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Quote of the Day | ‘Ultraman is not an evil Superman’

forever evil1“Ultraman is not an evil Superman. He’s a Superman who believes in power and strength. Strength is the most important attribute, above everything else. If you’re strong, and you’re the strongest there is, that’s all that matters. And that’s how Ultraman views everything.

The fact that there was a being that destroyed Krypton and then ravaged his Earth and could possibly come to ours — he actually is worried in the back of his head that there’s something out there that’s stronger than him. His motivation is to shore this world up and prepare for war.

And Ultraman’s a perfect example of the absence of empathy. Complete absence of empathy. He comes to our world and he sees things like soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and he sees us taking care of the sick, and he does not understand it. Why do we waste our time? In his mind, we’re keeping our gene pool weak. And that all points back to his paranoia about our world not being ready to fight, or strong enough to survive an attack.”

Forever Evil writer Geoff Johns, discussing the Crime Syndicate and their “different breed of villainy”

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His secret identity is John Boehner. :P

Sounds pretty evil to me at least.

So why is the series called “Forever Evil”… maybe it should be “Forever Misunderstood”

Forever A Different System of Values

Also, Bravo RegularSyzedMike. Bravo.

Values only in physical strength, has paranoid tendencies, and possesses a total lack of empathy.

Surely there’s a word for that…

Does that make Superwoman Sarah Palin?

Um, yes, Geoff, that’s “evil.”

“…the absurd fancy that devils are engaged in the disinterested pursuit of something called Evil (the capital is essential). Mine have no use for any such turnip-ghost. Bad angels, like bad men, are entirely practical.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Geoff Johns’s lack of basic understanding of Good and Evil actually explains a lot about what’s going on in the DC Universe.

hahaha Ant I love you

I am glad one of you dirty peons has explained my motives in a way that the rest of you could understand. But your understanding is not necessary for me to destroy you utterly. DIE, EARTHLINGS!!!!
(What is that little emoticon that you put at the end of all your writings to make everything better? Ah, yes…)
:-)

Ultraman is not “evil.” He is “Goofy Evil.” That is, an over-the-top caricature of a villain lacking only the mustache twirl and the ‘mua-ha-ha’.

Ultraman IS an evil Superman. He has the same power set, same body, just a set of beliefs that are acknowledged as evil. Evil people generally have a lack of empathy for others and use their abilities for selfish gain. Of course, Johns doesn’t see Ultraman as evil, he is just ‘Misunderstood’.

Why is he in the CRIME syndicate, then?

What he’s saying makes perfect sense.

Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Gaddaffi, George Bush Jnr, slave traders, drug-running bikes, criminals etc. None of them think/ thought they are/ were evil. They are able to justify their actions to themselves. I doubt Hitler ever sat around, laughing, thinking to himself, “Ach, I am so evil! Bwahahahahahaha!”

Johns take on Ultraman is simply trying to elevate the hero from previous incarnations of simple and laughable, “evil Superman” to a more complex character. A character that we see everyday, in the real world. Shit, just check out big business to see a real world example.

@jl: it was named after Hubert Hieronymus Crime III, its founder and famed Earth-3 philanthropist.

So in other words, he IS an evil Superman.

It’s creepy how much Geoff Johns seems to admire the villains he writes.

@Irwin: It’s not really surprising. Most writers will tell you that the villains are more interesting than the heroes.

Great comments, guys.

To misquote Forrest Gump, “Evil is as evil does.”

Every time Geoff Johns opens his mouth, silliness pours out of it.

How many times is Johns going to do this “fascist with a good excuse” bit?

So Justice League 3000 is going to be a “reformed” Crime Syndicate, right?

@El Santo — “Most writers will tell you that the villains are more interesting than the heroes.”

http://hfus.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/c-s-lewis-on-writing-good-characters/

“It remains, of course, true that Satan is the best drawn of Milton’s characters. The reason is not hard to find. Of the major characters whom Milton attempted he is incomparably the easiest to draw. Set a hundred poets to tell the same story and in ninety of the resulting poems Satan will be the best character. In all but a few writers the ‘good’ characters are the least successful, and every one who has ever tried to make even the humblest story ought to know why. To make a character worse than oneself it is only necessary to release imaginatively from control some of the bad passions which, in real life, are always straining at the leash; the Satan, the Iago, the Becky Sharp, within each of us, is always there and only too ready, the moment the leash is slipped, to come out and have in our books that holiday we try to deny them in our lives. But if you try to draw a character better than yourself, all you can do is to take the best moments you have had and to imagine them prolonged and more consistently embodied in action. But the real high virtues which we do not possess at all, we cannot depict except in a purely external fashion. We do not really know what it feels like to be a man much better than ourselves. His whole inner landscape is one we have never seen, and when we guess it we blunder. It is in their ‘good’ characters that novelists make, unawares, the most shocking self-revelations. Heaven understands Hell and Hell does not understand Heaven, and all of us, in our measure, share the Satanic, or at least the Napoleonic, blindness. To project ourselves into a wicked character, we have only to stop doing something, and something that we are already tired of doing; to project ourselves into a good one we have to do what we cannot and become what we are not.”

(For the TL/DR (too long/didn’t read) circle, it’s basically easier to make a compelling evil character than a compelling good one. The Wicked Witch of the West is always a better scene-stealer than Dorothy or her friends.)

Sheesh, I think this indicates that Johns doesn’t really get how opposites work. Superman is the Platonic ideal of “good,” to a cartoonish, hyperbolic extent. Ultraman is Superman’s opposite; thus Ultraman is the cartoonish embodiment of “evil.” As Grant Morrison wrote, “selfless act – meet hate crime.”

(now, I usually don’t like anything Geoff Johns writes, but I thought his Action Comics run was quite good and showed he “got” Superman pretty well, so this kind of puzzles me. I guess it’s heartening that he does actually think this much about character motivation, even if it doesn’t always seem like he does)

Geoff Johns is not a man with a broken mind.

@David: Nice passage, and worth thinking about.

Interestingly (at least, presumably so, to this crowd) is that it reminds me of the early Lee/Ditko Spidey comic that reveals, via thought bubbles, the real reason JJJ hates Spider-Man: because Jonah’s the kind of guy who’s always got an angle and is always looking out for number one, and simply cannot accept the idea of a truly selfless hero.

(I think there’s also probably an interesting sidebar about the contradiction between Spider-Man’s selflessness and the Randian notion of Rational Self-Interest that is at the heart of Ditko’s personal philosophy. And which probably also dovetails nicely with the discussion of Ultraman’s personal dog-eat-dog motivations.)

Geoff Johns is not an evil person. He’s a mediocre fiction writer who blindly obeys orders from corporate dummies.

“Most writers will tell you that the villains are more interesting than the heroes.”

To which I say: Bullshit.

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