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Friday, June 29, 2018

Hapless heroes, pathetic bad guys

Jagi Lamplighter explains why the degenerate Left can't create memorable characters anymore, not even interesting villains like the bad guys of yore:
It is not enough to have an evil snow queen or rat king, the good little man who was kind and loving must be warped beyond recognition into something vile, lest the villain be anyone who we might accidentally admire.

The same thing happened in Disney’s Maleficent.

Disney cartoons feature many fine villains, but none stand out for their force and majesty as much as Malificent, the wicked fairy who is so angry that she has been slighted at a christening that she curses the family and tries to kill the child.

Malificent is impressive. She is funny. She curses an innocent child, just because she is miffed. When, sixteen years later, she leanrs that her minions, goblins and gargoyls,  are still looking in cradles for a missing baby– instead of a young lady who has grown up–Malificent utters her eerie, silvery, laugh. Then she blasts them with a lightning bolt from her magic wand and declares: “Oh, they’re hopeless. A disgrace to the forces of evil!”

But Malificent herself is no disgrace. When it comes time to fight the prince she turns into a gigantic dragon and calls up on the most infernal forces of all.

This gives her a majesty that fits with the evil magnificence of her name. She was spectacular in her villainy.

Too spectacular for the Degenerati, apparently.

In the original Sleeping Beauty – in some ways the most beautiful of all the Disney cartoons – the backdrops were done by a well-known painter. ( I used to sell his works when I worked at a gallery.) – Malificent curses king Stephan, a man who is both a kind king and a loving husband and father. His only crime is that he left the evil fairy off his guest list. He is good, and he is innocent. The horror that befalls his nation is appalling, and he is undeserving of this terrible fate.

In the recent movie about a being who happens to have a similar look and name to our magnificent villainess, the main character, Faux-Malificent, is not majestic.  She is weak and innocent. She falls in love with a man, and this dastardly individual betrays her sweet love and cuts off her wings, leaving her bereft, a victim.

How sad. How tragic. What a victim she is. No wonder she grew up to be such a…unpleasant fairy creature.

In the movie, that man is…the future King Stephan.

It is Geppetto all over again. Big-hearted Geppetto cannot be kindly, he has to be an evil mastermind. Good-hearted King Stephan cannot be innocent, he has to be the cad who screwed over the future villainess.

In modern stories, good men become cads and creeps so that the bad people, like Malificent and the Big Bad Wolf, can be misunderstood, pathetic.  What effect do these changes have on the story? They mitigate the wickedness. If the villain is now a victim, then the villainy is now justified.
This is why Arkhaven is eventually going to surpass Marvel and DC. They cannot bear to address either virtue or wickedness.

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74 Comments:

Blogger McJibblits June 29, 2018 9:21 AM  

John C. Wright sounds like someone else whose name I can't quite come up with...

Blogger Nate June 29, 2018 9:23 AM  

Villians make the story. Oh sure... we all like Chief Brody... but the Movie is named Jaws. and we all loved Han Solo and Luke... but the lines we remember were all spoken by Vader.

Blogger Nate June 29, 2018 9:24 AM  

"John C. Wright sounds like someone else whose name I can't quite come up with..."

imagine yourself saying "William Faulkner sounds like someone else who's name I can't quite come up with."

That's what you just said.

John C. Wright sounds like John C. Wright. Period.

Blogger SDaly June 29, 2018 9:25 AM  

I didn't really notice what Wright points out until I saw the musical "Wicked" which is the supposed backstory for the Wicked Witch of the West. Of course she is actually the hero of the story, was simply misunderstood and was treated badly by others because of her skin color.

Blogger haus frau June 29, 2018 9:26 AM  

I suppose the writers think the backstory makes the villainess more interesting. In the end its just redundant and boring bc they constantly sympathize with evil. There is no great battle because there are no sides worth cheering for.

Blogger Unknown June 29, 2018 9:30 AM  

Liberalism is the exaltation of deviancy. Teach it to your children. Say it when you sit in your house, when you walk down the road, when you get up and when you lie down.

Blogger Evan Hartshorn June 29, 2018 9:36 AM  

The article seems to be by Jagi, not John.

Blogger Michael Maier June 29, 2018 9:40 AM  

Huh? The link shows L. Jagi Lamplighter wrote these essays.

Blogger VD June 29, 2018 9:49 AM  

The article seems to be by Jagi, not John.

Good point. Corrected.

