The Most Divisive Character Types in Comics
Everyone likes a good argument, and comics fans are no different. Sure, for the most part we want peace, but life is better when there is something to bicker over. During the course of an argument you get to re-visit favorite moments, air out grievances, and occasionally learn something new.
Certain characters, though, seem to be magnets for controversy. Something about them draws out extreme opposing opinions from fans. When they come up in conversation, it’s an automatic five minute talk. When they’re mentioned on forums, the comments are a tangle of debates (some reasoned, some not). Take a look at the five most divisive kinds of characters in comics.
The problem, though, is Deadpool and Wolverine got so popular in the first place because they were extreme characters. They were strong enough to change the flavor of the books they were in. When they’re in a few books, that’s great. Variety is the spice of life. Once they’re in every book, with more books just about them being created every day, things get over-spiced.
Or they don’t. Some people have just come into comics and these characters are as fresh for them as any other. In those cases it’s great to have a huge supply of a favorite. Others don’t think of those characters as a different flavor so much as a new, and better, direction for comics. The more, the better.
The difference in opinion between fans of this character and people who are sick of this character mean guaranteed fights.
2. The Disputed Legacy
Hal Jordan is the One True Green Lantern. Or is Kyle? Or is John? Or even Guy?
Is Jaime Reyes or Ted Kord the only real Blue Beetle.
And who’s the real Captain America these days?
Most often in comics, what fans think the status quo should be depends on where they came in. Much has been made of comics being a shrinking media, but new fans come in all the time. And old fans hang on to the bitter end. The scratching and biting between those who love the only Blah Blah Man they’ve ever known and those who hate this new punk in the suit isn’t going to end anytime soon.
Daken is Wolverine’s secret son. He has claws coming out of this hands. He’s an assassin. He thinks he’s the best at what he does. His books say that he may be right.
Damian is Batman’s son. He’s more equipped than Batman, more ruthless than Batman, and has occasionally been shown to solve problems Batman can’t.
Some people think this is great. It not only introduces a new character, it enriches the continuity of an existing one. Both mean more and better stories.
Other people didn’t see what was wrong with the continuity of the character in the first place, and don’t know why they should be reading about a pale imitation of the character they love. The new character is a disruption, not an addition. And because it’s so close to the hero, there’s a chance that it could stick around forever, messing up stories for years to come.
Love interests also tend to attract this kind of conflict. There’s always someone on the internet ready to besmirch or defend the honor of whichever hapless soul a hero chooses to date.
Jason Todd. Bucky Barnes. Aunt May. Stephanie Brown.
What do these characters have in common? They should all be dead. Or should they?
There are so many reasons to fight about this issue. Deaths should be final. No, they should be reversible so we don’t lose good characters. This character was better before all this new continuity garbage. No, the old character was boring and useless. Symbolism versus Reality. Good versus Evil. Capricious fan interest versus classic storytelling. There’s no end to the amount of arguments that can be had over this.
Quick; which is the true Hulk? The Gladiator? The Brain? The Destructive Force? The Weird, Off-Putting Horny One in the Ultimates Universe?
And which is the real Bruce Banner? Is he the mild-mannered dork who just wants to live a quiet life with Betty and some books? Or is he the sociopathic one who talked about how he created The Hulk to keep the world safe from his demented geek-needs?
Don’t even get me started on Batman. We’ll be here for weeks.
This is not just one comics argument; it is all comics arguments. Comics are long-running enough, and enough of a group effort, that every single character has multiple personalities, multiple moments of badassery, and multiple failures. If you argue long enough with someone, about almost any character, you’ll find that you see completely different versions of the same thing. The moment that you wrote off as a bad editorial, or writing, or artistic, decision – and therefore not relevant – is the defining character moment for someone else. The body of work that you consider the definitive take on the character hasn’t even been read by the other person. Instead, they read the run that you dropped because it wasn’t ‘really’ your character.
Most of the time, internet squabblers are fighting over completely different characters, who happen to have the same name. And they’ll continue to fight as long as those discrepancies are out there. Meaning; forever. Good thing it’s fun.