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Comic Book Dictionary – Pygmalion Characters

Earlier this year, I asked for help naming a particular term, and thanks to poster Kid Kyoto, I have my name for it – Pygmalion Characters.

Pygmalion characters are those characters where, while not a proxy for their author/creator, the writer still goes out of his/her way to make their creation “the best at what they do.” I think we can all agree that it is, generally speaking, pretty tacky when a brand new character created by a book’s writer is suddenly beating up established characters, with the presumed intent of making the creation of the writer look better. They are basically just pet characters.

Remember how annoying it was when Batman was turning to Tarantula for help during War Crimes? Stuff like that – it’s silly and poor writing.

Tarantula, though, was not a “Mary Sue” of writer/creator Devin Grayson. But she WAS a bad character who fits into a specific reoccurring category of characters written by their creators who suddenly are “the best” and have other characters talk about how good they are (Another good example is Constantine Drakkon in Green Arrow).

So Kid Kyoto suggested Pygmalion, based on the famous Greek myth of the sculptor who fell in love with his own creation. That nails the concept beautifully, doesn’t it?

So pygmalion characters, it is!!

50 Comments

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 5, 2007 at 11:23 pm

I hate those sorts of characters – when done well, it can really work, but 99%… it’s just bad.

That said, it’s funny you use Batman as the example, because in recent years – possibly starting with JLA, possibly back in the Miller days, but I’m not sure – he himself became DC’s Pygmalion character.
He’s smarter than the others, can take them all down, has no life but his war on crime, and the other heroes speak in hushed tones.
For me it’s robbed the character of being human, and is a symptom of the joint universe, but honestly – he can take down the JLA, but can’t stop crime/corruption in gotham?

I don’t know about Batman. A Pygmalion is essentially a pet character, and there’s no one writer who’s trying to push the idea that Batman is the best at everything. That’s just “the way it is”, and pretty much accepted by the whole company, just like Reed Richards being the smartest and Superman being the strongest.

That said, I’m also sick to death of seeing other super heroes whisper about how awesome/scary/respected Batman is.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 6, 2007 at 12:00 am

Well, he’s the companies pet, and it was cute for a bit, but now it’s boring.

Batman’s not really a pygmalion character though, is he, Funky? From what I understand of the term, one of the current writers would have to have actually created Batman for that to work. Batman has earned his time in the spotlight, so to speak.

Sorry, I must have posted before I saw the second and third posts. Damn!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 6, 2007 at 12:24 am

Fair enough, it’s not his creators doing it… but what’s the term for a character who suddenly breaks out into the spotlight?
From what I understand, a lot of people see Black Panther becoming like a pygmalion character under it’s current writer.

The funny thing is, as annoying a pygmalion as Drakkon is, he is one of my favorite characters simply because he was used to knock another more annoying pet character down a few notches, Connor Hawke. I hated how this guy no one ever heard of is suddenly established as one of the top 5 martial artists ever, irresistible to all women, a better fighter than Nightwing, heir to the Green Arrow mantle over Roy Harper, plus the nicest guy on earth…he was sickening. Seeing Drakkon consistently humiliate and beat him to a pulp cemented him as one of my favorite creations ever.

It may just be me, but I think the biggest culprit in terms of Pygmalion characters is Chris Claremont who put me off the X-men with his focus on 2 characters, Storm and Kitty Pride around Uncanny issue 180 or so, and more recently has seemed to have an overwhelming affection for Psylocke which is way beyond my understanding.

So, what… a new character can’t beat/be better than an old character? Why the hell not? Why is that automatically bad writing? Was Tao from WildC.A.T.s not awesome?

Brian, I keep telling you, a Mary Sue doesn’t have to be a self-insertion, just annoyingly better at everything than everyone.

So, what… a new character can’t beat/be better than an old character? Why the hell not? Why is that automatically bad writing?

Nobody said “automatically”.

If Claremont is guilty of this – and I agree that he is – it’s not with Kitty and Storm (especially given that Storm was not his creation), but with Gambit. Gambit has kicked Wolverine’s butt enough times that I’ve been forced to conclude that the “what he does” in Wolvie’s trademark “best there is at what he does” is getting his ass handed to him by some Cajun jerk-off.
And that really ain’t pretty.

“Nobody said “automatically”.”

Okay, just “generally” and “99% of the time”.

I like Constantine Drakon

Just to be pedantic: Pygmalion was the sculptor; the character would be a “Galatea”.

how about Gammora…she shows up one day and is automatically “the deadliest woman in the galaxy”! I hate that kinda crap….

