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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 15,891 posts (16,690 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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Fergurg wrote:
Hudax wrote:
Fergurg wrote:
As for education being an end to itself, that is a ridiculous premise - education for the purpose of education is worthless.

Wish someone had told me that when I was reading all that Plato and Shakespeare.

Damn them! How dare they suggest that thinking is worthwhile!

If you were reading Plato and Shakespeare for the purpose of reading Plato and Shakespeare, then you were doing the opposite of thinking - you were absorbing without thinking.

I don't even know what that means.

Reading classic literature for its own sake is the opposite of thinking?


phantom1592 wrote:
Aranna wrote:

And if so then how irritated will those fans be when they reboot him and wipe out every story they ever loved reading in one shot?

The problem is that they do it all the time anyway. Even with a universe wide reboot, NONE of these characters are the same as we've been reading about 10 years ago, let alone 50. Marvel has rebooted a few times now, they just do it as mini retcons and special events to the point that people don't notice.

One thing that tends to frustrate me is the people who say 'go back and read the old stories.. they're still there...' whenever these conversations still come up. Most notably when Barry Allen or Hal Jordan were coming back.

Comics HAVE evolved over time. The Barry Allen stories of the 60's and 70's were fun for the time... but now days are REALLY silly and/or poorly done. Same with most of the 'original' stories. Some hold up well as world changing phenomenons... some read like they paid the artist/writers a nickel a page to push as much as they could out...
add in the fact they were 'just for kids' and quality REALLY suffered.

If the choice is 'go back and read what I already read' or 'reboot the characters with modern art and storytelling'... I REALLY do push for Reboot any day of the week.

What I CAN'T stand are the retcons and writers who forget the continuity they're writing for. It's really why I lost so much respect for Marvel over the years. It's bad enough telling the same story I read 10 years ago... but it's even worse when they act like it is brand new! Also, if they are gonna reboot... start from the beginning. BND and New 52 were garbage, because nobody knew what was and what wasn't being counted yet. They shot from the hip and just confused everyone.

BND and New 52 were garbage. As was the original Crisis and to a lesser degree only because it changed less Zero Hour and the Final Crisis. And apparently the switch from the Golden Age to the Silver Age heroes as well.

In other words, every DC comic you've ever read was part of that garbage. And yet, there's some damn good stories in there. (Along with, per Sturgeon's Law, an awful lot of crap.) Marvel's a bit less problematic, since they haven't done multiple whole universe reboots, but they have rewritten the history of several of their major titles more than once. I don't think the X-Men have actually been rebooted, but their continuity is definitely tied in knots.

It's why I don't like reboots, but I can live with them. They're never going to do an actual complete reboot and really start from the beginning, because they're going to want to keep some characters who depend on others having been around. Because those characters are popular. People like them.

On the other hand, they can't actually keep track of decades of continuity and keep it in mind for ever future story, especially when parts of it are contradictory and other parts of it are those really silly and/or poorly done stories you mention.

Personally, I wish they'd just keep the basic continuity in mind, but not sweat details from long ago or feel bound by all the bad ideas. And just tell good stories in whatever the current continuity happens to be. Because that is possible.

Edit: I actually do think the New 52 is mostly garbage, despite some early interesting titles, but that's not due to the reboot, but to editorial policies that have driven away most of their best writers. Or at least the ones that I like.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

Let's break down your statements here.

Quark Blast wrote:


The point I was making is that until... what? ... sometime in the 1970's? A person could pay his way through college with summer work and part time work while at college.
When people could afford to pay for their own education, they could receive it and provide for themselves.
Though this isn't directly related to your point, a good part of that difference in cost, at least for public colleges, was direct state support for the schools. That's been largely replaced with government subsidized tuitions, through grants and government backed loans.
The important statistic that you've not allowed for is that students are now being made to account for a greater percentage of a college or universities's operating expenses. Especially with schools like Rutgers who has taken no hit in student enrollment from raising tuition. (the middle class families who can no longer afford to send their kids to NJ's state university are being replaced by upper class families who's kids can't meet the standards for Princeton.)

I think that's what I said, though from a different angle.

And often they still can afford it, by taking out crippling loans or getting grants and scholarships.
Of course, this also ties in to the general decline of the middle class.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Aranna wrote:


Maybe that's why I am failing here. I don't know most of these heroes outside of TV or movies. It just seemed like common sense.

Common sense, isn't. :-)

You do get me wondering about the MCU though. Rumors point to Steve dying in Civil War, and Bucky/Winter Soldier picking up the shield.

Don Cheadle is 50 himself, RDjr is 50 this year. Sebastian Stan is 32, Anthony Mackie is 34. So Rhodey = Taking up the armor runs into the same aging concerns as Tony, short of recasting.

So, how will the movies affect the comics if we get 6 movies of Bucky (or Sam) as Cap?* Could the MCU do what the comics have never been able to do for long, put someone else in the title and make it stick? If we don't get Rhodey taking up the Iron Man-tle, do we get a new character in the movieverse? And does he jump to the comics like Phil Colson did?

*** spoiler omitted **

They'll eventually reboot the Movie universe, for just that reason. They won't do the retiring hero thing, at least not often or long. It makes even less sense when the characters have really done so little. A couple movies. A few adventures. Not the kind of career that leads to someone else taking up the mantle. Only to pass it on again after a couple more movies.

I really wish they'd just accept it and recast. If they get good people and don't just descend to second rate talent, it could work.


Irontruth wrote:

Let's break down your statements here.

Quark Blast wrote:


The point I was making is that until... what? ... sometime in the 1970's? A person could pay his way through college with summer work and part time work while at college.
When people could afford to pay for their own education, they could receive it and provide for themselves.

Though this isn't directly related to your point, a good part of that difference in cost, at least for public colleges, was direct state support for the schools. That's been largely replaced with government subsidized tuitions, through grants and government backed loans.


magnuskn wrote:
Characters aging in real time is pretty much a bad idea. Comics come out in one month jumps, hence a lot of stories can't be told in "real time" with only 32 pages per month.

That's another issue. There's a lot of character development that's really hard to do with that few pages to cover a whole year. Especially when you're going to devote most of that space to fight scenes. :)

Even if you cheat and have a 6 issue plotline take place over a couple days, then have 6 months of down time, it'll be hard. Relationship developments and similar things don't work well with that little screen time.


Aranna wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
You mean the younger generations who haven't grown tired of the stories because they haven't seen them yet?
I am new to comics... the two I am following with interest are Ms Marvel (the new one, Kamala Khan) and Thor (the new Thor, the woman). I don't want to read about the dusty old heroes who held those names before, they don't matter... well Thor might later when he eventually reclaims the hammer, but for now this is her book. I may not be tired of the old stories, I am just not interested in most of them. I want a new hero. Someone I can read about as they grow into the role. It's people like me that will grow or kill the comic industry; we the new readers, the old readers are a shrinking group clinging to an ever smaller set of old fashioned heroes. This is why they want to reboot everything yet again. They want us to fall in love with the old heroes, so they are wiping the slate clean. Cleaning away their histories and restarting them anew. But I think that would only accelerate the alienation of old readers. I know some of you think my idea of just retiring the old to clear room for the new is a bad one. And I wonder, do you really prefer your old heroes to be reset? I mean you old fans should probably be the ones to decide the fate of your heroes reset or retired? Either way it seems the comic companies will give me my new stories. Which way is easier on you guys?

