What about the stories that disappoint?

So from time to time I find myself reflecting on comic books greatest stories. You know the ones like “the dark knight returns” where they are the quintessential story of the hero. Now, there are so many of here for so many heroes, and it seems like everyone has there list of the best per franchise, but what about the disappointing stories? The ones that, didn’t quite make the cut. 

What makes a disappointing story? For me it’s when you build up just to let down. The finest example is have is from a run of “daredevil”, now the reason this run was so disappointing was it made me reminisce about a similar story from a run on “batman” where the caped crusader goes up against a secret world controlling secret society that attempts to recruit him into its ranks. The Caped crusader is offered the chance to lead this cadre of ninjas, to rid the world of crime on a grand scale. What does the dark knight do? Turns it down, then burns it down. So you can imagine when this run of old horn head came to be, and when he gave the answer that ol’bats didn’t, that my own imagination took flight “here we go, a hero running a secret ninja society! It’s the alternate ending to my favorite caped crusader story!” I was esstatic! This was great!… then came the twist; it wasn’t that the mighty hero was playing one over on he secret ninja society, no, they hinted at that from the start, it was that the hero was possessed by a demon. A demon made me do it. 

I didn’t even finish the run. 

So then, I had to ask, why? Was it the editor? Was he trying to keep the story safe? Preserve the essence of the character? Was it the writer? Was he trying to make his mark with a twist you couldn’t even see coming? Hell, was it the artist?! Did he state in his Contract that he gets to draw ol’horn head with a demon? I don’t know. What I do know is how disappointed I was. 

I felt betrayed. What should have been the quintessential story of my time, was a flubb! I felt utterly betrayed by everything in this book. The writer, the editor, the artist, colorist, inker, all of them. 

That was the last time I bought a new comic. 

Other stories had done similar things, this had happened before, even an entire offshoot universe had disappointed me. But what made this different was it was my hero. There had been a sort of buffer zone with me and comics for a few years leading up to this, yeah, I “liked” that book about merry mutants, but I could put it down if I wanted, sure the caped crusader was good this arc, but I don’t need every arc of a story (arc refers to the overall story arc, usually 3-8 issues long) to be good. But this was my jam. I owned every trade paper back up to volume 4, then jumped on to the series monthly. Even bought back issues to fill out my collection. I got this every month. My other favorite book, about a certain gun wielding vigilante in black, had just ended. Other stories were suffering as well. I had given up a number of books at the time, I was buying more trades, and I found myself reading less on Wednesday. 

But there was still this book. I had survived five creative teams in 6 years. The stories they had told! The death of a major character in the first run. The tragic tale of a washed up villain missing for months told from the perspective of a reporter! At tale of manipulation and betrayal! And then, the Bendis run: our hero is outed in the public. Oh did my imagination soar! News media after a hero? Tabloid papers talking about him? And then it got better! Villains returned in new and inventive ways, new love interest popped up, new heros popped up! It was pure genius. His end of the run was masterful. It made me cry. The story was handed off to Ed Brubaker. Ed was wonderful. His story weaved a tale of intrigue and deception, it was thrilling!

Then. This. Story. 

I guess in some sense I’m being childish about it. Dramatic. But what in the end what keeps us tied to what we consume? Why spend money on things you don’t like? 

It’s pointless. 

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The hobby and the budget.

When it comes to hobbies I won’t pretend to be the expert. While I have a few, I try to keep them in check so that I can maintain a somewhat normal life. Not having children helps quite a bit. Not having a reliable retail store in town curbs this somewhat, but with the internet it’s not much. A lot of the credit goes to my wife, she keeps it from all overflowing into a huge mess. 

What I consider “the hobby” is gaming. Video games don’t present me with much fun, I buy maybe 1 new game every year or so and play it until completed, then some online gaming for some fun, but it’s not my main source of fun. The gaming I refer to is miniatures, tabletop, and tcg/ccg. Let’s look at each one.

