In the recent Joker/Daffy Duck comic (Side Note: The latest batch of DC/WB crossovers are neither especially good or especially bad), there's a scene in which the Joker kills the patrons of a comedy club and has his gang take their stuff (Another Side Note: Who in the Blue Hell would go to a comedy club in Gotham City? That's just asking for trouble!), and this scene inspired in me a sudden realization.

Now, I'll say up front that I'm sure I'm not the first person to have this realization (or the tenth, or the hundredth, or the thousandth...), it's just something that I never really thought about all that much before.

Anyway, the great realization was this:  

There's no (expletive gerund omitted) way that someone wouldn't have killed the Joker by now.  Victim's grieving relative, vigilante, fed-up cop, "accident in the cells", a villain who's sick of the Joker's crap - someone would have wasted him by now.   I can no longer sustain my suspension of disbelief as regards this character.

 

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January 20, 2009, was over twelve years ago. Still kinda dated for a supposedly young superhero.

Fraser Sherman said:

And someday Spider-Man attending Obama's inauguration will look as dated.

Captain America's entry in the most recent OHOTMU has him born in 1922, thus next year he will be 100 years old. If he was frozen in 1945 and has been around in present time for, let's say, 10 years then he's spent 65 YEARS in suspended animation!

Prince Namor turns 100 years old (in continuity) this year. 

In Avengers #4 he's represented as a man from a different era. Yet the war had been over less than 19 years, and Lee and Kirby had served in it themselves. I've seen it suggested that it was a response to the murder of Kennedy, and I think that likely right.

I like to imagine Alpha Flight meeting Captain Canada, the living legend of the war of 1812.

If you could travel back to 1966 and tell comics fans that in 2022, Peacemaker has his own TV series, they'd be like "Wow, Charlton Comics must be doing great, then!"

Hahaha! Good point, Baron. I've long since given up explaining to people how characters like Peacemaker started out as serious superheroes at a long-dead publisher.

Next topic: In line with the title of this thread, I was reminded recently of a sudden realization I had a while back of something obvious, one unintended consequence of long-running series. I may have mentioned it before, but I call it "The Overconfident Villain Syndrome." And it's this:

Yes, a lot of villains have personalities that lead to grandiose self-perception and narcissism. But why would that hold up over, say, 60 years of stories where they lose every time?

Sure, Dr. Doom is going to say things like "You have no chance against me, Richards!" and ignore the Fantastic Four's efforts to defeat him -- the first time they fight. And maybe the fifth or sixth time, he would still not take the FF seriously, as he could rationalize previous defeats as bad luck or some other combination of unlikely factors. But the 30th or 31st time ... wouldn't he take the FF particularly seriously, and avoid saying things that later events could conspire to make him look foolish? Wouldn't he be more circumspect in his planning? Wouldn't he, say, try to kill the FF on the outset rather than toy with them? Wouldn't he have grudging respect -- or at least wariness -- when it comes to Reed Richards, thinking it if not saying it?

Doom's arrogance in current stories when it comes to the FF makes sense if this is your first Dr. Doom story. Or even maybe your fifth. But us longtime readers are like, "Dude, you just said something that ignores Ben Grimm crushing your hands in Fantastic Four (first series) #40. Or Reed Richards proving he had the more powerful brain in Fantastic Four Annual (first series) #2. We were there. We saw these things happen. Maybe you could learn from those defeats instead of ignoring them."

What reminded me of this was, weirdly, binging the second season of Locke & Key. The villain kept letting the heroes live, even though he constantly had them at his mercy ... and then they'd turn around and thwart his plans.

In one scene, around episode 9 or so, the Lockes defeat his immediate objective and the villain ... smiles ruefully. I mean, he could kill them RIGHT THERE. But instead, he does nothing as they leave and then ... what? Goes to lunch? Takes in a movie? Cackles over his nefarious schemes, while doing nothing to advance them? He goes off-camera, and becomes idle.

