VIDEO: Top 5 heroes who enjoy being heroes

Sofie thinks we should take a break from all that seriousness and just have fun.

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  • maarvarq

    Hear, hear, Sofie! Shazam being done over as a dark antihero doesn’t really bear thinking about. I’m looking forward to the villains’ side – if you can’t enjoy being a villain, then what’s the point?!

    • danbreunig

      The villains’ side is just as big a treat 😉

      Shazam, yeah…. I know nothing of his nature outside the vague memories I have of the dual live-action and cartoon series CBS Saturday mornings.

      • Sofie Liv

        Shazam is awesome, he is definetely worth looking up!

        • danbreunig

          Oh, I sure believe that! And I definitely agree he should be the last comic superhero who “needs” the gritty reboot treatment.

          Although that live-action cartoon I mentioned is the extreme opposite–it’s TOO squeaky clean. Despite the opening titles here the whole show–the first time he was ever on TV–is basically Billy Batson turning to Captain Marvel whenever teenagers get into trouble (i.e. not following safety rules) and then learn the day’s moral. Life before the Internet.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMeLop3psiE

    • Sofie Liv

      Indeed! You need to enjoy those evil deeds.

  • Deneb T. Hall

    Terrific list! 100% agree with you – comics have gotten way too dark and dismal lately. I like Batman as much as the next fella, but he’s just one type of hero, and one that has been exasperatingly overrepresented in the last decade or so. We need more smiles and enthusiasm and awesome catchphrases!

    Incidentally, given that you like these things, I would humbly like to share with you my own webshow. It’s dedicated to Golden Age comics, where there was plenty of ridiculous fun to be had! Here’s one particular episode that I think is relevant to what you were talking about:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVnjfwc8kyc

    I also did a vlog on Captain Marvel which you might find interesting, but I don’t want to overburden you with links; if you like this one and are interested, you’ll find it amongst my other videos.

    Hope you like it, and again, great list! Very much looking forward to the villainous version!

    • Sofie Liv

      ‘gonna safe that video for later, it’s pretty long.

      Thank you very much, i’m glad you enjoyed my little vide ^^

      • Deneb T. Hall

        Yeah, it is a little long; sorry. I would have linked to a shorter one, except there are a few parallels to what you were saying in your own video that made me think it would be appropriate. When you do get around to it, I’d be interested to hear your opinion.

        I absolutely enjoyed it – it’s always nice to see someone putting up a good argument for fun stuff. Also, I was NOT expecting Darkwing Duck; as a fan of the character, that was a nice surprise!

    • maarvarq

      That was pretty cool. Why would DC make Mary Marvel evil? Because they’re idiots?

      • Deneb T. Hall

        Thanks! Glad you liked it. I think the actual explanation is a LITTLE more complex than that – Grant Morrison said something about their taking an idea of his and going too far with it, or some such thing – but it is a little difficult to stop yourself just going ‘why? WHYYYY?’

  • Gallen_Dugall

    DC needs to adopt your mindset. Then again it’s probably the responsibility of the writers, and a lot of their writers just aren’t very good. If you’re a weak writer a focus on dark and gritty will cover a lot of your shortcomings. Dark and gritty is easy to write because conflict is drama and “dark and gritty” tone turns everything into conflict. Superpowers are transformed into a “terrible burden” and even the positive of interpersonal relationships are transformed into agonizing “who’s sleeping with who” nonsense. The lighter the tone the less built-in conflict there is and the more the writing will have to stand on story telling ability, making things interesting without overt pervasive conflict. Two of the more obvious successful examples include MLP and Trek with both being near utopia settings that manage to tell interesting stories because of solid writing… this also points to what sank Trek as it absorbed a lot of that dark and gritty mentality during the ’90s.

    • Deneb T. Hall

      I would argue that it’s more the fault of their editorial policies. From what I’ve read about the matter, there are a number of writers at DC who have complained that they haven’t gotten the chance to tell the stories they actually WANT to tell, because the editors keep saying ‘no, we need that character for this crossover’, or ‘no, we’re going to change that’, or some such. As I understand it, there is actually an official policy at the moment that their characters don’t get happy endings; that if you are a superhero you must be prepared to sacrifice a normal life or something like that. It’s a little difficult to write fun, engaging stories when you’ve got all that hanging around your neck.

