Monday, April 11, 2011

6 Annoying Things About Comics

It's been a very long time since I've looked at something like this, so I thought I'd continue on with more.

Even though comic books are complete fantasy, they do follow a certain set of rules of their own. Even heroes who can fly have laws of gravity and physics around them that the comic writers adhere to. However, have you ever read a comic story and thought, "Even in a world where men can run faster than light and can fly, that doesn't make sense!"? Here are a few of the things that always confused me:

1. How can you be the worlds fastest man and yet carry on a conversation with others while fighting?

Imagine standing still and having someone rip past you in an F-15 jet telling you about their day. Number one, how much of that would you actually hear? Number two, what kind of witty response could you come up with?

You can say all that in a second?
The correct answer is: nothing (unless you're an auctioneer).

And yet, the comic writers continued to let Flash and his villain of the month talk it out while trying to fight it all out. And we're not talking about a quick sentence here or there...we're talking entire conversations with enough time for response on the part of the normal-speed villain. And yet the guys could never hit the Flash with any ray or weapon?

2. Why didn't Superman just throw Doomsday into outer space?

Works every time.
Superman's battle with Doomsday was supposed to be the stuff of legend. Here was the monster who would finally kill the Man of Steel. But through the whole thing I kept thinking: Just throw him into outer space! I mean, once you've decided to kill or be killed for that big ending, just skip the "be killed" part and toss him. Let some other planet with stronger heroes finish him off, or let him just wander on Jupiter and die of boredom.

Come to think of it, why didn't Superman just do that for most of his too-close-for-comfort fights? Giant robots he would get beat down with a million times before hitting would have been a simple matter of flying behind them, grabbing them, and going straight up until you see stars around you before letting go. End of fight.

3. Why set up an elaborate trap to kill the hero, then leave without watching it work?

If you spent weeks putting together some cool death trap, then you finally got that hero you've always wanted to kill into it, wouldn't you want to see if it worked? I mean, how do you test something like that other than finding the dumbest henchman in your posse and saying "Hey, stand right here for a second."

Yet time and again Batman would be put into one trap after another and then the villain would leave to spend his stolen money or whatever and the Caped Crusader would escape. With all the bad guys trapped together in Arkham, you'd think they'd talk to each other and say, "You know, I left when he was in my trap and now I'm here too...heyyyyyyy, wait a minute...I think I've got an idea...what if we stayed in the room until he was dead?"

And all those elaborate traps costing thousands of dollars when a simple bullet would have ended things quickly and cheaply? Hey, if your villains are named Penguin, Joker, and Clayface they can't be too smart, right?

And speaking of Batman gripes...

4. How can you wear a mask under a mask and yet no can see the pointy ears?
Batman had this annoying little habit during the 70's and 80's of wearing his mask under the mask of whatever thug he was pretending to be. Seems a little redundant to me, but whatever.
It's the ears, Batman. I promise.

Sure enough, when the jig was up he was ready to rip off the fake mask and reveal his regular pointy-eared one underneath...yet no one in the group was smart enough to say, "You know, it looks like something is living under Ted's face right now. I don't think that's really his skin. Hey...he's wearing a mask!"

I guess their inattention to detail is what made it so easy to beat them time and again, eh?

5. No one notices the goatee...really?

No resemblance
Put on a pair of sunglasses, walk up to your best friend, and say "hey". Chances are exceptionally good they'll start talking to you and even call you by name. Why? Because a little something hiding just your eyes can't stop someone from recognizing you. Except in comic books, where a little piece of cloth can confuse even your closest allies.

Suspending that disbelief I can do, but when Oliver Queen wears a forked yellow goatee (and he's the only guy in any of the comics who does...even looking at background characters in crowd scenes) and Green Arrow wears a forked yellow goatee, how can no one do the math? Seriously, why bother with the mask? But then again, we have that little inattention to detail that allowed so many heroes to maintain a secret identity through the Bronze Age of comics.

"Here comes trouble! Clark, look...Clark? Where'd he go? Hey, look, it's Superman!" And it's never obvious to anyone. That's why comics were so much fun back then.

6. How can you change into an elaborate costume that quickly?
Tux to this in 5 seconds flat

With the exception of the Flash and Superman (and maybe Hawk and Dove), a costume change should take a few minutes. Consider how quickly you change from work clothes to your "hanging out" clothes. It takes time, right? So how is it that heroes can see a villain attack in panel 1, then jump on them in panel 3 in full regalia and ready to go. Even allowing for that old "I'm wearing my costume underneath this tuxedo" rule that every hero seemed to follow, it still takes a minute.

Does he have tearaway clothing on at all times?
Doesn't even break stride

Forget superheroing, going from tux to costume in 5 seconds should qualify you to be a headliner in Vegas!

And how do you stuff a cape under a shirt and not have someone thinking you've got some kind of deformity going on back there?

What about you? What comic book trends annoy you when you read them?


Bubbashelby said...

I wore glasses all through high school. Right after graduation I got contacts and was out shopping when I walked right past a girl I had gone to high school with all four years and knew pretty well. She looked me directly in the eyes, smiled , and walked right past me. She did not recognize me at all. And I'm pretty sure I had a goatee at the time too.

I have never questioned a domino mask or a pair of glasses as a viable identity hider ever since.

Crazy Eli said...

This is a fun read. Glad I found it. I'll be sure to come back next week.

Anonymous said...

Superman *did* try to throw Doomsday into Space; Doomsday stabbed him in the sides with elbow spikes.

MOCK! said...

I never thought about #1 before in terms of The Flash, but notice it with a lot of the thought bubbles and stuff with Claremont's X-Men...

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