Should it ever happen?

I suspect that if ‘Kastle’ were to happen on Punisher, not only would it be the worst thing to ever happen to the Punisher franchise but also becoming the MCU’s version of ‘Olicity’.¬† A number of Arrow fans already hate Olicity and Felicity Smoak. With Karen Page being already fairly polarising among some circles, it’ll only worsen things.

The only thing worse than Kastle happening is Frank Castle getting sexualised big time. He may’ve been sexualised before, most notably in the Marvel Swimsuit Specials back in the day and to some extent, certain forgotten slash fiction between him and some other character before Daredevil and Punisher hit Netflix.

If Kastle were to happen, that’ll surely anger some Punisher fans because Frank Castle’s been turned into this dreaded romance novel stereotype. Arrow’s a good precedent where Oliver not only got sexualised but also paired off with Felicity thus ruining its reputation for good.

‘Kastle’ would continue this and maybe exacerbate it with more Frank nude shots and the like in a forthcoming calendar, should it ever occur at all.

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Weird Feeling

I have a weird feeling that if the ‘Kastle’ ship were to come to fruition, it would be like the new Olicity. Olicity’s a fanmade couple that ended up becoming Arrow canon for better or worse, especially for Green Arrow comics fans. This is what happens when producers decided to pander a lot to a certain demographic that it puts off everybody else.

Unsurprisingly some Punisher viewers feel similarly towards ‘Kastle’. Olicity, in turn, is like the fulfilled version of the preferred Smallville pairing between Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent. Smallville’s basically a Superboy story with less spandex and given its long run, probably giving Clark more time to accept his superhero responsibilities.

I haven’t watched Smallville yet but I got this impression. Though Lana and Lois were his canonical love interests, some fans ended up pairing Chloe with him instead perhaps with the former acting as a kind of self-insert to live through vicariously.

Even if it would’ve come close to happening, Chloe ended up marrying another man instead. I guess Karen’s in the same position Chloe’s in for now.

Anatomy of a Punisher Fan

Ranker.com already has a blog post that examines the differences between Batman movie fans and Batman comics fans. Admittedly this isn’t always the case especially if you bring up female Batman comics fans but in general makes sense especially in why despite having the same character such adaptations wound up having different audiences.

I guess one would expect Netflix Punisher fans to differ considerably from their comics counterparts. The former being having many (straight) females who madly pair Frank Castle with another canon character Karen Page. For those who know a thing or two about Arrow, this should sound familiar as Ms Page, like Felicity Smoak, originally had little to do with the ones they ended up getting paired with by fans.

I have yet to put firm statistical data on it but it’s an educated guess based on Ranker’s findings and casually observing the ‘Kastle’ fanbase. I guess others would beat me to it in providing more conclusive evidence. Not that Netflix Punisher fans don’t read comics (they do from what I recall) but comics Punisher fans don’t appreciate the Kastle couple much in return.

This attitude or suspicion would be the dividing line between the two.

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.¬†Seriously, 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.

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.

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.