Robot 6

‘The most important thing is the long, involved soap operas’


“They’re missing the full spectrum of these character’s emotional lives. The most important thing is the long, involved soap operas. It’s a type of narrative that you don’t get anywhere else except on very long-running soap operas, where characters can go into depth. 20 pages every month going into these characters lives over decades give you a lot more insight and a lot more involvement than say a two hour movie, even with Robert Downey Jr.”

Grant Morrison, explaining what fans of superhero movies are missing if they don’t read the comic books



Darth Eradicus

May 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Oh. He’s talking about superhero movies. I thought he was talking about it being lacking in superhero comics these days…

Rollo Tomassi

May 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Yes, Decades. Or in the case of DC…months.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”

Simon DelMonte

May 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Which is why SHIELD the TV show stands a chance of being better than all the Marvel movies.

And why some of us like Arrow.

Jake Earlewine

May 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Most superhero movies — until Spider-Man/X-Men/Iron Man/Avengers — have failed to capture the true essence of the character. Instead we have been spoon-fed *Hollywood versions* of the character, created by a committee — and what’s worse, most of the committee aren’t even comics fans. That’s how we get all these bastardized versions of Batman. I’m still waiting to see a Batman movie that features the Batman I know and love. But I’m not holding my breath.

Now that Marvel is in charge of their own movies, we are getting movie superheroes that are more faithful to the comic books. However, since a movie is only two hours long, we are shown only a superficial view of the character. It’s kind of like buying a greatest hits CD of a band. (I’m one of those guys who likes the album tracks more than the big hit song.)

DC has yet to make a movie that is faithful and true to their characters — but now, even their comic books fail at being faithful and true to their characters.

Amen. Spider-Man 2 remains one of the greatest theatergoing experiences of my life because it captured the characters and the spirit of the comic book, even though the plot may not have been as thrilling as, say, The Dark Knight or Iron Man 3. As much as I really enjoy a lot of superhero movies, few of them prioritize character like that and instead try to shoehorn in too much plot into 2 or 3 hours.

I thought he was talking about the New 52.

I think the Iron Man movies have done a good job of peering into the life of Tony Stark.

This is why I always thought X-men movies were a flawed concept. The whole thing is a soap opera told over months, years of issues. The best X-men runs(Claremont’s mighty 15+ year run, Morrison’s own New X-men, Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, Milligan/Allred’s X-Force/X-Statix) build on it’s continuity and sub-plots, plot threads from dozens of issues ago coming back into focus, characters growing over relatively long periods of time. It’s messier than a tighter-plotted experience(like a 2 hour movie they get condensed into), but that’s life, ya know? Life is messy, and it doesn’t always make sense. People grow, relationships are broken up, old friends come back into your life, you move locations, get a new job…just with the X-men your old girlfriend is also a giant death goddess in the Phoenix. It’s that soap opera aspect that keeps fans coming back and being invested in these characters for so long.

Now I did like X-Men 2 and First Class, but their missing a big appeal of the X-men franchise that they can’t replicate in 2 hour chunks that come out every few years. I think it would be better served as a TV series, an ongoing serial adventure where we see the mutants grow and change and defend an Earth that hates and fears them, and all that jazz.

I thought that quote was going to link to an Onion article.

What the heck’s going on with Jim Lee in that pic.? Has he become Darkseid?

I have to disagree with him. The ‘soap opera’ nature of the characters in comics means that, sometimes, elements are just repeated over and over – Green Arrow sleeps with someone when he shouldn’t have, Batman loses another Robin, Tony Stark goes back to the bottle.. A lot of it is all repeated elements, and the real fresh stuff comes from reading the more independent titles, where stuff can actually happen. With superhero comics? The characters have to stay largely the same, to make them appropriate to be sold at any time. Revise their history, shift their jobs a little – they still stay the same, by and large. If you develop a film series that has a consistent approach to the characters – and Marvel Studios have arguably done a very good job with Iron Man as a character in particular – then you’re really being told a whole story. And that’s all you really need. Even Nolan gave Batman a happy ending, which does occasionally happen in soap opera. In that sense, superhero comics aren’t even soap opera – soap opera characters can change, leave, die, whatever; The big superhero characters are always going to be the same.

Soap Operas have gone out of business — even Internationally. Aren’t there just two or three of them left on North American TV? i know Young and the Restless is one of them. And it’s probably the main survivor because it’s never been too trashy compared to all the others. So, in theory, audiences don’t seem to find that narrative model engaging enough anymore.

I definitely agree with Jeremy with regards to the X-Men movies–none of which I’ve enjoyed at all–and /especially/ with Spider-Man movies. You can’t boil Peter Parker’s life down to a friend, a love interest, Aunt May, and a villain or two. He needs to have a wide circle of relationships that develop over the course of years.

As it stands, I cannot think of a single comic character of whom my favorite incarnation is a movie version. Heath Ledger’s Joker, great as it is, can’t match Grant Morrison’s Joker in Batman RIP and Batman & Robin Must Die. The Incredibles is a great Fantastic Four story, but that doesn’t put it above Lee/Kirby or Waid/Weiringo. As for Robert Downey Jr., he’s funny, I guess, but he’s not anywhere near as engaging as the Tony Stark I know from the Michelinie/Layton stories, nor is the world he occupies as complex as the world Fraction and Larocca built for him.

Jim Lee’s really let himself go….

Grant Morrison’s loopey, grade-school infatuation with superheroes is so stupid. Judging from many of his interviews, it’s superseded his ability to think critically about the industry and artform he’s a part of and, judging by the above quote, it’s even superseded his understanding of what makes narrative structure work. Stories with no ending have no growth, no stakes, no point.

I’ll let Garth Ennis explain:

“I find most superhero stories completely meaningless…so long as the industry is geared towards fulfilling audience demand – ie, for the same brightly coloured characters doing the same thing forever – you’re never going to see any real growth. The stories can’t end, so they’ll never mean anything.” (SOURCE)

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