starwolf_oakley: (Default)
[personal profile] starwolf_oakley posting in [community profile] scans_daily
A few posts down about Miriam Sharpe, we discussed why the Marvel Universe General Public seems to hate superheroes. What started with J. Jonah Jameson hating Spider-Man and Bolivar Trask building Sentinels to "save humanity" from mutants turned into Standard Operating Procedure for the MU public. And they act that way even without the Hate-Monger or the Serpent from FEAR ITSELF.



From MARVELS #4. Two pages, and the Lee/Ditko panels from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10 that established J. Jonah Jameson's envy problem after the cut.









Envy is a weird thing, as is Jonah being envious of Spider-Man. Is it that Jonah wishes he had spider-powers and super-strength as well? (Actually, that will probably be covered with SPIDER-ISLAND, when 8 million New Yorker's get spider-powers.) Or is it he wishes something else?

Here's the classic scene from the early Lee/Ditko days, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10.



There's more to Jonah than wanting to make money. Yes he's a blowhard and a cheapskate, but there's not much to say he's greedy. He wouldn't get an Orange Lantern Ring.

[personal profile] baxter2814 said in another post that the average MU citizen might not be jealous of the superheroes' powers, but their morality.

Actually, the "irritatingly moral" idea feels like it would be an excellent explanation for a lot of canon civilian behavior. It's actually something pretty damn disturbing however, as it implies that people can't stand to be around other people who are actually decent and upstanding and selfless because it makes them feel bad about themselves. So instead of looking up to them as role models, they lash out at and demonize and try to tear them down. It's only one step below how Lex Luthor is with Superman, or Doctor Doom with Reed Richards.

It's also very similar to how real-life people who want their superheroes to be amoral assholes because it's "realistic", even though the genre is "superhero" not "superasshole" or even "superperson" (Relatable flaws =/= total jerkwad). Which I really find pretty uncomfortable too. I could understand it in the Silver Age, where all heroes were portrayed as Always Right no matter what, but now it just reeks of jealousy and resentment.

Date: 2011-05-22 02:26 am (UTC)
turtlefu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] turtlefu
I definitely think its about morality, not the superpowers. Just think about the inherent dichotomy between "baby-killers" and "brave soldiers". For superheroes though, they aren't "real people" so they seem more like a perfect figure.

I'm not going to pretend I'm not part of it though. I remember not liking a Sandman story about Prez because he was so obviously a perfect Jesus figure. You think that you're actually a good person, but then a Mother Teresa comes along and shows you how selfish and petty you actually are. Having to face your own flaws is very difficult.

The one problem I have is that the MU never portrays a dissenting opinion, such as a human that's okay with mutants or the like. After all, in modern society, when do we ever find a consensus on these types of things. You'd think something like the Mutant Registration Act would have the ACLU fighting it right away.

Sorry about the wall of text.

Date: 2011-05-22 02:29 am (UTC)
turtlefu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] turtlefu
Oh, one more thing. I love how some writers think they are SO COOL and SO CLEVER by writing a superhero comic where the superheroes are downright horrible people. It's been done before SO MANY TIMES and by SO MANY BETTER WRITERS (Watchmen, etc.), and it's especially sad when a writer seems to stick to that specific deconstruction. And yes, I am totally talking about Ennis (and Ellis, and Millar, and Miller).
It's childish, overdone, misanthropic, and really, really sad.

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Re: Take your pick...

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Date: 2011-05-22 02:35 am (UTC)
domino_blue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] domino_blue
It's kind of Sad that Marvel still relies on this tactic, it has some merits but as the same time it's just get more contrived every year why people fear them, it doesn't even lead to good developments. I could easily see a group of Parents trying to form a support group for their mutant kids. But it's just oh thanks for saving the earth but I still think you suck.

Date: 2011-05-22 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] screamsheet.wordpress.com
I think there are certain instances when the attitude works in the Marvel Universe. Following Civil War, for example, the heroes had earned that kind of enmity.

Of course, Civil War only happened because the general populace had that attitude in the first place, so...