Forgive me, but judging by sales figures, I don't think you're typical, even of a new comics reader.

That said, everyone has their different tastes. As we can see by your experience, there are books out there for you, even without retiring the old heroes. (Well, Thor had to lose the hammer, but he's still around, certainly didn't retire from age.) If those newer titles actually do better and sales on the older titles drop enough, I'd expect older heroes to be dropped and replaced. In fact, we have seen that with many second string heroes. Though their sales eventually drop and the originals are often brought back.
That's all fine, I'm happy with it. (If not with all the individual choices. :)

What I don't think is a good idea is a blanket policy of retiring all heroes on a time schedule, regardless of their popularity.

I think reboots are really orthogonal to the real-time question. You could have reboots even if they decided to age in real-time. In fact, I'd expect it, since that would be the only way to bring back old heroes and I know they'd eventually do it. You could, in theory, have non-real time comics without reboots. Characters and teams can change to keep up with the times without actually changing the backstory. They've done it many times.

I also think you're wrong about the habits of new readers. I really doubt that new readers ignore the old characters. The ones that they were introduced to in cartoons and movies. The ones that still remain the best selling comics, often in multiple titles. Nor do all the old readers only read the classic heroes. Personally, most of what I'm reading is outside the Big Two, but I have been picking up the new Thor.


Fergurg wrote:
Hudax wrote:
2) Right now, you pay for other people's children to do a lot of things. Go to the ER.
Very rarely; usually, the hospital writes it off if they can't collect the money.

Technically yes, but the hospital still has costs associated with that care. Those costs are passed on to those patients who can pay. Including you.

Fergurg wrote:
Hudax wrote:
Collect unemployment.
Nope. Businesses pay into unemployment insurance.

Which raises the cost of doing business. Which costs are again passed on to customers. Like you.

Fergurg wrote:
Hudax wrote:
Go to high school.
High school is a joke, and no small part of the reason is because it is free for the students. It has degenerated to the point that a high school diploma is an award for staying awake for 12 years.

Never mind. You're against public education at all. (Or maybe you think public elementary school is okay?)

Still, no point in discussing this with you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quark Blast wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
The solution is to not use associate faculty as large scale replacement for professors. Problem is money.

The problem is that good engineers get paid six-figure salaries plus good benefits and in order to get engineering faculty the college has to pay competitively to private.

The pressure is even greater in computer science.

Same with medical faculty.

Where's the competition for Lit professors? It isn't there of course but the Union puts enormous pressure on the college to pay equally for academic tenure.

Which means, outside of a few specialized fields, college professors are way over paid. Hence the college bean-counters solution to use scabs... er I mean, adjunct or associate staff.

Most universities these days are much more administration heavy than they were in the past. Much higher percentage of the budget not going to faculty.


GreyWolfLord wrote:

That's another problem I see in the university system. Someone gives a test and the highest score is a 56. This enables the teacher to adjust the grades on a bell curve and avoid grade inflation. HOWEVER...think about what that means. It means the brightest and most brilliant student in your class...didn't even learn 60% of what you taught. They don't even know enough about what you just taught to be knowledgeable!

That's an absolute failure to teach right there. Sure, it keeps grade inflation down...but it also reflects that no one leaving that class knows WTH it was about.

It means nothing of the sort.

Unless you make the assumption that learning everything taught in class = 100% on the test. Which is a natural assumption to make, but doesn't always hold.

I had a physics professor back in my college days and he did that. He explained to us that he could design tests to put the average anywhere he wanted to and liked to put the average around 50%, because that gave more room to differentiate between the good students, rather than everyone being clustered above 80.

Maybe the 56% means no one learned what was taught. Maybe they did learn what was taught, but didn't extrapolate beyond what was taught into things they could have figured out on their own.

Grade inflation has nothing to do with grading on the curve or the relationship between the percent of answers you got right and the letter grade you finally get. That's far more likely to be tied to the difficulty of the test.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Not risks in terms of getting rid of or making drastic changes to their most successful characters.
That was specifically in terms of the early days.
Killing off Gwen Stacy and bringing in MJ was a pretty big deal in those early days that had a major impact on the Spiderman story. From what I've seen of the early X-Men books, they freely changed, killed, or wrote off multiple characters that didn't make their way back into the story until after the cartoon had started. They definitely did make risks with their big names and stuck with them in those early days. The goofiness didn't start immediately.

4 of the 5 original X-Men are still alive. Jean Grey died in the new X-Men, but she's died and come back more than once since. She's the only one that really count's, I'd say. I don't think anyone else died in the original X-Men run. They killed the Professor, but brought him back again and that was more the perennial question of how to get the mentor figure out of the way. Thunderbird was killed off soon after the new team got together, but that was the only point to his character anyway.

I can't actually think of any other X-Men who died in anything like the early days. It's a team book and obviously teams change. The change from the original X-Men to the new team was a big deal, but it wasn't a big risk - They were reviving a dead concept. The X-Men book had been a reprint title for something like 5 years.

Gwen Stacy's death was a big deal, though MJ had been introduced years earlier. Nor does it really compare with dropping a high selling masthead character.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Why do we need to change old characters? If the new generation brings completely different characters, they are no longer the characters I love. If they have the same personality of their predecessors, what's the point of having a new generation?
You don't get it. It's not about you or what you love or hate. You're not the primary concern as you're reading comics already. It's about making them relevant to the younger generations.

The comics characters who have been the mainstays of the genre for 50 (and in some cases 80) years, finally need to be replaced for this generation? Despite being still more popular than any previous attempts to make relevant heroes?

I don't think so.

This is not exactly the first time that comics have been rebooted. The original Secret Wars, Zero Hour, New 52, all of those series featured reboots.

Golden Age, Silver Age, War Time, all those represent reboots of the characters that survived those eras into others.

I'm not really talking about the reboots - those generally preserve the major characters basically intact. Return them to their roots, slightly tweaked if anything. We're talking about the idea of having the characters age and pass the mantle on to their heirs.

You'll note that I followed the part you quoted with "They need to change with the times. As they've done before and will continue to do. That requires more different writing and different approaches to the characters than either replacements or reboots."

I'm not in favor of reboots, especially universe wide ones. I think they create more problems than they solve. They bother me, but I can cope with them.

OTOH, I'm glad I got to read Superman comics, Batman comics, and Spiderman comics. I'm glad they featured Kal-el, Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker. I don't think they've outlived their interest. I think they're still relevant to this generation. They change of course. They're icons. They change, but the core remains.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Not risks in terms of getting rid of or making drastic changes to their most successful characters.

That was specifically in terms of the early days.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Stopped being written mostly for kids.

Perhaps that was their biggest mistake. Kids in general have a much higher tolerance for what comic books have always been.

