Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

Marvel Universe >> View Post
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Post By
The Black Guardian

In Reply To
The Overlord

Subj: Re: I don't think the concept is dated, it just hasn't been used creatively
Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 at 06:05:22 am EST
Reply Subj: I don't think the concept is dated, it just hasn't been used creatively
Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:23:35 pm EST

Previous Post

> > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.
>
> Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist" of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics themselves) focused on that dichotomy.
>
>
> TJB

I don't think the concept is that dated, I like the idea of evil circus, I find the idea of something thaty is supposed to be innocent like a circus, twisted to an evil purpose interesting. The problem is almost 90% of the stories with these guys is the same:

The circus puts on a show, the Ringmaster brainwashes the audience, the circus members try to rob the crowd, some hero comes by and knocks them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Try something different these guys. First they should look more gothic, they should all look kinda scary.

Second they should try some other ways to make money, something a little more sinister. Like a smash and grab operation, where these circus freaks attack people while other circus members steal everything that isn't nailed down from a store.

Or even more sinister, they could use the seemingly innocent circus characters (along with perhaps some Ringmaster's mind control tech) to lure kids of rich families to "join the circus". Once they have these kids they make demands parents for money or else.

Anything rather than using the same story over and over again.


> > > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always
> > > thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than
> > > what is often presented in the pages of comics.
> >
> > Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age
> > gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The
> > circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These
> > days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty
> > much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers
> > instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist"
> > of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most
> > memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate
> > Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics
> > themselves) focused on that dichotomy.
>
> I don't think the concept is that dated, I like the idea of evil
> circus, I find the idea of something thaty is supposed to be innocent
> like a circus, twisted to an evil purpose interesting. The problem is
> almost 90% of the stories with these guys is the same:

The first problem is that circuses, in general, have almost died out. Even Ringling Bros. is a shell of what it used to be. The whole sideshow gimmick is a thing of the past. Very few people can really relate to that.

> The circus puts on a show, the Ringmaster brainwashes the audience,
> the circus members try to rob the crowd, some hero comes by and
> knocks them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's the repeat that's the problem.

> Try something different these guys. First they should look more
> gothic, they should all look kinda scary.

Eh. Kind of disagree there. It kind of ruins the innocence twisted idea.

> Second they should try some other ways to make money, something a
> little more sinister. Like a smash and grab operation, where these
> circus freaks attack people while other circus members steal
> everything that isn't nailed down from a store.

I think they need to be more subtle. A circus that does this is going to be shut down pretty darn quick.

> Or even more sinister, they could use the seemingly innocent circus
> characters (along with perhaps some Ringmaster's mind control tech)
> to lure kids of rich families to "join the circus". Once they have
> these kids they make demands parents for money or else.

This is more like it. Or how about this...

I don't know how many of you have been to a circus lately, but the latest Ringling Bros. act involves the circus performers posing as normal people in the audience. At the beginning of the show, they're selected by other circus performers, and little-by-little, these seemingly average people are transformed into the ringmaster (the father), the trapeze artist (the mother), the dancer (the daughter), and the juggler (the son).

What if the Circus of Crime were hired kidnappers or maybe hired hitmen? Maybe a family is in witness relocation. They're discovered, and through something similar to the above, they're whisked away into the hands of the gangsters. But it's all done so subtly and under masquerade that it becomes very hard to find them afterward.

Or maybe the family is someone special (father's a scientist or something, or mother's a high-powered attorney), and while becoming part of the act, they're mind-controlled into performing tasks for the circus' employers.

Alternately, maybe the Circus of Crime should morph into something like Cirque du Soliel? A different name (obviously), but some kind of artsy, traveling acrobatics show. Each time we see them, they have a different stage gimmick, different costumes, etc. During their off hours, they pull off heists with the motif of the current stage gimmick. Or they could also do the other schemes above.
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