Friday, August 25, 2006

Imagination - Dead or Alive

A friend e-mail me this thought:
"there is no more imagination. Everyone just says, "Everything has already been done." They try and take the easy way out and rationalize the repetitive ideas they try and sell us. I hate that in Batman they undid the relationship between Talia and Bruce. No more romance between them. She is just a bad girl who drugged him and raped him. Their son is not a product of their love but the result of a Ra's Ruffie that set Bats up for Talia. It's disgusted me so much that I don't know whether or not I'm gonna continue with this book. Then I got a chance to read a friend's JLA. More lameness. I hate the team Meltzer picked out. Why the focus on Red Tornado? And what a mundane plot. The robot who wants to be a man. Wow. Never heard that one before. Come on!!! It's been totally done to death!!! We've seen it with androids, Vulcans, Martians, and even the Grim Reaper. There is nothing new here. Even the twist of "I've given up immortality to be human and grow old with my wife and child" is cliche and tired. Where the hell are all the creative minds? TV, movies, comics,music......the entire entertainment field is like an old, washed up hacks regurgitating ancient ideas that we've all seen a thousand times before. Many I should opt for radical brain surgery to kill my long term memory so that all this trash would seem new and fresh."

I certainly agree with some of those thoughts and also hate that they have debased the relationship between Batman and Talia, but I also believe that themes can be repeated, but they need to be done well. The Red Tornado story being the center piece of the JLA relaunch better be really innovative, because this is a week start.

When I have more time I'll post my biggest gripe with comics and why super heroes need to grow old.


  1. Obviously my comment still hasn't gone through - damn you blogger... it may take awhile to rewrite it ><

  2. OK...

    1. What, by all that is sacred and holy, was DCN thinking? Son of the Demon is one of my all time favorite Batman stories and Talia remains one of my favorite of Batman's love interests. And really, how can ANYONE swallow Talia drugging and raping Batman as a feasible storyline? I still can't comprehend Nightwing getting "raped" by Tarantula and this senario is even more farfetched because dammit, I READ Son of the Demon! This makes me angry. This is a degredation of two great characters and it's just plain stupid as well. What plot purpose does this possibly serve - it had potential for a much better story later on the WAY IT WAS. Whoever did this has earned my wrath.

    2. Jim, you should add pictures to your posts!

    3. This is a bit of a bitter and jaded argument. In so much as I agree with being angry at the Bats thing saying that there is no more imagination is unfair in the extreme. Imagination is "the mental creation of an idea or thought representative of a quality of uniqueness". As such it is NOT an entirely unique thought (if there even is such a thing on the grander scale). Take mythology for example - the story of Cinderella has been told in references to different cultures all over the world - before many of these cultures had any contact with one another. Why? If these cultures had met with eachother we would say that one culture had just adapted the story from the other (still imaginative in its own right), but that's not what happened. Perhaps we should look at the bigger picture of humanity. The stories we tell, no matter how fantastical, our stories of our experiences, of our lives, of what we perceive and observe. That's why so many myths hold similar themes and even plots and characters. Because despite the fact that you live in a different place or even time the human story is in so many ways the same. So perhaps there are no NEW stories, but there is still imagination, without that we would stop telling the story. Take Gregory Maguire for example, he's made a career out of the retelling of stories from a different perspective - Confessions of An Ugly Stepsiter, Mirror Mirror, Wicked..., and all these stories can offer us is a different perspective. In comics look towards Neil Gaimen and Bill Willingham - they both rely heavily on stories that have been told before to guide them as they tell us the stories from their perspective. It's not about the originality of a story because you will always find something else like it... it's about how it's told. It's about whether or not the story tells us.

  3. There really is no imagination left. What passes for it is taking one idea from here, another from there, a third from over yonder and sewing them together. Horrible. Yes, many stories have been told, but more remain in the deep recesses of the human mind waiting to be taped. It's okay to borrow from other tales, but you must add something new to the story; a new twist or take. For example, Invincible could be described as merely Superman meets Spider-man, but Kirkman has added much that has not been done before making it new and exciting. Ellis on Authority took Batman and Superman and gave us one of the best written same sex relationships done in comics with Midnighter and Appollo. Willingham has taken Fables of old and breathed new life in them with new twists and turns. Who would have thought to match the Big Bad Wolf with Snow White? So while it's okay to borrow from the past, you must use that wonderful mind God gave you and add something new to the tapestry. Otherwise you're just a hack and not worthy of a paycheck. Quit trying to rewrite the past. Don't try to write Watchmen again or Dark Knight Returns. New times deserve new tales. Let the characters age and change so we can have new adventures. Tell me stories about an aging Bruce Wayne, now in his 40's, whose body has taken much abuse. Through age and use his joints are giving way and new pains and ailments emerging. How does the Dark Knight handle the middle age hump? What happens as he realizes he can no longer lift as much weight as he could before or do the flips and turns like he used to? A superhero hitting middle age full on.....has that ever been done before? Or how about a superhero couple raising a baby that doesn't get sent into the distant future, get a cybervirus, age 50 years overnight and then get sent back to the present? Lots of stories still tell, but first change must be allowed.

  4. Actually matching Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf has been done before - the twelth kingdom. There are no truely new stories, only stories that are new to "you". Look hard enough and you'll find the same stories everywhere - like I said it's how you tell it. However, you've contridicted yourself Jeff - you claim there is no imagination left and then gave us a slew of examples of the imagination there still is! There is all sorts of "new" stuff out there - just maybe not all new stories that you enjoy. Check out Aspen Comics - they certaintly take a step away from the norm. Heck, Mouse Guard is also a great example! I'd give more examples but you gave us plenty already =P

  5. My point about the death of imagination was more directed at superhero comics. Still some original stuff being done by Dark Horse and the Indies, but not a lot. To further my point, look at the movies being released these days: remakes that didn't need to get done, prequels and sequels, nary an original thought in the mix. I can't believe that they're re-doing the Hitcher. It's only been 20 years. The actors are all still very much alive. And tv isn't any better. A few original shows like the Office and My Name Is Earl but otherwise it's a slew of CSI rip offs and Law & Order clones.
    More and more I find that if I want to be entertained I have to go to basic cable, independent comics or the internet. Mainstream entertainment is devoid of imagination. It's pathetic.