Blogger Darth Dharmakīrti June 29, 2018 9:54 AM  

I don't disagree with the main thesis--@6 is quite correct that leftism is the exaltation of deviancy--but I do think that part of what makes a compelling villain is being able to understand, even sympathize with, their motivations. "I want to destroy the world because I'm crazy/evil" really only gets you so far, and is difficult to pull off well. Not all villains need to be sympathetic, but personally I have always found narratives more interesting where I have a sense of the antagonist's inner life beyond blind hatred or desire for revenge or whatever.

Blogger Johnny June 29, 2018 9:55 AM  

I believe the way it works is that when someone adapts an ideology that defines virtue for them, all other forms of virtue compete with it. Thus in fiction, they don't want good versus evil unless it conforms to their ideology. For SJW's the hero has to be pushing their notion of virtue, the villain opposed to it. Because SJW-ism isn't that popular with the general population, audiences don't get off on it. Combine that with other forms of virtue repressed, and the outcome is fiction that few enjoy

Blogger Out of Nod June 29, 2018 10:00 AM  

This sounds like a story the night crew at Target would write...a fan fiction that attempts to justify the motivations of characters who they loved and more likely identified with. They tended to be "counter cultural"...donning black make-up, wearing grungy clothes, and talking about the weirdest most random things, usually not wholesome or uplifting.

Blogger 357Delta June 29, 2018 10:03 AM  

I suppose that will be their defense on judgement day, "Lord, I would have upheld the Law if you had put me in the right time and place that I could have upheld it. Henceforth, I am not wholly responsible for my actions."

Blogger VD June 29, 2018 10:06 AM  

I have always found narratives more interesting where I have a sense of the antagonist's inner life beyond blind hatred or desire for revenge or whatever.

You'll note that I usually attempt to write the villain from the perspective of the villain. I learned that from my conversation with Umberto Eco about THE NAME OF THE ROSE. He actually yelled at me in response to my question.

"Do you think he is the villain! No! He is the hero! He is simply the hero from a different and competing perspective!"

For me, that's when the stories get interesting. Lucifer's pride must have appealed to more than a few of the angels that fell with him, after all. Good and evil only appear to be fixed absolutes because the Creator's perspective is beyond our ability to comprehend.

Blogger The Deplorable Podunk Ken Ramsey June 29, 2018 10:07 AM  

It's a problem as old as the Romantic Poets, who came to consider the hero of _Paradise Lost_ to be quite different that what Milton had intended.

"Nothing can exceed the energy and magnificence of the character of Satan as expressed in Paradise Lost. It is a mistake to suppose that he could ever have been intended for the popular personification of evil. Implacable hate, patient cunning, and a sleepless refinement of device to inflict the extremest anguish on an enemy, these things are evil; and, although venial in a slave, are not to be forgiven in a tyrant; although redeemed by much that ennobles his defeat in one subdued, are marked by all that dishonors his conquest in the victor. Milton's Devil as a moral being is as far superior to his God, as one who perseveres in some purpose which he has conceived to be excellent in spite of adversity and torture is to one who in the cold security of undoubted triumph inflicts the most horrible revenge upon his enemy, not from any mistaken notion of inducing him to repent of a perseverance in enmity, but with the alleged design of exasperating him to deserve new torments. Milton has so far violated the popular creed (if this shall be judged to be a violation) as to have alleged no superiority of moral virtue to his God over his Devil." --- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Blogger Crew June 29, 2018 10:09 AM  

Malificent curses king Stephan, a man who is both a kind king and a loving husband and father. His only crime is that he left the evil fairy off his guest list. He is good, and he is innocent. The horror that befalls his nation is appalling, and he is undeserving of this terrible fate.

Was it an allegory for Russia?

Blogger 357Delta June 29, 2018 10:22 AM  

Vox is right on, evil is thinking the rules don't apply to you for reasons.

The best villians aren't victims, but rather those who have reasons and justifications for why they behave against the rules. The better the reasons, generally the better the villian as they are more believable as a character.

Blogger Vessimede Barstool June 29, 2018 10:25 AM  

One of the many, many issues with Disney Star Wars is the piss poor writing of the supposed villains. Their evil remains unexplained, they are depicted as incompetent fools lest the audience begins to wonder who they should be rooting for. Kylo is a conflicted emo, Hux is there for prat falls and lulz, Snoke...well quite. The good guys face adversity not through challenging a great evil but due to their own incompetence and foolishness. The First Order is bad in the way Trump and white men are bad, because of who they are not what they believe or even what they do. It's remarkable how a multi billion dollar franchise can abandon the basic rules of story telling like this. No one enjoys this rubbish, even the SJWs who say they do are pretending. It's runny gruel for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Blogger SciVo June 29, 2018 10:28 AM  

The sophomoric banality of edginess is so Calc I: formulaic and derivative.

Blogger Garuna June 29, 2018 10:29 AM  

John C. Wright sounds like someone else whose name I can't quite come up with...

