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Twyla
12-28-2006, 04:54 PM
Given that this subject has come up in quite a number of threads, I felt it deserved a thread all its own. While many of the examples I will be citing are from movie adaptations, the same things are happening in comics and graphic novels, applying to the industry as a whole.


Simply put, writers need to quit trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the origins of superheroes. Some origin aspects lend themselves to modification, yes, but many elements do not, and writers need to learn to understand and respect the difference between the two.

One of the 'classic origins' (which is sometimes overdone) is in exposure to an unusual (or unknown) form of radiation; both The Fantastac Four and The Incredible Hulk share this type of origin.

In the movie adaptation of The Fantastic Four, they remained loyal to most of the key aspects. Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben were in space investigating an unusual energy ribbon. In the original, their encounter with the ribbon was unintentional; in the movie, their encounter was intentional but the timing was unintentional.

A revision? Most certainly. A reinvention? Not at all. The fundamental elements remain intact despite the modifications.

In the movie adaptation of The Incredible Hulk, the writers paid little attention to the key aspects. In the original, Bruce Banner was exposed to unusal radiation while trying to rescue a sightseer who wandered onto a test range; in the movie, he was NEVER exposed to the radiation himself, on a range or otherwise.

A revision? Hardly, as the only commonality between the two is a radiation blast. A reinvention? Oh, hell yes! Apart from radiation being involved, the Hulk's origin was completely abandoned in favor of whatever choice explicative you wish to attribute to the malaise those writers concocted.


I fully understand that certain elements which were successful (if not groundbreaking) 10, 20, or even 50 years ago simply cannot be relied upon in a modern adaptation. Mankind's scientific knowledge has expanded light-years beyond what was know back when many of these comics were first written. The trick, which so many of these people can't seem to wrap their minds around, is to mesh the past and present as seamlessly as possible.

Case in point:

I make no secrets about being a huge Cloak & Dagger fan; I have most every comic they've appeared in, the action figures, and even autographed trading cards of them. And I'm fully aware that a number of their elements simply won't work nowadays, and a lot of them would require considerable reworking.

There are several 'origins' for Cloak & Dagger. In the original, it was the experimental narcotics which gave them their powers. In another version, they were already mutants and the drug played no role. In yet another version, it was a manifestation caused by a supernatural being which imbued their powers.

The first is unlikely to work on its own nowadays, but should remain a crucial element. The 'latent mutant' theory is far more credible within the Marvel universe, but must be handled with care; even the best ideas can be overused. "Magic" has little place in the Marvel universe apart from key characters; it's extremely rare and best left alone, particularly in regards to this story.

So what are we left with? Tandy and Tyrone were latent mutants to begin with; this corresponds to their second origin and fits into their original origin as to why only they survived the experimentation. The drugs affected them, but didn't 'trigger' their mutant abilities. Their abilities didn't manifest until later while trying to swim across the harbor while escaping their captors.

Continuity has found new strength within the recent Marvel movies. In the X-Men movie, Magneto had set up an energy field device on Liberty Island which triggered mutation; deadly to humans, but relatively harmless to 'natural' mutants. While the field didn't reach Ellis Island, it did manage to cover a broad expanse of the harbor.

Their latent mutant status meant that the energy field wouldn't seriously harm them. It would, however, bring those latent abilities to fruition. We've revised that portion of their origin, bringing the same events which were outdated before into the modern era in a solid and convincing manner.

This can be taken even a step further. Tyrone is protective of Tandy; this was established on numerous levels and instances in their original origins. When Tyrone sees the energy field coming towards them, it is only natural that Tyrone would try to shield Tandy with his body. The 'push' of the mutant field would drive the positive energies from Tyrone's body into Tandy's, 'mutating their mutations' from whatever might have developed naturally into the polarization that they wound up with.

We now have sound reasoning as to:
~ How their mutation was triggered
~ Why it happened when it did during their escape
~ and Why their abilities are polarized as they are

We can even go so far as to say that Dagger's unswerving devotion to Cloak is partially founded in the fact that she sees his status as a 'victim' and feels that it is entirely due to him shielding her when the mutation field hit them.


