Jan 23, 2009

Top Five Characters I Don't Get the Popularity of At All

We've all got them: the characters we can't stand and that everyone else seems to love. Moreover, you just really don't get their popularity at all. Here are my top five.

5. Dr. Doom

Who: Purportedly Marvel's greatest villain, with the second most brilliant scientific mind and second most advanced knowledge in the Dark Arts.

Why: The thing with this is that I DO get Doom; I just have never really felt the sense of awe and majesty I should be getting from purportedly the Marvel Universe's greatest villain. Admittedly, he should've been treated better in the Fantastic Four movies, but I really find it hard to buy into the hype. This is probably because you're only as good as your greatest enemy, and his greatest enemy happens to be my number four.

4. Mr. Fantastic

Who: The most scientifically advanced mind in the Marvel Universe, and the leader of the Fantastic Four.

Why: I don't think Reed is universally loved; he's most certainly the least-well-known character in this bunch. Still, I can't, for the life of me, understand why they place him as Doom's number one enemy. Since Doom is the number one villain in the Marvel Universe, and he considers Reed his greatest enemy, logically, that should put Reed in the running for world's greatest hero. But he's just so lame, has a power that doesn't match his personality, and neglects his wife to no end. I can almost say with certainty that if anything has ever stopped me from buying a Fantastic Four book, it's Reed Richards.

3. Iron Man

Who: Tony Stark, arms dealer and creator of a suit that keeps his heart beating.

Why: I don't agree with his politics, and, when it comes to his politics, he's just really a dick. In addition to that, he's got a suit of armor, and I just don't see why that puts him in the same league as the world's greatest heroes. He's smart, but he's a jerk, and his powers are lame.
And he has a mustache. I honestly don't understand a world where Iron Man is considered cool and Superman is not. Just the idealist in me, I guess.

2. Darth Vader

 Who: Luke Skywalker's father, and pretty much the main bad guy in the original Star Wars trilogy

Why: Oh, so many reasons, not the least of them which is that I just don't get Star Wars at all. It's a bunch of people in bathrobes fighting with flashlights.

But Vader's a rip-off of Dr. Doom, right down to the scene with the banquet with the heroes. He also moves incredibly stiffly, and without any of the grace or majesty you expect from someone of his stature. And, moreover, the guy is a lackey. He takes orders and doesn't really have a fully-formed character. Why people love this guy is beyond me.

1. The Incredible Hulk

Who: Scientist loses temper, turns into strong, green man without brain.

Why: You can make the Jekyll and Hyde case all you want, but that only goes so far and still doesn't explain to me the Hulk's incredible popularity. Marvel Movies loves him, too. In Ultimate Avengers, Hulk saves the day (and kicks Thor's ass in the process), despite his not being an Avenger. In Next Avengers, they do it again, despite his not being an Avenger. In Hulk vs Thor, he beats Thor soundly, and Thor has been well-established in the comics as being at least Hulk's equal. The Mighty Marvel Marketing Machine is so hard behind Hulk, and I don't get it because he's a big green guy who smashes shit. There may be depth to the character of Bruce Banner, but NO ONE CARES about the character of Bruce Banner. There is no depth to the character of the Hulk in his most popular incarnation (brainless and savage) - he's big, green, and smashes shit. Isn't that concept rather limited? And if it is, why in the world does it serve him so well and so long?


Peachy said...

It's possible that the general public loves the Hulk only because they could identify with him. Apparently, being "green" and "savage" are trendy now, and the new popular hobby, "smashing shit", is making waves all over town.

As for Star Wars -- I always thought Darth Vader's headgear must have been styled after the Samurai helmets of old, but then again, what do I know? I can't stand Star Wars myself and have never felt compelled to watch the series.

But then I love you always and every time and to the beat of any clock's ticking!

Duy said...

I think you're right with the Samurai helmets, and don't bother with Star Wars - we'll always have other things to watch. :)

I should try that "smashing shit" hobby soon enough.

I love you always and at every turn!

Tim said...

Never liked Star Wars much, or even Star Trek, for that matter. Although I think the latter has much more depth, plot-wise.

About Superman, no offense, but maybe it has something to do with him wearing underwear over his pants? I did like the look in the Superman Blue and Red though, and in the stage where he was all in black and didn't have any powers, but I've never been much of a DC comics reader, so what do I know, right?

