META: Notes on a Genre I Love

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sat Mar 7 22:25:13 PST 2009

On Mar 7, 10:04 pm, Andrew Perron <pwer... at> wrote:
> On Sat, 7 Mar 2009 05:13:28 +0000 (UTC), Martin Phipps
> <martinphip... at> wrote:
> >Personally, I see the ridiculousness of superheroes as something that
> >needs to be fixed: when superheroes are presented in other media
> >(movies and TV) they are never exactly what we see in the regular
> >comics because that would be too silly.
> I don't think that's a problem with superheroes; I think it's a
> problem with the people who adapt the material having contempt, on
> some level, for it.  The best superhero adaptations are those which
> embrace the silliness, which can swirl it into the more serious bits.

Like the 1966-1968 Batman TV series?

> The first Spider-Man movie was the best of the three (IMHO), and you
> know why?  Because it had the most silliness.  

And people complained that the Green Goblin looked like a Power

> And as for the Dark
> Knight... part of what made Heath Ledger's performance so brilliant
> was the way it showed that, yes, the Joker is completely absurd... and
> is completely willing to kill you and all you stand for anyway.

I disagree.  Comics book villains were always dialed back: they never
killed anybody.  Oh, yes, they would set a trap for Batman but he
would always escape.  Death isn't silly, it's realistic: real life
villains actually would leave a trail of bodies.

> Even non-comic-based superheroes are best when they have that touch of
> the ridiculous.  In Heroes, Hiro's jowl-shaking power activations made
> the series better, not worse.  The Incredibles embraced the weird, and
> is possibly the best of all Pixar movies.

Heroes is a perfectly good example of characters having powers and yet
refusing to don costumes and fight crime, the series title
notwithstanding.  Even the original X-Men movie had that line about
Wolverine not wanting to wear "yellow spandex".  And the funniest
scene in the Incredibles was the one in which E explained to Mr.
Incredible why he didn't want to wear a cape: that was
deconstructionism at its best.


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