PDA

View Full Version : How many A list superheroes have spotty PR?



Traab
2011-11-22, 01:20 PM
Just wondering. I mean, you have spiderman who is constantly dealing with a major newspaper that hates him just because he exists and is always sending out new articles claiming he is a villain or something. Plus you have batman who, at least as I understand it, generally has at best a patchy acceptance by the police, and at times they have tried to arrest him as he is capturing various thugs and bad guys.

Are there more superheroes who have a genuinely negative reputation in their home town? Or at least a following that doesnt like him outside the bad guys? I mean, superman has lex luthor who I understand at least used to spend a lot of time and effort trying to make superman look bad and ruin his reputation, but he wasnt very successful overall and the general citizens of metropolis dont spend much time debating back and forth about whether he is a criminal or a hero like happens to parker.

Yora
2011-11-22, 01:23 PM
X-Men. Being hated by everyone is kind of the who premise, I believe.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-22, 01:25 PM
Batman, depending on writer.
He might have Gotham PD at his beck and call or only Gordon even marginally accepts him, if at all.

Jahkaivah
2011-11-22, 01:27 PM
Off the top of my head the X-Men would count. Some characters in Watchmen, particularly Rorschach and The Comedian, though somewhat deservedly so. The super heroes from The Incredibles did very well until the lawsuit incident which forced them into hiding.

Traab
2011-11-22, 01:33 PM
X-Men. Being hated by everyone is kind of the who premise, I believe.

Oh man yeah, i forgot about the xmen. Although in their case its less they are hated specifically as it is, "ITS A MUTIE! KILL IT!" Heh, of course ymmv considering the huge list of people who have been included in the ranks of xmen over the years. I know a rather large number have been hated at one point or another.

DiscipleofBob
2011-11-22, 01:36 PM
Depends. What week is it for the Avengers?

Hell, spotty PR is a running theme with most superheroes, especially in the Marvel universe. It's like they DON'T want superheroes to protect them from supervillains and cosmic horrors.

Yora
2011-11-22, 01:40 PM
It's like everyone having run out of ideas 50 years ago.

Selrahc
2011-11-22, 01:40 PM
It's mainly a Marvel thing. Everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men face increased scrutiny from the government to the public, and while Spidey and the X-men face it the worst even popular heroes take a lot of flack. Even the Avengers spin in and out of government supervision and press scrutiny, with figures like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man being hit just as bad as everybody else. I think you'd be hard pressed to name a Marvel superhero who hasn't been hit with troubles from the public at one point or another.

In DC comics it's a much less well worn story arc. The DC public in general seem much kinder to their heroes.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-22, 01:43 PM
Well, first you can look at other heroes created by Steve Ditko: Captain Atom (Captain Adam), Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), The Question (Vic Sage) and the underground-published Mr A (Rex Graine). Captain Atom started as a generally well liked hero, hated only by criminals, spies and Soviet Russia's Politburo. However, as Charlton Comics re-started publishing of super-heroes (now called Action Heroes), the new guys and gals (not just by Ditko) got more "Marvelized". While Captain Atom was still usually liked, people got soon afraid of him when his old suit tore up and leaked radiation, wanted him banned. Only when he got a new suit was a part of his body and always shielded radiation, and then captured the bad guys, he got popular again.

PR-wise, things were even worse for BB. As Ted Kord, he was at first suspect for the murder of Dan Garret, who happened to be the original BB. The circumstances around the new and the old BB was kept a mystery even for the readers for a few issues. Later, he would get to fight the counter-culture, but the general populace and the police seemed to agree with him.

The Question as well as Vic Sage - a controversial TV newscaster - were often hated and dispised by the public, but Vic never let that make him feel bad. Oddly enough, the police didn't mind either Vic or the Question.

Mr A was in many ways a more hardcore version of The Question, or The Question was a softcore version of Mr A (they were both first published in about the same time). Even more hated by the public than the The Question/Vic, but always confident about his (according to Ditko) righteousness.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-22, 01:57 PM
Off the top of my head the X-Men would count. Some characters in Watchmen, particularly Rorschach and The Comedian, though somewhat deservedly so. The super heroes from The Incredibles did very well until the lawsuit incident which forced them into hiding.
Rorschach barely qualifies even as an anti-hero to me. He's just an evil little man who beats up, and murders, other evil little men.

kpenguin
2011-11-22, 02:08 PM
The Green Hornet :smallwink:

Prime32
2011-11-22, 02:14 PM
In DC comics it's a much less well worn story arc. The DC public in general seem much kinder to their heroes.They even lampshade this in the JLA/Avengers crossover.