With Marvel, I never really liked the majority of their earth-based characters. Never was a fan of the mutants, exept Colossus before they made him into a weepy emo villain. Most of my favorite Marvel characters are in space. Adam Warlock, Thanos, Silver Surfer. With regard to Iron Man, I've always liked War Machine better.

But I will readily admit that my preferences are still based on my comics days waaaay back in high school, so a lot's probably changed.

Pig said...

Oh surely the basis of great comic book characters has always been where they wear their underpants! What brilliant observation! Surely Superman really looked powerful wearing all black with guns and NO POWERS at all! How SUPER!!! Let's not forget the WONDERFUL Blue/Red Superman run... we all knew how CLASSIC that storyline was. I say to thee, most observant one - you have your underpants way over your head.

John said...

"[Darth Vader] also moves incredibly stiffly, and without any of the grace or majesty you expect from someone of his stature."

In the first movie, Vader actually moves with some grace in the fights. But before Empire Strikes Back was made, the actor that plays him (David Prowse, I think his name is?) got hurt, so his movement becomes VERY stiff.

Duy said...

Yeah, my memories of Vader come mainly from the fight where he cuts off Luke's hand, where he moves very stiffly, and also, the part at the end of Jedi, when Luke is fighting the Emperor, and Vader just looks and decides what to do - there's something hammy about the whole thing. I just don't get what's so regal and awesome about him, since he's, really, a lackey.

Tim said...

Pig: I did say LOOK, right? Nothing there about depth of character since I also said that I wasn't much of a DC comics reader. And few things in pop culture are intelligent or deep. You and Jose obviously appreciate comics on a totally different and deeper level so your tastes and preferences are more defined than the casual comics reader.

Pig said...

Tim, it's hilarious that you'd comment negatively on a man who wears underwear, and then say you love the Silver Surfer - a man who's naked. Also, Batman wears his underwear outside his pants, too. It's called tights. Not a DC comics reader? Exactly: don't comment on things you don't know about.

MOCK! said...

At the risk of being labled "Grumpy Old Man", a bunch of 90s introductions top my list:


Brainy Pirate said...

Wow, so glad to know someone else has the same problems I do with Iron Man and Hulk. My own list would also include Thor, Dr. Strange and Daredevil.

Honestly, I don't "get" a lot of the Marvel heroes. I mean, I get the concept: Norse god! Blind man! Man in armor! But I don't get why those concepts have lasted for almost 50 years. Hulk especially--how have there been enough stories to tell about this character for 5 decades???

X-Men, I get. FF, I get. Spidey, I get. Most of the other Avengers, I get. But five of Marvel's top characters just simply do not make sense to me!

Unsurprisingly, I'm a DC reader. I even "get" Matter-Eater Lad, but I can't get a grasp on why I should like Thor. Go figure....

Brainy Pirate said...

Oh! Silver Surfer! How did I forget him??? What the heck is THAT about???

Duy Tano said...

I like Thor and the Silver Surfer both, but for different reasons. Thor is rich in possible story material - Asgard alone is pretty limitless. However, as I've said in another post around here, I haven't read much Thor, so I can't really say what's made him last so long. To me, Thor is just plain awesome, in the purest sense of the word.

Silver Surfer on the other hand, was the first comic I ever bought. He's so tortured and questions so much that he's the perfect superhero for an eleven-year-old who's just starting to learn that the world isn't black and white, if that makes sense.

Brainy Pirate said...

RE: Thor

It's odd to me that I've always enjoyed mythology, but even my interest in Norse gods didn't help me get into a character acting as a superhero in modern day NYC. (Similarly, I love Ancient Greek literature, but have no interest in either Marvel's Hercules or in DC's Amazons.)

RE: Silver Surfer

Your description helps. I was never able to see past the gimmick, which seems really dated: Silver guy on a (space-)surfboard!!!

Interesting article--I like pondering why certain characters just don't appeal to me.

Duy Tano said...

That actually makes sense! I've got a friend who's REALLY into mythology, and as a result, he's not really interested in myth-based characters. He couldn't help but view the narrative discrepancies in Thor the movie.

Silver Surfer's always been kind of charming to me. He's a space philosopher... on a surfboard! It's so ridiculously campy I love it!!

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