Date: 2011-05-22 02:43 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I think it is about about the powers AND the morality. Tall Poppy Syndrome (a very common phrase here in Australia, but I don't know how well it's known elsewhere) describes the human urge to tear down people we think are better than us - cutting down the tall poppies. Australian culture is particularly obsessed with this: the worst thing to be is visibly proud of yourself (though sportsmen and to a lesser extent sportswomen get a pass most of the time).

The exaggerated nature of this in the Marvel Universe, though, might also be motivated by fear of the uncontrollable - just like people are more afraid of plane crashes than car crashes, of strangers molesting your kids than your own family members doing it - the idea of a superhero/supervillain battle suddenly landing on your house is pretty scary, even if it's statistically highly unlikely.

Date: 2011-05-22 03:51 am (UTC)
blunderbuss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blunderbuss
I'd agree that it's Tall Poppy Syndrome, but I also think that it's something else too - the apparent elitism of superheroes. These are people who, whether anyone likes it or not, are responsible for keeping the world and the people safe. But an ordinary MU citizen can't become a superhero, either because they didn't get powers or have the ability to make their own substitute, making them powerless to do anything but place their lives in a bunch of people who were never trained or elected for the position they have. That's why they made things like the sentintels; to give humans some morsel of power over these people.

I mean, imagine living in a world where the entire police force/army was made of people who were born into the position and it was nearly impossible for an average person to join or even oppose these people. Wouldn't that be really unnerving, having to hope that these people will be good people or you're totally screwed? Wouldn't it be really irritating, having a class of people stationed so far above you that you could never touch them? But you have to tolerate it, because you need them.

That's what I think it is, really, a form of class warfare. When you have an untouchable super-class, people resent them real quick. Add in the fact that most of them have flashy costumes, masks, and neat toys and they're totally unrelateable. They are to us, the reader, because we see inside their lives, but to the average MU citizen they have no idea of knowing if Spidey isn't some asshole glory hound.

See, this is what Civil War should have been about for the pro-regs; unmasking heroes to make them seem like normal, relateable people who are trained and hired by the government just like anyone else.

It's also very similar to how real-life people who want their superheroes to be amoral assholes because it's "realistic", even though the genre is "superhero" not "superasshole" or even "superperson".

While the genre is 'superhero', I disagree with the idea that this means all super people must be heroic/good people. After all, the term has been around for a very long time to cover a pretty big genre, and Superman did a lot of dickery back when he was the superhero.

Date: 2011-05-22 04:00 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Jeune fille de Megare statue, B&W (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I mean, imagine living in a world where the entire police force/army was made of people who were born into the position and it was nearly impossible for an average person to join or even oppose these people.

See, I find this terrifying, though I don't think it's so much the police force or army. I live in a highly fire-prone area where the firefighters (the CFA) are an all-volunteer force. I rely on them to protect the town and my life. There are also arsonists around (including one who lit fires on Black Saturday, which was fucking terrifying), and, based on past events, at least some of them are part of the CFA, though others are not; lightning, cigarette litterers, idiots using angle grinders and exploding trees can also start fires in the right weather. This means that whenever the weather is dry and hot, everyone is a little bit on edge; when it's an extreme or critical fire danger day, everyone is a lot on edge; and then when the sirens go off everyone has to watch and wait. These conditions happen maybe 3-4 times in an average summer. In 2010-11, only once; in 2008-9 something like 20 times resulting in a lot of deaths. (Not in my town, though there were evacuations and arson attacks here.)

Now imagine living like that every day of the year, but almost all the causes of the fires are people, and you don't know who anyone in the CFA is or why they're doing it. And they wear masks all the time and sometimes start fires themselves.

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My 2 Cents

Date: 2011-05-22 04:07 am (UTC)
big_daddy_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] big_daddy_d
This has been an issue with me ever since Civil War. Before then, people didn't seem so stupid, even in X-Men we at least had some normal people who weren't so anti-mutant but admittedly there were a hell of a lot more mutant haters than lovers.