Regardless of the reason, there was a very real shift around that time that left both Marvel and DC largely running on a hamster wheel just trying to keep up with the changing times. Relying on established heroes and methods of story telling aren't going to get them off of that hamster wheel, now or ever.

I fundamentally don't agree with this. Or that it was all that different before.

So you think that Marvel and DC have always been this stagnant in terms of new character development and that they differentiated themselves from the competitors they faced in their early days by relying on the status quo? They couldn't have, otherwise we wouldn't be talking about them today. Any company their size had to take a fair number or risks, both calculated and otherwise, at some point in order to get there, more so given the limited nature of the market they serve.

You are basically arguing that neither company should even think about risking what they already have even though it's clear that what they currently have is a shrinking niche that is going to require a significant jolt to revive. I don't think that Marvel is in that mindset right now. They have already changed the character behind the three most recent successful heroes, significantly rewrote a fouth (the Hulk did not used to be that easy to control) and seem reasonably determined to stick to it. Especially given the reasonable success of the alternate Spiderman, their lack of ownership of the movie rights to Spiderman, and at least one semi-recent attempt to purge the number of X-Men, they seem to be willing to go out on a limb and back the changes up. More importantly, they have a large wave of public support to genuinely make it stick as long as the stories are good. They would be foolish not to...

Risks in terms of adding new characters, some of whom became incredibly successful.

Not risks in terms of getting rid of or making drastic changes to their most successful characters.

Almost all of Marvel's well-known characters were introduced in the first few years of its entry to the superhero business.
In the start of the Silver Age, DC revamped a bunch of its dormant Golden Age characters. Those that had survived the super-hero slump stayed basically the same.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

That's only going to work if you can force them to do it and stick to it somehow.

You're relying on a discipline that the two companies have never had. Or ever aimed for.

What you'd really get is a reboot in a couple years to bring the old characters back.

Possibly, but people claimed that with the new Thor when it was first announced, and are quite likely to be proven wrong if they can pull off the reveal soon and well. You're right, it requires discipline that neither company has shown much interest in lately, but in the early days, they showed something of the discipline required, and we are having this conversation today because of it. Without that discipline in those early days, none of the now iconic heroes would likely have gained much traction and we would be talking of other things here. Simply feeding off the table scraps of yesterday, which is what both companies are doing right now, is not going to last forever, and discipline and focus in general is going to be needed to establish themselves as something more than the owners of yesterday's heroes.

Marvel is actually doing quite well on this front, so the upcoming relaunch will be interesting to see. If they go the route that DC did, and only do a partial reboot for a few of the characters while being unwilling to even glance at most of their sacred cows, they will have missed an opportunity to solidify the gains they have made through the movies. This is not to say that they should slay sacred cows for the sake of slaying sacred cows, but I really do hope that they at least took a long hard look at them before sparing them for reasons beyond not wanting to take a risk of any kind. Right now, they seem to have the management and the public support to take a certain amount of risk and do just fine without having to have nightmares of what life after Peter Parker might look like.

Marvel isn't touching its sacred cows. What do you think it's doing now that's good on this front, that isn't just a short term "gimmick" storyline. Neither FalcCap or Lady Thor are likely to be anything more. Or anything less. That they're intentionally limited storylines doesn't make them bad.

Some people have believed that all of the hero replacements in the past were permanent or at least intended to be so at the time. It's rarely been true. Wally West, Kyle Raynor, Ryan Choi, a few others on the DC side. None I can think of for Marvel. I'm not sure why, at this point, any of Marvel's would be permanent. (Miles in the Ultimates, but that's a little different since Parker still has his titles in the MU)

I don't think Marvel had more discipline in the early days. Characters didn't die and get replaced. In fact, they returned from the dead pretty frequently. Storylines were often little more than "What weird thing can happen this month?" DC's early days were too long ago for me to know much about them. Not at all impressed by what I've read of them. By the 70s, there was much silliness and little discipline. Think of the Superman of those days.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Stopped being written mostly for kids.

Perhaps that was their biggest mistake. Kids in general have a much higher tolerance for what comic books have always been.

Regardless of the reason, there was a very real shift around that time that left both Marvel and DC largely running on a hamster wheel just trying to keep up with the changing times. Relying on established heroes and methods of story telling aren't going to get them off of that hamster wheel, now or ever.

I fundamentally don't agree with this. Or that it was all that different before.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Why do we need to change old characters? If the new generation brings completely different characters, they are no longer the characters I love. If they have the same personality of their predecessors, what's the point of having a new generation?
You don't get it. It's not about you or what you love or hate. You're not the primary concern as you're reading comics already. It's about making them relevant to the younger generations.

The comics characters who have been the mainstays of the genre for 50 (and in some cases 80) years, finally need to be replaced for this generation? Despite being still more popular than any previous attempts to make relevant heroes?

I don't think so.

They need to change with the times. As they've done before and will continue to do. That requires more different writing and different approaches to the characters than either replacements or reboots.

Mind you, new versions have worked with less popular, less iconic second string characters. Ones who were actually losing their popularity, not just following the general drop in comics popularity.

I wouldn't exactly call being a mainstay of a genre that has been stagnant for most of the last three decades much of reason to automatically keep the old heroes around, especially if the goal is to diversify the types of people they have reading comics. Different writing and different approaches are not by themselves going to be enough in all cases. The idea of replacement must remain on the table even if it is not ultimately pursued immediately.

Stagnant for 3 decades? '85? Ever look at comics before then?

You know what the big change around that time was? Comics started to take themselves seriously. Started to be for the adult fan. The collector. Started to listen to the diehard fans and the critics.

Stopped being written mostly for kids.


sunshadow21 wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
From all I have seen, comic books are just a hard sell to a lot of people. I don't see how retiring known and popular characters somehow ENCOURAGES more people to buy into the medium
Directly, it wouldn't, but as a catalyst that would force Marvel and DC to actually get truly creative and come up with new characters, it could. I don't have a problem with the existing characters in and of themselves, just the general laziness it inspires when it comes to creating something newer to potentially strengthen the medium as a whole rather than relying the inertia of the fame of the existing heroes whose stories often are simply well known, not necessarily better written.

That's only going to work if you can force them to do it and stick to it somehow.

You're relying on a discipline that the two companies have never had. Or ever aimed for.

What you'd really get is a reboot in a couple years to bring the old characters back.


LazarX wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Why do we need to change old characters? If the new generation brings completely different characters, they are no longer the characters I love. If they have the same personality of their predecessors, what's the point of having a new generation?
You don't get it. It's not about you or what you love or hate. You're not the primary concern as you're reading comics already. It's about making them relevant to the younger generations.

The comics characters who have been the mainstays of the genre for 50 (and in some cases 80) years, finally need to be replaced for this generation? Despite being still more popular than any previous attempts to make relevant heroes?

I don't think so.

They need to change with the times. As they've done before and will continue to do. That requires more different writing and different approaches to the characters than either replacements or reboots.

Mind you, new versions have worked with less popular, less iconic second string characters. Ones who were actually losing their popularity, not just following the general drop in comics popularity.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quark blast wrote:
Educating kids beyond their INT is like giving me course work on quantum theory - it's a demonstrable waste of time and money. However well intentioned.
Right, but for all but a few people that have severe handicaps there's something thats not beyond their int that will give them a better life than burger flipping. They might not design their Flipsomatic robot replacement but they can learn how to fix it.

