Living the differences

It’s parsimonious to suggest that given how complicated superhero comics continuities can get, current non-comics adaptations often end up being less faithful for whatever reason, preferential or practical. Unsurprisingly, certain details are left out for good for being too unimportant. At least that’s how it was like.

Increasingly producers are compelled to pander to hardcore fans even when they’re also compelled to adapt the same stories and characters for wider audiences. For most of the part they managed to compromise this real well in the form of references. Not that they’re wrong but they often pander to those who are in the know.

If you reference music a lot, a la JJBA, you’re going to attract music nerds. That’s predictable. Lots of people listen to music anyways. Superhero comics are another matter, not too many people read comics let alone on a daily basis. Even with pirated copies around, not too many people have the time to read comics.

Far fewer people read superhero comics so it seems the audiences for superhero productions and superhero comics can be disproportionate. If Ranker’s assessments on the differences between Batman movie and comics fans are any indication, despite an overlap, one would expect MCUverse fans to be younger and more invested in other filmed productions on average than they are with comics.

They’re bigger than the differences between JJBA anime and comics readers (or for another matter, Harry Potter film and book readers) because for them filmed productions practically act as adverts for the stories they’re adapted from and do a good job at introducing them to the source materials.

The MCUverse does this to a lesser extent (and the same can be said of DCAU and Teen Titans) because the source material’s really complicated. I’ve spent more time hanging out at written profiles of every DC character than reading the comics they’re in.┬áSeriously, it can be that hard to track their appearances in every title within a shared universe.

If you find Jean Polnareff in Chinese cartoons, he’ll always be a Jojo character. Much of it is extrapolation and personal anecdote but it still makes practical sense on why JJBA fans can relatively easily get into the comics version but not so much for superhero fans whose first exposure was the watered down telly or film versions.

So they wound up relying on easy to understand profiles instead. That still rings true when you think about it though I could be wrong about it.

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Strange position

I’ve noted before about how superhero adaptations end up diverging from their source material in part due to the latter’s inaccessibility, whether narrative or practical even with the Internet. When you have multiple writer doing different takes on the same characters, you wound up with a lack of a proper consensus for their personalities.

There’s a clear concept behind them but the way they’re written’s not concretely defined. One could argue that the DCAU and MCU are digest versions of their comics counterparts. The latter’s generally regarded as canon by hardcore fans whilst the former are practically gateway drugs. The same things can be said of Teen Titans and the X-Men movies.

There are relatively more casual viewers of movies like Ant-Man than there are casual readers of Avengers comics. Surely anime adaptations of comics like JJBA can also differ in detail but not so much that they still work similarly compared to their superhero counterparts. Again it all goes back to the lack of a single authorial vision of the characters.

A single author can do whatever it wants to its own stories, superhero stories often get passed down to other writers who have their own ideas and even continuities. There’s got to be a reason why continuity police exist. It’s easier to faithfully adapt a story by a singular author than it is to adapt a story with multiple writers.

Hence why superhero adaptations are not faithful to the source material for practical reasons.

Lady Shiva

She’s one DC Comics character who’s seems like that to appear exotic. She’s of Chinese descent and yet she named herself after an Indian/Hindu god. Though there’s some interaction between China and India, it seems mistakenly chosen at the very least. (To be fair, some people find it hard to name their characters. Sometimes they’re named after fashion brands, really random words or musicians like in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures.)

I guess moreso when the Internet’s not readily available, let alone in its current form. One could say that they’re trying. One argues it would’ve been more plausible for somebody of Indian descent to call himself Lord Shiva (and wear dreadlocks to boot, evoking their god’s fashion sense). There might be later writers who rectified this.

But at least somebody who’s of Indian descent would be more familiar with it than somebody of Chinese descent is. That makes sense that unless if said character (and its author) went to India or knows about it, I guess the writers behind her stories simply didn’t know any better and couldn’t be bothered to find a better name for her moreso when the Internet’s inaccessible and crude.

 

Back to continuity issues

I noted before that some of the real reasons why it’s getting harder to get a faithful adaptation of superhero comics is because the source material’s increasingly convoluted. Early on, it was fairly easy to adapt superheroes for other media especially when they were written to be more episodic and were actually read by normies.

Then came the fanboys who started writing those stories and demanded more things like continuity. Eventually this led to superhero productions playing loose with the source material. This isn’t always the case but practically is if the source material’s that esoteric.

To be fair, non-superhero stories (especially the more recent ones) do have issues with adaptation fidelity too. One could go on comparing the differences between the OVA and telly versions of the JJBA adaptations but when compared with superhero comics, they’re generally more faithful.

Not necessarily accurate but their source material’s generally less complicated by the virtue of being overlooked by a singular author with moderate input by his editors and assistants. (There’s always issue with filler though.) Superheroes, by contrast, are often handed over to different writers who predictably have different ideas with them.

As a result, there’s rarely a consensus over their presentations. It’s evident when it comes to personality and sometimes power level. That doesn’t happen much to most anime adaptations which try to be faithful to the source materials they’re supposed to advertise! (Similar things can be said of the earlier Game of Thrones seasons in relation to A Song of Ice and Fire especially when its author was still writing those books.)

