LNH: Onion Lad #9

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 16 07:40:38 PDT 2006

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com wrote:
> Tom Russell wrote:
> > But as it is, he writes straight
> > superheroics
> > and in that genre, making the heroes as bad as the
> > villains is _not_ a good idea.
> I agree.

<snip Deja/Psykeye/alt.sex* tangent>

> Anyway, the point is that the hero and the villain need to represent
> opposite viewpoints, at the very least.  If the heroes and villains are
> the same then there's no reason to sympathize with the heroes.  Unless
> you make the villains so villainous that they come across as
> unmotivated cartoon villains.  Which Jesse does.  A lot.  It's all a
> symptom of the same thing.  If he made his heroes more heroic then he
> could afford to make his villains more sympathetic and complex and not
> have to worry about the readers wanting the villain to win..

This is a very good point, and one that I hadn't really picked up on in
the past, regarding the nature of Jesse's villains, and its ultimate
causes.  Man.  You should do more of this kind of commentary, Martin.

> A good example of what I mean is Jesse's characterisation of Vel in
> this issue.  Vel won't help Onion Lad because he doesn't like him, even
> though Onion Lad faces certain death at the hands of Dr. ICBINB.  What
> an @$$hole.  And he's supposed to be the hero.  UN doesn't like ANYBODY
> but he'll still save them.  That's his job.  Next time Vel faces
> certain death (although his series is over so he's safe I guess) I want
> the villain to win.  Let somebody else save the universe.

Well, I think Jesse addressed this in his response, re: Vel's child.
But your point is still valid, Martin, and it brings up Something That
Always Irked Me (TM).

Something that used to happen *a lot* in Marvel Comics... take the
third issue of the original AVENGERS, for example.  The Hulk has gone
missing, and the Avengers have to find him!  Iron Man uses Tony Stark's
new image projecting device (which I don't think has ever been seen or
used since) to blip his holographic image in front of the X-Men, the
Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and I don't know who else.  (Or maybe
that's just it: the Marvel U was a lot smaller in those days.)

In every case, the other heroes give ol' iron trousers the brush-off,
acting in ways that could be misconstrued as out of character.  There's
no reason why the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and Spider-Man can't lend
a helping hand-- other than the fact that it would completely ruin the
Avengers story we're holding in our hands.

This is a valid structural point, and one that Willey brings up in his
own defense: Vel could easily defeat Dr. I-Can't-Believe, and that
would ruin ONION LAD # 9, its rhythm, its build, et cetera.  And, kudos
to Willey for at least providing a somewhat legitimate excuse for Vel's
behaviour: he's trying to get out of their with his kidnapped son in

At the same time, it stills falls into that old Marvel trap.  My answer
would be simply to circumvent the issue by _not_ showing the other

Now, I'm not saying that's what Willey should have done here.  I think
in this case, it fits as well as it can.  It's still a symptom of
Willey's "heroes = villains" approach, but in this particular case,
working with what he had to work with (and what, one must concede, he
gave himself to work with: that is, non-heroes), he did pretty well.

I'm just bringing up the point, not so much as a criticism of Willey's
story, but as a companion point to Martin's, on a purely rhetorical

> PS: There is enough food on Earth to feed everybody in the world today.
>  The source of starvation is oppressive governments who make it
> difficult for people to get the food they need.  Then radical
> insurgents start up civil wars, make the situation even worse and
> eventually take over and form their own oppressive governments that
> ignore the needs of their people.  There.  6 billion people offended.
> Most offensive thread imaginable! :D

All aliens throw like girls.  There.  That's 700 billion sentients
offended.  I win. :-P

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