Brother Oni
2011-11-22, 02:29 PM
Rorschach barely qualifies even as an anti-hero to me. He's just an evil little man who beats up, and murders, other evil little men.

However he is very stringent on what counts as evil and how he selects other men to murder and kill.

He's much like the Punisher in that sense, another 'hero' with very poor public esteem and with good reason.

Whether this can be seen as heroic, doing good by committing evil acts, would be better discussed in a separate thread than derailing this one.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-22, 02:39 PM
Some characters in Watchmen, particularly Rorschach and The Comedian

Not really. The Comedian was regarded as a hero by the public despite his undignified, violent actions.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-22, 04:36 PM
Not really. The Comedian was regarded as a hero by the public despite his undignified, violent actions.

After the hostage rescue in Iran, yes. But not during the police strikes. The general populace in USA does seem to have been ignorant about his actions in the Pacific theatre during WWII and in Vietnam. Hollis (Nite Owl I) couldn't prove he was a rapist in his book Under the Hood, but merely imply it.

Soras Teva Gee
2011-11-22, 04:57 PM
They even lampshade this in the JLA/Avengers crossover.

More then lampshade its even something of a plot point in the discussion of "look how different we are" running through that awesome, awesome crossover.

Though its not to say it doesn't happen in DC just lower down from the A-list.

Mewtarthio
2011-11-22, 06:05 PM
It's mainly a Marvel thing. Everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men face increased scrutiny from the government to the public, and while Spidey and the X-men face it the worst even popular heroes take a lot of flack. Even the Avengers spin in and out of government supervision and press scrutiny, with figures like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man being hit just as bad as everybody else. I think you'd be hard pressed to name a Marvel superhero who hasn't been hit with troubles from the public at one point or another.

The Fantastic Four do a pretty good job of staying on the good side of public opinion. Not perfect, mind you (this is Marvel), but I'd say they're better than most.

Which is ironic since Reed Richards is a lot more ruthlessly utilitarian than, say, Spider-Man. Not that he's an antihero by any means, but still...

Axolotl
2011-11-22, 06:16 PM
Not sure if they count as A-list but The Authority had pretty bad PR from what I remember. Granted they probably deserved it but still.

Selrahc
2011-11-22, 06:18 PM
The Fantastic Four do a pretty good job of staying on the good side of public opinion. Not perfect, mind you (this is Marvel), but I'd say they're better than most.

Even the FF has had its share of problems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yancy_Street).

McStabbington
2011-11-22, 11:42 PM
Considering J. Jonah Jameson is a name that every comic fan knows by heart, I'd say Spiderman is the quintessential hero with bad publicity.

RabbitHoleLost
2011-11-23, 01:36 AM
I don't know about how many character do already, but all of them should. Atleast, if they're based in the US, they should realistically have problems, since, you know, vigilante justice is illegal

Selrahc
2011-11-23, 03:16 AM
I don't know about how many character do already, but all of them should. Atleast, if they're based in the US, they should realistically have problems, since, you know, vigilante justice is illegal

I'm less clear on DC, but in Marvel "Superhero Law" is a well defined sub-branch of the legal system, with top tier law firms which specialize in its execution and legislation specifically about it.

Real world vigilante laws do not apply to comics. As should be logically expected, since I'm sure if super powered heroes operated in the real world the laws would receive some sort of overhaul.

Aotrs Commander
2011-11-23, 06:48 AM
I'm less clear on DC, but in Marvel "Superhero Law" is a well defined sub-branch of the legal system, with top tier law firms which specialize in its execution and legislation specifically about it.

Real world vigilante laws do not apply to comics. As should be logically expected, since I'm sure if super powered heroes operated in the real world the laws would receive some sort of overhaul.

Especially given the fact that general law enforcement - and military forces - are often completely unable to deal with super-villians. Even the likes of S.H.I.E.L.D. S.W.O.R.D. and Cadmus frequently seem to frack it up and need the heroes to dig them out, and that's kinda their whole purpose...

thubby
2011-11-23, 07:16 AM
every super in the DC universe kinda does by nature of the fact that project cadmus exists

Eldan
2011-11-23, 08:50 AM
The whole Vigilante thing makes me wonder, though...
Why don't any superheroes try to join the police?

lord_khaine
2011-11-23, 09:00 AM
every super in the DC universe kinda does by nature of the fact that project cadmus exists


I disagree, Cadmus isnt run by the public.


The whole Vigilante thing makes me wonder, though...
Why don't any superheroes try to join the police?