My gripes on this sort of thing:

1) The new characters are frequently over-hyped by the company as the next big thing. They’re touted as the best thing since sliced bread. The problem is that the FANS should decide what they like, not the companies. We’re TOLD to not only like these characters, but to embrace them.

Don’t tell me what to think and what to like. Screw Gambit, Cable, Carnage, Deadpool, etc. I’m fully capable of making my own deciding for myself. If you want me to buy your product, don’t “talk down” to me.

2) They come out of the woodwork and are as good as, and often better, than long-established characters. If these yahoos were so dang good at whatever they do for such a long time, where have they been for the last 40+ years? If they were able to stay “hidden”, that must mean they’re in covert opps, so why come out into the open?

The characters need to EARN their status, not suddenly appear in greatness. It’s just not believable. If it’s not believable, I can’t care about the character. It’ll eventually turn me away from the book. If you want my money, put a product worth buying.

Pygmalion kind of works, but doesn’t it imply that the writer is “improving” an existing character? I don’t think it’s quite as applicable to characters created to be “the best” from day one.

I still like Pet Character better.

Michael, true, Mary Sue doesn’t have to be self-insertion, but while “annoyingly better at everything than everyone” is (probably) necessary for a Mary Sue, I don’t think it’s *sufficient* in itself.

This “Pygmalion” character is a useful category for distinguishing between similar concepts.

It’s a Venn diagram sort of thing. Not every Pygmalion is a Mary Sue, and each of those categories might or might not fit the Pet Character definition.

I don’t think the Pygmalion term necessarily applies only to the character’s creator; it’s broader than that, particularly in comics, where characters can be significantly “redefined” from their origin states (see, e.g., Calculator or Catman.)

An example of a “good” Pygmalion character might be Grant Morrison’s Prometheus in JLA. The difference between doing this well or poorly boils largely down to the “show, don’t tell” rule. Morrison laid out Prometheus pretty convincingly, and *showed* him beating Batman (and the rest of the JLA), which is less irritating than just having prominent characters *talk* about that (or showing it, e.g., in a way that requires the character’s opponents to act like idiots who don’t remember their key powers.)

I think eventually the Pygmalion character’s status can “stick” with time, at which case the character is simply *accepted* as “the best” by the vast majority of readers. Batman “graduated” many decades ago, and a more recent example (though one I still find, personally, a little irritating) might be Lady Shiva.

“Michael, true, Mary Sue doesn’t have to be self-insertion, but while “annoyingly better at everything than everyone” is (probably) necessary for a Mary Sue, I don’t think it’s *sufficient* in itself.”

Well, it is. This is a thirty-year-old term here. Which is my point, that the word is already defined, and any attempts to refine it are unnecessary buzzing about with semantics.

The term “Mary Sue” is fine as it is: a catch-all for a particular breed of shitty characterization. It doesn’t need more hemming and hawing and the creation of a whole new dictionary of terms for particular types of that breed.

Screw Gambit, Cable, Carnage, Deadpool, etc. I’m fully capable of making my own deciding for myself. If you want me to buy your product, don’t “talk down” to me.

Gambit actually wasn’t meant to be that huge, according to Claremont. It actually WAS the fans that took a liking to him and made him huger than anticipated. Cable also was a character that became way huger than expected due to sincere fan appeal. Carnage I agree is an example of a character being forced on readers, as well as (wait for it) Connor Hawke. A great thing about Kevin Smith’s and Judd Winick’s Green Arrow runs is all the punking opportunites they took with Connor Hawke, it almost made up for all of Dixon’s Mary-Suing/Pygmalion/whatever moments with the character.

If Clairmont didn’t intend Gambit to be so big, I can take him off the list. I still include Cable, though, due to the writer’s (Liefield) agenda with the character.

Right in that era, ’89-’94, a LOT of characters came out of nowhere into prominence. All the fanboys and speculators flocked to whatever they were told was hot at the time. The character may have been legitimately hot, but the way I remember it, Wizard had a lot to do with it. The way they grabbed onto whatever the creators & publishers were hyping and shoved it down our throats…

I just have a bad taste in my mouth to this day about it. It’s too easy to lump everything that came out in that era and just flush it all.

But Gambit really does suck. He did then, and he does now.

