Superhero Redesigns and Actual Clothing

I can get the logic behind superhero redesigns not just in unofficial illustrations but also in live action adaptations and the comics themselves. It’s just that with some characters, you either have to study real life clothing to make a redesign costume work or surprisingly some of them shouldn’t be that hard to redesign ever so slightly.

Characters like Zatanna and Black Canary shouldn’t be that hard to redesign. If the DCAU and Young Justice cartoons are any indication, you can swap fishnets for opaque/translucent tights and it wouldn’t change a thing. At other times BC’s own fishnet tights didn’t reveal much skin either. In a sense that BC’s costume isn’t that flamboyant to begin with, therefore it should be easy to redesign it slightly.

You could say similar things about Power Girl where at other times her classic leotard had a scoop neckline in place of her familiar chest hole. You could turn it into a turtleneck leotard and it wouldn’t change a thing either. It’s surprising that characters like PG and BC shouldn’t be this hard to redesign as it only involves minute changes.

When it comes to practical costumes, they more often than not look interchangeable, bland and even about as impractical as the characters’ original body paint costumes are. Funny enough with characters like the Flash, some people’s idea of making his costume practical is make it busy and leather never mind that real life footballers/soccer players, runners and sprinters wear less than he does.

Actually a lot of other athletes wear less than what most male superheroes do. Actual fighters wear much less on the ring and not too many people have a problem with it. I can get why so many superhero costumes would look silly in real life but in order to create a truly practical superhero costume, you’d only have to study what real outdoorspeople, dancers and athletes wear.

It’s weird that superhero media has a strong need to be taken seriously, which boils down to the costumes never mind that most people don’t have an issue with certain actual athletes wearing much less than they do and some musicians and fashion models can dress more flamboyantly than that.

The logic ultimately feels misguided as in the superhero world, people would’ve been that desensitised to such costumes. Weirder still is that actual runners, boxers, tennis players, badminton players, mixed martial artists, capoeiristas, gymnasts, skateboarders, rollerskaters, soccer players and wrestlers wear less than what most superheroes do.

Ice skaters and skiers wear tight, flamboyant costumes expected of in superhero comics and most people don’t mind it. There were even sledders who braved the cold by wearing much less. One could say that truth is stranger than fiction but in this case, a practical costume can sometimes need to be tighter or even skimpier.

Most people who watch these kinds of sports don’t have a problem with that. There were even newsreports of police officers wearing short shorts and some men going to work wearing skirts. Even the music industry is desensitised by the presence of musicians wearing weird, ridiculous outfits though you’re more likely to see it among women for some reason.

I feel as if many designers working on superhero productions miss the point about practical costumes: if they really wanted an outfit that a highly athletic person would actually wear, they would have to base it in real life. Be it outdoorspeople, athletes or dancers with varying degrees of modesty. Surprisingly, that’s how it works in actual sports.

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Nerds and Relatability

I have a confession to make: I can’t relate to fictional characters as easily as I do with real people. While I don’t think this is always the case but more often than not in a number of nerd communities, they tend to relate better to certain fictional characters. I nearly did the same but not much success.

Perhaps because I couldn’t find anymore characters who are like me in fiction and since I relate better to celebrities, so with the latter existing in real life that increases the chances of relating to them exponentially. I couldn’t find a female character that I can easily relate to but the opposite is true of female singers weirdly enough.

I won’t doubt that some people relate better to fictional characters for similar reasons I do with pop divas. But I also get the odd impression that their idea of a relatable character who isn’t just nerdy and socially inept but also whose social awkwardness crosses the line to malice and assholeness.

Not only that, even the supposedly relatable “nerd” characters often lose their relatability over time by becoming more absurd once they become fan favourites. A good example would be Marvel Comics’ Kitty Pryde. No doubt that she has flaws but they’re sometimes overlooked by her fans even when canon clearly says otherwise.

If she has flaws, it would be her tendency to lose her cool, her misguidedness especially whenever she gets easily taken advantage of by her enemies and belligerence. She started out as a relatable character but it’s safe to say that what made her feel less relatable is when a villain brainwashed her to give her ninja skills just so she can attack Wolverine.

Someone on Hooded Utilitarian commented that she wasn’t much of a success with girl readers, which makes you wonder if many more of them relate better to the likes of less flamboyant characters found in novels around the time of Kitty Pryde’s creation.