But back to Civil War, this has been a big part of why I didn't like it. It does involve the one sidedness of it too. Everyone was totally against the heroes, to the point of physically assaulting them within book one. (Refering to Johnny's attack). At first I understood because really..who wouldn't be outraged when a mistake results in the death of not just innocent people, but innocent children? So I honestly understood the outrage in this regard but still, I didn't see or feel a..natural reaction of distrust. I just see people instantly flown off the damn handle and being so fucking stupid. And don't even get me started on the end...random group of people holding back Cap? Telling him about the damage HE caused and shaming him? Last I checked, he wasn't the only one fighting, let alone causing damage to the fuckin city, so really? This should've been something to where EVERYONE realized the horror of their fighting. This should've been an eye opener to everyone. An overall lesson of responsibilty should've been told but instead...we got preachy noitall dicks. Not to mention those on the pro-registration side weren't acting like fuckin heroes. They acted more like villains and overall asshole,s yet people trusted them? The shit they pulled? They weren't any better.

Civil War was so damn one sided it wasn't even funny. There was no point in the book with that in mind. From then on, we just see people being overall stupid and plain dickish instead of realistic and understanding distrust. No, they just run on in and attack the very people who save their fuckin asses day to day. I sometimes want to see a hero ultimately say. "Fuck you asshole. I'm done saving your ass. Deal with it on your own. Let's see how you handle Dr. Doom without me!"

It just boggles the mind.

Re: My 2 Cents

Date: 2011-05-22 08:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] korvarthefox.livejournal.com
Where Civil War went wrong was when it stopped being a Superhero Registration Act and became a Superhuman Registration Act. If it had been "If you want to put on a costume and fight crime / save people from natural disasters, you need to be accountable", I can't imagine Cap being against it.

But when it became "If you have any kind of superpower we will either make you a slave soldier or put you in an inter-dimensional concentration camp", any sane person should be against it.

Re: My 2 Cents

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Date: 2011-05-22 07:52 am (UTC)
stolisomancer: (mmm soda)
From: [personal profile] stolisomancer
As I've said before, one of the big failings of the modern Marvel Universe is that it has never done a halfway decent man on the street story. Marvels is as close as it gets, and even it's mostly about fellating the Silver Age, and the various Front Line miniseries are hamstrung by not being very good.

From the average person on the street in the Marvel Universe, though, life must be an endless cavalcade of horror. Our perspective on the universe and the doings therein is entirely from the viewpoint of the superheroes or from people close to them, so even when we don't see them at their best, we at least know their motivations. The average bystander doesn't get that; they see something that for all the world looks like high-powered gang violence, by mysterious figures who are accountable to no one, and who can destroy entire city blocks over the course of a slow afternoon.

In the DC Universe, we don't get that because Superman's amazing and mostly-deserved reputation has a trickle-down effect. Things can be just as destructive, if not considerably moreso (whenever I see a DC fan claiming that the DCU is somehow less dangerous for the common citizen than the MU, I have a flashback to all of those people with their hearts torn out in Blackest Night), but they at least have their near-religious adulation for Superman to keep them halfway sane.

The Marvel Universe started in the middle of the Cold War, to the point where Reed Richards's rocket mission was expressly about beating the "Commies" into space. It's always going to have that undercurrent of dangerous paranoia cooking in the background, because it's a product of the sixties. I'd go so far as to argue that it's a more realistic reaction to living in a world full of superheroes, aliens, invasions, otherworldly beings, magic, and hyper-advanced science, and that Robert Baldwin getting eight kinds of blue shit kicked out of him by the people of Stamford is not a particularly surprising plot development. It's Marvel. They don't do parades in this universe.

Date: 2011-05-22 10:06 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
Actually, there was a storyline about adulation for Cap, and the Skrulls promptly impersonated him to take advantage of that adulation and cause nationwide panic and violence. I think it ended with him scolding them for the unquestioning adulation and saying how unhealthy it was.

