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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Baron of Faltine's Avatar
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    Default Limit of the characters change

    Often in comic book board there had been this or that post either asking for change on a comic book characters or lamenting the changes that a given writer had done to a character.
    And i wondered what is the general opinon here of what is allowed to do to a certain character or characters, how far an author can go on working on a given title?

  2. #2
    Incredible Member your_name_here's Avatar
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    Without taking risks and making changes, you never know what untapped story potential is there. Some will work, some won’t.

    Who knew sticking Norman Osborn of all people becoming top dog would make a compelling period for over a year in comics?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron of Faltine View Post
    Often in comic book board there had been this or that post either asking for change on a comic book characters or lamenting the changes that a given writer had done to a character.
    And i wondered what is the general opinon here of what is allowed to do to a certain character or characters, how far an author can go on working on a given title?
    Either it's done well or it's done badly. That's the only limit. Matt Murdoch gaslighting his friends by posing as his own identical twin brother Mike who was some kind of clubbing tool...yeah, didn't work too well. The Punisher as an angel. Nope. But in those cases those changes didn't overwrite the appeal of the character to any significant extent. There are some characters like Hank Pym who because they were never popular or famous were allowed by its writers a lot of latitude and that led to him becoming completely unusable in his original incarnation. I mean when you have a character whose big-screen adaptation has to start with his legacy Scott Lang, you have dropped the ball in such a way that it's stuck to the floor and can't ever be picked up again. Scott Summers and Jean Grey were once this great love story in the comics, but now Cyclops is a two-timing cheater, and Jean is this dead-dying-resurrected-dying mess of a character.

    Some characters are open to change. Doctor Doom for instance is astoundingly versatile. You can do him as a villain, you can do him as an anti-hero, ditto Namor. There are ways that can work which adds to the character while taking nothing away from his status as a lifelong foil to the Fantastic Four since the Four owing to the fact that their greatest story (Galactus Trilogy) isn't centered on Doom, don't really depend on him the way Batman for instance depends on Joker. Namor likewise: sometimes villain, sometimes hero, always asshole. But making Doctor Octopus into an anti-hero (as in Dan Slott's run) deprives Spider-Man's rogues of one of its heaviest hitters, subtracts the emotional center of the best Dr. Octopus stories which depend on him being a remorseless megalomaniacal without redeeming virtues, and what we have left is basically another anti-hero who kills, hitting beats that you can cover with The Punisher.

    Among heroes, Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker is very versatile and open to change. He's experienced aging in his comics in his classic period and he has a proven track record of working as a teenager, young adult, and adult, someone who can be single and married. He's had stories where he does simple street crime, but also stories with powerful superheroes, and even flirtations with cosmic (Firelord, Captain Universe, Venom and Carnage). He can be a simple civilian hero everyman or a scientist who's fated to be Reed Richards' intellectual heir. But other Marvel heroes are more or less fully formed. Tony Stark became Iron Man in his late 30s to 40s. He's a middle-aged dude. Doctor Strange became Sorcerer Supreme in the same age. Matt Murdoch is younger than them but also an adult superhero. Black Panther likewise. Likewise Captain America and Thor, and also Wolverine who you could say are all immortals in that they are tied to historical periods and so on. So those characters are less versatile I find.

  4. #4
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    Basically anything is fair game because you can just call it an Elseworlds/What If story.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron of Faltine View Post
    Often in comic book board there had been this or that post either asking for change on a comic book characters or lamenting the changes that a given writer had done to a character.
    And i wondered what is the general opinon here of what is allowed to do to a certain character or characters, how far an author can go on working on a given title?
    There's basically three rules, I think:
    1) Don't make the character unrecognizable;
    2) Don't make the character unusable (or make other writers be forced to clean your mess before using them);
    3) The bigger the changes you want to make, the more gradually you should make them.

  6. #6
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    It depends on how well the story goes and how well the change is received by not just fans, but by writers and Marvel in general.

    A character who's change that surprisingly stuck is Loki. About a decade or so ago he was just Loki, villainous brother of Thor. But then the seeds were set for something, we didn't know exactly at the time. It turned out to be the most complicated suicide plot in all of comics, but from it, we got kidLoki, a good Loki. We all assumed that this change wouldn't stick, but then after that bit of child murder, we got a new Loki, one that was still morally ambiguous, but who was still good deep down.

    While many credit this change to Tom Hiddleston fantastic and sympathetic Loki performance in the Thor movie, much of this actually started several years before, but Hiddleston's performance and his extremely positive feedback from fans cemented this new direction.

    It didn't hurt that Ewing's Agent of Asgard proved that this approach didn't mean that you couldn't also have villainous Lokis who performed the same functions as the original.

    However, Loki isn't like Doom or Doc Ock. He's a unique character who is aware of and has some agency over this medium. You can do what you will to him and it will eventually find a way to work.