I guess its mostly a case of wanting to keep their secret identity?

grolim
2011-11-23, 09:01 AM
Mostly I would imagine because if they joined the force there would be official rules to work by and any secret identity goes out the window. With public records laws etc anyone could find out about them.

Devonix
2011-11-23, 09:02 AM
Thats something that happens very rarely usually because of a few things like Time resources Juristiction ect.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-23, 10:37 AM
The whole Vigilante thing makes me wonder, though...
Why don't any superheroes try to join the police?

Golden Age Batman was deputized in 1943, with secret ID intact. Adam West's live action Batman was also "a duly deputized peace officer" or some such.

Doc Savage, if you want to count pulp heroes (there have been a few comic book titles), has/had a "police commission". But he doesn't do "regular" police cases.

Captain Atom works/worked for the US Air Force.

Then there's Pat Mill's and Kevin O'Neill's Marshal Law, but don't call him a super-hero... It tends to tick him off... :smallamused:

Ravens_cry
2011-11-23, 10:40 AM
Captain Atom works/worked for the US Air Force.

Which, as the Cadmus Arc of JLU showed, can lead to some pretty nasty conflicts of interest.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-23, 10:46 AM
Which, as the Cadmus Arc of JLU showed, can lead to some pretty nasty conflicts of interest.

When DC re-vamped the revious Charlton-owned title to become "darker and edgier", they truly did that. :smalleek:

Threeshades
2011-11-23, 10:47 AM
Mostly I would imagine because if they joined the force there would be official rules to work by and any secret identity goes out the window. With public records laws etc anyone could find out about them.

Well, yeah if they are street cops handing out tickets, but as far as I know there are special police forces that do keep their employees' identities secret.

Prime32
2011-11-23, 11:09 AM
The whole Vigilante thing makes me wonder, though...
Why don't any superheroes try to join the police?This was pretty much the point of Civil War. It fell through once everyone realised that the one in command was the Green Goblin.

Karoht
2011-11-23, 11:42 AM
Just wondering. I mean, you have spiderman who is constantly dealing with a major newspaper that hates him just because he exists and is always sending out new articles claiming he is a villain or something. Plus you have batman who, at least as I understand it, generally has at best a patchy acceptance by the police, and at times they have tried to arrest him as he is capturing various thugs and bad guys.

Are there more superheroes who have a genuinely negative reputation in their home town? Or at least a following that doesnt like him outside the bad guys? I mean, superman has lex luthor who I understand at least used to spend a lot of time and effort trying to make superman look bad and ruin his reputation, but he wasnt very successful overall and the general citizens of metropolis dont spend much time debating back and forth about whether he is a criminal or a hero like happens to parker.

@Spiderman
If you read the wiki article on J Jonah Jameson (rather a good read I might add), it turns out that the Daily Bugle has had to print rather a lot of retractions. And the public doesn't take what Jameson says too seriously. Bad PR, but the public opinion is still decent, but not great.


@Batman
Don't some editions refer to Batman as a 'fully deputized agent of the law' or was that just the 60's TV show? I coulda swore that Gordon said that to another officer in the comics at one point, but I could also be mis-remembering.


@The Rest
Okay, so Superman saves the day for the bazillionth time.
Suddenly everyone sees him rob a bank, and there is a warrant out for his arrest and public outcry to stop him.
Bwah? Superman doesn't even get the benefit of the doubt? Are you kidding me? And strangely, Supes doesn't even go to the police and talk with them once this happens.
"Yeah, I have an alibi. I was in China at the time. Some kid fell off the great wall."
Come to think of it, he could say that pretty much every time. You'd think him and the police would have some kind of system worked out by this point.
Also, what the heck are the police going to do to bring in Superman?

Just about every hero has this. No matter how much good they do, eventually some phoney crime happens and everyone forgets the good that they've done. It comes across as lazy writing to me. It's interesting because Daredevil drives home the message that Justice is Blind and Innocent Until Proven Guilty, as other super heroes have also done from time to time. And yet, that rule doesn't apply to the heroes, ever. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for people with superpowers. Huh. What is this saying exactly? I mean, maybe it isn't lazy writing, maybe the writers are trying to say something. But what?

DiscipleofBob
2011-11-23, 11:56 AM
@The Rest
Okay, so Superman saves the day for the bazillionth time.
Suddenly everyone sees him rob a bank, and there is a warrant out for his arrest and public outcry to stop him.
Bwah? Superman doesn't even get the benefit of the doubt? Are you kidding me? And strangely, Supes doesn't even go to the police and talk with them once this happens.
"Yeah, I have an alibi. I was in China at the time. Some kid fell off the great wall."
Come to think of it, he could say that pretty much every time. You'd think him and the police would have some kind of system worked out by this point.
Also, what the heck are the police going to do to bring in Superman?