In the above example, we've not only stayed true to two separate versions of their origins, but done so in a way that integrates into the existing movies as well as strengthening some of the weaknesses of the original and added new depths for potential plot exploration.

I have no delusions about myself and my creative/ writing skills. But if I can make extensive changes to character origins and still remain faithful to them, surely those who are supposed masters of the craft can do so.

Phatman
12-28-2006, 05:01 PM
I'm a huge fan of Marvel, but I'd never see a Cloak and Dagger flick. No offense, but they aren't that interesting and your plot ideas sound really dull.

Biofungus
12-28-2006, 05:06 PM
It was Banner's exposure to gamma radiation in the movie that awakened his "genetic alterations", so he WAS exposed.

Twyla
12-28-2006, 05:52 PM
It was Banner's exposure to gamma radiation in the movie that awakened his "genetic alterations", so he WAS exposed.
But it was Bruce Banner's FATHER who was exposed to the 'culprit' radiation; not Bruce himself.

I'm a huge fan of Marvel, but I'd never see a Cloak and Dagger flick. No offense, but they aren't that interesting and your plot ideas sound really dull. Who said anything about a plot? All I put forth was an origin summary; an event. Events are born of plot, yes, but aren't plot unto themselves.

Calloway
12-28-2006, 08:13 PM
This would be better in comic books.


Cloak and Dagger were unusually lame in the comics...LAME

Films and comics cater to two different types of audiences.

galmando
12-28-2006, 08:30 PM
i think the Hulk film is a perfect example of over doing an origin story and trying to make it as realistic as possible. it felt more like watching david attinborough.

certain characters have iconic imagary which make them identifiable with an audience. batman standing over his dead parents, supermans rocket flying from krypton or even being found by the kents. a young boy being bitten by a spider, and a scientist caught in an atomic blast. THATS the hulk dammit! the only reworked origin i like for the Hulk was in the Ultimates, which wasnt really the origin story but explained why theh hulk gene stayed in him. the hulk already existed in the ultimate universe.

the film was poor though. the only bit i like were the hulk fights with the tanks and helicopters in the desert. 'absorbing man' (or whoever they ripped off and called dad) just went over the top, and hulk dogs...
yeah

and for cryin out loud keep the camera still!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Twyla
12-28-2006, 08:44 PM
Who the [CENSORED] moved this thread to Marvel Comics Forum? Somebody really needs to actually read these threads before moving them willy-nilly.

kdmelrose
12-28-2006, 08:45 PM
I the [CENSORED] moved it, and I did the [CENSORED] read it.

It was a toss-up between here and Movies & Television. It didn't belong in Chit Chat.

Buckyrig
12-28-2006, 08:48 PM
You should have put it in Lettering Showcase.

It could be a new game we play, Where Did They Move My Thread?

Mike225
12-28-2006, 08:57 PM
She said willy nilly. :laugh:

Twyla
12-28-2006, 09:01 PM
It was a toss-up between here and Movies & Television. It didn't belong in Chit Chat.

Sorry if I came across wrong, but I don't understand why it was moved.

~ It doesn't pertain to anything specific to DWP...
~ It doesn't pertain specifically to Comic Books or Movies & Television, even though it touches on both...
~ It doesn't involve visual elements, so the Showcases are out...
~ It pertains mostly to writing, but isn't a script...
~ It doesn't involve books or video games...

That pretty much eliminates everything except Creator Community and Chit-Chat and, between those two, Chit-Chat seemed the appropriate place. Can you please clarify on what I'm misunderstanding?

kdmelrose
12-28-2006, 09:05 PM
~ It doesn't pertain to anything specific to DWP...

I moved it into the Marvel Comics subforum because although you're discussing the broader topic of "origins," you dwell on the movie adaptations of The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four, and on Cloak & Dagger -- all Marvel Comics properties.

Perhaps it could go in the broader Comic Books forum, but I think it works fine here.

