Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ben Grimm Totally Rocks! Reason #14

In Fantastic Four #542, we finally learn how Reed Richards has justified to himself his actions during Civil War. What do you think the Thing's reaction to Reed's well-reasoned, impeccably-argued self-defense will be? Friendly understanding? Grudging acceptance? Casual humor?

FF #66 panels
Panels from Fantastic Four #66, September 1967, art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is another reason why Ben Grimm totally rocks.

Here are some other, less-violent reasons why Ben Grimm totally rocks.


SallyP said...

'Cause really, Reed was totally asking for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Superheroes punch each other all the time, over the slightest little thing. The next issue, all is forgotten and forgiven. There is no fan outrage, because these are superpowered folks, after all, and a punch is no worse than a harsh word to them.

But Hank Pym smacks Jan just once (and this during a time when he was being portrayed as mentally unstable and Jan was being portrayed as more powerful than he ) and he is labelled a scumbag for life. He is shocked and disgusted at his actions. He is mortified. He begs forgiveness. But to this day he is Hank Pym: Wife Beater. It's just not fair.

Believe me, I do NOT condone violence against women in any form for any reason, but neither do I condone punching a male friend in the face just because he said something that bugged you.

And I despise double standards.

Bully said...

At the heart of it, The Mutt's right: I re-read these early FFs and this sort of thing happens more frequently than I remembered. I'm not condoning fictional character on fictional character violence , but I do think it was one of the surprising moves that suddenly made Marvel more believable and potentially relevant to its audience--heroes never, never hit each other in anger. Except Stan's did. It also is a shorthand character portrayal of the Thing, that of a man who is used to action and has a problem expressing his anger other than physically.

But at the heart of I think the main reason is this: consider the medium of superhero comics. In this larger-than-life medium, a physical confrontation is a more dynamic and expressive way to depict a disagreement than an argument or a sulk (although Kirby was a master at portraying both of those as well).

The Hank Pym example is one that violates a rule even Stan held firm to in those days: ya don't punch a girl. Unless, uh, of course, she's a supervillain and you have no choice. Or unless another girl is punching. (For what's it worth, I object to the character tropes used in Ultimates that reduce our heroes to one lines based on short storylines in the main Marvel Universe: Tony is a drunk; Hank is a wife-beater.) I agree: Hank had "done his time." He's gotten counselling. He's made amends. There is no need to continue to write him in the that violent mode; and doing so turns him into a character I don't want to read about. It does disservice to a good character, and although I realized at the time it was supposed to be based in the time Hank went nutty and thought he was Yellowjacket, that Jim Shooter Hank-hits-Jan story in the early 200s of Avengers was my excuse to leap off a book that I'd had little love for since Perez had left earlier that year.

Finally, this doesn't justify it, but in the following panels it's pointed out that it didn't hurt Reed.

Anonymous said...

the Mutt's right. He made a good argument on double standards in Marvel Comics. So did you, Bully. By the way, Bully, I'd like to say your blog has been doing better these last few days. I'm sorry but your pictures of doornobs in London was a total yawnfest, man. I like your input on comics much better. Keep up the great work!

SallyP said...

But...but they were BRITISH doorknobs! I can't help it, I'm a total anglophile. My idea of a really good time NOT involving comics is watching all six hours of Pride and Prejudice and slobbering over Colin Firth.

Nevertheless, you have a point about poor old Hank. It's seems to be perfectly ok for Hawkgirl to go around slapping Sandy silly when she's mildly cranky which is totally unfair.

Hal Jordan slapped Arisia when they were trapped in that cave, but that's ok 'cause she was being hysterical. I guess it was one of those "thanks, I needed that" moments. Guy Gardner slapped R'amey Holl in GLC, but he was just trying to keep her from freezing to death, so I guess that one's ok.

But there is certainly a double standard.

Bully said...

Oooh, Oxy, you're really not gonna like my format change next week when this blog becomes Doorknobs Oughta Be Fun.

Brandon Bragg said...

Dammit! Just when I was about to unveil a month long doorknocker theme! All that work for nothing...

Welp, there's always monkeys to post about.