So I'm watching this and thinking, "Dude, it's about time you took the Lockes seriously, because they keep beating you. Since you can kill them at any time ... maybe you should? I mean, if you want to win."

Which, obviously, he does. But the writers don't, and the writers win.

In the case of Locke & Key, it's just typical bad TV writing.* In a comic book, the writer would be smart enough to give the Lockes some defense against a direct attack -- a force field key, maybe, or one that turns an attack against the attacker.** TV writers often write as if episodes are entirely ephemeral, and viewers won't remember the previous season, or even the previous episode. Comic book writers seem more aware that readers have brains, are engaged, are second-guessing the story ... and are apt to find plot holes.

Except when it comes to Overconfident Villain Syndrome. I guess the writers have to write the Dr. Dooms and Lex Luthors "in character," with overconfidence, delusions of grandeur and narcissism. They are writing for newer readers, not those of us who bought Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four off the stands.

So the unintended consequence is that longrunning villains like Dr. Doom seem to have brain damage, since they can't remember past last year.

* While I'm bashing the writing on Locke & Key in this thread, I want to mention that I did enjoy the show very much, primarily due to the actors playing the three Locke children, who were very convincing and engaging. (One was 28 and another 20, playing high school students, but unlike Riverdale, they somehow managed to look their parts. The third was a child playing a similar-aged child who somehow didn't age between seasons, so I'm guessing seasons 1 and 2 were shot back to back.) I have a low bar for TV writing, so I glossed over the complaints above as I enjoyed the adventure. And when we finished the season, I kinda missed spending evenings with that charming family. That's good acting.

** A force field key around Keyhouse would have been particularly useful, especially since after every confrontation with the villain, the Lockes would go home -- a home which the villain had invaded several times, a home which had no defense against the Anywhere Key, which is essentially a personal transporter. That seems, um, particularly dumb. Maybe go to an obscure hotel instead? But I write this off to a show's financial need to keep re-using existing sets rather than build new ones, rather than bad writing. Probably.

Except when it comes to Overconfident Villain Syndrome. I guess the writers have to write the Dr. Dooms and Lex Luthors "in character," with overconfidence, delusions of grandeur and narcissism. They are writing for newer readers, not those of us who bought Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four off the stands.

I think there was a story in one of the later Ultimates books where they discovered that reality was regularly re-setting itself, so that those older stories "never happened".

*Dying animal noise*

Reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Powerpuff Girls. Mojo JoJo had come very close to defeating the girls and decided that if he turned them into dogs, they wouldn't be able to beat him up and his plan would succeed.

They bug him a lot instead. Plan failed. Still, I love Mojo JoJo precisely because of his ridiculous overconfidence. 

Mojo's my favorite of their villains.  But of course, we're not relly expected to take him too seriously.

Randy Jackson said:

Reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Powerpuff Girls. Mojo JoJo had come very close to defeating the girls and decided that if he turned them into dogs, they wouldn't be able to beat him up and his plan would succeed.

They bug him a lot instead. Plan failed. Still, I love Mojo JoJo precisely because of his ridiculous overconfidence. 

I don't know what else we're to do with stories like the early Spider-Man story that referenced The Ed Sullivan Show (off the air for nearly 51 years) or the later one where he met John Belushi (dead nearly 40 years) and Gilda Radner (dead nearly 33 years) or the Avengers story where some of them went on Late Night With David Letterman (off the air for nearly 29 years), except consign them to either Limbo or some alternate Earth. 

Captain Comics said:

*Dying animal noise*

I simply classify those as "topical references" and move on. For example, instead of The Ed Sullivan Show, Spider-Man probably appeared on America's Got Talent. But I don't need to see those revisions. Back in the '80s, the editor of Marvel Tales tried to "update" such topical references. For example, Aunt May once mentioned The Beverly Hillbillies, which was changed to The Dukes of Hazard (which wouldn't have even been on the air yet, depending on one's interpretation of "Marvel-Time"; the editor simply picked a show that was on at the time the reprint was published). 

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