Personally, I always found Tim Drake to be a bit of a Mary Sue, at least in his initial incarnation. After the Jason Todd death debacle, DC seemed SO bound & determined to make us like Tim I couldn’t help but hate him. He had that “created by committee” stench about him and they went so out of their way to give us reasons to dig him — he had a hip & cool new costume with kevlar & the like, he was a computer genius, he figured out Batman & Robin’s ID ON HIS OWN, and was even integrated into Dick Grayson’s origin for good measure! He was like the Sally Field of comics – “You like me, you REALLY like me!” God, I hated him.

I’ve come to accept Tim now, but it took me a LONG time to warm to him.

So what about characters not created by the current writer? Batman is an example, as well as the likes of Luke Cage under Bendis (Written as the baddest out there, instead of dated throwback). However, I like the execution of these cases.

“(or showing it, e.g., in a way that requires the character’s opponents to act like idiots who don’t remember their key powers.)”

This just made me remember Deathstroke the Terminator attacking the JLA. He won… because Green Lantern (Kyle, at the time) tried to punch him out instead of using his ring in any way.

That was just dumb.

I don’t know that Cage is “written as the baddest there is”. He’s a strong guy with tough skin. The hero is pretty generic. The character, however….

This is an example of the 1% that are properly executed. Every writer will have their favorite characters. The determining factor on if they’re a Pyg/Sue or not is in the writing. I wouldn’t argue that Bendis has a thing for Cage, it’s just written so that Cage isn’t forced on us. Or, at minimum, we don’t FEEL that he’s as forced. He’s been brought to the front over time, and fairly smoothly.

On a related note, I’m a fan of Power Man / Iron Fist from way back. Isn’t it fabulously silly that they’re reunited again, and in the Avengers, along with Dr. Strange? The current (renegade) lineup looks a lot like the Defenders. Hmmmm….

It feels kinda weird to say it about a fictional character, but I think Luke Cage has “paid his dues,” so readers can accept him being shown as more prominent/capable than he once was. He’s been around a long time, he’s had his own title… he didn’t come out of nowhere. Counter-example that readers *don’t* buy: Geo-Force. Been around a long time, granted, but dormant for most of that time, and even when he *was* prominent, it was as a supporting character in a second-tier team book. Suddenly having people say stuff like “Hey, he’s as powerful as Swamp Thing!” is a tough sell.

David, yeah, I was actually thinking of Deathstroke when I wrote that sentence. That sequence is a great example of not laying the proper groundwork for your character’s success, so readers don’t buy it.

There was actually a *good* example of this using Deathstroke in his solo series, by Marv Wolfman. Deathstroke is a fugitive for some very high-profile reason, and has several members of the Justice League hunting him: Superman, Green Lantern (Hal, I think), and Aquaman, I believe. Any one of which *should* be out of Deathstroke’s weight class, as he admits, but he manages to defeat and/or evade each of them. It helps that his goal is escape, and that he faces them separately, not together, but the story succeeds in making the reader think, “Hey, Slade’s even more of a badass than I thought,” without straining credibility too much.

I would submit that the difference between a Mary Sue and a Pygmalian character is where it falls on the scale of extreme.

Mary Sue was a better fighter than Kirk, better engineer than Scotty, better doctor than Bones, etc. And, every established character loved her. Sorta like Connor, no?

A Pygmalian, as described, is a better assassin than Wolverine. He’s a better acrobat than Nightwing. He’s a better tactitian than Cyclops (who remembers back when Cyclops was one of Marvel’s best tactitians? Back when we had to walk uphill through the snow to get our comics?). He has a stronger moral foundation than Captain America. But, he isn’t necessarilly all of those. And, he isn’t necessarilly loved by all of the other characters.

In addition, I’m sensing that a Pygmalian has a “cooler” outfit, and more merchandizing opportunities for the creator. Which is why the new character is being used to overshadow the old in such a heavy handed way.

A Mary Sue is a situation of “my character is better than any other, because I am better than everyone else” while a Pygmalian is more of “my new character is better than that old one, because new is better than old.”

Theno

Just to be pedantic: Pygmalion was the sculptor; the character would be a “Galatea”.

I actually did consider that, but then I thought, Pygmalion just sounds so much cooler. :)

Besides Galatea is Power Girl right?

Personally, and maybe its because of my age, but I don’t see the problem with Gambit. I like how he is being used right now.

Was Tao from WildC.A.T.s not awesome?

Nope.

“Was Tao from WildC.A.T.s not awesome?

Nope. ”

If they were not “not awesome”, would that then make them “awesome”? ;-)

So, is Wolverine the ultimate Mary Sue?