  7. #7
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    Anything that would force a character to be retired permanently is probably too big a change to be permanent. In other media you can retire a character forever. Not in Marvel/DC comics, their whole appeal at this point is that the characters keep going for generations.

    So something happens to a character that would take them off the board forever or make it impossible for them to be used in their traditional role, then it is not going to last and everyone knows it won't last.

    The changes that can't last usually involve taking away something that is essential to the traditional role of that character. An obvious example at Marvel is Ben Grimm. They've done so, so many stories where he gets cured. It never lasts, he always winds up being trapped in the body of the Thing, because that is what Ben Grimm is all about, and it wouldn't matter if he were cured for years, most people would still think of him instinctively as a guy who wants to be cured and can't be.

    That doesn't mean they shouldn't do the story where Ben or Bruce Banner get cured, or where a good guy turns evil, if it's a good story and not just a gimmick. It just means they shouldn't expect it to last. They'll go back eventually.

    I guess once in a while a change will become so popular or so much a part of the way we think of a character that it becomes the status quo that can't be changed. Not often, though.

  8. #8
    Mighty Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    Regardless of what the change might be, there will be people who dislike the change and want it changed back.

    I thought Supergirl wielding a red ring worked in the storyline. I identified it as a short term change as keeping a red ring on Supergirl would be pointless. I didn't see that storyline going on for over a year and it didn't, I simply went along for the ride. But I know many people disliked that storyline.

    In comparison, Captain America being an agent of Hydra I didn't think went as well for a change. It wasn't fluid.
    A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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    "That's the problem with our opposition they keep thinking nobody could possibly be as stupid as we are. Fools 'em every time."
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  9. #9
    Mighty Member Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Characters should not change that much,It reaches a point where they should be new character because they changes never stick. A good example is Devil Hulk which is amazing change which is going to be change back at some point and the sad part is that this concept could be new character should go on for awhile gaining its own fanbase and mythos. Dr Doom made amazing transition hero/antihero which made sense after everything in his history but changes don't stick because tradition rules everything in comics. Fans will except the most extreme changes if it is in a good story there is no limit but comics at the big 2 are design to go back to original unless the change is ridiculous popular.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member pageturner's Avatar
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    I don't mind the change nearly as I mind the constant resets to status quo.


    See Spiderman when he developed more spider abilities or even having a solid job instead of histling a buck working part time.

  11. #11
    Disney Subsidiary Personamanx's Avatar
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    I don't think there are any solid rules in regards to how much a character can change over the years. As long as the comic or individual story is well crafted in isolation I don't worry too much about how it relates to the character's past, and future. Not any more than the story itself makes me anyway.
    Continuity, even in a "shared" comics universe is often insignificant if not largely detrimental to the quality of a comic.

    Die - Paper Girls - Runaways - The Wild Storm

    Nobody cares about what you don't like, they barely care about what you do like.

  12. #12
    iMan 42s
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    No solid rules exist for changing a character into something new. The only thing you can say is "make sure they are recognizable" and even then we've seen some radical redesigns and reinventions of characters we'd normally never see. It really depends on how good the story is surrounding it that makes people like it or it even sticking around.

    Temporary changes aside though, long lasting character changes are only as good as the stories surrounding them. But that being said, some characters do need overhauls and it's time for a change. It happens, but even then the character should be recognizable and operates pretty much like porn, you know it when you see it.
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  13. #13

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    A number of famous runs changed the characters and setting.

    Daredevil was transformed totally by Frank Miller. Before Daredevil did have some good stories and special moments but he was either a kind of "blind Spider-Man adventurer" or "inspirationally disadvantaged". Like the Namor battle is all about how Daredevil the blind guy is so courageous and compelling that he forces Namor to take pity on human race out of his example. Same in the Battle at Baxter Building crossover in Fantastic Four. Then you had the posing as twin-brother story.

    X-Men was likewise transformed entirely by Claremont.

  14. #14
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Personamanx View Post
    I don't think there are any solid rules in regards to how much a character can change over the years. As long as the comic or individual story is well crafted in isolation I don't worry too much about how it relates to the character's past, and future. Not any more than the story itself makes me anyway.
    There are no set rules.

    Even going back to Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch with the new team of Avengers, you had Marvel's team of independent heroes consisting of three reformed villains. It can be done, but if something is big enough for people to notice, then they must have had some fame originally. If anyone could come up with rules or a formula, they'd be rich and a publishing titan.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killerbee911 View Post
    Characters should not change that much,It reaches a point where they should be new character because they changes never stick. A good example is Devil Hulk which is amazing change which is going to be change back at some point and the sad part is that this concept could be new character should go on for awhile gaining its own fanbase and mythos..
    The Hulk is a special case because it's in the characters nature to switch personalities. He already did it even in Ewing's run, and will do again.

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