John C. Reilly?

Blogger Michael Maier June 29, 2018 10:34 AM  

VD wrote:I have always found narratives more interesting where I have a sense of the antagonist's inner life beyond blind hatred or desire for revenge or whatever.

You'll note that I usually attempt to write the villain from the perspective of the villain. I learned that from my conversation with Umberto Eco about THE NAME OF THE ROSE. He actually yelled at me in response to my question.

"Do you think he is the villain! No! He is the hero! He is simply the hero from a different and competing perspective!"

For me, that's when the stories get interesting. Lucifer's pride must have appealed to more than a few of the angels that fell with him, after all. Good and evil only appear to be fixed absolutes because the Creator's perspective is beyond our ability to comprehend.


That's actually pretty easy for me to get. I wish I had the drive to write. I have an idea for a character / storyline in my head but I'll never get it written.

And much of the main guy's thinking is exactly that. "The stupid rules don't apply to me, cuz I'm the Chosen One." And he's largely correct about that (being able to escape many of the immediate consequences).

Which leads directly to many of his problems.

Blogger Howard Stone June 29, 2018 10:39 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 29, 2018 10:44 AM  

Every Heresiarch believes he is the last Prophet of the True Faith, every villain knows he is actually a hero.
That's what makes Magneto interesting, in those stories where he is. He doesn't hate humanity. He doesn't care one way or the other about humanity. They're not his people. He's trying to save his family.
But when all virtue is restricted by your philosophy to identity as a victim, the only way to understand a villain is either as someone inherently bad, i.e. a White male, who is therefore completely cut off from comprehension, or as a victim.

Blogger James Dixon June 29, 2018 10:49 AM  

> She falls in love with a man, and this dastardly individual betrays her sweet love and cuts off her wings, leaving her bereft, a victim. ... In the movie, that man is…the future King Stephan.

An event which never took place and could not have taken place in the original fairy tale. In other words, SJW's always lie.

> I have an idea for a character / storyline in my head but I'll never get it written.

Hire a ghost writer. They'll tell you if it's worth writing or not. And if it's not and you pay them they'll write it anyway.

Blogger Nate73 June 29, 2018 11:02 AM  

Is this related to that line I sometimes hear about shows like Breaking Bad that they are great because everything is "morally grey", "complex", and "ambiguous"?

Blogger Darth Dharmakīrti June 29, 2018 11:14 AM  

That's what makes Magneto interesting, in those stories where he is. He doesn't hate humanity. He doesn't care one way or the other about humanity. They're not his people. He's trying to save his family.

Magneto did literally nothing wrong

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 29, 2018 11:19 AM  

Nate73 wrote:Is this related to that line I sometimes hear about shows like Breaking Bad that they are great because everything is "morally grey", "complex", and "ambiguous"?
No. In the "everything's Grey" genre, everybody is equally morally repugnant, and is usually written that way because the writer is an unimaginative atheist. They literally can't imagine that anyone is a hero.

Every good villain should be the hero in his own mind.
Hitler was saving Europe from Commies and Jews.
Stalin was rescuing the Proles.
Napoleon was spreading the Rationalist truth to the benighted.
Cromwell was doing God's work, building a Christian England.
Elizabeth was securing the Realm.
Ivan the Terrible was dragging Russia from the Dark Ages.
Vlad was driving the Mohometan from his lands.
Sulieman was spreading the glories of true civilization and the worship of the True God to the barbarian savages of the North.
Atilla was carving out a safe homeland for his people from the degenerate and decaying Roman Empire.
Gengis Khan was expanding the mandate of Heaven, driving the Pagan hordes before him bringing, and peace and civilization to all the world.

Every great villain is a hero in his own mind.

Blogger Dire Badger June 29, 2018 11:21 AM  

It is clear where the left stands.
Villains are only villains because they have been victims.

That's the difference between Heroes and villains... Heroes never allow themselves to become victims. When someone victimizes them, they DO something about it.

That's why the right are heroes. Victims are always villains.

Blogger Elijah June 29, 2018 11:44 AM  

the very best villains are like the joker in The Dark Knight, you never learn why he is the way he is, he lies about it the whole time. as the butler said "sometime a man just wants to watch the world burn". evil is evil. that is all it takes. but if evil is real, then so is good....

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 29, 2018 11:48 AM  

Elijah wrote:the very best villains are like the joker in The Dark Knight,
No, the Joker is a one-ff. His madness is an exact counter-balance to Bruce Wayne's madness. Their entire relationship is an extended exploration of sanity, madness, order and chaos.

