Veritas wrote:And Torpedo, regarding your tagline... you are, too, interesting enough to print. Too LONG to print, maybe, sometimes (yeah, look who's talking! ) but definitely INTERESTING enough to print.
Veritas wrote:And you see, I think it could be done. I did like the way the story played out, and allowed Chuckles to redeem himself by going out in a blaze of glory - but I think that bringing him back into the team could have happened, and would have been a rich and dynamic storyline. It would have been the classic hero's journey back from the underworld - Chuckles would, naturally, face resistance and resentment. He would need to prove himself again. It would start with one other character - one ally who is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, someone who, perhaps, had done things and seen things that he didn't want to face himself. The two of them would form a coalition of sorts - and so long as Chuckles has that one teammate who believes in him, trusts him, he is then enabled to reach for his better, truer heroic nature. He would, likely as not, fail a time or two - perhaps be accused of something he hadn't done - before he could ultimately prove himself worthy of being a fully-accepted member of the team again. And that isn't to say that all would be rosy and forgiven - there would certainly be characters who would become his antagonist, providing fodder for future development - but in time, with careful, talented writing, it could happen, and happen well.
But action is both external - the physical fight - and internal, don't you think? Again, I think it's the issue of when the Event happens. G.I. Joe has always been big on the backstory - giving us arcs where we're able to dive into a character's past, see what made them the person they are in the present. Everyone wants to know what Snake Eyes has gone through, what was up with Chimera, why he split from his ninja clan. Would it make him less of the character that his is if it's revealed that he had struggled with these hideous tragedies himself? I'm not sure. Honestly, if someone went through a completely body-scarring trauma and walked out without so much as an emotional ding - well, I'd be a bit skittish around that person, because the man who can suffer anything and not be emotionally moved by it is someone who can, by reversal, inflict anything on an opponent and feel nothing.
Torpedo wrote:Veritas wrote:I'm not sure what you mean here... I don't think you're saying that it would negatively impact you as a reader, or make you think less of the character or the world she lives in, but is what you're saying more along the lines of "It wouldn't serve to better the character or storyline, and would leave the reader feeling uncomfortable?" Just clarifying, because I was a bit confused.
Sorry, I wasn't trying to suggest that being a victim of rape or abuse makes Scarlett (or anyone else, fictional or otherwise) less respectable, less heroic, less anything. I do not believe that's true.
What I do believe is this type of crime (rape, abuse, incest, etc.), is radioactive to characters in serial fiction like comic books. It's something so extreme, so above the normal (ironically life-or-death) situations they find themselves in that it will mutate the characters. Not necessarily bad, nor good, but Scarlett, or Dial-Tone or any other character implicated in this type of story would be different in the eyes of the reader. The stories about her would be different. This would always be in the background, or hanging over her head, and writers would have to address it because it's not something you can drop in one issue and never address again.
There is an infamous issue of Marvel's The Avengers where Hank "Giant Man" Pym slapped his wife Janet, The Wasp. Hank and Jan were two fun, winsome characters going back to Marvel's earliest Silver Age days. Hank was a genius on par with Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man and the Hulk and Jan was the first woman on their premiere team. But that slap defined those characters and still does. However heroic Pym was before and after that incident, he was seen as a scum bag wife-beater. The other Avengers and Marvel heroes had to treat him like an @$$hole, because if they didn't, *gasp* Spider-Man and Captain America are condoning spousal abuse. And Jan was always seen as the victim, and considered pathetic by some because she kept going back to Hank because their origins/powers are inextricably linked so they have to be together.
More recently, a couple years ago DC published a story called Identity Crisis. A lot of people hated this story; for a lot of people, hate probably isn't a strong enough word to describe how they feel about it. I happen to think the story was really good up until the reveal of who the mystery killer is at the end, but I wish it was an Elseworlds/out-of-continuity story. If you're not familiar with it, the wife of a super hero is raped by one of the super villains, and the miniseries follows the fallout of this horrible event. Without giving away too much, within a couple years, the hero, his wife and the rapist villain were all dead in the DC Universe. At the end of another event, Blackest Night, readers expected a lot of their favorite dead heroes to come back to life (Hurray, Aquaman!). But many, if not most, readers didn't want the three victims of Identity Crisis brought back to life because the rape had so thoroughly corrupted their histories that they couldn't continue.
Bringing it back to G.I. Joe, since I realize now that I've strayed quite a bit... I think Chuckles is a good example of this. His murder of Jinx in the first volume of Cobra was incredibly powerful and great to read, but it also set him on a track from which he could never recover. I knew as soon as I saw him pull the trigger that he was dead. I'm surprised it took another fourteen issues to kill him, honestly.
What possible future could Chuckles have had if he was pulled back and reintegrated into G.I. Joe? Who would talk to him? Who would trust him? Of course he was just doing his job, but he murdered his handler, one of their own.