Somebody's got to flip the burgers. Or do all the other menial tasks.

We need to make that not a horrible life. I mean, it's a horrible mind-numbing job no matter what. We don't have to compound that by also making people doing it live in poverty.

It shouldn't be a horrible mind numbing life it should be a horrible mind numbing few years you get to complain to your grandkids about.

Unless we bring in a lot more automation, there's an awful lot more menial labor to be done in this country than we have teenagers to do it for a couple of years each.

And even with that automation, there isn't enough high-end mentally stimulating work to keep everyone working.

Education is a good thing, but not everyone can have a job that actually uses four years of college. That's not how the job market is divided. That's why even the lower end jobs have to be enough to live on.

Yes, your Fordship.

Well, other than that Ford was jerk and that I don't think it's necessarily a good idea for an individual business - just one that's necessary for survival of a democracy.


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sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sure, it would be great if they could reliably turn out new characters that hit those heights, but they can't. And there's no reason to think that getting rid of the mainstays would change that.

Simply continuing to rely on the existing characters isn't going to help them any though, as the mainstays aren't all they used to be. This thread alone has talked about 2 different Batmans, 3 different Robins, 2 different Spidermans (+ a fair number of variants on Peter Parker's base story), 2 or 3 Green Lanterns, 2 Captain Americas, 2 Thors, and there was recently an entire multipage thread on the different X-Men over the years. All of that is before you get into the movie versions of all of these and other comic book characters. Trying to talk about any of these as if there is a consistent core character and story anymore for any of them is already extremely difficult. And it's just going to keep getting hard to justify the claim as time goes on. There is already less demand that Batman has to be Bruce Wayne or that Spiderman has to be Peter Parker. Done right, retiring Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne permanently is entirely plausible in that environment, especially if they couple it with the reprinting of the classic stories that feature the retired character that allow current readers to experience both stories without having to worry about continuity questions.

Short of a radical and complete reboot for everyone and literally starting over from scratch, I just don't see them doing much with the existing characters other than continuing the slow slide into a smaller and smaller niche. The older characters won't simply disappear over night, but they can and will continue to lose relevance across the general population, especially given the shifts in ages and cultures our country is facing. Let's face it; while Steve Rogers and Clark Kent made a very good Captain America and Superman for their time, everything about them is based on a time and an ethos that simply does not exist anymore....

I think the competition from other forms of entertainment is what's hurting comic sales. I don't think ditching their still top characters is going to fix that.

If Superman and Captain America aren't relevant anymore, why have they just had blockbuster movies? Why are they still top selling comics?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
N N 959 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

]If the player persists in saying, "I never pee because the rules don't say I have too", I might eventually apply penalties. More likely I'd just tell the player to stop being an idiot and stop playing with him if he persisted.

Or have his bladder rupture.

I'm at a complete loss as to why you think the GMs job is to make sure the player declares/concedes his character has used the bathroom? Is there some sort of unfair advantage a player receives for declaring such a thing?

Honestly, 99.5% of the time I'd just ignore it. Only if someone made a point of insisting that his character never needed to go, because the rules didn't say so, would it come up at all. At which point I'd laugh and tell him he still did, even if it wasn't covered in the rules. Only if he still persisted in arguing would it go any further.

Consequences for a player being an idiot.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
thejeff wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quark blast wrote:
Educating kids beyond their INT is like giving me course work on quantum theory - it's a demonstrable waste of time and money. However well intentioned.
Right, but for all but a few people that have severe handicaps there's something thats not beyond their int that will give them a better life than burger flipping. They might not design their Flipsomatic robot replacement but they can learn how to fix it.

Somebody's got to flip the burgers. Or do all the other menial tasks.

We need to make that not a horrible life. I mean, it's a horrible mind-numbing job no matter what. We don't have to compound that by also making people doing it live in poverty.

It shouldn't be a horrible mind numbing life it should be a horrible mind numbing few years you get to complain to your grandkids about.

Unless we bring in a lot more automation, there's an awful lot more menial labor to be done in this country than we have teenagers to do it for a couple of years each.

And even with that automation, there isn't enough high-end mentally stimulating work to keep everyone working.

Education is a good thing, but not everyone can have a job that actually uses four years of college. That's not how the job market is divided. That's why even the lower end jobs have to be enough to live on.


Quark Blast wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
But just giving away a college education won't make a poor below-average-INT person any more capable outside the burger and fries arena.
There is a vast swath of humanity in between flipping burgers and quantum physics <snip>...

Strictly speaking it's less than half the population. And some of that half is wealthy enough to afford college, and some of that half is poor enough to get a 'free-ride' (or close to it) already, and some of that half simply doesn't want to go to college.

The problem then is sending the bottom-half-plus remainder to college and dumbing down what it means to have a college degree.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I think the larger problem is that the people in power simply don't need these jobs to be here. They're perfectly fine with the intellectual property and money being in america while the manufacturing and production arms of the economy are overseas where the labor is cheap, gets shot if they get uppity, and can wallow around in the factories air pollution and like it.

Yes. It seems that though Bill Gates and others like him give enormous amounts to charitable education causes, most of those programs do statistically the same as public schools. The only measurable result they get is the tax write off.

I think that statistical parity (between public schools and the efforts of the Gates Foundation, e.g.) comes from the fact that they are throwing "top flight" education on below average kids.

Educating kids beyond their INT is like giving me course work on quantum theory - it's a demonstrable waste of time and money. However well intentioned.

a) I don't think "average" is the point where you're not mentally capable of anything beyond flipping burgers. So it's still a vast swath.

b) It's not entirely clear that the enormous amounts given to charitable education causes actually result in "top flight" educations. Top flight education doesn't tend to look a lot like either charter schools or public school. Look where the elites send their kids.

c) Most importantly, what I think you're missing is the strict correlation between poverty and low education. One interpretation is that poor people are dumb and tend to have dumb kids, so there's no point in wasting much education on them. You're coming perilously close to this. There's a lot of evidence that actually being poor not only means you're likely exposed to less education, but that it actually makes it harder to learn. The extra stresses that come with poverty make learning harder, regardless of your basic intelligence or what kind of school you're in.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quark blast wrote:
Educating kids beyond their INT is like giving me course work on quantum theory - it's a demonstrable waste of time and money. However well intentioned.
Right, but for all but a few people that have severe handicaps there's something thats not beyond their int that will give them a better life than burger flipping. They might not design their Flipsomatic robot replacement but they can learn how to fix it.

Somebody's got to flip the burgers. Or do all the other menial tasks.

We need to make that not a horrible life. I mean, it's a horrible mind-numbing job no matter what. We don't have to compound that by also making people doing it live in poverty.


N N 959 wrote:
deusvult wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
deusvult wrote:


You and I were disagreeing over whether modifiers or penalties are EVER ok if they're not explicitly pre-presented in the rules.

No. I never said that. Once again, you're attempting to win an argument by intentionally misrepresenting my position.