Blogger Thucydides June 29, 2018 12:00 PM  

I spent some time trying to think of good "villains who thought as if they were heroes" in movies, but the list is remarkably thin (although this may also be because I largely abandoned movie going in the 1990's as most movies were far too stupid or incoherent).

One good one I do remember was General Zod from the Superman franchise: his mission and goal was to preserve and recreate the cultural and genetic heritage of Krypton, even if it mean "Kryptoforming" our planet in order to do so. It was actually strange that Kar-El (Superman) would not be on board with a project to rebuild the world of his birth and his heritage.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums June 29, 2018 12:16 PM  

"Only in the tales told by humans does the beast die at the end."

Blogger Jake Sangria June 29, 2018 12:31 PM  

Yes but we never thought Jaws was actually a victim of circumstances

Blogger Looking Glass June 29, 2018 12:32 PM  

A lot of the issues with villains historically stem from writers not being able to explain how, when you first interact with the villain, they came to reach that point in their life. It's part of the reason prequels normally don't work well, as the creator has a fixed end point they can't deviate from.

As much as we rag on Star Wars, the prequels clearly had this problem, though Lucas knew he had to go the Faust route. Which is also now the typical way of dealing with a lot of Descent storylines.

As for modern storytelling, we should probably bring up that "Moderns" have extremely limited mental sets from which to work from. They really can't think outside a very tight interpretation of reality, which is also why they normally have such a problem with even basic nuance. We now have it well established that most of the Left has not read a book series beyond Harry Potter. If the moral isn't beaten into them, they really are blind to it.

I think it's less about societies getting less intelligent, and far more about the creatives being far, far less intelligent themselves. A full -1 SD shift in the "Creative Class" would explain a lot of this.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey June 29, 2018 12:33 PM  

The "villain as victim" trope is merely the flip side of the "victim as hero" one. Like the "aggressive victim" mentality, these archetypes belong to an entirely different group than our own, and seem quite alien to us. But due to an overabundance of... SJWs in these media/ Hollywood, they are constantly promoted.

Snidely on fire in this thread, btw. Excellent points, clearly expressed.

It was actually strange that Kar-El (Superman) would not be on board with a project to rebuild the world of his birth and his heritage.

Kar-El is the hero because he fights on behalf of an alien, "inferior" race/ species against his own people. This is not an accident.

Blogger Looking Glass June 29, 2018 12:35 PM  

Jake Sangria wrote:Yes but we never thought Jaws was actually a victim of circumstances

Dr. Frankenstein was the villain. His monster was the tragic victim. It's part of what makes some stories extremely compelling & memorable.

Blogger David The Good June 29, 2018 12:37 PM  

Jaws was a young vegan shark who was tragically caught in the net of an illegal fishing boat when he was a pup. He flopped on the deck as a man laughed at him - and then a chance wave splashed over the deck, sending Jaws safely back into the open. Scarred and humiliated, he was picked on by the other sharks. But he grew, bigger and bigger, and one day, he finally got revenge.

Blogger Avalanche June 29, 2018 12:40 PM  

@17 "The best villians ... have reasons and justifications for why they behave against the rules. The better the reasons, generally the better the villian..."

This has always been part of my soft spot for Hitler. For all the mistakes he made, his GOAL was to redeem and protect Germany, the Germany people, his nation. (Yeah yeah, Austrian, blah blah blah... Do you ID with *AMERICAN Whites* -- or only the people who share your exact White/Euro heritage?)

The best villains are 'written into' villainy BY the victors. (Because "none dare call it treason" -- or actual villainy!)

It's also why I am on the side of hawks and foxes -- I feed the songbirds TO feed the hawks! K-selected; K-directed.

Blogger Avalanche June 29, 2018 12:44 PM  

@23 "every villain knows he is actually a hero."

Thus, an understanding ought to be easy. See: point of view, desired end goal, first loyalty.

I identified with "Kaaaaaaaahhhhn," who was trying to protect HIS people, his genetically altered warrior people whom the normies wanted to KILL. How should he NOT protect them? How should he not be an implacable enemy to the descendants of the people who created the warrior-race, and then tried to destroy them?

Blogger pyrrhus June 29, 2018 1:01 PM  

Cartoons can do a really awesome job on evil characters...I'm thinking of the grave robbers singing "we're despicable" in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carole....

Blogger Don't Call Me Len June 29, 2018 1:19 PM  

They cannot bear to address either virtue or wickedness.

They can't even bring themselves to say things are "wrong", which is why they always default to the toddler-talk of "not OK". It works in lockstep with their child-like aversion to any moral decision-making.

