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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Who Whom? 

I got a good comment from Kyklops a while back, and I don't think they would mind my quoting them here. I had said:

And finally, it pains me to say this, but I always suspected that Spiderman was himself instrumental in the origin of the strange villains that he had to deal with. I think they wouldn't have turned up if it hadn't been for him. One guy is going around acting like a spider, so naturally an octopus guy is going to come along to challenge him. That's how these super-villains get their nutty ideas.

And Kyklops:

There's no denying that, at least in the movie versions, there's an almost symbiotic relationship between Spidey and the villains. But this, to my mind, is what makes things interesting. Think of Jack as the Joker in the first (and only good) Batman movie; he's about to die: (from memory, so perhaps flawed) "Yeah, yeah, I made you, you made me... can't we just get past all that?" Wow, this is the essence of dramatic conflict... Almost immediately after being saved and uttering these lines he tries to kill Batman yet again. He can't help himself. I also think it's interesting that most of the great comic book villains never started out as bad guys. Something happened to make them that way (come to think, something weird usually happens to give the super hero his powers). This is fertile ground for philosophical speculation, and I for one am grateful that I read and enjoyed comic books and super heroes (including Spidey) as a youth. Drano-san, give poor Spiderman a break, will you?

That's an interesting point. I'm not much of a hand at figuring things like that out though, at least not without more information. (The rest of my post was mainly dumb critical things about Peter Parker as a big whinger.) But the words "never started out as bad guys" are worth thinking about. I am no expert at all at all [sic], but I do believe that most comix and science fiction "villains" started out as decent people. There's probably a whole book-truck of stuff about that. Every mad scientist was once an idealistic young student who wanted to help people, until his lab blew up or something. And of course I do sympathize with Clark Kent and Peter Parker. But they very obviously need to rethink what they are doing and get beyond these incidents of public mayhem.

Is it too great a stretch to say that super-heroes are aberrant? The stuff of tabloids? Look at the tabloid headlines: Famous Pop Star on Crack! Man Eats Dog on crack! Dog Eats Pop Star on Man! Why isn't there a headline that says Many Moved to Tears by Oistrakh Cadenza, Experts Claim? Or, Man Somewhat Moody Because of Death of Cat? Why is that not a story? It's true and it's interesting.

As the aliens would say, Why are you humans not even interested in your own lives?


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