That doesn’t mean she’s a bad character. But like what I said before, many if not most nerds have a peculiar idea of what they find relatable never mind that they could have more in common with someone else in terms of life experiences and some interests. That someone else might not be a nerd, perhaps not at first, but that’s surprisingly likely in real life.

Perhaps as elaborated in the Kiwifar.ms thread Sonic and Autism, it seems like these people are so disaffected that they want to relate to a character who is like them but doesn’t have to deal with the many repercussions of his/her actions. Maybe that’s not really the case with some superhero fans but their idea of what they find relatable is strange to me.

Links:

http://kalinara.blogspot.com/2006/05/very-unpopular-opinion.html

http://www.postmodernbarney.com/2006/12/postmodernbarneycoms-2006-wrap-up-awards/

http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2009/05/snapper-sue/

Entitled Fans and Bad Quality Programming

Here’s the thing that I hate about a lot of nerd fandoms, they’re overly entitled, demanding and selfish. They want a programme to heavily cater to them, even at the expense of not only casual audiences but also other fans who don’t want anything to do with what they want.

Arrow is a case of fan pandering gone wrong where some fans kept on demanding and harassing the staff to make their fanfiction couple come true to the point of sacrificing storytelling quality, destroying real character development and viewership for this. The Flash is better off at this point but it too will succumb to the same problems Arrow faced if the former is going to include Wendy.

A much more infamous example would be the Bronies. The Bronies weren’t the first overly entitled fanbase, as there were many others before them. Either that the show staff back then didn’t give a damn about their preferences or even willingly insulted them in the actual story. The Bronies are undoubtedly an infamous example, going so far to publicise their antics for the world to see.

Then the 100th episode came and it included many of the things common in Brony fan fiction. Some of the Bronies didn’t like it though as what others say, that episode was for fun. But one might wonder how far these programmes have come to heavily court diehard fans. If the programme was aimed at a much wider audience, Arrow and Flash could start out big and healthy and when they choose to pander to fans, their viewership declines considerably.

Pretty soon, nobody would want to watch them without associating themselves with those fans. Not all Bronies are like that but I think a lot more people who watch MLP don’t want to have anything to do with the Bronies. I think that’s why fan pandering not only leads to bad storytelling but also bad viewership and bad business as well.

Here lies the Flash

I’ve said many times that the superhero genre is actually in steep decline. Perhaps the decline is caused by the move from appealing to actually youngsters to those who are young at heart in a manner that seems pathetic in hindsight. The Flash, like any other superhero, used to appear in stories aimed at kids.

Superhero comics used to target childrens unapologetically and that was the case for several decades. Then the 1970s came with various fans turned professional, coinciding at the time when the underground comics movement was forming, the Comics Code Authority was declining and the coming of the direct market.

There came a bizarre obsession with continuity, which most younger readers and casual readers don’t mind much, collecting as many useless items as possible and having to reference things most people don’t care about. Then the stories themselves became so repetitive and self-referential that only veteran fans would care about.

The Flash seems to be successful at this point though with the Flash appearing twice in different channels at least here in the Philippines, one might get the impression that reruns of the Flash on either channel are going to tire ordinary audiences, leaving diehards to enjoy it for what it’s worth. From my experience enjoying cartoons, I liked to catch reruns of cartoons every now and then.

Now I’m older and I don’t have much time and interest to catch reruns. I still like cartoons but I’ve moved onto other things like pop stars and stray dogs. The Flash’s appeal is like that but usually with serious fans as you don’t see much Flash merchandise aimed at actual kids. Marvel’s better especially with its Spider-Man products being aimed at kids and there’s the more accessible Spider-Man comic strips running in newspapers.

The Flash at this point doesn’t have that entry point to appeal to younger people. From the looks of it, the Flash might be less serious than its 1990s incarnation but still more serious than the likes of Spider-Man and Uncle Grandpa. Or better yet, Clarence and Uncle Grandpa. Kids can relate to what Clarence and his friends go through. Heck they can connect to a character who experienced some loss.

But when it comes to the Flash, I wonder how many kids would want to connect to a man who gets jealous of his stepsister’s boyfriend because he covertly wants to date her, pathologically obsessed with undoing his dead relative’s ordeal and boring pseudo-science crap. I think not too many judging from observing my own younger relatives and people who’ve experienced a certain sense of loss will move on, even if they still cling onto it.