Grant Morrison said "comics are about characters in action". He might have been specifically referring to super hero comics, but I think the idea holds true for the members of G.I. Joe, too. If any of the men and women we've come to love in these stories were victimized through assault or drug use or some other abominable tragedy our real life soldiers have to endure, there is only one way it could come out: bloody f***ing violently. And then you have a whole new set of issues that you have to resolve that can never be fully resolved.
Antarctica wrote:DDP actually dealt with something similar with Flint when Lady Jaye was killed he certainly had a case of PTSD. And went off the deep end and quit GI Joe only to reappear to get revenge but turn around in the end to be a good Joe.
And in the Cobra book Chuckles was definitely struggling with some version of it. And the Cobra book was/is very dark and the fans think it is the best written book.
Personally, I don't think there is really any place for it in Hama's ARAH it is the escapist fiction.
But the IDW universe is ripe for especially since GI Joe has had so many losses and memorial issue with some morning is probably coming once CCW is complete. GI Joe can't lose all of those soldiers and not notice it.
Torpedo wrote:Veritas wrote:And Torpedo, regarding your tagline... you are, too, interesting enough to print. Too LONG to print, maybe, sometimes (yeah, look who's talking! ) but definitely INTERESTING enough to print.
Noted. Note Torpedo's new tagline... heh. - V.
Torpedo wrote:I agree, and if there is any room to explore this topic, I think, as you say, it has to be a past event intruding on present circumstances. What I think complicates the issue then is how it affects the other characters in the present time. If Scarlett, or Cover Girl or Dial-Tone had this event in her past, it has to go at least semi-public in the team. Her dealing with the internal conflict might be riveting in prose fiction, but comics are visual; we need to see direct consequences. A secret that only one person knows is death in fiction; a secret known by two people creates drama. So now, for example, you have Duke or Snake Eyes knowing that Scarlett was abused by her CO during basic training. What are they going to do about it? Was it ever reported? Was the guy brought to justice? If so, then there's no external conflict in the current story. And if the CO is still free, and Duke and/or Snake Eyes knows what he did, then I return to my point that it can only end with some severed body parts.
Torpedo wrote:This whole idea was addressed fairly well in Brian Michael Bendis' Marvel MAX comic Alias (which has nothing to do with the Jennifer Garner show).
...That's why you can't drop this into the back story of a much loved established character; because it feels like a betrayal to us.
Now if IDW does that with characters in a new continuity, not Hama's ARAH-verse, that's another matter because it's accepted that this isn't the same Duke, the same Destro, the same Helix--wait, no--the same Scarlett we always knew.
Veritas wrote:Torpedo wrote:I agree, and if there is any room to explore this topic, I think, as you say, it has to be a past event intruding on present circumstances. What I think complicates the issue then is how it affects the other characters in the present time. If Scarlett, or Cover Girl or Dial-Tone had this event in her past, it has to go at least semi-public in the team. Her dealing with the internal conflict might be riveting in prose fiction, but comics are visual; we need to see direct consequences. A secret that only one person knows is death in fiction; a secret known by two people creates drama. So now, for example, you have Duke or Snake Eyes knowing that Scarlett was abused by her CO during basic training. What are they going to do about it? Was it ever reported? Was the guy brought to justice? If so, then there's no external conflict in the current story. And if the CO is still free, and Duke and/or Snake Eyes knows what he did, then I return to my point that it can only end with some severed body parts.
I, for one, would find that IMMENSELY satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable to read. Anyone touches Scarlett, past or present, would likely be in for a world of hurt - and likely wouldn't be in any shape, assuming he lived, to even look at another woman the wrong way again. Of course, I'd like to think that they'd do the same for Dial Tone, Cover Girl, even Helix.
Now, an interesting twist would be to have HELIX take the guy out... step around the whole "white knight" issue.
Torpedo wrote:Here we can only delve into philosophical territory.
I like my heroes to be more idealistic than pragmatic. Of course Batman should throw the Joker off a tall building, but he never will, never can because it's wrong, because it violates his code. And I like my G.I. Joes to not prioritize the lives of many over the life of one (unless it's their own).
Torpedo wrote:I agree that it could be done as a past event with present day ramifications, but the author(s) would have to thread the needle extremely finely--certainly more finely than I give Dixon credit for, since I can't tell one of his characters from the next based on how they talk/act.
Veritas wrote:For me, there are continuity holes that you could drive a fair-sized armored vehicle through in terms of character backstory. A lot seems to have happened off-panel in the Dixonverse that we're either supposed to say, "Okay, this will probably get explained in flashback at some later time if we wait patiently enough" or simply not notice. I never did get my head wrapped around how the team went from the small numbers in Origins to the massive numbers we currently see, in terms of the casualty list.
Ah well. It is what it is, and the writing is out of our hands.
Torpedo wrote: And if the CO is still free, and Duke and/or Snake Eyes knows what he did, then I return to my point that it can only end with some severed body parts.
