Verity and Jimmy and, maybe, even hunter

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Postby Sprite » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:49 am

Spike... can't speak for everyone of course, but judging from responses on the board and my own opinion, the wide-spread dislike comes from these causes:

From the beginning of the ongoing onwards he featured heavily in the series, to the point where people started to wonder sarcastically if the series was stil called "The Transformers" or "Spike and the Transformers". Considering we buy the books primarily to read about giant robots from outer space (although by no means do I want to discount the human factor), the attention given to the character in the story seemed chafing. At times it very much felt he was the main character, the one driving the story and the Transformers were there as a supporting cast. I think it was also telling that Mike Costa mentioned in his interview that he would like to return some time and continue the story about Spike.

And on top of that, he wasn't a very likable character. People complained that he was a total jerk. We were told it was intentional, that we were supposed to dislike him, but the problem was that he was disliked to the point that people stopped liking the book. I think the problem was not so much that he was a jerk, but that he was a jerk with no redeemable features. On the one hand, he was presented as being too perfect - women flock to him, he can take out a Transformer all by himself, etc. etc. - on the other hand his personality characteristics were all negative - he's got no morals, he's arrogant, sleeps around - on the job - keeps secrets, etc. etc. That's not a good combination.

I've thought a lot about the jerk-type character in Transformers and I suspect that might be at the root of the problem. Because usually response to jerks is actually quite favourable - they're either characters we love (Prowl) or characters-we-love-to-hate (Animated's Sentinel Prime). And I think that what it boils down to is that those characters might be jerks, but they either have redeeming features that offset it and actually supply depth to the characters, or they don't get away with being a jerk. Presenting:

Prowl: he's always been a prick, but he rose to new heights with Nick Roche's story Everything In Its Right Place, which established him as a scheming force behind the throne, pretty much. Apart from the fact that this story was exceedingly well written and received, it also made Prowl, well, almost evil, adding a lot of moral grey to a universe that usually tends to be pretty clear-cut in terms of good and evil. But it also gave him a motive for his actions: everything he does is for the Autobot cause (redeeming feature). His actions, while evil, are not evil for evil's sake, but serve a higher moral purpose, which is good.

And while what he did to Kup and whatever else he has done may have remained undiscovered as yet, there are people around him who are aware of it, and don't approve, which causes a lot of tension, suggesting that one day there will be pay-off. And I, for one, want to see that pay-off someday. I would like to see Prowl fall hard and be made to answer for the things he's done. Not because I hate the character but because seeing Prowl sweat just makes for the way more interesting story. It's fun to see him flip a table in frustration because someone he relied on looked him in the face and told him, screw it, I'm off. It's fun to see him feel control slipping away bit by bit. It's fun to see his mask slipping and see him loosing control.

Sentinel Prime: a jerk who doesn't have many positive features - he's arrogant, whiny, prepared to let his best friend take the fall to save himself - as I recall he was based on the character Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H - he is the character-we-love-to-hate in Transformers Animated and about as far on the other side of the jerk-spectrum from Prowl as you can get. Why do we love him? Because his jerkitude is offset by the fact that he's got a pretty weak personality, leading to him falling hard and often, after which he'll have to crawl to the very character he's been a jerk to most (Optimus Prime) begging for help. And it's played to comedy effect, which means he is the character who amuses, instead of irritating, the audience. We love to laugh at jerks, because they don't get away with it.

Well, Spike "gets away with it". In fact, in the end, he literally got away, meaning we never even got the satisfying conclusion of seeing him fall. Yeah, he might be a fugitive now, on the run from the law, but we never know, he might actually enjoy that, it might fit with the romantic image we've been told he's got of himself. And we never actually see him sweat over it, we never see him actually have be confronted with what he's done. So basically Spike ended up annoying readers from start to finish and even his story wasn't brought to a satisfying conclusion.

Comments and questions after the break. :P
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Postby Kirjava » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:15 am

As for Spike's dad, there's a guy I never want to see as a protagonist ever again. What a nauseating right wing stereotype, vomit-inducing from his, "lol I love old fashioned cars to establish that I'm a straight-shooter," introduction down to his cliched, by the numbers performance as a general straight out of a dumb Hollywood blockbuster. When he casually jokes that he was imagining ways of killing the (liberal, hybrid car-driving, elitist) guest at his wife's party- "15 ways, all with this toothpick"- she tells him he's adorable. Is it any wonder Spike turned out like the massive tool he is when it looks like his parents are sociopaths?
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Postby HdE » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:05 am

cashel wrote:I'm not disagreeing but I am curious why spike is hated as much as he is. Too cocky?


You guys know me. I'm Mr. positive. But even I hate Spike.

For me, the guy's presence is just an unwelcome throwback to the 1980s. This franchise has developed and come ona great deal since then.

