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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by The no face guy View Post
    Provide another piece of evidence, and the sales figures on the Flash for the time, and i will grant that the argument is yours, but that one article alone is not strong enough evidence to provide proof to your claim.
    Or maybe I'll just move the goalpost *again!* Hee hee! (pinkie to mouth)

  2. #47
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    He was written in what was, with few exceptions, the style of the time for DC Comics heroes. Most DC heroes would be looked back on as boring if they were killed off in 1985 and replaced by a younger version, written the style of the late-80s/90s.

    Wally West was also written in a rather flat manner for the first few decades of his published history, and even in New Teen Titans he was arguably the least interesting one on the team. That wasn't the character's fault.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    What’s “boring”?

    I always assumed Barry was created to be a typical guy...bright, but not outlandishly so, in a job that paid okay, an important job but not remotely glamorous.

    He had no trauma in his life...but then he’s gifted by accident with the most fantastic power.

    What does he do with the fantastic power? He just goes about helping people..with not the slightest attempt to enrich himself or benefit himself in anyway.

    For me..back in the day he was DC’s most endearing hero....but yes he was Mr Joe Ordinary.

    Could anybody stay like that in the modern world? I think a skilled writer could make a compelling series exploring that.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether a character has “interesting quirks“...the important thing is whether you can make the reader care about him, and tell engrossing stories using him.

    Barry easily passes those two tests (i.e. lots of readers care about him, and it’s possible to feature him in good stories.)
    That's what I was thinking. Not objectively boring exactly, just super normal when he wasn't the Flash. In some ways even more of an "everyman" than Spider-Man and The Thing because they didn't dump a bunch of excessive tragedy on him. It's one of the reasons I'm not crazy about the "dead mom, imprisoned dad" retcon.

  4. #49
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    I don't know about boring so I'm just gonna share reading experience.

    Reading New 52 Barry's first trade, he's okay, nothing's really wrong with him, his back story, or situation, but he doesn't stand out compared to Aquaman with his land vs sea angst, Superman's humanity vs alien, Wonder Woman against gods hunting human, and Batman's struggle and entitlement of Gotham that I was also reading at the time. The mystery about his mother's death feels really standard in comparison.

    Reading just one issue about Wally in DC Universe Rebirth #1, never read anything about Wally before, instant fall in love. Getting lost in the time stream, his wife, family, and friends don't remember him. Almost wiped out of existence. Even if I start with Rebirth, Wally's story being what it is, while Barry's story is mainly his job, mentor role, and daily life, there's just no comparison.

    The one type of story that I really enjoy with Barry as the main character is whenever he's with Hal. Coz the contrast of their personalities means there's more spark, funny moments, and emotional moments that I don't get while he's on his own or with his enemies and girlfriends, including Cold and Iris.

    ...I like his relationship with August Heart too. Don't know why. Maybe it's the mentor fighting student trying to take things to his own hands that speaks to me.
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 05-31-2020 at 07:46 AM.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I feel like comics have kind of outgrown that format in some regards, at least from what people expect of modern comics.
    Probably (although I woudn't say "outgrown"), but I wasn't trying to make the argument that modern readers would like the old school comics. I was trying to point out why those comics were attractive to readers of the day.

    I think being dependable was much more highly valued--by readers, by distributors and by retailers--back in the day.

    In that market, ten or twelve cents was a lot for a little kid to spend on a comic. So kids had to make a calculation--especially since the the drug stores didn't let you leaf through the comic before you bought it--you had to make an educated guess about which comic would be good and hope it wouldn't be a dud when you got to read it.

    THE FLASH began at issue 105, because back in 1959 issue number ones were not valued. If D.C. put out a number one, it was often not numbered (on the cover). You were taking a flyer on a first issue, if you were a reader, a distributor or a retailer. And people were risk averse. It was better to buy an established title, because then you knew it was something that other readers supported. For distributors and retailers it made it easier to predict how many comics they should ship and they should order, if a comic had a dependable sales record.

    Comics that appeared consistently on the racks were a better bet. You didn't want to be caught out, if a title you liked only sometimes appeared in the store. That's why kids like me preferred single issue stories. It was terrible if you only got half of a story in an issue and you had no hope of getting the other half.

    People today look back on those comics and don't understand that market. So they just say that was "boring" because they don't want to be bothered trying to understand the interests of that period. The market changed--it didn't outgrow anything. Market forces made comics tell other kinds of stories. And those are what appeal to the much fewer people who read comics today compared to what appealed to the masses of kids that read comics in the past.
    🇨🇦

  6. #51
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    Boring is an opinion. A large consensus found the comics boring. You might not have but no one is wrong for calling Barry Allen boring if they think he's boring. If the "market changed" and that change resulted in that consensus shifting against Barry and finding him boring then that's just stating a bunch of extra steps to get to the same conclusion.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vordan View Post
    Could they have changed Barry? Sure, modern Barry isn’t the same guy as Pre-Crisis Barry. But I’ve seen lots of Flash fans complain about the obsession with Barry’s dead mom. And there are other factors to consider: Barry was a cop. Barry was married and thus “old”. Barry’s last story hadn’t been received well. Wally was young, had been in NTT which was one of DC’s most popular books, and was pretty much a blank slate they could take in any direction.
    And how mopey he's been acting lately...or how everyone in his life seems to feel justified in criticizing him...