Actually, you said it here, here,here, and here.

In none of this instances am I talking about or even implying that a GM can never apply a circumstance modifier. You and others have tried to push the discussion in that direction because you know that's an argument you can win. Strawman.

Regardless of what the player says, imposing a penalty because the character hasn't used the bathroom is, to borrow a phrase from BNW, simply "being a jerk to someone" and violation of the PFS "don't-be-a-jerk" rule.

If the player persists in saying, "I never pee because the rules don't say I have too", I might eventually apply penalties. More likely I'd just tell the player to stop being an idiot and stop playing with him if he persisted.

Or have his bladder rupture.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Hm... Biblo's family history was very salient to the plot of The Hobbit though (even if they absolutely massacred the book to make the abomination that was The Hobbit movies), and was pivotal to the lord of the rings.

If it wasn't his relation to Frodo then Frodo would have never come to inherent the One Ring and be the broody failure that Samwise had to save (again, and again...).

And if it wasn't for his family's history for 'weirdness' Gandalf wouldn't have sought him out.

That's pretty tenuous, but I'll accept it. More like, my backstory gives me a reason to be in the game in the first place. A far cry from his relatives being threatened or one of his childhood rivals turning out to be a recurring villain.

Frodo, certainly. Also all kind of coming back in the scouring of the Shire.

Still, links to backstory aren't really required for roleplaying. Neither necessary, nor sufficient. Roleplaying is required for roleplaying.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I tell my players this when it comes to backstory:

You get one paragraph to tell me the salient points of your back story. Anything you tell me may be used during the course of the game as an adventure hook, or as a motivating factor.

One paragraph is enough that your history will have plenty of blank space for me to add shocking revelations, and sudden twists!

For example:
Luke Skywalker's backstory is that he was raised by his Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen on a moisture farm on the desert planet of Tattooine. His father was a spice trader and he doesn't know who his mother was. He yearns to become a pilot and leave the boring life he leads behind.

During the course of the game as a GM I can introduce:
** spoiler omitted **

As a GM, my goal is to integrate the story of the player characters into the plot of the game!

To me, a player who has a back story that has no effect on the plot of the campaign may as well not have a back story at all. We could be playing a board-game instead. A short back story that allows the GM to help customize the campaign and make the players feel like their characters are a key part of the story is so vital to the fun of my campaigns.

In my campaigns:

** spoiler omitted **...

Actually in the Star Wars game, I'd be more upset over the GM railroading me into being a Jedi. I wanted to play a fighter pilot.

Unless of course, we'd actually talked that over out of game and agreed I'd be going that direction.

I disagree that back story having no effect on the plot of the game is anything like playing a board-game. For me, it's the in-game decisions that make that difference. For those it doesn't have to matter whether I've got a mysterious past or not. Bilbo's family history never played any role in the plot of the Hobbit. Conan's Cimmerian childhood friends and enemies never came back to haunt him (in the Howard stories at least). Their backstories influenced their characters and thus their actions, but not outside events.


Matthew Downie wrote:

I stopped trying to follow superhero continuity a while back. I think it was around the time Professor X died in the Avengers versus X-Men event, and I thought, "Wait, didn't he die in the Messiah Complex event? When did he come back to life?"

And DC rebooted their entire universe, which made me lose interest there.

There's a limit to how long any one person can stay invested in something that tries to produce a thousand pages of drama events every month. It doesn't mean they've got worse overall - just that eventually any one reader starts to notice the patterns and gets bored.

They're still plenty profitable - Marvel's cinematic universe, DC's TV superhero universe - both of which mostly use source material that would be familiar to readers from thirty years ago or more.

I gave up trying to follow superhero continuity.

I just didn't give up superhero comics. Look for good writers who can tell good stories within the constraints of the genre. Roll with the continuity weirdness.

And by the way, Professor X first died way back in X-Men 42 in 1968. Later retconned to have faked it and let the Mimic die in his place - though I think he's been back too.
The superhero death revolving door isn't a new thing - though it used to apply even more to villains, since they died more often.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:


Peter gets rebooted / refreshed / resurrected constantly. Let's see - in recent times he's had his mind erased completely and overwritten by Dr Octopus. Before that, he had his past rewritten and his marriage erased by making a deal with a demon. Before that, he revealed his secret identity to the world and was given a new high-tech spider suit by Iron Man. Before that, I seem to remember something about him turning into a spider-monster and dying and being reborn? And before that he was a clone of himself. And before that he was attached to the Venom symbiote.

That's how comics stop characters going stale. Yes, some of the character events are pretty silly, but it means when they return to a the status quo (usually with a new variation, such as him having a job as a scientist instead of a photographer, getting a new girlfriend, or whatever) and enough time has passed that it seems interesting to have him fighting regular super-villains again.

The problem is that you can't rely on short term gimmicks forever. They stop the bleeding caused by boredom, but they don't really do much to help with growth because the loss of continuity drives just as many people away. And that is my biggest difficulty with how Marvel and DC have been approaching the problem; they either have to say to heck with continuity or hope enough time has passed since the last time they pulled out a particular villain that enough people have forgotten enough about that particular plot for it to be interesting again. They have largely forgotten how to create interesting new content that doesn't completely change or ignore the existing material and heroes. If they could show a capability to do that, I would be less worried about their use of silly side arcs, but when that kind of side arc becomes the norm, they stop trying to genuinely evolve and develop the character in ways that allow for changes to the character that don't seem entirely out of place.

Depending on how you look at it, they haven't been able to create interesting new content since near the beginning. There have certainly been interesting new stories, though that's obviously a matter of opinion. In terms of major new breakout characters, how many has Marvel had since the 60s? Wolverine is about the only one and that was 70s. DC's mainstays date to the 30s.

Sure, it would be great if they could reliably turn out new characters that hit those heights, but they can't. And there's no reason to think that getting rid of the mainstays would change that.


LDiR wrote:

I've seen a few threads giving the advice to players seeking it that they should pick Pistolero or Musket Master. I'm hesitant to make a decision about which style of gun my character uses at creation and then being unable to change it after level 1.

So, my question is, are the archetypes really that much better than vanilla Gunslinger? Is it just that the vanilla Gunslinger is too feat intensive or expensive to gear properly?

Thanks in advance for your input.

You basically can't use a Musket (or other two-handed firearm) without being a Musket Master. Without Fast Musket you can't get reload times down below a move action, which means never more than 1 shot per round.

If you're not going to commit to that, you might as well be a Pistolero, since it's better for one-handed firearms than the standard gunslinger.

There really isn't an effective way to switch between the two gun styles, so it really does makes sense to pick. I don't think the base gunslinger really gets used much.

You could try them both in a scenario and use your free 1st level rebuild to switch.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thejeff wrote:
You're still assuming that Peter Parker needs new life breathed into him. Peter's doing just fine. You might not like him, but he's quite popular. Why are you so insistent that any fix to sales problems with other characters involve major changes to Peter Parker?