Blogger Станислав Бартошевич June 29, 2018 1:31 PM  

The current problem with weak villains in fiction can be traced back to the innermost assumption of the modern liberal thought. That is, Man being naturally good. If Man (whether taking form of an alien or a fairy in a particular story) is naturally good, then you have to somehow reconcile observed behavior of men, and of our villain in particular with that fact. The general set of solutions the this conundrum is the same as the one applied by the moderns IRL:

-Blame the environment/villains are just victims. The fiction illustrates how this ultimately is just kicking the blame can down the road. Also may result in everyone being evil, if environment is shit enough.
-Blame difficulties in communication/if only we could understand each other, we would have no reasons to fight! With the assumption that all men are inherently, understanding someone's motives becomes increasingly difficult to untangle from excusing them.
-Therefore the only remaining way to write an unrepentant villain, is to have him motivated by motives which are incomprehensible to sane men, evil for evil's sake for reasons which are beyond all understanding.

Blogger Wuzzums Fuzzums June 29, 2018 2:23 PM  

Станислав Бартошевич wrote:-Therefore the only remaining way to write an unrepentant villain, is to have him motivated by motives which are incomprehensible to sane men, evil for evil's sake for reasons which are beyond all understanding.

The best villain I have ever seen is Hisoka from the manga/anime Hunter x Hunter.

The creator wrote himself in a corner with the character because he can't get rid of him (he's the everybody's favorite) and he can't turn him into a hero (it's contradictory to the character). The writer flat out ignored him existing in the first place in order to introduce a new villain and let the heroes steal the show for once.

He's the embodiment of Ayn Rand's "virtue of selfishness". The character is completely self-centered and because of this he never really does anything immoral. He never kills weaker people (unless in self-defense) not because of some internal moral compass or nobility but because he simply gets no pleasure out of shooting fish in a barrel. Hisoka's greatest pleasure in life is letting his opponents come within a millimeter of defeating him only for him to turn the situation on its head at the last second and watch the light of self-righteousness and hope fade from the eyes of his opponent as he's crushing their necks with his foot.

So where would a character/villain like this fit?
Is he moral because his actions never lead to innocents dying? Or is he immoral because his inner desires are truly despicable?

@27

Vlad Tepes is seen as a villain only because of Bram Stoker. In Romania he is seen as a hero of the same caliber as George Washington. And much like G. Washington he is a sacred cow in as if you say he was a bad guy you're instantly seen as being in the wrong.

Blogger James Dixon June 29, 2018 2:30 PM  

> Yes but we never thought Jaws was actually a victim of circumstances

Do you want the poor shark to starve? What kind of animal are you? :)

Blogger McJibblits June 29, 2018 2:37 PM  

""imagine yourself saying "William Faulkner sounds like someone else who's name I can't quite come up with.""

I imagined that. Imagine being so unimaginative that you couldn't fathom when such a comment might be appropriate.

Maybe, when someone is just fucking around. Imagine being a dork.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash June 29, 2018 2:40 PM  

Wuzzums Fuzzums wrote:Vlad Tepes is seen as a villain only because of Bram Stoker. In Romania he is seen as a hero of the same caliber as George Washington.
And Atilla is a very common first name in Hungary.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar June 29, 2018 3:48 PM  

Yes. I felt the very same way, when I saw that movie. I mentioned to my wife that they had cheapened the character in order to make the villain a victim of the patriarchy. She loved the movie and called me crazy. I think it was in fact a very effective subliminal weapon.

Blogger tublecane June 29, 2018 5:09 PM  

I was trying to think of movie villains I've enjoyed recently. Bill the Butcher leaps to mind, but that was a while ago now.

There's the Joker in the Dark Night, but I don't think Christopher Nolan is a lefty.

SJWars was especially bad in this area. They had to shove Darth Vader in to salvage Rogue One. That Big Evil Guy in the main series who looked like a Lord of the Rings characters was the most pathetic attempt at a villain in a major movie franchise ever.

The James Bond villains lately have sucked.

Blogger VD June 29, 2018 5:19 PM  

Maybe, when someone is just fucking around. Imagine being a dork.

If you are fucking around like that, you are a dork.

Blogger VD June 29, 2018 5:21 PM  

So where would a character/villain like this fit? Is he moral because his actions never lead to innocents dying? Or is he immoral because his inner desires are truly despicable?

Do you seriously have a problem with this? Morality is NEVER defined as "never leading to innocents dying." That's ridiculous. The answer is simple: he is entirely immoral.

Blogger Bee June 29, 2018 5:22 PM  

"Every good villain should be a hero in his own mind"

Perhaps. Though if you choose otherwise, you can certainly still have a good villain. Atheist writers like Michael Moorcock and Phillip Pullman hate Sauron for being "one dimensional" (and probably because they don't believe in evil), but the Eye was certainly a memorable satanic villain even if we never held any conversations with him or learned of his childhood trauma, or got an idea of his plans for industrialization of Middle Earth for the good of the orcs. Nope, he was total evil.

