No Happy Marriages for DC Heroes

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No Happy Marriages for DC Heroes

DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras isn't interested in stable relationships for The New 52.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue - but not for you, DC heroes. Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase, Editorial Director for DC, were panelists yesterday at New York Comic Con. The panel, "DC Comics 101: Essentials", covered upcoming comics and deals from DC, according to the Con Away From Con coverage from DC Comics. A question and answer session followed the panel, and Bleeding Cool correspondent Hannah Means-Shannon reports the following quote from Harras:

Q: Is it true that no characters in the new 52 can get married now?
Bob Harras: The new 52, we want surprises. We want things to happen that may be unexpected with romances, relationships. What we ask in general is that we don't want any of our characters rushing into stable relationships. The only character we have married is Buddy Baker, Animal Man, and that was part and parcel of the character.

DC Comics has received a lot of backlash lately over editorial choices. Editorial decisions prohibited showing the wedding of Batwoman, Kate Kane, to her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer at the last minute. Those changes led to the decision by co-authors J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman to leave the series this coming December. Outrage over a contest calling for art submissions of Harley Quinn naked and suicidal has also been widespread.

The New 52 is the 2011 relaunch of the entire line of DC Comics monthly superhero titles. All existing titles were cancelled, and 52 new series were launched.

Source: Bleeding Cool

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I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

Vivi22:
I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

The guys running the show have regressed many meaningful a relationship prior to the Nu52 and it's really lazy, Batman is Catwoman's booty call, Animal Man's marriage is constantly falling apart and the Wonder Woman and Superman relationship is so superficial they released another comic just to explore it. I mean we HAD to be told Aquaman and Aquawoman weren't Married :/

i remember this one, apparently it was impossible to make a man who shoots spiderwebs out of his wrists interesting because he was married. this is so stupid.

...Ugh I just... no actually I'm aborting my reaction to this. These guys have no idea what they're doing. I dislike every little thing they say. DC gets no more monay from me since 6 months ago now. Yes not even for movies.

After all the backlash and widespread panning against almost every aspect of the New 52, to now publicly announce your intent to make all marriages unstable - seemingly regardless of context or whether it makes sense for said characters - leaves me with but one conclusion: this gonna be good. >:)

I can now see why people, including some DC staff by the looks of things, don't like Bob Harras. He seems to have a similar mentality to the stereotypical 90's comic book writer, in that he prefers to make characters depressed, angry, miserable, brooding, and / or angsty even when it's unnecessary or doesn't make sense, as if any form of happiness inherently makes for bad storytelling or something. While I don't read comics myself (though Linkara and MLP have encouraged me to try them - I bought my first comic, MLP #8 by the looks of it, about a month ago. We'll see if that sparks further interest ), I do know enough about good storytelling to know that context is everything and that no one trope can work in all situations. The fact that you have only one married character isn't something to brag about, nor is making everything gritty for the mere sake if it or out of a misguided sense of "Rule of Cool" a good form of storytelling.

V da Mighty Taco:
(though Linkara and MLP have encouraged me to try them - I bought my first comic, MLP #8 by the looks of it, about a month ago. We'll see if that sparks further interest )

If it does, try Sonic the Hedgehog and Injustice ;)

"We want surprises! That's why we're sticking with the cliches of angst and failed relationships."

I never read the old comic books, but I didn't hate what little I read of New 52 (Mostly just Catwoman and Batgirl, tbh, a little Batman). I was kind of hoping that the N52 would be closer to the "Ultimates" line Marvel had, where it was basically a continuity reboot. What's the point of relaunching the brand if you're still clinging to the 70 years of baggage from before? I don't know who Damien Wayne is (I do now, thanks to wikipedia, but you get my point), and I don't want to have to read a bajillion comics just to know.

That's what I like about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They take the best parts of the heroes hugnormous history, and strip out the need to read material from decades ago.

Mcoffey:

I never read the old comic books.

You should, many are at the height of visual storytelling.