This is why I particularly want to see more of Hunter, Jimmy and Verity - they feel like much more contemporary human characters. Spike has just been... well... I don't mean this as a dig at any of the writers who have used him, but... well, he just ain't that interesting. He has no appreciable personality beyond being dislikeable.

What the hell - I'll go there: I don't ever want to see him again.
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Postby Sprite » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:26 am

Well, I think a lot of the Spike-hate is directed at how he was written. I didn't have the strong dislike I have for him now during the AHM run, for instance. So although there are people who didn't like him even then, I think for the most part we're talking about Spike-as-written-by-Mike-Costa.

And speaking of, here's something else that occurred to me: I was thinking how it's important that how main characters perceive things in the story meshes with what readers perceive. And when it comes to Spike, it loses credibility when characters we identify with say things (repeatedly) like, "I trust Spike, I like Spike" when readers perceive him as an obvious jerk and don't like him at all.
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Postby MistaTee » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:02 pm

DAMN good explanations, Sprite!!!

Sprite wrote:Spike... can't speak for everyone of course, but judging from responses on the board and my own opinion, the wide-spread dislike comes from these causes:

From the beginning of the ongoing onwards he featured heavily in the series, to the point where people started to wonder sarcastically if the series was stil called "The Transformers" or "Spike and the Transformers". Considering we buy the books primarily to read about giant robots from outer space (although by no means do I want to discount the human factor), the attention given to the character in the story seemed chafing. At times it very much felt he was the main character, the one driving the story and the Transformers were there as a supporting cast. I think it was also telling that Mike Costa mentioned in his interview that he would like to return some time and continue the story about Spike.

And on top of that, he wasn't a very likable character. People complained that he was a total jerk. We were told it was intentional, that we were supposed to dislike him, but the problem was that he was disliked to the point that people stopped liking the book. I think the problem was not so much that he was a jerk, but that he was a jerk with no redeemable features. On the one hand, he was presented as being too perfect - women flock to him, he can take out a Transformer all by himself, etc. etc. - on the other hand his personality characteristics were all negative - he's got no morals, he's arrogant, sleeps around - on the job - keeps secrets, etc. etc. That's not a good combination.

I've thought a lot about the jerk-type character in Transformers and I suspect that might be at the root of the problem. Because usually response to jerks is actually quite favourable - they're either characters we love (Prowl) or characters-we-love-to-hate (Animated's Sentinel Prime). And I think that what it boils down to is that those characters might be jerks, but they either have redeeming features that offset it and actually supply depth to the characters, or they don't get away with being a jerk. Presenting:

Prowl: he's always been a prick, but he rose to new heights with Nick Roche's story Everything In Its Right Place, which established him as a scheming force behind the throne, pretty much. Apart from the fact that this story was exceedingly well written and received, it also made Prowl, well, almost evil, adding a lot of moral grey to a universe that usually tends to be pretty clear-cut in terms of good and evil. But it also gave him a motive for his actions: everything he does is for the Autobot cause (redeeming feature). His actions, while evil, are not evil for evil's sake, but serve a higher moral purpose, which is good.

And while what he did to Kup and whatever else he has done may have remained undiscovered as yet, there are people around him who are aware of it, and don't approve, which causes a lot of tension, suggesting that one day there will be pay-off. And I, for one, want to see that pay-off someday. I would like to see Prowl fall hard and be made to answer for the things he's done. Not because I hate the character but because seeing Prowl sweat just makes for the way more interesting story. It's fun to see him flip a table in frustration because someone he relied on looked him in the face and told him, screw it, I'm off. It's fun to see him feel control slipping away bit by bit. It's fun to see his mask slipping and see him loosing control.

Sentinel Prime: a jerk who doesn't have many positive features - he's arrogant, whiny, prepared to let his best friend take the fall to save himself - as I recall he was based on the character Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H - he is the character-we-love-to-hate in Transformers Animated and about as far on the other side of the jerk-spectrum from Prowl as you can get. Why do we love him? Because his jerkitude is offset by the fact that he's got a pretty weak personality, leading to him falling hard and often, after which he'll have to crawl to the very character he's been a jerk to most (Optimus Prime) begging for help. And it's played to comedy effect, which means he is the character who amuses, instead of irritating, the audience. We love to laugh at jerks, because they don't get away with it.

Well, Spike "gets away with it". In fact, in the end, he literally got away, meaning we never even got the satisfying conclusion of seeing him fall. Yeah, he might be a fugitive now, on the run from the law, but we never know, he might actually enjoy that, it might fit with the romantic image we've been told he's got of himself. And we never actually see him sweat over it, we never see him actually have be confronted with what he's done. So basically Spike ended up annoying readers from start to finish and even his story wasn't brought to a satisfying conclusion.

Comments and questions after the break. :P
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Postby Sprite » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:21 pm

Thanks.