The big villain doesn't necessarily have to think of himself as a hero in his own mind - but it does help if some of his minions (e.g., in LOTR, Saruman, certain orc soldiers, etc.) do.










Blogger Silent Draco June 29, 2018 5:25 PM  

Just wait 'til Vox's orcs sing and try to sound more normal.

"ninety-nine goblins left in the stall, ninety-nine goblins stalled!

Spit and roast and pass it around,
Ninety-eight goblins stalled!"

Well, it'll sound better with orc ale.

Blogger Bee June 29, 2018 5:43 PM  

In regard to comic book villains, I actually think the big problem at Marvel is two-fold.

First, at least partly largely through the efforts of John Byrne, they gradually weakened most of their top-end villains.

Marvel started with one big "anti-hero" who added some balance: Sub-Mariner. Then they gradually turned Doctor Doom from ultimate villain into a guy with mommy issues who was occasionally a good guy. Magneto got a decent background as a Gypsy (or Jewish, they fluctuated) concentration camp survivor who had turned terrorist/extremist - fine, happened to plenty of real Jews in the early days of Israel. But then they gradually turned him into a superhero and X-Man as well. About the same time they did the same for Galactus, changing him from the ultimate evil into someone who was a force for galactic ecology or something. Doctor Octopus got a lengthy run where he switched into Spiderman's body and became a hero as well. Loki has been turned cute and fuzzy in the movies, and in the comics even spent time as a little kid and hero of his book. In the movies, Thanos was changed from a guy in love with death to someone concerned with the health of the galaxy. Sabertooth and Venom, two popular villainous brawlers, are both now heroes.

Compounding this problem is something that I hope Vox is careful with. In the good old days when comics sold like hot cakes every superhero team had its own identity and its own pasture. The Avengers were a small team of America's best "official" heroes, usually under Cap and Iron Man. The X-Men were hunted rebels. The Fantastic Four were a family. The Defenders were the weird super-powerful anti-social guys (Hulk, Submariner, Doc Strange, etc.) who were too over-powered to battle regular threats. Each team or major solo title had their own distinct identity. They didn't really socialize and cross-overs were rare. It was very rare to share members (it happened, but not very often)

In the last 20 years, though, this went away. Gradually all the teams blurred together. Everyone became friends. Avengers sell well? Let's make more avengers books. X-Men sell well? More X-Men. Then came the idea to blend everything together. Have Spiderman join the Avengers. Have joint X-Men/Avenger teams. etc.

What does this mean? It means that since every hero has a relationship with every other hero, the "Good Guys" now essentially formed a giant super team with 40+ members.

What villains could stand up to the combined bulk of a half-dozen X-men, Avenger, etc. teams all of who work together now?

Answer: Uh, just about nobody.

As a result, most of the comics are dominated by one of two things:

- Vast "civil war" situations where the heroes fight each other, since no villain can now stand up to the heroes.

- "heroes gone bad" situations where due to mind control or other events Iron Man or Cap America or Cyclops or someone will turn evil and lead their friends into fighting other heroes

- Alien invasions (e.g., Thanos, Skrulls, etc.)

The last get boring, because the interesting stories are human level
The former are worse, because making the heroes into villains on a regular basis, or having the heroes fight each other on a regular basis, degrades their moral standing and inevitably also degrades their character. Who wants to read about heroes who aren't heroes?

So, Vox: if you find alt-hero growing into a big universe, and one of your teams starts out being popular, avoid the siren call to endlessly duplicate it, or to merge all your other characters with it. Every hero and team needs it own identity.













Spiderman and Daredevil were guys who NEVER joined teams and fought mid-level street level foes.







Blogger Dire Badger June 29, 2018 5:52 PM  

I am a little sick of all the attempts to make Satan a Dark hero. But apparently Lefties just LOVE them some 'Lucifer'.

Blogger Were-Puppy June 29, 2018 6:09 PM  

Luciferians think he's the good guy

Blogger Starboard June 29, 2018 7:02 PM  

All four parts of Jagi's post are excellent.

My least favorite parts of modern reimaginings is the good/evil flip and the "if we just care enough" endings. A couple years ago there was a reboot of The Wizard of Oz called Tin Man. The end was a grown up Dorothy holding the evil witch's hand in solidarity against the real evil that had possessed the witch years ago. No swords, no buckets of water, just holding hands and caring.

Who knew that the Care Bears would be the Moral force of the Modern Age?