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Date: 2011-05-22 10:09 am (UTC)
big_daddy_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] big_daddy_d
whenever I see a DC fan claiming that the DCU is somehow less dangerous for the common citizen than the MU, I have a flashback to all of those people with their hearts torn out in Blackest Night

Fuckin A

Date: 2011-05-22 04:36 pm (UTC)
strannik01: (Default)
From: [personal profile] strannik01
From the average person on the street in the Marvel Universe, though, life must be an endless cavalcade of horror. Our perspective on the universe and the doings therein is entirely from the viewpoint of the superheroes or from people close to them, so even when we don't see them at their best, we at least know their motivations. The average bystander doesn't get that; they see something that for all the world looks like high-powered gang violence, by mysterious figures who are accountable to no one, and who can destroy entire city blocks over the course of a slow afternoon.

And that, I think, is precisely the point. We the comic readers identify with the super heroes and rarely take time to imagine what Marvel Universe would look like from the civilian perspective. As you rightfully explained, being a civilian in Marvel Universe (especially NYC metropolitan area) would be pretty scary.

Date: 2011-05-22 08:15 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
"The Marvel Universe started in the middle of the Cold War"

Wrong actually, It started before WWII.

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Date: 2011-05-23 05:46 pm (UTC)
ogrebear: Ogrebears Icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] ogrebear
For the Average man on the street view of the MU I point to Kingdom Come before Superman came back when all the Supers where running riot- its told from the pov of an Average Man and is a quite scary glimpse into a world with Supers.

There is a visceral scene where a Supers fight smashes into a restuarant and glass, tables and people go flying about and the Supers don't care and carry on leaving the normals behind. That happens ALL the time in MU New York! You do have to ask why anyone lives there...

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Date: 2011-05-22 08:26 am (UTC)
stubbleupdate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stubbleupdate
I like to think that everybody who lives in Marvel Manhattan guzzles Propranolol to keep themselves going.

Date: 2011-05-22 11:27 am (UTC)
amaniwolf: (Galactus)
From: [personal profile] amaniwolf
Wow alot of what i've been thinking about MU is being laid out here. The constant fear and mistreatment of the heroes and the paranoia from the average citizens. I detested Civil War because of this and it's, let's strip these people with powers of their rights and force them to serve us, or drop them in a Gulag.
Say what you will about DC, but it did bring something to mind. Back when i read a Marvel/DC Crossover, some of the known Marvel Heroes were transported to the DCU, they stoppped these criminals and saved the day, and were cheered by the populace. The heroes were stunned, they were like.....are they cheering us? They.....they like us and aren't afraid? WTF? I found that very telling of the mindset of the heroes from Marvel when they don't expect any adulation, kindness or trust from the normal citizens. Doesn't anyone in Marvel say......thanks for saving my life. I really appreciate all you do?

Date: 2011-05-22 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] korvarthefox.livejournal.com
In JLA/Avengers it was quite interesting having the JLA end up in the remains of Genosha and be shocked and horrified by the genocide committed there.

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Or, indeed…

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Re: Or, indeed…

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Re: Or, indeed…

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Date: 2011-05-22 02:00 pm (UTC)
janegray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janegray
Frankly, I don't care how unnerved superheroes make normal people feel: when somebody saves your life, you show some goddamned gratitude. Even if you can't stand them, even if you have an extremely low opinion of them, even if you are scared of them, they still put themselves in harm's way for your sake, and showing some gratitude is basic human decency.

If superheroes suddenly popped out of the blue one day a few years ago, I could see why the Marvel citizens distrust them. But superheoes have been saving the world for over half a century. At this point it's ridiculous to think "sure, they constantly risk their own lives to protect us and have already saved our lives and the lives of our loved ones dozens of times, but one day they might turn on us OMG FUCK SUPERHEROES FUCK THEM!"

This is one reason I much prefer the DCU to the Marvel Universe. Even when it comes to truly scary and unsettling heroes like Batman (who is most definitely not adored like Superman), the rescued citizens generally recognize that the scary masked them just helped them.

Date: 2011-05-22 04:48 pm (UTC)
strannik01: (Default)
From: [personal profile] strannik01
Frankly, I don't care how unnerved superheroes make normal people feel: when somebody saves your life, you show some goddamned gratitude.

Saving somebody's life does not entitle one to a moral carte blance. In real world, cops stop criminals - but that does not mean all of them are upstanding moral citizens, nor does it mean that they are somehow exempt from human weaknesses and failings. While we appreciate the things cops do, we want them to be held accountable.

