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Author
edda




In Death Wish (the novel), one of the newspaper
editorials note that many children have started to see
the vigilante as "a comic book hero like Batman". That
got me thinking-many people think that the murder of
the Batman's parents by a mugger in Detective
Comics#33 was the first revenge origin (it wasn't, as
I note below). Since the origin of the Batman involved
his parents getting killed by muggers, I was wondering
if that was any influence for the idea for Death Wish?


Of course, I had thought that Don Pendelton's
Executioner novels might have been an influence, as
after it came out numerous paperback series such as
the Penetrator, the Avenger, the Marksman, the Lone
Wolf, the Defender, the Assassin, etc. came out, but
most of those series involved people who lost loved
ones to organized criminal groups, not scruffy street
toughs.

__________________________________________________________
For the record, a list of loss of a loved one origins
that preceded the origin of the Batman in Detective
Comics#33
Dick Tracy (fiance's father killed by robber working
for Big Boy Alphonse Caprice-debatable, I admit-the
death of one's fiancee's father would seem a bit
emotionally remote)
the Phantom (death of the first Phantom's father at
the hands of pirates of Singh Brotherhood)
the Lone Ranger (death of his brother at hands of
Butch Cavendish)
the Green Hornet (his father was the LR's nephew, the
nephew whose father was slain by Butch Cavendish)
the Avenger (origin revealed just before that of the
Batman; killed by Arthur Hickock's gang)
Doc Savage (father killed by feathered serpent)

Marvel Preview#20 had a list of post-Batman characters with loss of loved one origins.

Marvel Preview#20 mentioned some post-Batman
characters with death of a loved one origins in an
article on the Shroud (whose origin served as an
intentionally exact homage to 'Tec#33). They rattled
off Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, the Black Panther,
Iron Fist (I think), and probably a few others. It is
interesting to note that the origin of Spider-Man was
probably the first revenge origin of that type to be
adapted for TV
(though the 1960's Batman tv show mentioned, but never
showed, the death of the Waynes; it was actually an
episode of Super-Powers:Galactic Guardians that first
showed the mugging of the Waynes).
____________________________________________________
Anyway, can anyone name some more post-Batman characters with revenge origins?


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Blue Beetle




> ____________________________________________________
> Anyway, can anyone name some more post-Batman characters with revenge origins?


Interesting to me is the long list of Marvel heroes who don't have revenge origins:

Captain America*
Iron Man*
Thor
Ant Man/Giant-Man
Wasp
Hulk
Vision
Hawkeye
Scarlet Witch

(thus the entire early Avengers team)

Fantastic Four (Reed, Johnny, Sue, Ben)
X-Men (Xavier, Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, Marvel Girl)

And come to think of it, neither does this guy:

Spider-Man**


* Captain America and Iron Man both had facilitating persons die as part of their origins, yet in neither case was the death of the facilitating person the fundamental reason for subsequent heroism.

** Spider-Man had a beloved family member and father figure die as part of his origin, and that death was certainly fundamental to why Peter Parker subsequently became a hero, but Peter's driving force was never revenge, but guilt. Indeed, guilt is the core theme of the comic. Tangentially, I'll note a particular fantasy novel trilogy that very clearly has "guilt as the source of heroism" as its core theme: Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.




--
"We ask merely a man's worth... not the accident of his condition."
Henry Pym, Avengers #58, 1968 - "Even an Android Can Cry" (Roy Thomas)



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Menshevik




> > ____________________________________________________
> > Anyway, can anyone name some more post-Batman characters with revenge origins?
>
>
> Interesting to me is the long list of Marvel heroes who don't have revenge origins:
>
> Captain America*
> Iron Man*
> Thor
> Ant Man/Giant-Man
> Wasp

Actually, in the Wasp's origin story, Janet's father Vernon Van Dyne was murdered by an escaped criminal from the plante Kosmos which provides her with her motivation (quote: "I shall dedicate my life to finding his murderer! [...] I wish I could help track down all the criminals, the human wolves who prey on honest people!") And in a flashback earlier in that same story, Hank Pym's first wife, Maria Trovaya, was murdered by secret policemen behind the Iron Curtain, after which he goes on to rant "I'll make them pay" etc.)

> Hulk

In Bruce Banner's retconned origin, his father murdering his mother was a contributing factor to the psychological condition that gave rise to the Hulk.

> Vision
> Hawkeye
> Scarlet Witch

Dou you think Quicksilver had a revenge motive his sister didnÄt or did you just forget him?
>
> (thus the entire early Avengers team)

Well, not quite. Hank and Jan had full-blown revenge motives, Tony Stark was at least partially motivated by revenge (see below), and the Black Widow originally had become a Soviet secret agent in putative revenge for the death of her husband. But the choice of the name "Avengers" still is a rather strange one...
>
> * Captain America and Iron Man both had facilitating persons die as part of their origins, yet in neither case was the death of the facilitating person the fundamental reason for subsequent heroism.

It was at least a strong contributing reason in Iron Man's case (quotes from the origin story: "You will not have died in vain, my friend! I swear it! The Iron Man swears it!" and "Now, Professor Yinsen, rest easy! You, who sacrificed your life to save mine, have been avenged!")
>



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Blue Beetle




> Actually, in the Wasp's origin story, Janet's father Vernon Van Dyne was murdered by an escaped criminal from the plante Kosmos which provides her with her motivation (quote: "I shall dedicate my life to finding his murderer! [...] I wish I could help track down all the criminals, the human wolves who prey on honest people!") And in a flashback earlier in that same story, Hank Pym's first wife, Maria Trovaya, was murdered by secret policemen behind the Iron Curtain, after which he goes on to rant "I'll make them pay" etc.)