Just about every hero has this. No matter how much good they do, eventually some phoney crime happens and everyone forgets the good that they've done. It comes across as lazy writing to me. It's interesting because Daredevil drives home the message that Justice is Blind and Innocent Until Proven Guilty, as other super heroes have also done from time to time. And yet, that rule doesn't apply to the heroes, ever. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for people with superpowers. Huh. What is this saying exactly? I mean, maybe it isn't lazy writing, maybe the writers are trying to say something. But what?

This. This has always bugged me. I admit it's an interesting story when the hero's on the run from the law, but there should at least be justification. I can sort of see it if said "superhero" goes on a crime spree and the real superhero is gone long enough to justify public opinion turning on them, or maybe if public opinion of the character was already kind of shaky, but come on. I'd like to think people aren't so dumb as to fall for an obvious ploy with just one act.

Traab
2011-11-23, 12:10 PM
This. This has always bugged me. I admit it's an interesting story when the hero's on the run from the law, but there should at least be justification. I can sort of see it if said "superhero" goes on a crime spree and the real superhero is gone long enough to justify public opinion turning on them, or maybe if public opinion of the character was already kind of shaky, but come on. I'd like to think people aren't so dumb as to fall for an obvious ploy with just one act.

It works better for the superheroes who walk closest to the edge of the line. For example, its easier to believe that batman went too far and killed a few thugs while capturing the joker, even if it was an accident than it is to believe superman went nuts and tore a few hookers in half for saying he was "faster than a speeding bullet".

As for the "why no super cops?" question. I think its mainly because virtually everything a superhero does violates the law. If superman put on a badge he would be fired the first time he used his super hearing to listen in on lex luthor without a warrant. On a more honest note, its because a superhero being an honest to god cop, walking a beat, solving crimes law and order style, would be boring as hell for the most part, and not many people would read that comic if the only time static shock uses his powers is for three frames to wrap the running bad guy up in a chain link fence.

Tiki Snakes
2011-11-23, 12:16 PM
Doesn't She-Hulk have a long running job as a lawyer? Does that count?

DiscipleofBob
2011-11-23, 12:21 PM
Doesn't She-Hulk have a long running job as a lawyer? Does that count?

The majority of which she spends defending superheroes and dealing with their spotty PR problems.

Karoht
2011-11-23, 12:23 PM
This. This has always bugged me. I admit it's an interesting story when the hero's on the run from the law, but there should at least be justification. I can sort of see it if said "superhero" goes on a crime spree and the real superhero is gone long enough to justify public opinion turning on them, or maybe if public opinion of the character was already kind of shaky, but come on. I'd like to think people aren't so dumb as to fall for an obvious ploy with just one act.
Superman could pick up a newspaper, read the headline, hear a cry for help, forget to put the paper down and fly off, and be public enemy number one within minutes of the incident.
Okay, hyperbole, but you get the idea.

TheThan
2011-11-23, 01:23 PM
There is a very old saying.

“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely"

This is the basis of PR problems in comic books. Superheroes by their very nature have more power than other, normal people. as a result its very easy to think you are better, more worthy or just superior to your fellow man. This is actually the basis for a lot of villains, “if I’m more powerful than my fellow man, why shouldn’t I just take what I want?”

Remember this scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJOHpizVyGE&feature=related), from captain America. Red Skull clearly shows this point of view. he thinks he's better than the rest of humanity, and wonders of captain America thinks the same. But Cap clearly doesn't and tells him as much.

So it’s very easy to imagine a person that’s more powerful than everyone else, deciding to start using his powers for his own benefit. Tony stark loses all his money gambling so he robs a bank to pay off his debts; The fantastic four need the uranium out of a nuke for one of Mr. Fantastic’s experiments So they steal one; Captain America decides his view of America is the only view so he starts forcing his will upon others; Spiderman finally blows his stack at J. Jonah Jameson and throws him off the roof of the daily bugle, etc.

Also when you consider that human nature is generally pretty bad, it makes even more sense. It’s harder to be a hero, because of the expectations placed upon you, you’re supposed to be a paragon of goodness and virtue, but that’s an ideal that is hard to live up to, and not everyone can. So it’s much “easier” to stoop to the level of the criminals they fight.

Selrahc
2011-11-23, 02:51 PM
The whole Vigilante thing makes me wonder, though...
Why don't any superheroes try to join the police?