The same could be said of the Flash but not in a manner that feels believable and understandable. Literally turning back the clock even with the unwanted consequences feels like the Flash cannot move on, he never really matured. What’s worse is that it feels like a weird replay of the Flash comics’ shortcomings and bad storylines. The Flash avenging the death of his loved one at the hands of a villain is nothing new. That plot began in the 1980s with Iris West being the victim.

Likewise two of the Flash’s closest allies becoming villains is nothing new either. Wally West’s onetime girlfriend became a villainess, Barry Allen’s mandatory PC friend became a villainous plot device just so Barry can be motivated to fight him. Similar things are happening to Caitlin and Cisco, wondering whether or not they’re even decent supporting characters when they’re inevitably set up as traitors.

If the Flash is not appealing to actual children, it might not be appealing to actual adults either. The protagonist is a jealous asshole, especially when it comes to his sister’s boyfriend. He’s not only jealous but stupid when it comes to dealing with villains. Kids do want a flawed character but one who’s undoubtedly a good guy who actually makes an effort to save himself/herself.

Actual adults would be more invested in seeing the Flash get over things and learn from his mistakes. In fact, a good number of them would want him to settle him and develop a longterm relationship with another person since nobody wants to deal with breakups, jealousy, unwanted pregnancies, cheating and STDs.

So a lot of superhero programmes, including the Flash, are practically adolescent. No longer for children but not really for adults in a manner that feels pathetic given their historical appeal to children. That would be like watching an adult programme featuring the Minions, where they swear a lot and act maliciously towards one another. It wouldn’t surprise anyone that the idea of making Green Arrow and Flash adult is to have them act like assholes and have questionable relationships.

One has a crazed tantrum-throwing, rude girlfriend who drugged him. The other secretly wants to bang his sister, despite her having a boyfriend and he having his own lover. No doubt that the Flash had dated other women before but regardless if she’s Fiona, Iris or Patty he was this devoted to her.

I don’t know how long will the Flash go on but I do have a feeling that people will get tired of superheroes anytime soon, leaving the programme to cater to a shrinking viewership just like what happened to the comics before. If the Flash continues to pander to a narrow fanbase especially with their obsessions with ship teasing, esoteric references and the like, it will stop appealing to everybody else anytime soon.

Disturbing similarities between SJWs and fundamentalists

Over on the Internet, there are a lot of SJWs who complain about women dressing scantily. From my experience that’s practically the same statement some Christians make of fashion models, unbelieving women on the streets, actresses and musicians. Lots of my paternal relatives make a big deal over dressing modestly, which is the exact same thing SJWs do.

They also believe that by dressing women in frumpy, modest clothing it’ll help put off men from leering at them. SJWs do it and so do some Christians when you observe both of them in action. There are reasons to dress modestly but SJWs and some Christians make a really big fuss over making sure the women don’t attract men in any way. One might say that they’re incredibly uncomfortable with women who are comfortable in themselves.

And it should be noted that in cultures that strongly require women to dress modestly for ideological and religious reasons aren’t very woman friendly. They’re still all about men even if some men are gay or bi. If they’re artistically inclined, expect them to do mental gymnastics (read: have double standards) towards those who can get away with it. Artistically inclined SJWs do it with Sailor Moon, artistically inclined Christians do it with female nudes.

Both Sailor Moon and female nudes can be very sexually arousing to some people. It’s just that both SJWs and fine (Christian) artists are in denial about this. If it arouses it, it will arouse you. It wouldn’t surpise some that the visual arts are very welcoming of perverts since the start. It’s easier to be horny in illustration than it is with music and writing because with the latter two, you have to emphasise nuance over blatantness.

They also tend to flock to media that fulfill their ridiculously high standards even if they’re not as perfect as they want it to be or sometimes be rather questionable in content. While they’re influential, as a community both of them are very insular and off-putting to outsiders. Either if doesn’t fulfill or counters their standards, both of them will savage stuff immediately. SJWs savage anything that contains rape, scantily clad women, white straight men and the like. Christians savage anything that contains blasphemy, queers, scantily clad women, explicit sex, unsaved people and the like.

Both of them have an odd habit of patronising and idealising certain people. SJWs do it all the time with people of colour, disabled people, women and queers. Some Christians do the same with fellow Christians, Jews, Israel and historical Biblical figures. Both of them like to spurn outsiders. SJWs spurn straight white men and anti-SJWs in the same way Christians sourn both unbelievers and queers. Historically Christians even spurned dogs as they were accomplices of Satan like how the Bible looked down on them. They also look down on people who fraternise or associate with outsiders. SJWs make a big deal out of cultural appropriation and Christians do it with unbelievers and non-Christian faiths.