Veritas wrote:I, for one, would find that IMMENSELY satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable to read. Anyone touches Scarlett, past or present, would likely be in for a world of hurt...
Torpedo wrote:But that goes directly to my fear that the character will be different, possibly diminished. Now Scarlett is no longer one of the most formidable soldiers in the world, she's a woman who needs men to avenge her.
Veritas wrote:Now, an interesting twist would be to have HELIX take the guy out... step around the whole "white knight" issue.
Torpedo wrote:That is a possible solution.
Veritas wrote:No, she doesn't need men to avenge her; the way I see it, it's not a matter of "need." And once more into the philosophical difference breach we go, dear friend...
I guess part of my own heroic ideal is that, whether it's a friend or a lover, the heroic male WANTS to be the protector. It's not always possible - and certainly not always appropriate - but it's something that seems to be hardwired into them. They want to keep their loved ones from harm - it's not just the White Knight, it's the Papa Bear trope that's so popular in the media (hardened soldier has a soft spot for a child and will fight to the death to protect that child).
Now, in most day-to-day situations, for most women, it's not acceptable for men to muscle in and take charge of a situation or show a protective streak too readily; in the Joes' world, it's especially unwelcome - none of the female Joes want to be safely behind the lines when the bullets are flying; they want to be out there, shoulder to shoulder with their team. Right now, for example, I'd put money on saying that Scarlett would rather be out there with Duke and Snake Eyes rather than at Baxter. BUT... there are extenuating circumstances.
There's a truth out there that most women will admit to, if asked. We want to know that we're worth fighting for - even if we don't necessarily want someone to do our fighting for us. And there are situations where it's appropriate for a man to step up and make sure he's got his lady's back. OFFERING to rip a guy's arms off in this situation would likely mean more to Scarlett than actually ripping them off, for example.
And if Duke or Snake Eyes went and took off a few limbs anyhow - with or without Scarlett's by-your-leave - she'd VERY decidedly rake them over the coals for it, rather than being the dewy-eyed princess batting her lashes at her avenging angel, and make their lives rather... interesting... for some time to come, proving that she's every bit the warrior they are. I'd guess it would take her a long time to forgive either one of them.
But... that may just be how I see it. YMMV.
I imagine the Origins issues showing the formation of the team took place about 10 years before G.I. Joe 1.Veritas wrote:I never did get my head wrapped around how the team went from the small numbers in Origins to the massive numbers we currently see, in terms of the casualty list.
Torpedo wrote:I think Dixon has fallen into the same traps with the current G.I. Joe. He assumes the readers know this property so well that he can name drop characters like Easter Eggs without giving them considerable introductions. I blame a lot of it on a lack of editorial guidance and far-planning. The book reads very fly-by-the-seat-of-Chuck's-pants and that leads to continuity flaws and wasted potential.
Here's a fun little exercise. Take any of the scenes with Stalker, Recondo and Leatherneck. Transcribe all of their dialogue and then take out the names. Then try and figure out who says what. Good luck.
The original Joe characters were memorable because they were introduced in ways that required someone of their special skill set. Recondo looked like an uber-badass navigating the Joe team through the jungles of Sierra Gordo in Hama's original run because that was Recondo's thing and you knew why he was part of the team by the end of that story.
What does Recondo do in the IDW-verse? Why is he on the team? How is he any different from Beachhead or Tripwire or Rock n' Roll or Rocker (who may or may not be the same character)? Dixon uses characters with familiar names because fans will recognize the name, but that's all. Everything from that point is a blank slate. He killed off Grand Slam in the Mainframe issue of Origins. I guess that was supposed to be a meaningful death because I used to have a Grand Slam figure. But I'd never seen him before that panel in Dixon's book so I had no attachment to him, but now I'm stuck with the knowledge that IDW will never give me the awesome Grand Slam story I've always wanted to read..
Torpedo wrote:EDIT: We meet Destro in the first issue of IDW's G.I. JOE, but it took another year before we saw Cobra Commander. That's because Dixon and IDW knew that people who grew up watching the cartoon and playing with the toys thought Destro was cooler than Cobra Commander.
Torpedo wrote:I think the nuance of what you describe (SNIP) works in comics--at least not in mainstream comic books. There are certainly indy books that deal with mature, complicated themes and some do them really well, others not so well. It's difficult--not impossible, mind you, just difficult--to capture subtlety and the sense of helpless frustration without being melodramatic in single image panels. I know it can be done; I'm sure I've seen it done before, but it wanders afield from what I think is fundamental--intrinsic--in these type of action adventure stories..
Torpedo wrote:G.I. Joe is the place to see Roadblock beat up a squad of Vipers. The place to see Lady Jaye dealing with past sexual abuse or Tunnel Rat shooting up a convenience store full of people because he cannot process the horrors he witnessed on the front lines is... someplace else.