With the DCnU just a couple of weeks away and Wonder Woman already having a pants fiasco, it made me wonder which heroes DC seems to have missed the boat with the most over the years.  My suggestions below.

 

Wonder Woman - DC seems to have the hardest time getting her right, then, when they seem to get things working well, the next creative team in tends to chuck her supporting cast and ignore her key concepts.

 

Hawkman - King of the (bad) reboot.  Hawkman's probably been rebooted more than any other character and each reboot adds another layer of confusion.  Hard to believe for a character who's key defining trait is that he has wings and can fly.  I wonder how much confusion could have been headed off if Hawkworld had been considered an Elseworlds story instead of a reboot?  The horrible thing is, the 2002 series finally made the character workable in continuity again and they decide to upend the series concept for a One Year Later stunt.

 

Captain Marvel - A lot of people would argue Cap just doesn't fit in well with the DCU but I thought the Power of Shazam series worked just fine, showcasing a hero with a different tone but who still made sense in the universe.  Unfortunately, as Ordway burned out, they didn't switch writers to keep the series going.  Since then, Cap might as well be Captain Carrot for how well they've integrated him with the rest of the DCU.

 

Black Adam - His star turn in 52 wound up screwing him.  Over the course of JSA and the front end of 52, Black Adam was turned into DC's best realized anti-hero.  Unfortunately, at the end of 52, he was revilified in a way he really couldn't come back from.  Yeah, he's a pretty good villain but DC has plenty of those, you'd think they would have protected his anti-hero status.  Ah well, there's always Secret Six, oh wait...

 

Plastic Man - Here's a hero that's had cartoons and been in the public consciousness yet he's almost always just left on the shelf.  I wonder if he'd been created at DC instead of Quality if he'd have been treated better?

 

Uncle Sam - DC's got a gaping hole as far as patriotic heroes go, they have one of the most recognizable patriotic images out there, and he only gets dusted off when they half heartedly put out a Freedom Fighter mini.

 

Black Lightning - Passed over for JLA membership in the 70s, he finally gets added to the prime team under Dwayne McDuffie, then it's back to the Outsiders ghetto with him.

 

Amethyst - I honestly don't know where DC's coming from.  They've watched the manga market grow, they have a property that would likely have crossover appeal, and yet Gemworld is forgotten and Amethyst is only brought back to either be a villain or cannon fodder.

 

Well, that's my list.  Anyone else have some nominees?

 

 

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The only hero that comes to mind that DC has “screwed up” is Captain Marvel… for Fawcett Comics.

I really can’t think of any others.
Both Teen Titans and Justice Society have been hammered completely out of any kind of recognizable shape.   Putting both books to sleep now is mercy killing.

I think what this thread proves (at least to me) is that while there might have been problems with various creative teams wanting to "leave their mark" as they come and go over the years, there also has not been as much unity amongst the various company's editorial and administrative teams either.

Although the situation has improved somewhat over the past couple of decades, comic books are still a generation thing, for lack of a better term.

When the industry first started in the 1930s, it was believed that the audience changed every seven to ten years, so companies could eventually get away with telling new versions of old stories under the belief that the original readers weren't around to point out the fact that in some cases, the publishers were contradicting themselves.

It has only been since the 1960s with Stan Lee at Marvel that the comic book industry has grown to realize that not only is the average reader older and smarter than they first thought, but that the fans are loyal and stick around for a lot longer than anyone realized. Hence Roy Thomas and the other continuity conscious writers who came along trying to straighten out the "mess" during the 1970s and early 80s.

Recent comments about the lack of reprinting the classic letter columns in the 2012 Showcase releases thread elsewhere in this forum proves my point that many of us believe that there is more to comics than just four colors and nice pictures.

I have been reading, and I do stress the R word, comic books since 1974; which as of today (August 23, 2011) puts me a little under three years shy of my FORTIETH anniversary liking this medium!

I have seen many cycles come and go, repeatedly. Superman being away from Earth for at least a year (originally exiling himself after accidentally killing someone, and more recently being on New Krypton) and someone other than Bruce Wayne being Batman for a while are prime examples.

Unfortunately I do not have the answers, but I am old and wise enough to ask the questions, especially in light of this thread and the impending relaunch of the DC Universe.

I intend to be around for quite awhile yet as far as both the world and the comic book industry are concerned, so we'll take things one day and issue at a time.

But if the "everyone starts wearing leather jackets and acts tough" phase starts up again... 