On a positive note, at least being able to hate Spike made people more forgiving towards my beloved Drift. :P
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Postby Cattleprod » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:26 pm

I was the guy who didn't like Drift much, but thought some of the vitriol against him in the AHM days was too over the top (it's weird to be a McCarthy hater on one board and a McCarthy apologist on another). Ongoing Spike was a bigger Mary Sue by orders of magnitude, but the term was run so deeply into the ground with Drift no one really brought it up.
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Postby Cyberstrike » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:15 am

Sprite wrote:I don't think "I'll only accept the return of this character if she dies" is a very nice thing to say when you know a lot of people like said character, really. He could just have said he'd rather not see the character again because he didn't like her. It's one thing to dislike a character, another to take joy in what will inevitably upset other fans. And with this member's record of aggrivating behaviour on the board (something he's well aware of and, if memory serves, has stated he will not change) I am not at all convinced he's not doing it on purpose to get a rise out of people. Either way, I know I'm not the only person here who's getting fed up with it.



First off my opinions of the Human trio are my REAL opinions on them.

Second I've seen that very kind of comment about Spike. So spare me this "it's ruining the enjoyment of others" crap. I enjoyed Costa's run and IDW Spike but I've seen other people state that they hate Spike, but that doesn't ruin my enjoyment of the stories. I enjoy what I choose to enjoy and no one on the internet can or will take that away from me. If you enjoy Verity more power to you. I don't. I find her annoying and stupid like Miko on Transformers: Prime.

I believe that the worse thing that I can do as a fan of The Transformers franchise is say that I like a character (or anything else) just to because it's popular and make people like you happy. I don't work that way.

Now this might come as a suprise to you (and many others here as well) Sprite but I agree with you about 97% of the time. But don't think that that means you or anyone else gets to tell me what to think or feel.

Kingoji wrote:It's a stupid point of view to take anyway, the whole "this character should only return for death" point of view. Any and every character is whatever the writer makes of them. Cyberstrike may not have liked what the old teams did with the humans, doesn't mean that the new teams wont make him love them. For example, I doubt there would be a single raised complaint about the return of Spike... as long as he wasn't written by the guy that made him so applalling in the first place. I would positively salivate over the thought of what Roberts could do with him...


As I said if RnR (Roche and Roberts) couldn't make me give a damn about Verity in The Last Stand of the Wreckers (and honestly that is where my most of my hatred of her comes from) then I doubt Roberts could do it alone in MTMTE.
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Postby HdE » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:29 am

I'm gonna jump on this before anyone else does.

Cyberstrike wrote:Now this might come as a suprise to you (and many others here as well) Sprite but I agree with you about 97% of the time. But don't think that that means you or anyone else gets to tell me what to think or feel.


Nobody has tried to tell you what to think or feel, Cyberstrike. What several of us HAVE done is ask you to moderate your acidity.

Your opinion is yours to hold, and that's fine. Couching it in the terms that you regularly do, however, is obviously getting people's backs up. It's tough for the rest of us to engage with you when you post like that.

Not to mention that coming back to this thread and quoting back posts that are now god-alone-knows how old, with this kind of attitude, really comes off as agitative behaviour.

Apologies, everyone, but I logged into the forum for a bit of light relief and this was the first thing I saw.

Don't go for the bait, people.
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Postby Cyberstrike » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:15 pm

HdE wrote:I'm gonna jump on this before anyone else does.

Cyberstrike wrote:Now this might come as a suprise to you (and many others here as well) Sprite but I agree with you about 97% of the time. But don't think that that means you or anyone else gets to tell me what to think or feel.


Nobody has tried to tell you what to think or feel, Cyberstrike. What several of us HAVE done is ask you to moderate your acidity.


I know one way to voice my opinion and that is to be blunt as possible.

I have tried to be nice and I get raked over the coals for it to explain my opinions. And when I do explain I get raked over the coals for having opinions I get the "that my opinions ruin other people's enjoyment of their comics" crap thrown at me. Frankly I'm sick of being damned if I do and damned if I don't.

If I am going to be damned then I'll be damned for what I am and what I believe in. As I have said many times: I would rather be hated for being honest with my opinions, than being loved as a liar.
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Postby Cattleprod » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:34 pm

You've already been told in this very thread to stop making those inflammatory posts. Stop it.
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Postby ladywreck » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:03 pm

I'm just locking this thread. Enough time has gone on there have been some good points made here but clearly there are still beefs.

Please lets just move on ... No one is out to get anyone, there is no list of people meant to be kicked by a group on this forum... That's why there are 4 mods from differing opinions and no one gets kicked or banned or done away with without the approval of all 4. (And I'm definitely not in the CAMP of banning or kicking anyone right now.) SO please no more paranoia about that?

Certainly there are egos and toes being stepped on here. Maybe its time to just let this discussion end and we all move on as adults.
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