DC editorial is, by all accounts, pretty terrible these days. The amount of interference with the stories creators want to tell is pretty appalling. The Batwoman fiasco isn't the half of it, even if it is probably the most noteworthy and the stupidest decision on DC's part. There was a really good article over at Comics Alliance discussing DC's current woes which sums it up pretty well, in my mind. I mean, Andy Diggle quit over editorial interference before his first issue of Action Comics was even published. What does that tell you?

This whole "no marriage" thing seems to stem from the same unfortunate mindset that gifted us with One More Day: that people who read superhero comics can't identify with a character in a stable relationship. Thanks for the massive implied insult there, guys.

"The new 52, we want surprises. We want things to happen that may be unexpected with romances, relationships"
Never mind that when you do that all the fucking time, it stops being unexpected.

To be fair I can't realistically (relativity) imagine superhero romances/marriages to be stable ones anyway. So the ones that were stable were the more unbelievable.

They felt the need to announce this? Comic books have never been able to hold a marriage together (except for Invisible Woman and Mr Fantastic apparently). Maybe it's because marriage is only "till death do us part." and superheroes have a tendency to, you know... not stay dead.

Red X:

Mcoffey:

I never read the old comic books.

You should, many are at the height of visual storytelling.

Oh I believe it. I shouldn't say I've never read "any" of the old books. I prefer the one shots, like The Killing Joke, or some of Frank Millers' stuff. The ones that only really rely on the reader knowing the jist of who the characters are. I know who Batman is, I know who the Joker is, and I know who Barbara Gordon is. That's all I needed to enjoy that one, and I enjoyed it a great deal. When I read the first issue of Batman in the New 52, I felt pretty much lost because a lot of what was going on was dependant on having prior knowledge of more recent material. That and there being like, three batman comics at once kinda threw me too (Do they take place at the same time? If not which do I read first? stuff like that).

Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase were Marvel assistant editors in the 80's then senior editors in the 90's.

When he became Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Harras became notorious for micro-managing writers. He drove four or five big name writers away from the X-Men books in the late 90's because of micro-managing: The X-Men were Marvel's cash cow and the management was afraid that anything too original would kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

I doubt that Bob Harras realizes that by announcing the termination of any "permanent" relationships in the DC universe, including making marriage a taboo, DC completely undercuts the potential for romantic tension to build up in stories because readers know the superheroes/superheroines won't end stay with their romantic "flavor of the month".

And the Harley Quinn naked/suicidal thing is low brow. Tacky, DC, reaaaaallly tacky. -_-

I still think the suicidal Harley Quinn idea was hilarious in its concept in a weir sort of way (similar to these suicide bunnies) and blown way out of proportion just for a "scandals" sake.

As for this: Seems like a cop out for bad writing. Put in some relationship angst and we have something akin to a character arc?
I don't know and then there is this:

RT:
Never mind that when you do that all the fucking time, it stops being unexpected.

So yea does not sound very promising... then again I don't even read that stuff... so go ahead!

You know this is really starting to sound like the "true art is angsty" mindset. Hey D.C.! Dark stories are not automatically deep!

As much as I love comic books from Europe South America and Asia I could never get into American comics (with the exception of few graphic novels as they are sometimes called) I hate those silly outfits, silly names and silly issues. And this whole debacle just confirms my reservations.

RT:
"The new 52, we want surprises. We want things to happen that may be unexpected with romances, relationships"
Never mind that when you do that all the fucking time, it stops being unexpected.

Also, telling people how well something is going to go beforehand tends to remove great amounts of suspense from a story.

Personally though I've never liked most of DCs work, closest was Sandman (not that i didn't like it, I LOVED IT, but that it's not really DC comics per se).

Aside from MLP the last comic I read that I kinda liked was Marvel 1602 or Atomic Robo, personally don't see much interesting comics coming out these days.

This is old news really. But its still pretty dumb. Things can still be exciting and suprising with marriages. Ive whined for a long time now about how DC needs to understand that we like our super heroes and on occasion we want to see people we like have good things happen to them. It doesnt all have to be doom, gloom and one night stands.