There’s also a thing called Horseshoe Theory which says that there are disturbing parallels between otherwise contrary ideologies that meet together like the opposite ends of an actual horseshoe. From my experience coming from both a Christian background and dealing with SJWs online, it’s safe to say that both of them are practically alike in mindset and practise. Even before I learnt of these words, I knew that both SJWs and Christians get pissed over porn and the like. They also like to evangelise their beliefs to a lot of people. It’s an indicator that there are way more commonalities between those two than one would think.

It’s enough to realise how the SJW/contemporary feminist movement came to strongly mirror its fundamentalist Christian counterpart in recent years. What also ties them together is their skewered ideas of gender roles. Especially with femininity where they expect it to fit a certain standard that’s just as impossible as that of their unsaved or uneducated counterparts. Not too many women can be a Playboy model but they also can’t be Virgin Mary and Buffy Summers. It’s also a noteworthy coincidence that Christians, especially Catholics, hold Virgin Mary to a high standard to the point of making her flawless and superhuman.

Some SJWs have recently reclaimed the dreaded, way too idealised Mary Sue character as a feminist statement. Much like Christians with their preference for pure, modest women who are subservient to the Lord, SJWs have a preference for quirky, modest or unconventional looking women who are subservient to their nerd feminism. It’s a disturbing parallel between the Catholic veneration of Virgin Mary, Protestant preference for biblical women and SJWs’ preference for quirky, “strong” female characters. Perhaps the connection is best attested by the SJW/nerd girl website The Mary Sue.

I’m not anti-Christian not I’m anti-feminist but having been influenced by these two, I can tell that there are profound similarities between certain strains of Christianity with certain strains of feminism, right down to the veneration of highly idealised female figures, avoidance of men and outsiders, prosletysing and the like. Both of them have made a considerable impression on me, which I’m beginning to outgrow for my own good. They’re not inherently bad but they can be bad for certain people.

I could also say similar things about why animal rights activists have a lot in common with Islamic fundamentalists in their habit of terrorising outsiders and those who eat haram stuff. But then again, being brought up in a Protestant household there are an awful lot of similarities between practising Christians and vocal SJWs right down to their practises and beliefs that to say that they have nothing in common is to be in denial about it. It’s also a matter of critical thinking to realise how similar they are to one another but that’s the point of this article.

The Flash and harem anime genre

I elaborated before that the Flash is like a harem anime in the sense of having the protagonist be involved in multiple love triangles ditto the possibility of jealousy, breakups, STDs and unwanted pregnancies. A lot of harem anime are practically like this as the genre has taken the line “will they, won’t they” to a logical conclusion.

Archie Comics could qualify to an extent as Archie doesn’t seem to commit himself between Betty, Veronica and Cheryl Blossom. The Flash comics are no stranger to these but even if Barry has swapped Iris for Patty, it’s obvious that he’s almost always in a committed relationship with another person. Mind you his love for Iris outlasted the ones for Fiona Webb and Patty Spivot even if he dated Fiona to cope with losing her.

What makes the CW Flash different from its predecessors is that there is little to no room for a genuinely committed relationship at least at this point. Which makes it more like any other harem anime when you think about it. The author Rumiko Takahashi is generally agreed to have influenced the genre especially in her works Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2, given her penchant for love rhombus relationships even though that ultimately boils down to one character committing himself to one woman (or vice versa).

Some anime like Oh My Goddess and Tenchi Muyo skip the commitment part while Oreimo went down Rumiko’s route albeit with an incestuous twist and subplot similar to what’s going on in the Flash, School Days on the other actually had one lass so jealous that she killed the lad who was cheating on her with someone else. If Caitlin Snow becomes Killer Frost, I have a feeling that she’d become the live action version of Kotonoha Katsura if the Flash were insistent on her villainous transformation.

Harem anime can be seen as what Hiroki Azuma termed database consumption, albeit in romantic action. The protagonist is an audience surrogate, who tend attracts and even accumulates a lot of otherwise stereotypical women around him. The women vie for his attention and realistically feel jealous and envious towards one another. Because the harem genre is all about “will he/won’t he date one of them?”, there is  little room for a committed longterm relationship even if others like Ranma and Oreimo went for giving one of the characters a real committed relationship.

The Flash could go down that route if it weren’t for Wendy’s arrival.