Peter gets rebooted / refreshed / resurrected constantly. Let's see - in recent times he's had his mind erased completely and overwritten by Dr Octopus. Before that, he had his past rewritten and his marriage erased by making a deal with a demon. Before that, he revealed his secret identity to the world and was given a new high-tech spider suit by Iron Man. Before that, I seem to remember something about him turning into a spider-monster and dying and being reborn? And before that he was a clone of himself. And before that he was attached to the Venom symbiote.

That's how comics stop characters going stale. Yes, some of the character events are pretty silly, but it means when they return to a the status quo (usually with a new variation, such as him having a job as a scientist instead of a photographer, getting a new girlfriend, or whatever) and enough time has passed that it seems interesting to have him fighting regular super-villains again.

That's fair. They tell stories and return to roughly the same iconic character with minor variations. Seems to work.


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Quark Blast wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:


The real problem is keeping education away from the less intelligent. The poor/rich-divide argument has no merit.

Except that our current plan is largely based not on "intelligence", but on wealth/poverty.

Both on cost of college education and on quality of pre-college education.
Not true. If you're poor - like poverty line poor - you can get a full ride scholarship. Several from my public high school have/are doing just that. The one's the current system screws over are the ones that aren't quite middle class and not exceptionally intelligent (but still above average) - no free tuition/books/subsidized housing for them. They take it on the chin.

If you're poor, you face an awful lot of challenges just getting the basic education needed to be accepted to college in the first place. Best predictor of education attainment is wealth/poverty level.


Matthew Morris wrote:

I think part of the problem with the 'big' characters is that, for better or worse, the companies are reluctant to disturb the status quo for long periods of time.

Most of the "Cap isn't Steve Rogers" storylines I've read for example, highlight that Steve Rogers is Cap. Bucky-cap is different than Steve, but the Man without the country storyline years ago showed that Steve is still Cap, even without the logo. The ideals that he represents don't go away if he's not in the red white and blue.

Likewise, John Walker's stint in the uniform in the 80s was showing that the uniform doesn't make the man.

Bruce is still Batman, even if you take his resources away. Dickbats, like BuckyCap, is different. If you had Buckycap, or Dickbats or SamCap for that matter, as Cap for ten or 15 years, you might find that they come into their own. (I think both Steve and BuckyCap could hold their own stories, as could Bruce and Dickbats, but I'm not in the industry.)

(Dick Grayson is the exception it seems, as he had a long and successful career and book as Nightwing, where Sam, Rhodey, John Henry, etc, never really got out from their 'sidekick' status. Which is a shame as I like Falcon, War Machine and Steel)

X-Factor's success, and niche, in the past has been that PAD could run with the characters no one wanted, and make them into characters people want. PAD redefined Quicksilver in one page with his PMS (Pietro Maximoff Syndrome) in X-factor, and he took Multiple Man, Rictor and Shatterstar and made them unique and interesting. (Shatterstar for frak's sake!) Likewise, when the previous incarnation of X-Factor ended, other writers actually fought over Monet. You'd never see the Powers that Be risk their 'a-list' characters under such revision. Even when it works (Another example would be PADs run on the Hulk, radically redefining the character) eventually status quo seems to rear its ugly head.

(Aside, I'm hoping Marvel keeps Wolverine dead for at least 10 years. Laura coming into her own, and...

They might come into their own, but I'd rather they did it as Dick did - in their own right, rather than in someone else's costume. I'd rather see Nightwing than Dickbats, other than in fairly short runs to show how he handles it and contrast with Bruce.

The problem with the big characters is that the status quo is popular. If the status quo stopped being popular, if people really did stop liking Peter Parker as Spiderman, Kal-El as Superman or Bruce Wayne as Batman and stopped buying those books, then the status quo would change. As long as they remain the popular characters, that's not going to happen - not as more than temporary storylines.

Which is fine by me.


phantom1592 wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Retiring the big stars of your franchise because some of your long term readers think they're played out is just a horribly bad business idea.
So is rehashing the same story over and over again. Yes, it will, and does work, for a few heroes, but if that's the only tool they have to keep selling comics, they are going to not sell many other comics aside from the big stars, and that will limit their ability to support the big stars. Again, I don't think that retirement is absolutely necessary in most cases, but advocating for just another reboot is equally problematic for the companies. They need to find something in between, and work their way towards making retirement a more plausible solution the next time they need to refresh the heroes.

Comic readership may be down in current years... but we are talking about 80 years of success. This idea of people will get bored with the main characters really has no basis. Because we've already been SEEING the same stories over and over again... and they're still going strong.

Honestly, I REALLY enjoyed the Superior Spider-man, where Doc Ock took over parker's body. It was fun and interesting. I would not have wanted or expected it to be permanent... it was just a story arc. But the amount of nerdrage and people dropping the books and swearing off Marvel for what was obviously a temporary stunt was astounding.

THAT was a chance to get 'an all-new spider-man' and it did not go over well with fans.

There will always be nerdrage. I wonder what the sales numbers looked like?

But yeah, the number of fans who don't realize obviously temporary changes are intended to be temporary always astounds me. It's one thing if it fools the kids who are reading, but serious long term fans getting taken in?


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Lemmy wrote:

Why do we need to change old characters? If the new generation brings completely different characters, they are no longer the characters I love. If they have the same personality of their predecessors, what's the point of having a new generation?

It's not just a rehash of old stories. Every now and then we get truly great re-imaginings of the character and truly creative stories.

Besides, it's not a rehash if you're seeing/writing it for the first time, and not every reader/writer has been around since the golden age of comics.

I grew up loving the stories that star Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne and Kal-el (all of which I'd have never known if comics progressed in real time). If I stopped reading comics for a while and came back to find out all my favorite are dead/retired, I'd probably not even bother returning to comics.

Which isn't to say the alternate universes where the heroes are retired and replaced can't also be fun, as long as they stay as alternates.


Quark Blast wrote:
Threeshades wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Uhm, guys... there has been so much talk about how brilliant socialized health care is, and everyone's been looking at Sweden as the bright shining example. As a Swede, I think the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to get an education is far, far more important. There is a reason why Sweden has done as well as it has in research and technology. Let's face it: No country that wants to flourish can afford to let bright young people flip burgers. Believe me when I say 34 billion dollars is a VERY small price to pay.

This, a million times.

Not only because research and technology. All corners of the economy thrive if the right people get the education they need to work there.

Keeping college education away from the less wealthy will just ensure that most of the potential in the country goes to waste.

The real problem is keeping education away from the less intelligent. The poor/rich-divide argument has no merit.

You cannot educate me to be a useful quantum theorist and you cannot educate half of the population to be much more than a "you want fries with that?" salesperson.

Half the people are below average and always will be. To educate them further, to give them a college degree (and let's be honest here - it would be a matter of giving them a degree) will make a college education about as meritorious as a high school diploma now is. Which is to say, the diploma in hand will mean that you showed up to class something like half the time (or better) and didn't get below a "C-" (on average).

Except that our current plan is largely based not on "intelligence", but on wealth/poverty.

Both on cost of college education and on quality of pre-college education.


