DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

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DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Ares » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:22 am

Dan DiDio wrote:“Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests,” he said, according to reports.

“That’s very important and something we reinforced. People in the Bat family their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace—oops shouldn’t have said that,—Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 05441.html

Well, that certainly explains a lot.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Shock » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:28 am

And of course villains can't be happy either. Or they wouldn't be villains. So nobody in the DC universe can be happy?

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby thaumonuclear » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:30 am

Could be worse. He could have said they shouldn't have happy personal lives because he wants readers to be able to relate to them...

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Arkrite » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:31 am

*facepalm*
Can somebody please get him some therapy?
Or at least remove him from a position of power?

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Thakowsaizmu » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:35 am

DiDio needs to join Morrison in the old comic folks' home where they can reminisce about the good ol' days while they drink their lemonade.
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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Ares » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:05 pm

thaumonuclear wrote:Could be worse. He could have said they shouldn't have happy personal lives because he wants readers to be able to relate to them...


Between this statement and Quesada's basically using One More Day to lambast comics readers, I have to wonder if Dan D and Joe Q aren't really the same person just using clever disguises to spread misery to both comic companies.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Thakowsaizmu » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:12 pm

Ares wrote:
thaumonuclear wrote:Could be worse. He could have said they shouldn't have happy personal lives because he wants readers to be able to relate to them...


Between this statement and Quesada's basically using One More Day to lambast comics readers, I have to wonder if Dan D and Joe Q aren't really the same person just using clever disguises to spread misery to both comic companies.

His true name is Danjoe DiQuesadio
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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Mr Mole » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:23 pm

I used to read comics to help get my mind away from depressing thoughts.

From a dramatic perspective, yes, there needs to be some disharmony to add tension... But it's only so that tension can eventually be resolved.

Peter Parker, the Amazing/Sensational/Spectacular/Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man's life has been, historically, full of trouble and tension and angst... But it's his ability to rise above all that and still be a real hero when it counts that largely defines the character. The same goes for Batman and any number of DC/Marvel/other heroes over the years.

I need to walk away from the topic of current comic book trends and the schmucks producing them for awhile. It's just giving me a headache. :|

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Ares » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:33 pm

The thing was, even at his worst, Peter Parker's life usually had a balance of good and bad to it. Sure, maybe he had money problems, maybe he got beaten by the villain of the week, and maybe Jameson was smearing his name. But he also had a loving aunt, a loving wife, a steady job, the respect of many heroes, friends, loved ones, the memory of Uncle Ben, etc. He was able to hold on to his better nature and rise above the crap in his life because he had good things to strengthen his spirit when he was at his worst.

Even Batman was shown to have some happiness in his life at times. The underrated The Batman gave us a thoroughly likable and sympathetic Bruce Wayne who took some joy in his life.

So no, while there does need to be some conflict in their lives, this notion that we can't have happy, well adjusted heroes is a betrayal of the optimism, hope and fun superhero comics use to be about.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby tomorrow » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:10 pm

Just playing Devil's advocate here, but its not like he's saying anything new, though in earnest this type of theory is more commonly said of television characters. Drama requires tension, happiness generally does not create much tension (save for the lingering threat of it being ruined). Is is a cop-out still? Is it terribly cliche? Maybe, but its not without some support from traditional thoughts on story dynamics.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Arkrite » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:19 pm

Yes, but there is a difference between saying that there needs to be conflict and that nobody can ever be happy.

A story where nothing but bad things ever happen over and over and over again is just depressing. There has to be high points, there has to be reasons to continue pushing on.

I mean, if being a superhero precludes you from ever having a happy life then why do you do it? Insanity? Duty?

I mean, come on, we've got people in the real world who have some pretty horrific jobs out there but they can still have happy home lives.
I don't expect a solider to never have a happy personal life because he's decided to step out and protect the country.

And why can't having a happy life be conflict in itself? Conflict doesn't have to be "I can't have a happy life" conflict can just as easily be "How do I make time for my wife while tracking the bad guy down" and "how do I relate to my kids when I do this for a living" or "I need to get to little Billy's ball game, but this bus of nuns is about to crash into the sea". "I don't have enough money for loved one A's event B, do I steal from criminal scum C?"

