Friday, January 30, 2004

Comparing the world to Superheros... 

Ok, so I was reading the comments for this entry on John's blog, and Jason made an innocent enough comment that I've heard many times before:

So while, yes, there are options, they aren't nearly as prevelant nor as steadily-available as those for, say, horror junkies, and often they sneak in by disguising themselves as something else: Buffy's certainly a super-hero show, but covered in horror / teen dramedy trappings; likewise Smallville made its mark by playing as Dawson's Creek with powers.

To this my response was:

Also, I kind of find funny the comment about Buffy just being a superhero story with teen and horror trappings. Sure Wheden personally may have comic influences, but that isn't really the point. The point is that description is just so western-superhero centric.

Would you describe the stories of Hercules as just a superhero story with some Greek trappings? I hate to say it but those greeks were writing about superpowered people a long time before Marvel and DC existed.

Just because we have defined a particular set of characteristics (spandex, codename, particular powers, secret identity) as being what a "superhero" is all about, doesn't mean that every other person in the world secretly wants to emulate it, and that differing takes is an effort to cover up the fact that it is a superhero story. They could very well just want to make a story that happens to have a superpowered hero, as a bazillion fantasy novels have done over the years.

I constantly see people talking about how Buffy and Matrix and even James Bond are superhero stories covered in the trappings of other genres, but I think that description is very narrow, despite what influences the creator may actually be taking from. It can be important to take a step back. I'm sure someone who mostly read romance novels could describe every other movie as a "romance with xxxx trappings", but that is just their perspective...

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