Blogger Salden June 29, 2018 7:17 PM  

Darth Dharmakīrti wrote:That's what makes Magneto interesting, in those stories where he is. He doesn't hate humanity. He doesn't care one way or the other about humanity. They're not his people. He's trying to save his family.

Magneto did literally nothing wrong


I'm sure you non-ironically support Black Lives Matter too.

The X-Men have long been a shining example of the poz in comics. The writers not only make the humans ridiculous strawmen to make the ultra-violent terrorists (both X-Men and Magneto's posse) look legitimate in their actions and attitude towards homo sapiens, but repeatedly force Mutants into being stand-ins for whatever victim group of the week.

The whole attempt falls apart since fags don't shoot lasers out of their eyes and every credible government on Earth would do whatever they could to keep Mutants under control, especially "progressive" ones like Canada. Be it co-opting them or Anti-Mutant rays. Let alone how it's doubtful the likes of Achmed the Palestinain Mutant would pal around with European Kike Magneto after his fellow Arabs insulted him for having an X-Gene.

The X-Men were okay enough when they just represented adolescent alienation and distrust for authority. It was the likes of the Claremont who REALLY went full throttle on pozzing them up.

Blogger Darth Dharmakīrti June 29, 2018 7:40 PM  

I'm sure you non-ironically support Black Lives Matter too.

This is a misreading of the X-Men mythos.

It's true that the series is pozzed to the core, but that's why they try to portray Magneto as a villain, instead of correctly identifying him as the hero.

There are two things going on in X-Men. The first, which you note, is the Mutants being a stand-in for a Sailerian "Coalition of the Fringes." But this is rhetorically counterbalanced by a proto-Harry Potter-esque argument to the effect that the strong should protect and fear (or at least fear for) the weak. The point is that the Mutants simultaneously represent homosexuals and ethnic minorities, while at least in principle providing a model for how the overclass (fags who shoot laser beams) is supposed to treat the underclass (homo sapiens). The X-Men are supposedly “heroes” precisely because, despite being objectively genetically superior* to normal humans, they insist on living with them in peace and harmony, and protecting them against the “Mutant supremacist” Brotherhood.

You are quite right that no responsible human government would allow Mutants to walk around free. But that just points to the absolute correctness of Magneto’s assessment, that no peace is possible between homo sapiens and homo superior. The collective authors of the received cultural text would have us believe that Magneto owes something to a population that is weaker and ineradicably hostile to his own. That’s because the series is pozzed to the core. Examined on its own terms, however, it is abundantly clear that Magneto did literally nothing wrong. His analysis is correct, his course of action in those circumstances the only one possible.

*This reveals much the same anxiety evidenced by J.K. Rowling’s hilarious symbolic portrayal of Nazi occultism. Aryan magick does not work and Teutons are not inherently superior beings. But Voldemort is in effect a Hitler stand-in, if Aryan magick did work and Teutons were in fact inherently superior. In that case, however, it would be difficult to make an intellectual or moral argument against Nazism. In other words, much as with the X-Men, the authors reveal their own unconscious feelings of superiority. It isn’t that Europeans are the equal of sub-Saharan Africans or that normal people are the equal of LGBT degenerates; it’s that, despite the enormous inequality, the strong nevertheless owe a duty to the weak, even when the weak despise the strong and do everything in their power to tear them down. Magneto’s rejection of this proposition is precisely what makes him the hero.

Blogger Thucydides June 29, 2018 8:14 PM  

"it’s that, despite the enormous inequality, the strong nevertheless owe a duty to the weak"

This is actually the basis of the code of Chivalry and arguably predated Christian Europe (ancient Greek "Aristocrats" also demonstrated they we're "the best" not only by being the best at things like poetry and athletics, but also by demonstrating care for people subordinate to them).

This is not servile behaviour by the strong or a reversal of the natural order of things, the strong are demonstrating their strength by the act of protecting the weak and innocent. Of course this isn't how modern writers steeped in SJW culture see it, which is the real problem.

Blogger owlish June 29, 2018 9:27 PM  

One random movie in which the villian was played as "Of course I'm the protagonist." The first live action Street Fighter.

Blogger Michael Maier June 29, 2018 9:52 PM  

Francis Parker Yockey wrote:The "villain as victim" trope is merely the flip side of the "victim as hero" one. Like the "aggressive victim" mentality, these archetypes belong to an entirely different group than our own, and seem quite alien to us. But due to an overabundance of... SJWs in these media/ Hollywood, they are constantly promoted.

Snidely on fire in this thread, btw. Excellent points, clearly expressed.

It was actually strange that Kar-El (Superman) would not be on board with a project to rebuild the world of his birth and his heritage.