ASOIF, like JJBA, has the advantage of being overlooked by a singular author so you know what to expect even with moderate outside help. Superheroes don’t have that luxury in general so this explains why superhero adaptations aren’t always close to the source material for other, more practical reasons.

Demanding

Like I said, superhero media’s weird in that it operates on very complicated continuity, moreso when you add in ‘multiverse’, especially over the years. So complicated that those who get to adapt those for other media practically end up cherry picking. I don’t think that’s a bad thing especially if the directors, producers and scriptwriters behind it aren’t overly fond of superheroes for long.

Even if they get interested in those, they’re confronted with overly complicated continuity behind the character and that they make modifications just to make sense of the character(s) they’re working on. Maybe that’s one of the real reasons why it’s hard to grasp deceptively simple characters like The Punisher. When you have never-ending continuity problems compounded by a multiverse you’re stuck with cherry picking.

Add to that superheroes have been written by multiple writers over decades so there’s hardly ever going to be a real consensus over their personalities and sometimes the level of their abilities. Most superheroes are practically blank slates because of these developments in the superhero genre if the multiverse’s any indication.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures may have come close but that’s still the work of one author (his assistants and editors could count but only marginally so). Superhero comics have had multiple writers over the years with their own ideas of the characters themselves. A singular author can toy with its own characters the way it wants to.

An author who gets to work on a superhero title after another retires is stuck in a damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t situation. They’re caught between having to respect prior work and wanting to do their own take. A middle ground ends up being unsatisfying. Folk tales are a completely different matter by the virtue of being public domain.

It seems one can’t easily compare JJBA and folklore to superheroes in any manner, thus the superhero genre’s weirdly unique. Superheroes are not for the faint of heart, especially to those who desire to work for either DC and Marvel not just for legal reasons (writers not being given enough credit) but also for narrative ones like what I said before.

Sartorially Bizarre Comparisons

Like I said, when it comes to characters stuck in what appears to be school uniforms of sorts Kitty Pryde and Jotaro Kujo seemed to be the way to go except that the latter’s one of the few recurring schoolboy characters along with Josuke Higashikawa and one of the few recurring Joestar characters since his grandfather Joseph.

As of late with Jojolion, Josuke doesn’t wear a school uniform anymore (it’s a sailor uniform) and most of his old schoolmates are gone as Jojolion’s continued from the reboot ‘Steel Ball Run’. Plus Kakyoin’s dead since Josuke appeared and if Vento Auro’s any indication, Italian kids don’t wear school uniforms en masse beyond a certain age group unlike in Japan.

So we’re left with Jotaro as the only recurring schoolboy in a school uniform of sorts whereas those in Vento Auro were probably already dropouts and involved in gangs of sorts (Italian cliche though you could argue the Zepellis are anything but). I could be wrong about it but that still says a lot about why Kitty Pryde, of all the non-teenaged mutants at this point, is still seen in a youthful uniform.

That she’s not intended to be a delinquet makes it all the more ironic that her most distinctive outfits occurred in her teens.

 

 

Don’t know why

Like I said, Kitty Pryde is an X-Men character who started out as a teenager who’s now adult yet she’s more often seen in black/blue and yellow outfits (trainee uniforms in the X-Men world) than her teammates do. Her teammates did wear those but not very often. It’s got to do with some sort of iconography, albeit one that’s unfortunate for her in comics.

She’s supposed to be adult now but for some reason she’s still stuck in something that’s practically a schoolgirl uniform. You could say similar things about JoJo’s Josuke in Diamond is Unbreakable and to a greater extent Jotaro Kujo.

However, the former in that story arc (he’s currently a sailor borne out of one man and another, a more heroic Kira Yoshikage, who’s a marine doctor) was meant to be a schoolboy in a school uniform. Jotaro started out as a delinquet whose fashion sense stuck. (It can be argued that that’s where he got his thing for long coats from.)

While Kakyoin and a few others were also schoolboys but since Jotaro and Josuke are the only recurring characters among them (and the most frequent recurring JoJo characters since Joseph Joestar), as Josuke’s now a sailor Jotaro’s the only one around who still wears a modified school uniform (indicative of his rebellious status).

Kitty, by contrast, despite being wizened is still stuck in trainee uniforms even though she had more distinctive outfits ironically when she’s younger. The fact that other younger mutants also wear those makes her still seem like the ‘youngster’ of the bunch even when in the comics she should be past that.

Comparing her to Jotaro’s going to be a false equivalence as he’s one of the few truly recurring schoolboy characters in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and the only one who’s always seen in modified versions of his delinquet outfit (Josuke’s a sailor now with his old schoolmates being practically gone and Kakyoin’s dead ever since).

Kitty Pryde’s still around and so are the New Mutants (whom she’s temporarily affiliated with due to a tantrum). Again while other X-Men did wear similar uniforms before, they don’t do it often and still get to have their own distinctive outfits that Kitty barely gets as an adult.

Even Jotaro’s outfit’s distinctive in a way, which is saying but the same can be said other schoolboys like Josuke and Kakyoin.