The benefits of television

Given that this is sometimes considered to be the golden age of television, moreso if you include streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as such, it’s parsimonious to suggest that more and more auteur directors and film producers are moving to television. Especially so in America where Hollywood’s increasingly more focused on blockbusters and their associated merchandising.

This leaves the edgier fare on television, a younger medium. Television also relies on merchandising, however not to the same extent as film does with the exception of geek franchises like The Punisher. That stuff really relies a lot more on cult followings to get it than with theatre, which relies more on a wider audience to sell things.

Unsurprisingly, both the Punisher and Handmaid’s Tale have been adapted for cinema before. The Punisher, thrice. (It’s also coincidental that the first three Punisher productions aren’t so well-received enough to make the polarising Netflix production seem good.)

As somebody who’s read the Handmaid’s Tale, the Hulu production not only expands on the issue of infertility and survival (even many of the babies don’t make it due to the radiation) but that the Handmaids there dress like the ones in the books, as opposed to their filmic incarnation resembling nuns for most of the time.

I guess some of the advantages of television over film is that they can delve a lot more in the source material. That’s always the case with most anime productions being adapted from comics for television. Similar things can be said of newspaper strips adapted for telly specials in general.

It’s still not always the case with some telly productions attracting lower tier talent but on average the production and acting standards for telly has been raised due to some kind of brain drain in the film industry that others have noted before.

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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.

Let’s not jump into conclusions

Like I said, if somebody writes about dogs getting killed despite proclaiming to like them it could possibly indicate weird mixed feelings and unresolved emotions of sorts. Part of it could be projection in that I did fear somebody else’s dogs before and I admit to obsessing over abused dogs before due to anger issues and stuff.

So in reality that author’s attitudes to dogs might be more ambivalent than it’d realise if you study psychology somewhat. The person could be wary of dogs, including its own, if sufficiently angered. Likewise somebody who has a habit of mutilating arms could be really stressed out from drawing them especially if it draws comics for a living.

Or that it can get real hard to get them right. So sometimes people who write violent, gory stories aren’t necessarily misanthropic but could possibly be seriously irritated at times. Especially if severely stressed out. Now one understands why HxH’s author takes hiatuses. It gets too stressful and I know this from experience in some manner so.

Mixed messages and feelings

I admit writing about this before which made me realise about somebody else. It’s one thing to admit being wary or afraid or dislike something, it’s another to proclaim you like something else only to have it be constantly abused in your stories. Like you don’t like it when cats scratch you or make fools of themselves even if you proclaim liking them yet having them die in your stories.

In other words you could have unresolved anger issues. I did develop a fascination with abuse aimed at dogs because I was mad at somebody for not liking what I like. That I was afraid of somebody else’s dogs whenever I went to its house at all. I do enjoy having dogs around inside my house but feel wary if irritated.

(Oddly enough, despite being shocked by his opinion of cats I somehow manage to understand how JJBA’s author feels about dogs given their portrayal being baffling to some readers.)

If you admit to being wary of something, that’s understandable. But if you constantly cast what you like in a bad light (abused or made evil), you could have unresolved issues with them on some level that you’re unwilling to admit.

It might not be outright disdain or dislike but more of a weird mixed feeling or love-hate relationship that has to be admitted and addressed in light of such stories, perhaps hinting at certain issues of sorts.

 

Inaccuracy

I guess even the most well-researched story could have inaccuracies by accident, especially if the authors not only misremember things but also get distracted by something else. You could get historical and scientific inaccuracies of sorts, moreso if the writers didn’t have time to correct any further or gets distracted. With the former it gets compounded by inavailability of sources needed.

Even online these will get taken away, sometimes without mirrored copies at all! With Google Books, you’re left with mostly samples and snippets. Usually public domain works get to be downloaded more fully often with respect to copyright and the like. Sometimes it can apply to stereotypes. Even somebody who’s been to Italy could fall back on nasty stereotypes rather unconsciously so.

Ad infinitum and even I myself have done mistakes in my research.

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.

A prime example of a super-fanboy

Superboy Prime’s one such character who’s blatantly a superhero fanboy. According to one book, he’s part of a trend when it comes to shifting demographics for superhero comics. If Barry Allen being outed as a Jay Garrick fan’s any indication as well as fanboy remarks over ‘Silver Age’ Wonder Woman comics aping the tone of her WWII-era adventures, there’s a substantial adult fan base for superheroes.

But to be fair, there are still adult Disney and Peanuts fans. As Ganriki noted, when you have fanboy/fangirl characters showing up in stories aimed at the same fannish demographic in real life (and are made by self-proclaimed fans too) it becomes too self-serving to be interesting to anybody else. It makes sense that why most adult superhero fans have issues with kid sidekicks.

Save for Robin (blatantly intended to be an audience insert and thus the first superhero fanboy character dangerously close to the dreaded Mary Sue), the distrust is understandable in that those sidekicks were intended for a much younger, casual readership. I guess with fanboy sidekicks around instead of proper everyperson normies, we’re looking at characters close to fanfic Mary Sues.

Mary Sue characters, as they are presented in fanfiction, were often idealsied fan inserts. A fan would make a Mary Sue as a way to engage in its favourite story more effectively than to simply reimagine its favourite characters. It’s wish fulfillment. I guess what makes Superboy Prime so divisive is that he does the opposite. Instead of wish fulfillment, he’s the reality.

He lashes out at things that go against his perspectives, tries to change it whenever he does get involved at all and have it cater to his demands even if they still don’t always go his way. Say what you will about his power levels but he’s not a Mary Sue. He suffers big consequences for his actions and is imprisoned for it.

His trajectory turns the idealised fan insert on its head because he doesn’t get what he wants and even if he does, they still don’t turn out exactly what he intended to. Who knows if he’ll return at all (he could but in another medium) but he’s probably the best example of fan-disservice.

Not in the sense of being physically ugly and stuff but the way he’s written keeps him from being an idealised self-insert way too effectively and perhaps efficiently so.