Kar-El is the hero because he fights on behalf of an alien, "inferior" race/ species against his own people. This is not an accident.


FUCK DC/WB. They betrayed EVERYTHING about Kal-El's fathers' characters.

Jor-El is not a murderous prick, wanting to destroy Earth to save Krypton.

And Jonathan Kent does not value his son's secret more than innocent lives.

Nothing about MAN OF STEEL is right or true to the characters. It's as bad or worse of a perversion than the "modern" fairy tales L. Jagi wrote about.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 29, 2018 9:57 PM  

@4

"I didn't really notice what Wright points out until I saw the musical "Wicked" which is the supposed backstory for the Wicked Witch of the West"

I am so sick of the entertainment sector constantly going on about "backstory"

If I never hear the word "backstory" ever again in my life, it will still be too soon.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 29, 2018 9:58 PM  

"Backstories" are inherently boring, because, since you already know the beginning AFTER the backstory.... you already know how the backstory ends.

That's fine for history.

Utterly boring for fiction.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 29, 2018 10:18 PM  

@21

"That's actually pretty easy for me to get. I wish I had the drive to write. I have an idea for a character / storyline in my head but I'll never get it written."


I'm helping a retired drill sergeant with an aim to put his many (highly amusing) tales into book form.

The easiest way to start out -- start by just talking, making audio recordings.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 29, 2018 10:22 PM  

@25

"Is this related to that line I sometimes hear about shows like Breaking Bad that they are great because everything is "morally grey", "complex", and "ambiguous"?"

No. He's an anti-hero.

In his own mind, he's a hero, but his philosophical outlook is the ends (putting aside a nest egg for my family) justifies the means (killing many people, some with violence, the rest with meth). And that's evil.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit June 30, 2018 12:24 AM  

Jaws was a young vegan shark who was tragically caught in the net of an illegal fishing boat when he was a pup. He flopped on the deck as a man laughed at him - and then a chance wave splashed over the deck, sending Jaws safely back into the open. Scarred and humiliated, he was picked on by the other sharks. But he grew, bigger and bigger, and one day, he finally got revenge.

This! This is why you should all run out and buy Turned Earth. I'm serious people.

Side note: Not sure what happened w/comments here, but they've gotten quite readable. Thanks to whoever's modding.

Blogger Paul M June 30, 2018 12:50 AM  

It would be ok is the message was "No matter how convincing your justification, evil is still evil:.

Blogger tublecane June 30, 2018 2:55 AM  

@17- The better the reasons the better the drama, maybe. But I don't think there's anything wrong with having a stupid villain. Or one that abides by motives that are either inscrutable or make no sense. Like the No Country for Old Men guy with the coin.

Take Thanos from the latest Marvel movie. He's just a big dum-dum, because there's a much easier and more humane way to achieve what he's after. His big thing is that there aren't enough resources universe-wide to sustain life. So he's going to get a magic glove and kill off half of all life. But the same magic glove could solve the problem by multiplying resources, and he doesn't actually want to kill all those things. (Or doesn't appear to, though homicidal mania may be one of his motivations.)

So he's just a dum-dum .Yet people are into him. They think he's a compelling character.

Blogger Michael Maier June 30, 2018 3:00 AM  

tublecane wrote:@17- The better the reasons the better the drama, maybe. But I don't think there's anything wrong with having a stupid villain. Or one that abides by motives that are either inscrutable or make no sense. Like the No Country for Old Men guy with the coin.

Take Thanos from the latest Marvel movie. He's just a big dum-dum, because there's a much easier and more humane way to achieve what he's after. His big thing is that there aren't enough resources universe-wide to sustain life. So he's going to get a magic glove and kill off half of all life. But the same magic glove could solve the problem by multiplying resources, and he doesn't actually want to kill all those things. (Or doesn't appear to, though homicidal mania may be one of his motivations.)

So he's just a dum-dum .Yet people are into him. They think he's a compelling character.


As if there are no REAL deluded idiots that have killed millions of people in real life?

Blogger tublecane June 30, 2018 3:03 AM  

@Michael Maier- I don't understand your point. We were talking about characters having good reason to act evilly. My point is people find Thanos to be a compelling character despite his acting stupidly.

Blogger Michael Maier June 30, 2018 3:23 AM  

I was trying to make the point that being wrong / deluded doesn't make a character dumb or un-compelling.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 30, 2018 4:32 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger McJibblits June 30, 2018 5:57 PM  

Glad you have enough time off from writing comic books and fantasy novels to call me a dork! Keep up the good work.

Blogger Dirk Manly June 30, 2018 7:26 PM  

@

Shut up, dork

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