But, really, I don't see that moving it is that big of an issue. You'll likely get more responses here, as there are people who visit the Comic Books section who never post in Chit Chat.

Twyla
12-28-2006, 09:08 PM
I moved it into the Marvel Comics subforum because although you're discussing the broader topic of "origins," you dwell on the movie adaptations of The Incredible Hulk and The Fantastic Four, and on Cloak & Dagger -- all Marvel Comics properties.
I knew I shoulda looked for more stuff about DC to rag on, but they do a far better job of staying true to origins from what little I've seen them do.

kdmelrose
12-28-2006, 09:10 PM
There. I moved it into the main Comic Books area.

Paul Sanderson
12-28-2006, 09:38 PM
I agree with Phatman and Bio.

Biofungus
12-28-2006, 09:47 PM
She said willy nilly. :laugh:
That, sir, is sexual harassment, and I don't have to stand for it!

Biofungus
12-28-2006, 09:49 PM
But it was Bruce Banner's FATHER who was exposed to the 'culprit' radiation; not Bruce himself.


Re-watch the movie ;)

Gilby
12-28-2006, 10:00 PM
This may be one of those occasions where I manifest my latent power to shut down discussion on threads, but here goes . . .

I think the bigger problem with the "redone" superhero origins cited by Twyla isn't so much the fact that they changed around the details of those origins as it is the fact that these new origins don't tap into the popular consciousness of readers the way the first versions did.

The Hulk and the FF had origins built upon the fear and wonder of what science (moreover, nuclear science) had wrought and could bring in the near future. Plus toss in a little bit of the space race when it comes to the FF. Children of the Atom anyone? Marvel knew how to plug into the zeitgeist of the 60's and it gave their popular entertainment some heft.

I think the issue with these redone origins is that they understand the basic genre components of how a superhero origin works, but they don't tie it into what is on the mind of today's readers and viewers in a way that resonates, so they feel empty.

There are plenty of new gremlins around that weigh on the minds of today's comic readers, they just need to be explored.

theflash
12-28-2006, 11:49 PM
yeah i think you need to stay awake through the whole Hulk flick and you'll see where he gets the exposure to Gamma radiation. yeah, his fathers genetic maniputlations were drastic departures from the original, but come on that's so commonplace in hollywood. look at the first Batman flick. the Joker killed his parents. please. but it supposedly makes for a far more dramatic plot, at least to non comics fans making movies.

Twyla
12-29-2006, 01:05 AM
look at the first Batman flick. the Joker killed his parents. please. but it supposedly makes for a far more dramatic plot, at least to non comics fans making movies.
Again, we are dealing with the core element of Batman's origins: Bruce Wayne's parents were gunned down before his eyes as a child. This is the same both in the original and in the movie adaptation. In the comics, Batman confronts Joker and during the fight, the same lines are used:

Joker : YOU MADE ME!
Batman: YOU MADE ME FIRST!

In the comics, Batman's statement was metaphorical; 'you' as in all criminals who do not hesitate to kill. Whether accidentally or deliberately, it was incorporated into the movie in a literal sense; Joker (as Jack Napier), in particular, killed Bruce's parents. This was a distinct oversight on the part of the writers, yes; after all, Joker is close to Bruce's age as opposed to being two decades older.

But the important thing is that it isn't a crucial distinction in Batman's origins; his parents were mudered before his eyes, and it hardly mattered who the exact identity of the criminal was. The only significant change the writers accomplished by pinning it on Napier/Joker was to heighten the emotional tension (of the viewer) for the conflict between Batman and Joker. The origin itself didn't really change.


I think the bigger problem with the "redone" superhero origins cited by Twyla isn't so much the fact that they changed around the details of those origins as it is the fact that these new origins don't tap into the popular consciousness of readers the way the first versions did.
To a degree. In the TV series with Bill Bixby, there was never the incident at the test range and the culprit radiation was in the lab by Banner's own experimentation. Admittedly, a far cry from the original version, but most of the key elements remained intact. While nowhere near as succesful as the comics, the TV show had a fairly decent run and became iconic in syndication.