Vivi22:
I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

Well perhaps its just that the editors arent really happy with their lives so they want to make the imaginery lives of comic book heroes as miserable as possible?

And this is why I switched to Manga....

Seriously. It has gotten to the point were Manga is less confusing than anything out of DC or Marvel... I mean at least when I pick up an issue of say Naruto, Hellsing, Onepiece or Bleach for example I know anything I missed out on was covered in a past issue of the same comic... with Superman or any of these things dear gods how many bloody titles do you have to buy to follow one goddammned story arc...it's like an arc isn't allowed to involve anything less than three other titles.

As for no stable relationships... they simply want to chase whatever trend they feel they can exploit. They want to constantly tease with Is he, is she? for as long as they can. Honestly I kinda tuned out the who New 52,I'll likely clock in again after the next Crisis/Continuity Reset that's due in the next 2 years

Vinterdraken:
Ive whined for a long time now about how DC needs to understand that we like our super heroes and on occasion we want to see people we like have good things happen to them. It doesnt all have to be doom, gloom and one night stands.

THIS
Very much :)

BigTuk:
I'll likely clock in again after the next Crisis/Continuity Reset that's due in the next 2 years

It'll be called Flashback ;P

Is this implying marriage can't be interesting?

Honestly the entire New 52 universe reboot is a travesty.

Karadalis:

Vivi22:
I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

Well perhaps its just that the editors arent really happy with their lives so they want to make the imaginery lives of comic book heroes as miserable as possible?

What I was trying to get at is that there's no such thing as a truly stable marriage. Marriage is hard, and it never gets to be easy for the majority of people. So some ban on characters getting married because it means stable relationships and stable relationships mean boring is ridiculous.

And god forbid characters do get married and they use it as an opportunity for things to not work out down the road and deal with pretty serious topics like divorce through the lens of super hero comic books. It's just all a little pathetic that they're so afraid of going there, and their reasons for doing it are a crock of shit.

MarlaDesat:
Q: Is it true that no characters in the new 52 can get married now?
Bob Harras: The new 52, we want surprises. We want things to happen that may be unexpected with romances, relationships. What we ask in general is that we don't want any of our characters rushing into stable relationships. The only character we have married is Buddy Baker, Animal Man, and that was part and parcel of the character.

Attempting to find a glimmer of hope in the quote, the article headline is a tad misleading. DC never said NEVER. Harras emphasizes that weddings as character building should take time and not be rushed, so we could theoretically still see some in the future.

Now that I've done the whole hopeful thing, this guy is talking out of his butt hole. The Bat Girl ordeal went plenty slow enough, unless DC is implying an arc like that requires 10-15 years. This is just their way of throwing the scariest political issues out the window to not 'write themselves into a corner.' If this was their stance from the beginning they should never have greenlit a lesbian wedding in the first place. They just found an excuse to justify throwing it out. If you wanted to be even more jaded in that regard then we could ask why after axing LGBT romance they turn around and praise a hetero marriage.

Here's Ellen Frazier's (wife of the above Animal Man) only dc.wikia bio:
"As the wife of a superhero, she is often involved in her husband's adventures, though she ultimately craves a normal life."

See...

This is what I've never understood in these sort of media. How people seem to believe that drama equals romance, cheap bad drama at that. That the only thing more romantic than an utterly dysfunctional and insecure relationship is an utterly dysfunctional and insecure love triangle.

That if you just get enough people awkwardly trying and utterly failing to get into romantic situations you'll somehow end up in a romantic situation...

Married life doesn't offer fun or surprises? Maybe these guys should try watching a sitcom or two. This decision isn't gonna bring about surprises just a bunch of cookie cutter tragic relationships repeated across every hero.

Now to wait another week before DC makes another stupid move.

Is Joe Quesada working at DC now?