Wow - I guess I missed all that. Was it in the Tales to Astonish stories?

In the early Avengers stories, Janet was a hero because Hank was. Or at least it seemed that way to me. I never got a revenge vibe from Jan, ever. Or from Hank, for that matter.


> > Hulk
>
> In Bruce Banner's retconned origin, his father murdering his mother was a contributing factor to the psychological condition that gave rise to the Hulk.


Retcons. Bah, humbug.


> > Vision
> > Hawkeye
> > Scarlet Witch
>
> Dou you think Quicksilver had a revenge motive his sister didnÄt or did you just forget him?


I forgot him. I knew I was forgetting someone. 8\-\)


> Well, not quite. Hank and Jan had full-blown revenge motives, Tony Stark was at least partially motivated by revenge (see below), and the Black Widow originally had become a Soviet secret agent in putative revenge for the death of her husband. But the choice of the name "Avengers" still is a rather strange one...


I dispute the Tony Stark contention. It's not as if he went into battle yelling, "For Yinsen!" 8\-\)


> It was at least a strong contributing reason in Iron Man's case (quotes from the origin story: "You will not have died in vain, my friend! I swear it! The Iron Man swears it!" and "Now, Professor Yinsen, rest easy! You, who sacrificed your life to save mine, have been avenged!")


Yinsen mattered in that first story to the same extent Erskine mattered in the Captain America origin. Emotional resonance was certainly there. But Tony didn't continue being Iron Man so he could avenge Yinsen.

In the case of Batman, or the Punisher, the dead family members are frequently on the hero's mind, with the deaths fueling the heroics. Such wasn't the case for Tony, and certainly wasn't for Hank and Jan, as I had never even heard of these deaths until you told me about them, and I've read quite a lot of Silver Age Marvel.




--
"We ask merely a man's worth... not the accident of his condition."
Henry Pym, Avengers #58, 1968 - "Even an Android Can Cry" (Roy Thomas)



Posted with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP
Menshevik




> > Actually, in the Wasp's origin story, Janet's father Vernon Van Dyne was murdered by an escaped criminal from the plante Kosmos which provides her with her motivation (quote: "I shall dedicate my life to finding his murderer! [...] I wish I could help track down all the criminals, the human wolves who prey on honest people!") And in a flashback earlier in that same story, Hank Pym's first wife, Maria Trovaya, was murdered by secret policemen behind the Iron Curtain, after which he goes on to rant "I'll make them pay" etc.)
>
>
> Wow - I guess I missed all that. Was it in the Tales to Astonish stories?

That was all from TtA #44, with Jan's first appearance.
>
> In the early Avengers stories, Janet was a hero because Hank was. Or at least it seemed that way to me. I never got a revenge vibe from Jan, ever. Or from Hank, for that matter.

Well, I think by that time the revenge/loss of a loved one origin was already such a well-established trope that I think that they used it here reflexively and then Stan Lee thought: Why not be different? And from then on wrote Jan and Hank more like a couple from a screwball comedy (maybe Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in "Bringing Up Baby", where you have a stolid male scientist and a vivacious society girl).

BTW, Amazing Spider-Man starts as a revenge origin (Spider-Man first decides to go after criminals because the burglar killed his uncle), but then in a classic twist pulls the rug from under Peter and his assumptions when he discovers that Uncle Ben's death is actually (also) his own responsibility. So it takes an existing stereotype and transcends it.

>
>
> > > Hulk
> >
> > In Bruce Banner's retconned origin, his father murdering his mother was a contributing factor to the psychological condition that gave rise to the Hulk.
>
>
> Retcons. Bah, humbug.

LOL
>
>
> > > Vision
> > > Hawkeye
> > > Scarlet Witch
> >
> > Dou you think Quicksilver had a revenge motive his sister didnÄt or did you just forget him?
>
>
> I forgot him. I knew I was forgetting someone. 8\-\)
>
>
> > Well, not quite. Hank and Jan had full-blown revenge motives, Tony Stark was at least partially motivated by revenge (see below), and the Black Widow originally had become a Soviet secret agent in putative revenge for the death of her husband. But the choice of the name "Avengers" still is a rather strange one...
>
>
> I dispute the Tony Stark contention. It's not as if he went into battle yelling, "For Yinsen!" 8\-\)

Well, he was still too busy getting to learn to walk and fight in his suit. (I love the scene where he saws a hole into a (by the looks of it, wooden) door to open it instead of simply smashing through it).
>
>
> > It was at least a strong contributing reason in Iron Man's case (quotes from the origin story: "You will not have died in vain, my friend! I swear it! The Iron Man swears it!" and "Now, Professor Yinsen, rest easy! You, who sacrificed your life to save mine, have been avenged!")
>
>
> Yinsen mattered in that first story to the same extent Erskine mattered in the Captain America origin. Emotional resonance was certainly there. But Tony didn't continue being Iron Man so he could avenge Yinsen.

Well, Yinsen's death at any rate was a stronger motivating factor than Erskine's - Steve Rogers was already motivated to fight against the Nazis, that was why he volunteered to have the superhero formula used on him in the first place. BTW, Tony of course also had a bit of a motivation from his own injury by that Vietnamese booby-trap, and at first Iron Man was certainly the Marvel superhero most involved in the Cold War etc.
>
> In the case of Batman, or the Punisher, the dead family members are frequently on the hero's mind, with the deaths fueling the heroics. Such wasn't the case for Tony, and certainly wasn't for Hank and Jan, as I had never even heard of these deaths until you told me about them, and I've read quite a lot of Silver Age Marvel.

Like I said, I think revenge origins by that time already were so commonplace that Stan wanted to try a different, less-used angle.


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