      • Gallen_Dugall

        Generally I say that creativity thrives on constraints, but that sounds like the people running things are clueless. You can’t have sacrifice without having something worth sacrificing.
        People keep telling me how fun and great The Flash is and whenever I look at it there is nothing but “Oh the burden of power!” and “Who’s sleeping with who?” BS.

        • Deneb T. Hall

          Oh, absolutely – what’s the point of winning if you haven’t won anything? It doesn’t count as high stakes if the only resolution is ‘well, I stopped evil – again. And I’ll have to do it tomorrow, too. Yay.’ I’m fine with a few bittersweet non-endings here and there, but… well, to give one fairly recent example, Bruce Wayne met a girl and fell head over heels in love. This was the real thing; he even went so far as to reveal his secret identity to her, saying something like ‘I know I’m running a risk, but you’re worth the risk.’ Great big romantic moment.

          She was murdered by the Mad Hatter later that same issue. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t even been mentioned since then. Yeah, keepin’ it classy, DC.

          As for The Flash, I haven’t seen it yet, but it does seem a bit over-hyped. Have you seen the original Flash show from the early ’90’s? That managed a pretty good balance of light and serious.

          • Sofie Liv

            What’s the point of making up fictional characters with these superpowers if you are not going to have fun with the concept?

            No matter how you turn it, a man whom can fly, or lift buildings, or swing through new york in webs is a fantasi idea, it could might as well be magic, we are just call it something else. Superheroes by their core nature are fantastic, they are magical, there’s some wonder and excitement about the idea.
            By killing that wonder and excitement, you are killing the very reason we even like superheroes in the first place.

            If we wanted dark, gritty and realistic… why the fuck would our go to figure be someone whom can fly into space and punch aliens?! Wouldn’t it be more approbriate just to put fight club on again?
            “Realistic.” is not the appeal of superheroes, the appeal is that wonder and excitement. So… get your heads out of your ass’s DC and Warner brothers, and do something actually fun for a change.

          • Deneb T. Hall

            Exactly. The problem, I suspect, is that some influential people in the industry seem actively ashamed that they DO like fun, fantastic things. Comics have been dismissed by nose-in-the-air critics for their fun and frothiness for so long that, now they they’re finally starting to develop a sheen of legitimacy, they’re determined to go in the opposite direction. ‘Dark!’ they holler. ‘We must have dark! Watchmen was dark! Dark Knight Returns is dark! Dark sells! The critics love dark!’

            So down that path they go, chasing respectfulness, further and further away from what attracted them to comics in the first place, and ignoring the fact that a lot of critics will praise damn near ANYTHING that is dark and shows a minimum level of quality, because it is ‘challenging’, and they’ve become far too jaded by their profession to respond well to anything that isn’t. By playing to the critics, they’re turning superheroes into something they were never intended to be. It’s a form of self-hatred, in a way.

  • Wizkamridr

    I think films can be dark and fun at the same time. There are dark and gritty hero shows in japan, and they pull it off. The darker kamen rider shows and garo are some examples. I have nothing against light hearted films, but I was not impressed with GOTG or either Avengers films.

    • Deneb T. Hall

      Absolutely they can be. There are any number of dark films, sometimes VERY dark, that nonetheless have a sense of humor beneath the surface that keeps them enjoyable, and superhero films are no exception – the first RoboCop, for instance, or Darkman, or the Burton Batman films. The problem, as I see it, is when people forget that latter element, and make films that are just plain bleak. Superhero movies should always have at least a small element of fun to them, or what’s the point?

  • Lord ShinyPants

    “Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not crazy about super hero stories where everything’s all dark and moody. Personally, I like the ones where good guys fight giant apes on the moon and stuff. Remember those? I do. That was back when comic book worlds were places you wanted to escape to… not from.”

    – Squirrel Girl. Who definitely enjoys being a hero.

  • Michael Berg

    Darkwing duck a weird choice?
    Not really.

    Actually during the analysis of (DC) captain marvel: the personification of the kid-power-fantasy where the entire super-hero genre comes from, as ‘only’ #2.
    The main thing i was thinking was: “how do you top that……… , without darkwing duck”