In Marvel there are a whole array of sanctioned organizations that employ superheros. The Avengers, Fantastic Four, SHIELD, Damage Control and others all have official government/international backing. They would be the general port of call for superhero's willing to "Go professional". Members of the Avengers for example, are given access to secure files, arrest rights, and a solid monthly pay for the time they are on the active list. The X-Men fall in and out of this area as well.

And.. that's most of the heroes. Everyone else generally has some reason why they don't fall under the umbrella of some organization or another. Daredevil for example. His modus operandi is to go after crooks that he can't touch within the law, a method that doesn't really sync up with working for an official organization.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-23, 03:46 PM
It works better for the superheroes who walk closest to the edge of the line. For example, its easier to believe that batman went too far and killed a few thugs while capturing the joker, even if it was an accident than it is to believe superman went nuts and tore a few hookers in half for saying he was "faster than a speeding bullet".

As for the "why no super cops?" question. I think its mainly because virtually everything a superhero does violates the law. If superman put on a badge he would be fired the first time he used his super hearing to listen in on lex luthor without a warrant. On a more honest note, its because a superhero being an honest to god cop, walking a beat, solving crimes law and order style, would be boring as hell for the most part, and not many people would read that comic if the only time static shock uses his powers is for three frames to wrap the running bad guy up in a chain link fence.

Superman was deputized by the Mayor of Metropolis in The Man of Steel by John Byrne (the mini-series and the first volume of the TPB series). If that was just temporarily - in order to get Lex Luthor arrested - or if Superman continued to be deputized, that wasn't made explicit.

Bastian Weaver
2011-12-04, 09:03 PM
I think that, although there have to be some people that think superheroes deserve the benefit of doubt, they also think that it would be best to keep the heroes in jail or under house arrest until it's all cleared. This idea usually finds no support by the heroes, who just want to find out who framed them and set it all right with their own methods.
Speaking of super cops, District X featured a situation just like that - Lucas Bishop as a policeman in mutant ghetto. I liked that series.

Traab
2011-12-04, 09:08 PM
I think that, although there have to be some people that think superheroes deserve the benefit of doubt, they also think that it would be best to keep the heroes in jail or under house arrest until it's all cleared. This idea usually finds no support by the heroes, who just want to find out who framed them and set it all right with their own methods.
Speaking of super cops, District X featured a situation just like that - Lucas Bishop as a policeman in mutant ghetto. I liked that series.

Thats neat, but its a special case, mutants policing mutants. Its not bishop walking a beat in Delaware with no supervillians to fight. I think it would make for an interesting story idea. A cop with assorted superpowers, trying to remain a cop and not break the laws or get himself fired by things like, "Oh, his xray vision counts as unreasonable search and seizure, therefore the case must be dismissed." or some such thing. *EDIT* and I realize I basically countered my last post, but I honestly think it could be made interesting, it just wouldnt be a comic book kind of thing. Law and Order SPU. (super powered unit)

Bastian Weaver
2011-12-04, 09:21 PM
Now that I think of it, yeah, you're right. Every story about superpowered cops I can remember has superpowered criminals in it, be it District X, Alan Moore's Top Ten or Xavier's Security Enforcers. Even in Chew there are some superpowered bad guys, although not too many.
Chew probably comes closest to the idea of Law and Order SPU - the good cop Tony Chu has a special power, which he uses to track down criminals and which also usually makes his life miserable.

KingofMadCows
2011-12-04, 09:26 PM
Just about every hero has this. No matter how much good they do, eventually some phoney crime happens and everyone forgets the good that they've done. It comes across as lazy writing to me. It's interesting because Daredevil drives home the message that Justice is Blind and Innocent Until Proven Guilty, as other super heroes have also done from time to time. And yet, that rule doesn't apply to the heroes, ever. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for people with superpowers. Huh. What is this saying exactly? I mean, maybe it isn't lazy writing, maybe the writers are trying to say something. But what?

That's because superheroes are like nuclear missiles. Sure they're there to protect us but the moment that people think something's wrong with them, everyone starts panicking and tries to do everything they can to fix the problem.

Karoht
2011-12-05, 04:49 PM
That's because superheroes are like nuclear missiles. Sure they're there to protect us but the moment that people think something's wrong with them, everyone starts panicking and tries to do everything they can to fix the problem.Remarkably good analogy. Bravo.

I think Five for Fighting's song Superman sort of points out that he's more than a nuclear missile. :smallwink:

H Birchgrove
2011-12-05, 08:22 PM
The Shadow and The Spider were regularly hunted by the police.

Doc Savage at times was framed.