favorite villains to this day. I guess it didn't hurt that all of those books featured art by either John Byrne or George Perez.

Dougie said...

That's an interesting point. Batman aside- probably the first super-hero I ever saw- I was never all that interested in crime-fighters. I always preferred Kozmic especially for team books like the Mighty Avengers, the X-Men or the Legion. My favourite Marvel characters are the FF, the Vision and Thor.
But I love Smith or Buscema-Alcala Conan!

david_b said...

Or perhaps the question could be "Why are you drawn to certain characters over others and why..?"

I've always loved Spiderman for a number of reasons, most of which dealt with his angst and vulnerabilities, how the Lee and Conway tenures told stories, his supporting characters all especially in the late Silver and Early Bronze. I got in to the rest of the Marvel Universe through Captain America, leading to the Avengers.., and FF, primarily (like Spidey and Cap) for my fondness of their 60s cartoon series. For Cap, I was drawn to his unswerving sense of loyalty and patriotism, you trusted him. Englehart's sculpting of him with Falcon used that to develop a lot of depth and layers of self-examination during the 'Secret Empire' saga. Having Sal draw him so cleanly and elegantly during those years really resonated the storylines quite effectively.

For FF as with various Avengers lineups, it was just the personalities that were done so well that you really got to know these folks. Who didn't yearn for new FF issues for the latest banter between Ben, Johnny and Reed during the Lee/Kirby years, not to mention the later Buscema issues...??

I'd guess that sense of realism and relational drama, the quiet reflections mixed in with great-paced action.

Edo Bosnar said...

I guess if you want individual characters, when I just started reading comics, Spider-man was by far my all-time favorite, and I really liked Batman, and later also Daredevil (mainly due to Miller's first run on the title), and even now, Spider-man is still one of my favorite individual characters - for the reasons david_b mentions but also because he's such a great wisecracker. I guess that makes it seem like I prefer 'street-level' characters, but heck, I also like Dr. Strange quite a bit, and Thor as well (depending on the creative team). Also, I really enjoyed then and still do enjoy team books, which are pretty much always more cosmic and earth-shattering. I like all the different characters and the ways they work together and relate to each other. And in that context, other favorite characters are Cyclops (I just think he's the best team leader, ever), and the Thing - like with Spidey, I like his sense of humor, and his general gruff attitude.
By the way, William, I notice you mention the Wrecking Crew, Ultron and Absorbing Man as characters you really love, but all of those guys generally require a very non-street level character to take them down, like, say, Thor, the Surfer or an entire team...

Anonymous said...

I agree with david_b about Spidey; his vulnerability is what I like about him, the fact that he wasn't perfect but he did his best every time out. Sometimes he screwed up, but he learned from it and it made him a better person.

In general, I DO tend to prefer the "street-level" heroes (Spidey, DD, Luke and Danny, Moon Knight, Shang Chi, Batman, Green Arrow, etc.), but I don't mind heavy hitters when they're on a team (Avengers, Defenders, JLA, JSA, Titans, LSH).

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

Yes like most of the other commentators Spidey is my favourite Marvel character. He was the first teenaged superhero to star in his own comic, and Stan Lee hit a literary goldmine when he decided that Peter Parker would be a flawed, relatable, down to earth person who worried about his sickly aunt and had self doubts while battling dangerous villains like Doc Ock and the like.

I've also got other characters who I've enjoyed too - Conan for his savagery & cunning, Thor for his noble warrior spirit, Captain America for his selfless sense of duty and honour, all the X-men for their defending Homo Sapiens despite being discriminated by them, and the Hulk for his pure unbridled rage, battling foes and wanting just to be left alone.

There are many more I could mention, but these are the ones that come to mind first.

- Mike 'exelsior' from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

Edo, I did say I like the street level crime-fighter types best, but I should have added that they are not the only types of comics I enjoy reading. I love super teams as well, such as the FF, Avengers, X-Men, Justice League, etc.

Also, in the Wrecking Crew example I mention, it was Iron Fist and Captain America (both straight forward crime-fighter types) who defeated the Crew all by themselves.

I guess I like my villains big and bad, and the hero being sort of the underdog who has to use his brains as well as his brawn to win the day, as in the aforementioned Iron Fist #11-12. Some of my other favorite comics of all time are ones where the hero was totally outmatched, such as Daredevil #7 where DD single handedly takes on Namor, Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 where Spidey battles Juggernaut, Marvel Two-In-One annual #2 where The Thing and Spider-Man try to save the Avengers from Thanos, and Daredevil #163 in which DD fights the Hulk (and loses badly).

I just remember that as a kid I never really got into reading the solo adventures of characters like Thor, Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, The Hulk, Green Lantern or even Superman. Not much could really challenge those guys, and when you have the power of a God, you don't really have to be all that daring or brave. However I do enjoy them as members of a team.

Humanbelly said...

As many (most?) 'round here are probably groaningly aware of, The Hulk has pretty much always been my favorite character. . . but it's never, ever been for his assumed savagery and raging destructive power. Interestingly, I believe both Herb Trimpe and Sal Buscema have at different times strongly insisted that, while that was an aspect of Hulk's personality, it was not the core of who he was as a character (while they were drawing the book, at least). Despite (or because of) his naivety, simplicity, quick temper and gruff demeanor, he was always very much a misunderstood hero to me-- perhaps the most of several in Marvel's stable. And as I think about it, maybe those are the types of characters I've always found more appealing. 'Cause I'd also put Spider-man on that list for me, and Hawkeye, the Vision, the Thing, the X-Men (although they'd been cancelled by the time I started buying in earnest-- and I still even picked up some of their rather questionable later reprints). But y'know, not guys like the Punisher AT ALL-- big difference between misunderstood hero and anti-hero.


Redartz said...

No doubts; Spider-Man is number one for me. Volumes have been written about the character, and anything I write can only parrot what has been said before. Yet it has always been his vulnerability, his 'feet of clay' that appealed to me. I had read Superman, Fantastic Four, and Batman ; but the first time I read Peter Parker's adventures the differencs hooked my like a fish. This fellow was like any of us; he goofed up, got picked on, had no money. He just happened to have spider powers. Much as I enjoyed other titles and characters, none left me anticipating the next issue with the fervency Spider-Man inspired!

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