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    And how mopey he's been acting lately...or how everyone in his life seems to feel justified in criticizing him...
    I think Barry more than anyone epitomizes the infamous “Problem” aka “DC desperately wants to be Marvel”. So they show that Barry is “just a guy”, that he makes mistakes, that not everyone loves him, etc, etc. The Spider-Man storytelling method essentially. Except Spidey himself was fairly boring under Slott’s last years since Peter was a pathetic manchild who couldn’t do anything right. Barry isn’t at that level yet, but he’s getting there.

  9. #54
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    I think the replies so far reveal there are multiple sources for this impression. One that hans't been mentioned as often, is the in-story suggestions that Barry was kind of boring. Iris is always chiding him, Barry refers to himself as having "slow and lazy ways". Post-Crisis Superman refers to Barry as not showing his sense of humor often. Waid wrote an amazing Barry Allen, though even there it's a feature; he wears a full set of pajamas when camping, causing the other Flashes/GL's to laugh hysterically. I think the character relied on subtleties and so those used to newer formats, and others looking for ammunition, were able to point to those recognized aspects of his ordinary nature and say he was boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I like the original LAW & ORDER because the main characters don't get in the way of the episode's plot. In fact, the few times when we see Lenny struggling with his gambling addiction or Jack being too familiar with his A.D.A detract from my appreciation, I just want the show to be a procedural and that's when it's at its best.

    In the same way, what was good about the classic run of the Flash was the plotting. You could infer things about the characters of Barry and Iris, but the main attraction of the comic was these amazing adventures. During the relevance era, writers had characters go on these long rants about their feelings--but Barry was largely spared from that embarrassment. Cary Bates being such a good plotter, the comics were enjoyable for all the action in them.

    I suppose that makes me superficial. But some comics are best if the main characters know enough to get out of the way of the plot. If you think that means the characters are boring so be it--but that's missing the point of what those comics are for.
    This is interesting to me. For so long now I've internalized the adage that the best stories are character-driven. But there's a lot of truth to what you said. A fast-paced and exciting adventure can often get bogged down in melodrama if the character inserts too many of their own problems. Reading some Golden Age Superman now, there's not a ton of fleshing out what or how Superman feels or thinks, he just does and you can infer yourself. Instead you're learning about fresh characters in all sorts of plots with twists and turns all the time. And that's freeing, in a way.

  10. #55
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    One thing which IMMEDIATLY came into my mind as I read this question was FLASH ANNUAL 2..

    In this issue, Impulse comes back and he visits the Flash museum and looks at the statues of Wally and Barry and he compares them...

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackDaw View Post
    What’s “boring”?

    I always assumed Barry was created to be a typical guy...bright, but not outlandishly so, in a job that paid okay, an important job but not remotely glamorous.

    He had no trauma in his life...but then he’s gifted by accident with the most fantastic power.

    What does he do with the fantastic power? He just goes about helping people..with not the slightest attempt to enrich himself or benefit himself in anyway.

    For me..back in the day he was DC’s most endearing hero....but yes he was Mr Joe Ordinary.

    Could anybody stay like that in the modern world? I think a skilled writer could make a compelling series exploring that.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether a character has “interesting quirks“...the important thing is whether you can make the reader care about him, and tell engrossing stories using him.

    Barry easily passes those two tests (i.e. lots of readers care about him, and it’s possible to feature him in good stories.)
    This. It made his sacrifice more noble, too, because the only thing that put him on death's door was he felt he had to do something for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It wasn't one of the many orphans or characters with some great quest in life. It was Joe Average comic reader. He was just a good person who stepped up when needed to, no more or less, and unlike aliens, billionaires or creatures of myth, he really could have been you.

    He kind of became the patron saint of superheroes.

    And now he's a helluva lot more generic, because he's another orphan on the Justice League with a chip on their shoulder. Yawn.

  12. #57
    Astonishing Member phantom1592's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning Rider View Post



    This is interesting to me. For so long now I've internalized the adage that the best stories are character-driven. But there's a lot of truth to what you said. A fast-paced and exciting adventure can often get bogged down in melodrama if the character inserts too many of their own problems. Reading some Golden Age Superman now, there's not a ton of fleshing out what or how Superman feels or thinks, he just does and you can infer yourself. Instead you're learning about fresh characters in all sorts of plots with twists and turns all the time. And that's freeing, in a way.
    I wonder how long 'character driven' stories are viable... before they've all been told. How often can you lose a girlfriend/brother/ sister/ best friend at the hands of an archrival. How often can whatever your defining traits are be the spotlight without people screaming that it's repetative. Then start screaming for a legacy to take over and we start the whole thing over again...

    I love a good character driven story too.... but yeah, sometimes the adventure has to be the focus... especially when these characters are between 60-80 years old.

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