I would argue a Mary Sue has to be a Mary Sue from day one, so I’d so no to Wolverine.

Marrissa Amber Flores Picard, now there’s a Mary Sue.

how about Gammora…she shows up one day and is automatically “the deadliest woman in the galaxy”! I hate that kinda crap….

What kinda crap, catch phrases? Did you also hate “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” and “Hulk is the strongest there is”?

2) They come out of the woodwork and are as good as, and often better, than long-established characters. If these yahoos were so dang good at whatever they do for such a long time, where have they been for the last 40+ years?

And here’s why that complaint is silly: they weren’t around because they were just invented. Is every character just supposed to be introduced as a rookie?

So, is Wolverine the ultimate Mary Sue?

If you kinda ignore parts of the definition of a Mary Sue, then sure.

The reason that Batman is an iconic character gives him a free pass on so much. Batman and Superman are the two superheroes recognized by everyone in the whole world, it would kind of be stupid on DC’s part, character-wise, if Batman and Superman weren’t the best at practically anything.

From my perspective, the distinction between what you mean by a “Mary Sue” character and what you call a “Pygmalion” character is virtually invisible. You suggest that “Mary Sue” characters are meant to be proxies for their writers, who are indulging in shameless wish-fulfillment that way. On the other hand, you feel that “Pygmalion” characters are not meant to be idealized and incredibly fortunate near-analogs of their creators, but nonetheless the writer is so fond of his precious new creation that he compulsively keeps hitting the reader over the head with the idea that “this character is already The Very Best in one or more difficult fields of endeavor” or words to that effect, right?

The thing is: How can I reliably tell the difference? I usually know very little about the personal life and distinguishing characteristics of an author, beyond whatever I can glean from the name in the credits — and that could be a pseudonym! (If the name is given as Guillermo Alejandro Martinez, does that really “prove” the author or his parents came from a Spanish-speaking culture? And if so, which one?)

So if it looks to me like an author is working long and hard to persuade me that the newly introduced Character X is a better martial artist than Shang-Chi, a better problem-solver than Batman, a stronger arm-wrestler than Thor, a more gifted telepath than Professor X, or whatever . . . as well as having other interesting characteristics . . . I usually DON’T know or care whether many of Character X’s characteristics are closely modeled on those of the author (which would make the guy a Mary Sue by your definition) or not!

I suppose I tend to think of any such over-powered, highly-successful “invader” entering somebody else’s old, established continuity — whether in fanfic or “professionally published” work — as a “Mary Sue” or a “wish-fulfillment character” by default, without having any real way to know to what extent the character in question strongly resembles the person who created him.

Lorendiac

I’m serious; the Mary Sue definition actually seems to have been built to fit Wolverine. Is there _any_ way in that he does not fulfill the criteria perfectly?

About Gamora – if memory serves she wasn’t in the Milky Way when she introduced herself to Pip as the Galaxy’s most dangerous woman, so technically she was not disputing with any known characters.

I’m serious; the Mary Sue definition actually seems to have been built to fit Wolverine. Is there _any_ way in that he does not fulfill the criteria perfectly?

Well, he sort of became popular in spite of his depiction rather than because he was crammed down the fans throats. In fact, they seemed to be trying to portray him unfavorably at first, but his popularity with fans just kept growing and growing until they had to start catering to his fanbase. So you can say he “earned” his status. Also, I wouldn’t call him a Mary Sue simply because even at his most popular, he used to get his ass kicked a LOT. He would get his ass kicked so often that even his fanbase would complain.

Surely Drakon’s different, though? He’s a baddie. Setting up a foe to appear virtually unbeatable so that the good guy has to work harder to defeat him seems reasonable. See also Prometheus in Grant Morrison’s JLA.

Super-competent heroes and anti-heroes, on the other hand, do suck. I heartily endorse using this word to describe THEM.

Wolverine isn’t a Mary Sue character for multiple reasons:

1. His “creator” didn’t really establish him. The Wolverine we have in the X-Men only really resembles the Wolverine that debuted in the Hulk by name and country of origin (and I think that has changed since then as well.) And (I and others would argue that) a Mary Sue has to be created to be a Mary Sue.

2. His re-imagining in X-men was (according to interviews and panel discussions) intended to make him an unlikable character. He was the built in conflict in the team. Nobody, character or reader, was supposed to like him. And, Mary Sues are built to be liked by characters and readers.