Aranna wrote:
thejeff your arguing that they don't get rid of big name heroes... I get that, but if superman is retired and a grown up superboy takes the name and uniform then who would really care? It would still sell under the superman title. Are you really suggesting that the ONLY superman fans will buy is the original Kal-El? And if so then how irritated will those fans be when they reboot him and wipe out every story they ever loved reading in one shot?

Not very, judging by past history. It's happened to Superman on a major scale at least 3 times now. (Silver Age, Crisis, New 52) Oh, there'll be nerdrage. There's always nerdrage, but he's stayed a mainstay the whole time.

I think people would care if Superman retires (or dies) and a grown up Superboy takes over. At least on a permanent basis. Superman is an icon and part of that is the whole orphan rocketed to earth from a dying planet thing. Just like part of Batman's iconic stature is the parent's murdered thing.
A far vaster potential audience knows that than follows the details of comics continuity. Everyone new coming into comics is going to expect the icons and find something else. Even if it is wearing the same outfit.

And then some editor or writer would reboot the thing anyway because they wanted to work with the "real" Superman.

Mind you, I don't think reboots are the answer. I don't think they're really needed and I don't think they really work, other than as a publicity stunt.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I don't understand your argument. Are you saying they need to get rid of their top sellers so that people might pay attention to their other characters?

I'm saying that at this point, all options need to be left on the table, and that includes tampering with or retiring their big heroes if doing so has a reasonable chance of succeeding without being a short term gimmick. Clearly, the changes need to be thought out and executed well, but ideas like maybe Peter Parker doesn't have to be Spiderman all of his life need to be at least considered. If they can find a writer capable of breathing new life into Peter Parker while doing a genuine reboot, great; if they can find a writer that will be able to convince people that someone else can be Spiderman, than let Peter retire, and give the costume to someone else.

Ultimately, its about not just relying what has partially worked before and figuring out a more complete toolset that will allow them to keep characters fresh without having to worry about rebooting them constantly.

You're still assuming that Peter Parker needs new life breathed into him. Peter's doing just fine. You might not like him, but he's quite popular. Why are you so insistent that any fix to sales problems with other characters involve major changes to Peter Parker?

In general, I'm saying that keeping characters fresh isn't the root of the problems with either major comics universe. That their most heavily used and thus least "fresh" characters remain the most popular is evidence of that. New fresh faces tend to sell tiny fractions of the old popular ones.

Therefore any attempt to fix their problems by making things fresh, isn't going to work.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
If the big stars are selling well and the second string isn't, seems to me the problem is with the other characters. Change them up, not the ones that are selling.
If they aren't willing to make significant changes to the big titles, both companies may as well stop publishing anything not at least second string, since virtually no one will pay attention to them anyway, and accept that the room for growth for the second string characters is going to be limited at best and quite possibly nonexistent. Refusing to risk their big stars is not an option in this market, since not changing them and attempting yet another reboot is just as risky as attempting to retire them or significantly rewrite the character.

I don't understand your argument. Are you saying they need to get rid of their top sellers so that people might pay attention to their other characters?


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Retiring the big stars of your franchise because some of your long term readers think they're played out is just a horribly bad business idea.
So is rehashing the same story over and over again. Yes, it will, and does work, for a few heroes, but if that's the only tool they have to keep selling comics, they are going to not sell many other comics aside from the big stars, and that will limit their ability to support the big stars. Again, I don't think that retirement is absolutely necessary in most cases, but advocating for just another reboot is equally problematic for the companies. They need to find something in between, and work their way towards making retirement a more plausible solution the next time they need to refresh the heroes.

If the big stars are selling well and the second string isn't, seems to me the problem is with the other characters. Change them up, not the ones that are selling.


Matthew Morris wrote:

Hmm lots of comments

My two c-bills.

Depends on how it merges. Spiderverse is interesting to me, since it appears they really went all out on all the Spider man realities, from the newspaper comic, to the 60's cartoon, to the current cartoon (and then the cartoon was supposed to have an episode tying in, but I dropped cable, so I don't know.)

What I'd like to see spin out of itr.
a 'core universe' series of books.

An Avengers (With She-Thor, Falcap and Rhodey as the 'big three' Avengers EMH Wasp and Hank)
An X-men
A Spiderman book
A FF book
Wolverines (I like the idea of inverted Sabertooth and Laura getting time in the spotlight)
some solo books. Maybe 10-20 titles over all.

Then a number of alternate books.
Spider Girl (May trying to take care of Benji, age all the classic characters aged up, some of the current 'young crop' of heroes as adults. X-men led by Armor or Ruby Summers, Avengers with Thunderstrike, Silverclaw, Wiccan and Speed, etc.)

Spiderman and wife.

X-men 92

Spider Gwen (would be interesting to see how you could go in a different direction)

2099

X-factor forever (Seriously, if you can find this mini-series, read it.)

etc. Self encapsulated books that could cross over.

But then again, the marvel comics I read are X-factor (sob) and Spiderman 2099.

(Aside, if PAD could handle it, I'd love to see an 'Avengers-Factor' Where he does for C-list Avengers what he's done for c-list mutants.)

Re: DC. Dick becoming Batman was well done, and it was one of the saddest bits of the reboot how they destroyed him. I liked the vibe towards the end that Damian was Dick's Robin, but Tim was Bruce's Robin.

And I loved Steph-Batgirl.

(Aside the second, I'd loved to have seen a book with Steph, Wendy, Rose and other 'children of villians' as an Outsiders kind of team. We could include Conner in that list as well)

I really was exposed to DC through the DCAU, so John is 'my' Green Lantern too. :-)

I could be wrong, but I really don't think that's the direction Marvel's going. I think they're planning to merge all the universes, not keep publishing titles in multiple different ones.

It doesn't look like your plan would need a reboot at all or any real in universe justification other than some shuffling of team members and which titles get published.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

But Spiderman, Superman, and Batman are still among the best sellers. They hold down multiple titles each. They're profitable movie franchises. These are the popular heroes that everyone knows and that actually sell comics. Why drastically change them?

You may be bored with them. I may even be bored with them. That doesn't mean they have a problem.

Except that your post includes many things that will become problems sooner rather than later, and have long been problems for most of the rest of the super heroes out there. Multiple titles gets confusing for new readers of the comics, and there are so many versions of each of them most people wouldn't even bother counting them any more. They can get away with repeating the same choices they've made in the past for these few characters for a while still, but that really doesn't help the state of comics overall, and eventually it won't work for these heroes either.

I'm not saying that reboots are automatically a bad choice, but both Marvel and DC have to be willing to explore other options as well where appropriate. Reboots cannot be the only tool they use to keep things fresh if they want to sustain their business; they don't always work and can do a fair bit of harm if done incorrectly. They need to be willing to put some genuinely new characters out there, retire some of the old ones that it makes sense to (and yes, I firmly believe that Peter Parker is one of these; there's only so much of him I can take, and I reached my limit a long time ago; it's not even boredom at this point, it flat out annoyance; his story wears thin quickly), either permanently or by handing off the torch to a new generation, or completely and genuinely reboot most of the remainder. What I don't want to see is another soft reboot that doesn't really change the status quo and fails to create room for genuinely new stories.