The REAL mistake the writers for the movie made was in trying to incorporate both versions, even though they blatantly contradicted each other.

Don't misunderstand me; I do have a particular fondness for alternate timelines of characters, though they're usually clearly defined as not to be confused with the originals. Gotham by Gaslight is one of my personal faves; the Dark Knight in the Victorian-Era. In this example, the setting itself clearly distinguishes it from the modern-era Batman.



And I'll admit that I have a tendency to be defensive of character origins. Most of the characters in my writings (current stable of over three hundred), I can give you fully-detailed life histories on virtually any aspect you care to name. And once those details are worked out, balanced, rationalized, and so forth, they become as inviolate as if they were established characters created by others.

Would you write a mainstream Batman story where his parents were still alive? Or an X-Men story (other than a flashback/historical piece) where Professor X was perfectly mobile? Or a tale of Groo where he actually understood what he was doing?

Not bloody likely!

Most creators put a hell of a lot of work into the backstories of their characters. Tolkien's archive of background material is over 100 times the size of the Lord of the Rings which is based upon it. While most writers don't go into quite that much depth, there's still a lot of work involved.

Characters such as The Incredible Hulk, Batman, Spider-Man, and countless others have transcended the boundaries of the pages and become living, breathing entities because of their backstories... Their origins... The very foundations upon which the character is built. Revising a character's origins to 'keep with the times' is like remodelling a house; any significant changes have to be carefully planned and cautiously executed, else the whole thing is going to come crashing down on top of you!!

Don't try to fix something that isn't broken, and try to have some respect for the works of masters come before. When you try to rip away their work thinking you can do better, you're pulling the floor out from beneath your own feet

JamieRoberts
12-30-2006, 04:51 PM
As much as I enjoyed Ellis' recent Iron Man arc, I was disturbed by the updating of the origin. He now stands alone as the only major Marvel character with a contradictory origin. I mean, time is flexible in comics, okay, but when Stark's alcohol years occured before the first Gulf War, doesn't that screw things up? Not to mention interacting with others prior to 1990. Do those meetings now mean nothing, or what?

Paul Sanderson
12-30-2006, 04:57 PM
I don't think Ellis cared. Very few of today's creators do, sadly, they're just obsessed with "making their own mark," to hell with the rest :confused:

Moonrider
01-11-2007, 01:28 PM
Don't you think that if they made The Hulk movie origin exactly like the comics it would be politically incorrect? I mean the second Gulf War was started because the US accused Iraq of owning weapons of mass destruction. If you portray a US government funded testing of gamma bombs in American soil resulting in the birth of a seven foot hulking humanoid with the power to level a city while at the same time campaigning against nuclear weapons in third world countries, well you can just see the contradiction.

kdmelrose
01-11-2007, 01:31 PM
I don't know that "politically incorrect" is the term; perhaps "anachronistic."

That's part of the problem that comes with trying to update the origins of characters whose roots are so firmly planted in a specific era (the Cold War, the Atomic Age, the Space Race, what have you).

theflash
01-11-2007, 01:41 PM
Don't you think that if they made The Hulk movie origin exactly like the comics it would be politically incorrect? I mean the second Gulf War was started because the US accused Iraq of owning weapons of mass destruction. If you portray a US government funded testing of gamma bombs in American soil resulting in the birth of a seven foot hulking humanoid with the power to level a city while at the same time campaigning against nuclear weapons in third world countries, well you can just see the contradiction.

how is historical fact a contradiction? hell no i don't think it's politically incorrect. i think it's lunacy to deny it has happened and probably continues to happen. at it's heart that says more about the Hulk and his origin than any halfbaked re-write attempt at watering his origin down. and see that's my whole point here. it doesn't matter that these heroes came from a different time. is Captain America any less cool for having lived and fought in WW2? uh no. having characters that were created and tied to the Cold War, Vietnam, or even the Gulf War isn't dating the characters it's giving them an extra layer of characterization.

fluxchild
01-11-2007, 03:07 PM
1.)well in the hulk, his father gave manipulated his own genes, and passed the modifications to Bruce...the gamma blast awakened the latent genes, just like you explained cloak and dagger being exposed to magnetos mutant making device.
you
2.)I've read stories where professor X has been able to walk only to lose the ability by the end of the story arc.
3.)You can't write a story with Batman's parents still being alive, because then there would be no reason for Batman to exist...however, I remember an episode of BTAS where he was in a device that kept him in a dream state, and his parents were still alive in the dream.