Miniature gaming refers to having small soldiers or even pieces of a game, anywhere from 1 to 10,000 pieces laid out on a large surface, usually with either home made terrain or purchased pieces, where player enact a skirmish, battle, or war. Miniature gaming is an all encompassing hobby, usually you have to purchase the pieces, assemble them, paint them, and then play with them. The entire thing can be insanely time consuming, but in the end well worth it. Miniature gaming often times shows the player exactly what he wants when he’s purchasing it, while sometimes game companies will do random pulls for their games, most of  these have gone away, and the few that do remain have re tooled to be less random. The downside to this is that it can be expensive! Often times a playable army can run well into triple digits. 

Tabletop gaming is where you have a group of players who use a board game or book to play. Often the initial cost is steep but the progressive cost is not. I myself am an avid rpg player, I love D&D 5e and pathfinder. I’ve played quite a few other rpg games and have always come away having enjoyed something from it. Often times the cost of a rpg game is the core books, ranging anywhere from $25.00 to $100.00, a set of dice, a place to play, and often times a case of cold beer. The hidden cost of these is that, often times publishers of these books will put out more books, getting you to buy them for new classes, talents, weapons, or adventures. Over time, it can add up quite a bit. 

The third I’ll touch on is ccg/lcg games. These games are often times card games, but on occasion miniatures games have been known to follow the model for sales. These are often times random; you won’t know what you get until you purchase and open the package. Did you get something good? Something ok? Or was it a waste of money? Not all game companies follow this model, some have begun using expansion packs that tell the players what’s in them, so hey may make informed choices as to what to purchase. 

Now the opinions… I’ll play a rpg any day of the week. A good rpg game doesn’t need a lot of purchases, in fact I’ve found a few times just limiting what players can take to the simple core book is often the way to go. It encourages players to solve problems and be creative!

 Miniature games are a very close second, the idea of leading my plastic and pewter forces into battle is often a source of joy for me. I love the assembly, the painting, and the playing aspect of miniature gaming. 

Ccg/lcg is… something I try to avoid. The randomness of it often times leads to an almost addiction, always chasing the better card for the killer combo for the unbeatable deck of cards. Once all is said and done, you’ve spent thousands just to be beat by someone who spent thousands more, just for the cards to rotate out in two years. 

How do I keep it all in budget? Well for one, I avoid “cardboard crack” ccg/tcg games. I then focus on what I want to play: sometimes I want to play miniature games, so I carefully make my purchases and spend time doing the assembling and painting before purchasing anything else. Having a monthly budget might help, but it’s not necessarily the key to victory here. Rpg games are my favorite, because for less than a $100.00 you and a few friends can get into almost any rpg game! 

In the end, making smart buys; the rpg book you need, not the dozen you don’t, the miniature pieces that best fit your style of play, not the ones  that look cool, are a few of the ways I keep it all in check. And my wife. She keeps it all in perspective. 

Deadpool V. The benchmark

So I just read an article on comic book.com stating that Deadpool had now surpassed Wonder Woman for how much money it’s made in the box office.

One has to look at that in an odd sort of way, is that pool now the benchmark that we’re going to hold every comic book movie too? Now by no means am I saying that Deadpool was a bad movie. On the contrary I felt the Deadpool was a fantastic movie Deadpool did for me as a movie what I expect all comic book movies to do. Deadpool told a story with an overlay of another story on top of it so at its core that Deadpool was not only just an origin story but a romance story about a man who meets a woman who has a relationship with but finds out that he’s Dying and so instead of doing to what that he should have done which will stay with her, he goes away it just so happens that he goes away and get powers and looks like the inside of peoples butt holes and there’s a bunch of killing in eventually is reunited with his girlfriend.

One has to really ask what made deadpool so successful?  Was it the superhero story over laid with a romance story and his wrath of khan style revenge? Was it the comedy which from what I understand most of was improvisation between Ryan Reynolds and the other stars in the movie? Was it that someone finally got the “lightning in a bottle” taking a incredibly popular character especially with today’s audience and transferring it from I think going to the big screen? I guess what I’m trying to ask is what made Deadpool so successful and is it going to end up truly being a benchmark for all other comic book movies?