The big names have had multiple title for decades. If there was some effect that caused characters who got multiple titles to become less popular, it would have taken effect long ago. They get multiple titles because they sell those titles. They make lots of crossover appearances in other titles because the sales of less known comics go up when they appear and some of those buyers stick around.

I get that you don't care for these characters anymore. They're not generally my favorites either. But people keep buying them. They keep being top sellers. It might be that our opinions don't represent the majority of the comic buying public. Or of potential new readers.

Retiring the big stars of your franchise because some of your long term readers think they're played out is just a horribly bad business idea.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Or they could just try telling good stories with the existing characters and adding new ones as they go. Change in emphasis as needed without explicit reboots. Don't try to drive sales with giant cross-over events.

--------

Maybe I'm looking at this too simply and the real problem is that their most popular characters have become too complicated and need to be gotten rid of or completely redone.

Those are the biggest issues I've seen with a lot of these character, especially the big solo ones like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. They have already told so many stories from so many angles for over five decades now that coming up with new stories or new angles on old themes while retaining the same core character is getting harder and harder. Marvel actually has less of an issue precisely because it can do the crossovers and get more angles that way, not to mention that many of the heroes are part of groups and thus have far more built in storylines, but it still has the problem of getting overly complicated, as the X-Men lines of comics are showing these days.

Both companies are a point where most of the current top heroes need to either be retired or taken back to their very, very, very first issue ever produced and started over entirely in order for a reboot to really considered a reboot. It's risky either way, but the longer they hold off on doing either, the harder either option becomes. Their only other option is to do things like rewrite Thor as a female to try to respark some interest and hope it holds long enough for the rewrite to stick, which is equally risky. They don't really have a good option right now, so it will be interesting to see what Marvel ends up doing.

But Spiderman, Superman, and Batman are still among the best sellers. They hold down multiple titles each. They're profitable movie franchises. These are the popular heroes that everyone knows and that actually sell comics. Why drastically change them?

You may be bored with them. I may even be bored with them. That doesn't mean they have a problem.


sunshadow21 wrote:

It's a tough difficulty that both Marvel and DC are facing. While aging existing characters is risky, they can't just keep rebooting the same hero over and over again either. That strategy worked for a few decades, but it's becoming less and less effective every time they do it, because they can do less and less of a full reboot each time they do it, dampening it's overall value to the new reader. The mixed success of DC's new launch shows that at this point, reboot don't have an inherent advantage over retiring the old characters and trying to establish new ones. Going forward, they are going to have to look at each character and find a mixture of solutions that work for that particular character. Some characters at this point could be aged and replaced with more ease than a reboot, others need to be genuinely rebooted, and taken all the way back to their original roots because they have been retconned so many times they have lost their original pull.

The thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that Marvel's approach and the results will be interesting to see.

Or they could just try telling good stories with the existing characters and adding new ones as they go. Change in emphasis as needed without explicit reboots. Don't try to drive sales with giant cross-over events.

I suspect their business woes have far more to do with both actual story quality and competition from other media than with whether the characters have been rebooted or retconned or anything else.

More focus on a onramp for new, young readers might help, though I think they're doing better with this than they were when I was really following them back in the 80s/90s.

Maybe I'm looking at this too simply and the real problem is that their most popular characters have become too complicated and need to be gotten rid of or completely redone.


Freehold DM wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
how do you explain spider girl lasting 100+ issues?

It was a good book.

And it didn't replace Spider-man.

He wasn't Spider Man, though. Not anymore.

Yeah, but there were still 3 or 4 actual Spider-man books. So nobody was losing the real Spider-man.

I agreed earlier that crippling Peter was one of the few ways you could get him to retire without betraying his characterization. Even then, I think you'd really have to tie him down. :)


Freehold DM wrote:
how do you explain spider girl lasting 100+ issues?

It was a good book.

And it didn't replace Spider-man.


Kazaan wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
First, Earth isn't an antimagic zone. People from Golarion going there can use magic fine. Second, Alchemy isn't magic. Third, metal cartridges are alchemical cartridges.
Which, of course, leads us back to the subject at hand. Metal carts are Alch carts. Alch carts reduce reloading by 1, therefore Metal carts, as a type of Alch cart, reduce reloading by 1. So either advanced firearms have move-action reloading and then, additionally, reduce that by 1 to a free action, or, advanced firearms actually have an un-stated standard-action reloading, reduced to de facto move actions; in which case, Rapid Reload works for at least 1-h advanced firearms.

Except for the bit where they reload to capacity, which throws the whole thing out of whack.

Basically, advanced firearms are an optional addition. There's some ambiguity here. Make it work however you want.


nosig wrote:
deusvult wrote:
thejeff wrote:
deusvult wrote:

I think we're splitting hairs over the difference between "useful" and "the single most useful" things to know.

To continue using the skeleton example, if confirmation that the skeletons are indeed undead and not constructs, or a skeleton walking around thanks only to Animate Object, or some kind of bone demon ends up being information your character cannot capitalize upon, that's pretty much your problem as being so unlikely as to be unforeseeable by the GM.

It is objectively useful to have all that above confirmed, not to mention the usefulness of being allowed to have your character act upon your meta knowledge of what does and doesn't work on the undead type.

You are correct. It is within your prerogative as the GM to hand out the most useless bits of technically useful information you can think of first and only if the PC didn't make the check by enough, while not revealing the most pertinent pieces, but it's a really crappy move for a GM to do.

It's a trust destroying move.

Let's set logical fallacies aside please? Just because I said I believe type is "useful, just not always MOST useful" means in any way I was saying the GM should hand out the least useful info, and you're implying that's what I was saying. So, stop it.

You want to discuss the problem of the first piece of useful info not being the MOST useful information given? Let's discuss that with integrity.

How is the fairest way to go about handing out the most useful piece, first? The major problem is having a universal way to define what is "most useful". It's fatal; you can't have a universal way to come up with it. It'll be different info based on different characters, and it'll be different info for the same character in different contexts.

So, that means abandoning the idea of "most" useful being necessarily first, or putting the onus on the player. I don't like the latter.

Why? Well, sometimes it works

(bolding mine)

actually, by requiring the player to ask questions to get information, you actually are putting the onus on the player.

Why not just tell her something useful to her player. At least one bit of info for making the DC and another for every +5 she beats it by.

The debate here is whether the type (and whatever powers and vulnerabilities come with it) count as the bit of info for making the DC.

The asking questions part is a distraction. It's one, fairly common, way of defining "useful bit of info". Generally pushed, I suspect, by players who know the monsters well and have been burned by GMs who didn't give out the info they really wanted.


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CWheezy wrote:
I think thejeff is just repeating what I am saying back at me, lol

Except I disagree with you.

By the time you reach 15th level each character in a 4 person party could have found around 480000gp worth of stuff. Twice WBL. Not 960000gp, which would be 4X. Since they will have missed some and used some up and sold some for half price and kept some, this should put their actual wealth at that point around 240K.

What I think you're saying is that they put in 4x as much, so that if you found it all you'd have 960K, which you'd sell to get 480K, but since you'll only find half of it and sell it all you'll be on track. Is that right?

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