And speaking of which, as corrupt as members of the police force may be, at least they are accountable to the government and, thus, the people. For much of their existence, Marvel superheroes were accountable to no one. As I mentioned elsewhere, as comic readers, we don't see anything wrong with that because we identify with superheroes and view the world from the superheroes' point of view. We know they mean well - but Marvel Universe civilians don't have that privilege.

At this point it's ridiculous to think "sure, they constantly risk their own lives to protect us and have already saved our lives and the lives of our loved ones dozens of times, but one day they might turn on us OMG FUCK SUPERHEROES FUCK THEM!"

It is also worth pointing out that it's not like supeheroes haven't turned on the civilians before. Hulk's rampages are the most obvious example, but there are also all those times superheroes have been mind-controlled, manipulated or replaced with some kind of doppelgangers. If anything, Marvel civilians are being prudent.

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Date: 2011-05-22 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
Jonah has been written so inconsistntly it's not even funny. There's some GREAT Jonah portrayals, but they're outweighed by far by the horrible ones.

I've always seen it as, at it's base, a kind of entitlement-coupled-with curiosity thing. Jonah is a journalist, he hunts down secrets and exposes them. Partially for "good" partially because of the thrill. And masked vigilantes kind of defy that by their very notion: They're a secret socity of sorts, somehing that needs to be exposed and brought into the light.

Combined with his temper and... Dictatorial tendencies (not to mention tha Spidey keeps needling him about it) it makes sense it would become an obsession.

He's by and large had much less problem with "public" superheroes and has been shown to be relatively pro-mutant. (Him telling Bastion to, basically, fuck off, is one of his best moments) although he does seem to have a bit of issue with people fawning over them, which again, seems like a pretty natural journalistic response (at least for acertain kind of journalist)

Date: 2011-05-22 05:14 pm (UTC)
speedingtortoise: Happy Platypus (Default)
From: [personal profile] speedingtortoise
I have always been more of a fan of ultimate Jonah's motivations for hating spiderman

Date: 2011-05-22 08:20 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Both universes have their different sides. MU has the anti-mutant hate. DC has Checkmate (it is an anti-super organization, right?)

Individuals in the MU are often very apprective of the heroes. But I would rather their skeptism then the religious adultarion of the DCUers.

JJ jealous? I can see that. Mixed in with other emotions and ideals. Much like Lex Luthor.

But remember folks, there is a shining beacon in the MU. Broxton!

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Date: 2011-05-22 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lordmcdeath
I think the primary mistake people make with superheroes is viewing them as police officers. Police officers are law [b]enforcement[/b] which requires that they be accountable to the law. They are arm of the law.

Superheroes stop crime, in the same way that anyone can. But in truth they are far more like firemen than cops. They stop the bad thing that is happening and do what they can for those effected by it. It is why it its so natural to see them doing disaster work. Superheroics is catch people when they fall or running into burning buildings to save them. The costume fights are exciting but in many ways, the big players in the villain game are better understood as man made disasters than as criminals.

Date: 2011-05-22 11:15 pm (UTC)
rdfox: Joker asking Tim Drake, "'Sup?" from Paul Dini's "Slay Ride" (Default)
From: [personal profile] rdfox
I always loved those Lee/Ditko panels. There was a series of four books in the "children's" section at the library where my grandmother worked back in the 80s, hardbacks that covered the history and background of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and Spidey, complete with reprints of three iconic issues in each book (including each's first appearance).

They didn't reprint ASM #10, but they *did* make a point of including those three panels in the Spidey book, to explain JJJ's issues with Spidey. I may have been in my single-digits, agewise, but those three panels *really* made an impression.

Date: 2011-05-23 06:11 am (UTC)
tsunamiwombat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tsunamiwombat
I thought Jonah hated spidy because he was mistrustful of Hero's, after a "hero" cop beat the shit out of him for no reason.

Date: 2011-05-23 06:35 am (UTC)
glprime: (Default)
From: [personal profile] glprime
I remember one story where it was his dad being a "war hero with a chest covered in medals" but also an abusive alcoholic.

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