The idea that conflict has to be sad and depressing is wrong. And the concept of a superhero who can never be happy is just horrible.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby saint_matthew » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:19 pm

Dan DiDio wrote:“Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests,”


Hmmmmmm, i just noticed something strange: If you replace the word "hero" with the words "comic readers," you kinda get Didios view on the industry :lol:
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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Arkrite » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:59 pm

Found somebody who put it better than me:

Likewise, pure victimization is not only dull, but depressing. Conflict doesn’t come in oppressing or being oppressed—it comes in the struggle to break free. The reader wants the final outcome to be in doubt. He likes the anticipation of conflict, a situation created where conflict is waiting to happen.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby tomorrow » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:19 pm

Well, I think I'd actually have to agree that inherently there is a disconnect between sustained domestic bliss and being superhero. I mean, your basically taking the personal life strain of being a cop, firefighter, or soldier, combining it with the personal life strain of being a celebrity, combining that with the personal life strain of being a spy, combining that the personal strain of being someone with a psychological disorder (and a high probability of future PTSD), and then dialing ALL THAT up to 11.

Being a superhero is the perfect storm of healthy-relationship killers and no-win choices. Sustained happiness is just not a likely outcome and honestly becomes more surreal then the elements of comic books that are actually SUPPOSED to be surreal. I mean, I won't lie, I can remember a number of times reading comics when the writers initiated a romantic relationship and literally thinking in a sarcastic mental voice, "That'll end well." So can't fault a writer/creator/director too much for eventually coming a similar, albeit much broader, conclusion.

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Re: DiDio: "Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives'"

Postby Ares » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:05 pm

No one's saying that a superhero's private life has to be all rainbows and sunshine, but it's stupid to make every single character miserable because of their vocation. Yes, superheroes are folks who can often be called away at a moment's notice to face unbelievable threats, shoulder incredible burdens, and often receive little material reward for their action. They're much like soldiers, firefighters, rescue workers and police officers in that respect, but with higher stakes. Their lives have tension built in.

But making their lives nothing but misery and unhappiness is ultimately no less boring than having their lives be completely happy, because it isn't tension if someone's miserable all the time. Tension is caused when someone is at the risk of losing something they already have or possibly gaining something they want. If we know a character cannot be in a committed relationship, then all of the dating drama is tension free because there's nothing to gain or lose there. The character essentially exists in a state of limbo.

If someone's in a happy marriage, you can still have conflict and tension. Hell, Love and Capes is an online comic that is all about examining what happens when a superhero gets happily married, but still has various trials and tribulations because of it. I mean, good grief, sitcom writers have been milking married life as story material for decades now.

It's kind of a sad thing that even with the characters dressing up in costumes, having outlandish superpowers, facing all manner of bizarre situations, it's often the relationships characters have that are handled the most immaturely in comics. Some writers wanted to seem to keep certain characters single so that they could have them go on an endless string of dates that will never go anywhere, basically to introduce false romantic tension and to let the character have a lot of one night stands and casual sex. And maybe that works for certain characters, but it's very much being stuck in a 'late teens/early 20's' idea of what dating is suppose to be, shallow and noncommittal.

I'll let sfdebris explain it better than I could.

sfdebris wrote:The third bee in Quesada's bonnet was what's called the spider-marriage, that Peter is married to Mary Jane. Many of the arguments related to this are hollow. For instance, there's the "Spider-man became Billy Joel" concept (and really, for people arguing about being open for the young people, that sure is a goddamn old pop culture reference), because he's married to a supermodel. However, that's perhaps the easiest problem to fix; just one car accident and Mary Jane is no longer the drop-dead gorgeous woman she is. In fact, it would seriously shake up their relationship and offer some new storytelling options. That's part of the other argument: that Spider-man needs to be single so he can -and I can't believe I have to write this- be more like Archie. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any Archie movie has made a half billion dollars. There are, it is said, more storytelling options that can be told with a single Spider-man than a married one.

Is that true? Yes, but not by as much as you think, because there are some stories that can only really be told with a married character. If anyone doesn't see that, then they're either not married, or they're not terribly observant. Being married and being in love are not the same thing at all - if it was, then why do people just live together without being married? Being married raises the stakes of the game. For instance, after Gwen was killed by the Green Goblin, Spider-man went off planning to kill him, but stopped himself before he could finish it. When, at the conclusion of Marvel Knights Spider-man Mary Jane is put in similar jeopardy, there's a lingering question in the reader's mind: if she dies, would he finish it this time? Because it would be much more than just killing the love of his life, it would be taking away the only person who said she loved him in and out of the costume, who knew the risks and said he was worth the risk, who was by his side through all the worst times, whom he once lost and then found again. A marriage means you're playing for keeps.


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