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  1. #1
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    Default Super Hero Deconstruction comics

    So the term "deconstruction" gets thrown around a bit, that idea of a hero being made to perhaps look less heroic as the writer/artist attempts to perhaps humanize them or tell a deeper tale. I think one example might be Frank Miller's Batman, The Dark Knight. The big one of course is Alan Moore/Dave Gibbon's Watchmen. Can anyone here suggest other DC stories or comics, either modern or classic, where deconstructionism is prevalent?

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, which explores ideas such as the Silver Age Superman having to kill, something which he wouldn't have done under usual circumstances.


  3. #3
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    The Boys would be obvious one.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    That really depends on what is meant with the term "deconstruction". It's vague enough as used by Derrida, and the usage as used here or in other examples of pop culture criticism is a lot removed from Derrida's already vague definition.

    But if the meaning of deconstruction is taken to be to examine and possibly expose the assumptions of a genre, then The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen are of course excellent examples. Other good examples might be "Oracle: Year One" by Ostrander and Kim Yale, New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke, or The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    That really depends on what is meant with the term "deconstruction". It's vague enough as used by Derrida, and the usage as used here or in other examples of pop culture criticism is a lot removed from Derrida's already vague definition.

    But if the meaning of deconstruction is taken to be to examine and possibly expose the assumptions of a genre, then The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen are of course excellent examples. Other good examples might be "Oracle: Year One" by Ostrander and Kim Yale, New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke, or The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka.
    May I ask how Oracle: Year One is a deconstruction.

  6. #6
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Kind of hard for me to tell, since I've always had a bit of trouble understanding exactly what is meant by "deconstruction", but going with "to examine and possibly expose the assumptions of a genre" and add "characters" to that, I'd say Batman: The White Knight is kind of an interesting deconstruction of the Batman/Joker dynamic I think.

  7. #7
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    I don't know what Keith Giffen & Co were trying to do with Sun Boy/Dirk Morgna in the 5-year later Legion, but they sure made him less-heroic for sure.

  8. #8
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    Dick Grayson kind of went through this when Starfire married someone else in New Teen Titans.


  9. #9
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Alan Moore's Supreme is absolutely this. SA Superman transplanted into the late nineties. Particularly the Supremacy. Where they had every previous incarnation of the character from every era. Even "imaginary" ones.
    Now listen to me, Clark! This great strength of yours--you've got to hide it from people or they'll be scared of you!

  10. #10
    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Godlike13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caj View Post
    Dick Grayson kind of went through this when Starfire married someone else in New Teen Titans.

    Dick has gone through it a couple times. Devin Grayson got lost in it with him in her run, and it turned out really bad, and now even they are doing it really bad again with Ric. Which unfortunately is just being done by really awful creators so with Ric rather then getting anything actually insightful or profound it just came in the form of generic stuff like “how unhealthy is the Bat cave, aha aha”, “superheroes are dumb, aha aha”. But I guess thats kind of debt and insightfulness one can only be expected when they put it in the hands of someone like Lobdell.
    Last edited by Godlike13; 08-08-2019 at 02:12 PM.

  11. #11
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    Dick has gone through it a couple times. Devin Grayson got lost in it with him in her run, and it turned out really bad, and now even they are doing it really bad again with Ric. Which unfortunately is just being done by really awful creators so with Ric rather then getting anything actually insightful or profound it just came in the form of generic stuff like “how unhealthy is the Bat cave, aha aha”, “superheroes are dumb, aha aha”. But I guess thats kind of debt and insightfulness one can only be expected when they put it in the hands of someone like Lobdell.
    I disagree with calling the whole Ric thing a deconstruction. A character assassination is not the same thing as a deconstruction.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    May I ask how Oracle: Year One is a deconstruction.
    To some degree it's a subjective "I know it when I see it", and you probably have to take the entire creation of Oracle into account, but it carries an implied criticism of the way women are treated in comics and does it by making women and wounds visible and explicit. It also criticises Batman's actions, reactions, and priorities in TKJ in a way that makes them universal: Barbara's words to Batman reaches outside the confines of the panel and hits DC, and arguably the entire comics industry.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iron chimp View Post
    The Boys would be obvious one.
    From what little I've read in the Boys, that's more just Ennis bitching and moaning about them and making them as horrible as possible to justify pissing on them.
    And propping up his favorite archetypes at their expense, or at least not savaging his favorite "Tough Guys" nearly as badly.

  14. #14
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    Alan Moore's Marvelman was the poster child for deconstruction. Mick Anglo's Marvelman was an ersatz Captain Marvel that was created to take the place of the Big Red Cheese in the 1950s when Fawcett went out of business and the British publisher had no more Marvel Family stories to print. While Moore's revival of Marvelman in 1982 subverted the wholesome family values of the characters.

    Moore then goes on to do more deconstruction style work. But I would say that Supreme is a different case. Because Rob Liefeld had created Supreme to be a testosterone fueled Superman copy and when Alan Moore took over he infused the character with some of the classic Superman optimism. This is probably what you would call reconstruction.
    celebrating 50 years of 4 beatles crossing a zebra

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    From what little I've read in the Boys, that's more just Ennis bitching and moaning about them and making them as horrible as possible to justify pissing on them.
    And propping up his favorite archetypes at their expense, or at least not savaging his favorite "Tough Guys" nearly as badly.
    There are big themes about corporate art and politics, the comics industry, merchandising, and why we expect our corporate heroes to behave in ways that humans dont behave amongst other things.

    But yes if you havent read it then it will look as you describe it.

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