"Justice Society have been hammered completely out of any kind of recognizable shape."

 

I'm afraid I dropped off a few months after they retitled it JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA.  What exactly did they do to it?

This is all you need to know:

 



Henry R. Kujawa said:

"Justice Society have been hammered completely out of any kind of recognizable shape."

 

I'm afraid I dropped off a few months after they retitled it JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA.  What exactly did they do to it?

I'm the same with JSA,dropped it after the Magog stuff though the disillusion had set in before then.

Not much in that pic to make me regret it,though it's nice to see a Doc Fate who's behind the mask now?

I think a lot of DC's character problems stems from the fact that some of their best characters are stuck in the modern world when they would work much better set in the past.

Hawkman -- 1910s & 1920s

Captain Marvel & family -- 1950s

Aquaman -- 1970s

... and so on

I would read a 1920s-set "Hawkman" series if he was hanging out with Charles Lindbergh and smashing the Red Baron. If the Justice League needs him for a mission, send out Rip Hunter to pick him up.

It has only been since the 1960s with Stan Lee at Marvel that the comic book industry has grown to realize that not only is the average reader older and smarter than they first thought,

The problem is that the existing market is like that, and the publishers focused on that, especially with the distribution system. But there's no entry point for new people who are younger and dumber (they still make comic books? they're sold in comic book stores?) any more. By definition, that market is going to shrink.

Comics need much more focus on entry-level comics and ways to get them distributed. Maybe digital comics will help with that, since anything you can see on your iPhone is cool, and you don't have to be old enough to drive to download them.

I would read a 1920s-set "Hawkman" series if he was hanging out with Charles Lindbergh and smashing the Red Baron. If the Justice League needs him for a mission, send out Rip Hunter to pick him up.

I would too, but I'm not sure there is a critical mass of us out there. There was a discussion recently in which the position was taken that, when fans cut back on comics, they tend to cut the non-universe comics first, because those don't have interrelated stories and so aren't as important.

Whereas I stay away from most in-continuity comics, because I figure I don't have the interest or budget to understand everything I need to know to have stories make sense. So those period comics appeal to me even more.

But I think the first mindset pretty much rules in today's fandom, especially among those with long pull lists: If the book is part of the MU or DCU, then I'll read it. Otherwise, it's not "important."

I think that's been part of Captain Marvel's problem in particular. He doesn't fit the DCU well, because his claim to fame is his secret identity, and few DCU super-hero comics have room for secret identities these days.And without Billy and WHIZ and Tawky Tiger, etc., he's just one more Superman.

-- MSA



Lumbering Jack said:

I think a lot of DC's character problems stems from the fact that some of their best characters are stuck in the modern world when they would work much better set in the past.

Hawkman -- 1910s & 1920s

Captain Marvel & family -- 1950s

Aquaman -- 1970s

... and so on

I would read a 1920s-set "Hawkman" series if he was hanging out with Charles Lindbergh and smashing the Red Baron. If the Justice League needs him for a mission, send out Rip Hunter to pick him up.

 

 

...How would Aquaman be better in the 1970s ?

  And , in the Marvels , are you applying the term " 1950s "  to " a more innocent , ' old-style ' America " in general , as I think people tend to do ?

  I associate the Marvels with a pre-television ( As a major factor , anyway . ) , pre-post-WWII suburbanization world - the 1920s-40s , in a sense .

Henry R. Kujawa said:

But breaking up Hal & Arisia (who I adored) served NO PURPOSE but to be miserable for the sake of being miserable.  They just wanted to destroy every aspect of Hal's life.


As I recall, there was a purpose to breaking up Hal and Arisia; it was to get DC out of a corner, because one story revealed that Arisia was about 13 years old. And every other story that tried to explain that away so Hal wouldn't seem like a creepy old man didn't work.

 

(One was that her race ages really, really slowly, so she's hundreds of years old -- but that didn't fly, because Arisia was still mentally and emotionally a 13-year-old. Another was that she made the ring age her to the equivalent of a young adult ... but she still was mentally and emotionally a 13-year-old, now with a va-va-voom body. And so on.)

She was originally a kid Green Lantern character. During his run Steve Englehart had her ring age her (acting in response to her subconscious wish) so he could put her into a relationship with Hal.
Steve Englehart has a long track record of "unusual" romances in his stories. Steve was no longer around, so O'Neil & David felt it was their job to PISS on his work.

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