Vivi22:

Karadalis:

Vivi22:
I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

Well perhaps its just that the editors arent really happy with their lives so they want to make the imaginery lives of comic book heroes as miserable as possible?

What I was trying to get at is that there's no such thing as a truly stable marriage. Marriage is hard, and it never gets to be easy for the majority of people. So some ban on characters getting married because it means stable relationships and stable relationships mean boring is ridiculous.

And god forbid characters do get married and they use it as an opportunity for things to not work out down the road and deal with pretty serious topics like divorce through the lens of super hero comic books. It's just all a little pathetic that they're so afraid of going there, and their reasons for doing it are a crock of shit.

What's funny is Divorce and Marriage was the driving Force Identity Crisis and look how terribly they handled it. So maybe they should avoide these subject because they clearly lack the maturity to pull such things off :/

kiri2tsubasa:
Is Joe Quesada working at DC now?

AH DAMMIT YOU BEAT ME TO IT.

OT: Seriously? A marriage has it's own challenges and drama that, if done well, could compliment a standard action story well or even be the driving force of it's own story. An generically unstable relationship is not an interesting one. And don't you guys dare do the "they spend five years pretending not to like each other and then hook up" thing, because I swear, if I see one more of those, I'm gonna scream JUST KISS ALREADY DAMMIT!

Gearhead mk2:

kiri2tsubasa:
Is Joe Quesada working at DC now?

AH DAMMIT YOU BEAT ME TO IT.

OT: Seriously? A marriage has it's own challenges and drama that, if done well, could compliment a standard action story well or even be the driving force of it's own story. An generically unstable relationship is not an interesting one. And don't you guys dare do the "they spend five years pretending not to like each other and then hook up" thing, because I swear, if I see one more of those, I'm gonna scream JUST KISS ALREADY DAMMIT!

Oh dear gods... Don't tell me about... Detective conan... That's just one massive tease when it comes to an over arching arc... IT's what I hated the most of it. GET SOME DEUS EX MACHINA INVOLVED OR SOMETHING DAMMIT!

OT: ... Really now? I guess other answers to this topic alread yanswer this enough. Cop out and laziness being the right words for me.

I don't read comics, but I don't like mindsets like this. Try new things, don't just stand there and twiddle your thumbs about a subject... It doesn't always work out, but you could try stuff out that makes sense. But if AT4W is to be believed, these guys don't know what common sense is...

Vivi22:
I'll never understand this belief some people in comics seem to have that characters getting married is synonymous with being in a stable relationship, or that being married means an end to relationship drama.

Why does it seem like they either have a lack of imagination or an unwillingness to attempt to deal with something which happens in real life all the time with some degree of maturity and respect?

Because those things would require an iota of intelligence and imagination, two things the editors in question clearly lack. They would rather rely on tired cliches than think of something new.

Why paint a masterpiece when you can fill in the dots? After all, that would require... hard work.

lord.jeff:
Married life doesn't offer fun or surprises? Maybe these guys should try watching a sitcom or two. This decision isn't gonna bring about surprises just a bunch of cookie cutter tragic relationships repeated across every hero.

Now to wait another week before DC makes another stupid move.

I think a sitcom is their fear. Comics have always struggled with keeping disbelief suspended in its action scenes. We know Superman will beat Lex Luthor, and the fight becomes less interesting unless really really well done. Hence personal lives and the soap operas they became became the tension we concern ourselves with. Now we skim the fight with Luthor because we want to see if Clark can salvage his relationship with Lois, or his job at the paper. Stable relationships (culminating in marriage) either take that off the plate, or reduce the problems into little solvable bites you know won't go anywhere. Now I don't have interest in a hero's personal life because I know it'll probably work out.

It's stupid to be sure, and it actually goes the other way in that now if I know nothing can work out in the long term I don't care for the journey, but I can sympathize with the idea that they want to avoid a situation like a sitcom, a genre known for having everything all work out in 30 minutes or have minimal impact.

Or I could just be being optimistic and all this is so they can easily change relationships based on popularity polls with less heartache and lawyers.

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