3. When first designed he had weaknesses. Over the years those weaknesses have either been removed, ret-coned, or turned into advantages. This is really the disadvantage of different writers using the character. Spider-Man was clearly stronger and faster when Jim Shooter wrote a battle between the two in Secret Wars; but when they fought in the one-shot Spider-Man vs. Wolverine the battle was a draw; and when they fought in Wolverine’s own title Spider-Man was clearly outmatched.

Mainly, I think that it is arguable that a character cannot evolve into being a Mary Sue. Yes, both Wolverine and Batman are over-the-top best at everything characters. But, they’ve become that way by different writers over the years introducing yet another thing that they are good at, and continuity building on those additions and changes.

Theno

Marrissa Amber Flores Picard, now there’s a Mary Sue.

Ah, Bully, what a well-read little stuffed bull you are!
http://www.svamcentral.org/svam/ms-mar.html

Marrissa is also a good example of why a Mary Sue is not NECESSARILY a “self-insertion” character.

“2) They come out of the woodwork and are as good as, and often better, than long-established characters. If these yahoos were so dang good at whatever they do for such a long time, where have they been for the last 40+ years?”

“And here’s why that complaint is silly: they weren’t around because they were just invented. Is every character just supposed to be introduced as a rookie?”

That’s the entire gripe: They were created, not earned.

Take Cable & Deadpool for example. When they were introduced, they were written as having a long and established history of covert & military opps. So, why were they never seen in the 40 year history of the books? Don’t give me any real-world answers like “because they were just made up last week”, this is the comics world we’re talking about. If they had been doing it for so long at such a high level, Why haven’t they been commandeered by SHIELD? Fury never took “no” for an answer. If they were the best, as they are written to be, he’d have forced them onto his team or out of the business. If the latter happened, they’d NEVER have been allowed to operate as they have in the books.

Let’s say they were able to remain hidden in their covet opps roles. For 40 years. While being the absolute best at it. They somehow managed to keep their identity a secret from every government on the planet. That, in turn, helped keep them hidden from SHIELD. The character just became the single most effective spy in history. All this was done while working with vast ammounts of people, all of whom were able to keep his secret. (Of course, if NO ONE knew about them, how would they get work?) Having worked so diligently to to stay hidden, there is absolutely NO reason for them to come out of hiding and join a relatively public team.

No, not every character needs to appear as a rookie. to have them apear as grizzled veterans, with all the skill, history, and connections that go along with it, is ludricous. With the way everything in comics is connected, it’s just not believable.

I could go on and write a novella on the myriad of reasons this is bad writing. It all comes down to one thing: the writer fell in love with his own creation and shoved it down our throats.

P Y G M A L I O N

The Avengers have been filled with this since style of writing since the 60′s, starting with Roy Thomas: namely, the book’s writer-of-the-time brings in or creates a pet character that quickly eclipses the rest of the team. Sometimes it works, such as with Thomas and the Vision, but most of the time it doesn’t.

Englehart – Mantis
Stern – Captain Marvel/Photon
Hama – Rage
Harras – Sersi
Busiek – Triathlon, Scarlet Witch
Austen – Captain Britain II
Bendis – Cage, Spider-Woman

and others I’m probably forgetting.

So, you say it’s essentially a pet character…so why do we need a term when we have “Pet Character”

There are complaints about Claremont having characters he creates show up be super great…over other characters he created?

“Cable/Deadpool/whoever show up and they have this long back story we’ve never heard of, so that’s wrong!”

Why? People come from nowhere to be at the top of their field out of nowhere. Look at “overnight successes” in Hollywood, for example. George Clooney didn’t just start at “ER”…he’d already been around for quite some time, with connections all over the place to other actors and celebs, but most folks had never heard of him. (and seriously, saying Nick Fury would have forced them to work in SHIELD…Deadpool? Cable? Really?)

Luke Cage isn’t one of these types because he “paid his dues?” By being a joke for a whole bunch of years ..showing up whenever Marvel wanted to look street?
He’s all over the place because Bendis loved the tiara wearing silk shirt draped sweet christmas saying hero from the 70′s. Not because he heard his way up there.

Theo ignores actual story content to prove his Spider-man vs Wolverine theory. (I haven’t read the 3rd fight he talks about). Secret Wars, he beats the X-Men because he has room to manuever and they’re falling on top each other. Spider-Man vs Wolverine, he’s pounding Wolverine’s head through a tombstone into submission.

CHRIS: Nice pickup on my screen name. Well done.