Now Wonder Woman. What made wonder woman so popular? not only being the first successful female directed female star female superhero movie? Was it that audiences were finally ready to begin exploring other heroes? Was it that somebody had finally put together a story but did proper justice to the big iconic DC character? Will we just socially ready for wonder woman? I guess in the end it was really that a good story was to be told. One woman is by all accounts a universal story, it’s the same story that we seen from George Lucas we’ve seen this story from JJ Abrams we’ve seen this story from J. K. Rowling. It’s the story of someone discovering that they are a part of something bigger than themselves and then rising above that thing to save it. When you were trying to pull back the veil of Wonder Woman it was about a young lady discovering of that there’s a much larger world out there that she feels she has to save.

I can understand the massive amount of success between both movies I can understand the comparison will be drawn for years between what we consider to be successful movies and what we consider to be less than successful comic book movies. That having been said should we hold deadpool up as the gold standard?

When it did come out, Deadpool had made a lot of money on a relatively low budget. One might actually say that deadpool was almost an indie movie when you look at how much the studio spent ($58 million) how much everyone made with the actors and actresses her paid the amount of staff on it… when compared to the other two much larger blockbusters that were released the same year that being Batman versus Superman and Captain America Civil War. Both movies had substantially large budgets(both about $250 million) both movies premiered with much fanfare both movies were trying to tell large, epic stories. Where as Deadpool focused on its character and it’s principal actor. Costing a fraction of what the other two large blockbuster movies for that year did it made its money back tenfold from what I understand.

So if we are to gauge movies based on both budgets, Wonder Woman was made at $158 million, well above the deadpool, yet has made $783 million world wide. Wonder Woman hasn’t slouched pulling in $745 million and is still in theaters when I hit “update” on this here blog, however we can’t use that as the final criteria because both the aforementioned captain America Civil War and Batman versus Superman pulled in almost $875 million worldwide meaning that both movies while not considered to be the critical success of deadpool, were greater financially successful .

So what does make Deadpool The movie that we use to compare to wonder woman in terms of success? In the end it comes down to who to hold a better story. They pulled hold an original story mind you it was an old story dressed up like a new story with dashes of ingredients that made her a good story but when you mix them all together you got something new, something people had not seen before. Combined with its budget and relative success and it’s interesting start power it’s a choice and characters and plot devices all of this made for a really good movie.

What made wonder woman overwhelming success that is is that it did the same thing I didn’t tell the same romance story that deadpool did, it instead told A basic coming-of-age rising above and conquering story. Wonder woman in the story has to come of age into something bigger than herself rise above that thing and become a champion. Some people would wonder if the movie was carried entirely by its woman director woman after woman for woman type of mentality of it displayed and I would say no I would say that men can fully enjoy wonder woman just as much as women.

Where wonder woman meet it’s true fan base is in women wonder woman as described by my beautiful wife was a movie that empowered women showed them that they can’t be this strong person. Another anecdote I like to tell about wonder woman is a friend of mine who has a small daughter who will tell her daughter straight to her face that she needs her to be less Cinderella princess and more wonder woman princess. You see for an entire generation of women wonder woman is there hero, just as for an entire generation of Semi-miss guided teens, 20 somethings, and still clinging 30 somethings Deadpool is what embodies our strangeness, our weirdness, and our sense of justice. Deadpool for people like myself becomes the antihero who we all want to be. And that is what makes a successful movie is being able to reach out and touch your audience base on a fundamental level Be it women who need somebody to look up to or an entire generation of misfits who need somebody’s example to follow or people who need a guiding light in their life to do good the right thing.

In the end I guess the question of whether we should be using Deadpool is the benchmark is a moot point because any movie that we feel will be more successful than Deadpool will invite comparason.  we  will declare to be better or worse than Deadpool and will MoveOn within time. it makes me wonder if we will be doing the same thing with Wonder Woman, will we be comparing other movies to it, with a bunch of us be sitting around smoking cigarettes talking about how this last movie stacked up to Wonder Woman? Only time, and money will tell…