One thing we as writers should know is that we writing about a fantasy land. Sometimes we try to hard to make things realistic, even when we're writing about people that fly, shoot lasers from there eyes, and can stop bullets with their teeth. If the audience can suspend belief enough to believe in all that, why not believe that the government is test gamma bombs, which could be in their opinion not as dangerous as the atom bomb...that is until they see what happens with Banner.

and if you don't believe Banner was exposed to gamma...just think about what Thunderbolt said,"He's working on the same goddamn project his father was! He's dangerous Betty, why can't you see that?"
or something to that effect.

Paul Sanderson
01-11-2007, 03:47 PM
Hulk film got the origin right for a modern take of the story IMO.

Justice41
01-11-2007, 07:09 PM
So just how do the nannites in Banners body interact with his berserker genes?

fluxchild
01-11-2007, 07:25 PM
In my understanding was that the genetic manipulation by his father was the reason that he had all the Hulk's power and also why he turned green. Since he inherited the genetic anamoly it was repressed, and latent. The nanites in his bloodstream tried to repair the problem. That is they tried to bring the anamoly to the surface, but since Bruce was so repressed it could only work when he was mad.
Remember the scene when he was a kid, and his dad took the stuff animal from him? His arm turned green, until he was given the toy back. So it was already evident that anger triggered a response. I also think that Bruce unconciously was controlling his transformation. Anger made him lose control of that ability, and the nanites acted as a catalyst to turn him into what he was supposed to be.
The only problem with all that was that his father should have been the Hulk also...He just should have been able to control himself.

Moonrider
01-11-2007, 08:56 PM
If this is about which reimagination of a comic book character is acceptable I think you look at it from a very narrow perspective, Twyla. I dislike how Peter Parker got organic webshooters but that works with the movie's story anyway. Most of Ultimate Universe' characters origins were very different than their 616 counterpart but again, it works within the story. The Hulk's movie origin was the least of its problem. Had it been a straightforward sci-fi movie they can just made Banner got caught in a gamma bomb explosion in Kerplakistan or whatever, but that's really not the story the director was trying to tell.

Biofungus
01-11-2007, 10:25 PM
actually (on Hulk in the movies), the gamma radiation had the same affect on the nanites in Bruce as it had in everything else, but because he had those mutant genes in him (which included healing/regenerative abilities), they kept the nanites from killing him. I don't think the nanites actually had any significant affect (they were just part of the plot to explain the usage/need for the gamma radiation). It was specifically, the gamma radiation, and his mutant genes that caused the Hulk.

Calloway
01-12-2007, 02:20 AM
Hulk film got the origin right for a modern take of the story IMO.

The more modern take is actually similar to an older take. Originally a jekyl hyde archtype, the last version I read (which was great!) was a take on frankenstein's monster which is how it should be.

fluxchild
01-12-2007, 10:54 AM
actually (on Hulk in the movies), the gamma radiation had the same affect on the nanites in Bruce as it had in everything else, but because he had those mutant genes in him (which included healing/regenerative abilities), they kept the nanites from killing him. I don't think the nanites actually had any significant affect (they were just part of the plot to explain the usage/need for the gamma radiation). It was specifically, the gamma radiation, and his mutant genes that caused the Hulk.


You watched the movie right? Betty even said that the nanites were pushing his regenerative powers as well as strength to infinite levels...because the nanites were seeing his mental anguish as damage....therefore allowing for his growth to be linked to his anger.