Sure it’s been done in The Avengers. It’s been done everywhere. It’s almost never done well, and that’s the point here. Without the publisher’s & fan magazine’s (Wizard) help pushing the characters, they quickly face into the background as soon as the writer leaves the book. Without someone telling them what to think, the fanboys will cimpletely ignore the character.

Take Rage for example. Larry Hama was not the “favored son” of the hypers, so Rage didn’t get the hype. BUT… rage isnt a PYG character, he was a pet. Big difference. The hype principle still applies, though. With the propaganda machine behind him, Rage could have ended up more powerful than The Thing. Thank goodness this didn’t happen.

SCAVENGER: You’re either missing or ignoring a major point. Their backstories don’t hold water.

To use you Clooney example, he wasn’t an overnight success. Like anyone else, nobody cared about him until he had his big hit (E.R.). Once he finally hit the spotlight, his story can be traced. We’ve all seen the clips of his role in “Facts Of Life”. While his fame is great, it was earned over time, by paying his dues. He is big now, but he wasn’t always big.

Cable/Deadpool/whoever started out big, with no history we can trace. It’d be as if Clooney never acted in anything before E.R., but still had the fans & success. Lightning may strike, but not very often. Success CAN come from out of nowhere, but not very often. Publishers would have you believe otherwise.

Again, the character isn’t necessarily a rookie when they first appear, but they are TO THE READER. The reader has never seen them before. To suddenly appear and be better than established characters just doesn’t fly. Period.

As for Cage, I don’t thing anyone is disputing that Bendis is taking a character that’s been around for a while, that the writer likes, and building him up into a place of prominence. So what? He’s not a pet creation. He’s being well written. Why is that bad?

Bendis took a campy character, updated him in a believable way, and put him put there. When he first came on to the team, he was really in the background. He gradually came to the front. He developed as a character, and now has a more prominent place in the book. This is just good writing. If, on the other hand, he was in the place of prominence when the book was relaunched, we might have something to discuss. As it stands, however, you’re basically saying that he hasn’t been slowly written into a good character, which is total nonsence.

Look guys, this is starting to degenerate into a flame. Let’s just stop now.

Let’s leave it at this: We don’t agree with the other’s defination of how characters we like are being used.

How easy is it to define who created a character anyway? Wolverine wasn’t exactly strongly defined before Claremont.

The current Batman is arguably a Frank Miller creation, much as the Deadpool we have now isn’t Rob Liefeld’s and John Henry Irons isn’t Louise Simonson’s.

Except perhaps for Batman, those characters were essentially defined by others who just happened not to be their original creators.

I must also note that for all his defeats (and, frankly, Wolverine is NOT a character that one should expect to perform particularly well in combat to begin with) Wolverine practically _created_ the expression “the best there is”.

It just happens that part of his trademark maneuver is to be punched a lot and recover out of utter narcisism/reader escapism…

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 9, 2007 at 6:34 pm

That’s the entire gripe: They were created, not earned.

Take Cable & Deadpool for example. When they were introduced, they were written as having a long and established history of covert & military opps. So, why were they never seen in the 40 year history of the books? Don’t give me any real-world answers like “because they were just made up last week”, this is the comics world we’re talking about. If they had been doing it for so long at such a high level, Why haven’t they been commandeered by SHIELD? Fury never took “no” for an answer. If they were the best, as they are written to be, he’d have forced them onto his team or out of the business. If the latter happened, they’d NEVER have been allowed to operate as they have in the books.

Let’s say they were able to remain hidden in their covet opps roles. For 40 years. While being the absolute best at it. They somehow managed to keep their identity a secret from every government on the planet. That, in turn, helped keep them hidden from SHIELD. The character just became the single most effective spy in history. All this was done while working with vast ammounts of people, all of whom were able to keep his secret. (Of course, if NO ONE knew about them, how would they get work?) Having worked so diligently to to stay hidden, there is absolutely NO reason for them to come out of hiding and join a relatively public team.

No, not every character needs to appear as a rookie. to have them apear as grizzled veterans, with all the skill, history, and connections that go along with it, is ludricous. With the way everything in comics is connected, it’s just not believable.

I could go on and write a novella on the myriad of reasons this is bad writing. It all comes down to one thing: the writer fell in love with his own creation and shoved it down our throats.

P Y G M A L I O N

Man, that was a nerdy post.

You say you want to ignore the real world reasons for characters already being good, then fine.
Just don’t join in on a discussion about it, because you’re arguing from an impossible perspective.

eaten by a grue

May 2, 2009 at 6:37 am

I fail to see how this definition does not fit the definition of a Mary Sue.

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