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Post By
Jase

In Reply To
Kieran Frost

Subj: Re: Would you want big personal changes to happen to the lives of the Marvel Characters?
Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 12:47:58 am EDT (Viewed 196 times)
Reply Subj: Would you want big personal changes to happen to the lives of the Marvel Characters?
Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 08:02:48 am EDT (Viewed 379 times)



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    I was thinking recently (it's been known to happen); that almost all Marvel characters live lives with "no-strings-attached." What weighs them down? Why do they never fully commit to anything? Now I understand the two big reasons for this:



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    a) characters are easier to use/write when they are single/childless, because it gives a bigger range of possibilities to play with



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    b) other writers might dislike giving them change, and undo/ignore it the first chance they get.  Or just not use the character, because they don't want to deal with the spouse.



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    But why do so few Marvel characters marry? Why do so few have kids? Why do so few not have long term relationships? I also understand that these are "superheroes" and we don't want to read a soap (I know I don't); but why not allow even just 10% to tie the knot? Why not have 5% give birth?



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    Who do we have?



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    - Richard and Sue Reed w. child



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    - Storm and T'Challa



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    - Absorbing Man and Titania



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    - Norman Osborn and Lily [pregnant]



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    I KID YOU NOT, I just drew a blank.  Four?  Four is all the universe can handle, and let's be honest, one of them is hardly A-list impressive.  Am I forgetting many obvious ones, or is this not the case?  I would mention Spiderman/MJ or Jamie/Siryn/Sean but both were "erased".



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    What are your views on this?



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Specifically: It just works w/ some characters better than others. I think its safe to say one of the main themes concerning the FF is family, so Reed and Sue getting married, even having children, isn't so out of scope that it changes the title beyond recognition and forces it into paradigms it wasn't designed for. The short answer would be that some writers just feels it limits some characters creatively. Can't do a love triangle with newly married couple Kyle Richmond and Patsy Walker, where one of them hooks up w/ someone outside the marriage w/out risking making Kyle look like a philanderer or Patsy like a slut.

On change in general: it's really a double-edged sword. On one hand, there has to be some kind of ongoing and sustained plot and character progression for the audience to feel like something is happening here, otherwise there's very little point in sticking around installment after installment...on the other hand, the story can change so dramatically that it loses its original appeal and you run the risk of losing your audience anyway. So while I can understand some frustration in many of Marvel's retcons and backtracks, it's not a simple matter of Marvel 'pussing out' as some would dismiss it as, it's a genuine problem brought about by the MU's unique nature as an ongoing, shared universe.

Stacking on change after change in a serial narrative is fine depending on what the story is actually about and if it builds to an actual conclusion since stories generally end. Not so w/ the Marvel and DC Universes. To bring things back to your main point, about the lack of marriage and children, I would say the overall resistance to it is that it forces the characters a little closer to conclusions Marvel can't possibly give them. The characters get married. They get children. Eventually, people expect those kids to grow up. Look at many of the complaints directed towards Franklin Richards and how he's kept perpetually young(it really doesn't help when contemporary characters like Power Pack are aged all around him it seems). Yet, since the MU is a shared continuity, it's difficult to let time pass for Franklin and not let it pass for everyone else too. Let's say you start aging Franklin now, and let him eventually celebrate his 18th birthday and go to college. You effectively push the rest of the Marvel Universe to start changing in unexpected and perhaps unwanted ways as well.

While some can bemoan the sliding timescale mainstream comics employ, w/out it, you would have had a Spider-Man character swinging around New York in his 60s by now. Maybe you can say he passes the mantle on to a son or daughter, but that really changes the theme and the story of Spider-Man, and makes it something else.

And there isn't an easy, cut and dried answer for it either. Do you just let the characters age and eventually die and replace them w/ a constant string of descendants carrying on the mantle? Replace them w/ new heroes? But where will those new heroes come from when there are more creator-owned options out there now?



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