Entitlement To Comic Characters

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Some time ago I wrote a piece asking if readers are afraid of change. Then another issue arose that I think goes hand in hand with that which is readers finding themselves entitled to how characters are portrayed.

Not too long ago there was an announcement that The Joker would get a possible origins story during DC’s Villains Month. I’d think that people would be excited for this, I certainly was. Villains Month is supposed to give some of these villains the spotlight they haven’t gotten in a long while. Joker is no exception from this and there comes a time when mystery is not enough to carry them forward. It’s going to be written by Andy Kubert and illustrated by Andy Clarke, this unique one-shot will not only hint at a possible origin for The Joker, but will also feature the origin of a classic Batman villain who folks might not suspect as having ties to the Clown Prince of Crime.

I see no issue with Joker having an origins story. Others seem to and say that it ruins the character by taking away the mystery which makes Joker who he is. I don’t think his past really affects who he is, let alone his appeal. The Joker isn’t hurt in any way if someone takes the time to show what makes him who he is today. I mean there was no complaining when Death of The Family explored what makes him tick, in fact that storyline was praised by most fans. This shows Joker is not some character who is above change and definitely isn’t untouchable. Every villain has a start and that keeps them from becoming one-dimensional. The problem I see here is that people are so used to what is known that when something unexpected comes around they don’t know how to accept it. It’s as if the character must remain how they envision them or it isn’t the same character.

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The writers who take the liberty to flesh out these characters should be allowed the creative freedom to do so. They are as much fans of that character as you and in no way could anyone say they know or understand that character more because they don’t see eye to eye. If you have a problem with how that character is portrayed or with what is revealed about them that you didn’t want to know, that’s honestly your problem. The character does not belong to you and in no way are you entitled to have that character your way. If you have that mindset then you will always find disappointment because characters evolve. If they don’t then you will be the one complaining and it would be your fault that you don’t give the writers room to explore characters that have room for it.

Just being the New 52 it would be a smart move to explore Joker’s origins and that should be something readers should wait and see for themselves before they shut down the idea. It just seems petty as if certain comic characters are your possession when they are not. They belong to the publishers and their goal for the characters are what’s in their best interest. If you don’t like the idea of this then you simply just don’t buy the comic, best way to avoid having knowledge of something you don’t want to know.

Jideobi is the Comic Editor at Analog Addiction where he writes all things comics and comic related(especially if X-Men). Also follow him on Twitter @Siphen0.

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4 thoughts on “Entitlement To Comic Characters

  1. You will have a better experience 100% of the time with any art form if you go in w/ an open mind…people who don’t see that are reading comics and consuming art all wrong…the joker hasnt had a concrete origin since his introduction, that’s the preconceived notion, but what about great stories like ‘the killing joke’? Does it not posit its version of his origin & is it not one of the greatest stories ever told with the character? The point is that sure, there will be that wink & nod that maybe this is just his version of events, but that goes w/ pretty much every comic ever written, they aren’t a static medium, it’s fluid, constantly changing and evolving, and readers seeking enjoyment are along for the ride…if creators listened to the vocal minority that cry foul everytime things don’t work out just the way they plan, comics would be horrible, rehashes of the same story issue in & issue out….look at Slotts Superior Spider-Man, it’s been consistently great and it exists on the top tier of spidey stories told, but there’s a swath of people ignoring it for reasons that they themselves have made up….how can we criticize something we aren’t versed in? This is another great article, I’m of the same mind, let’s give these guys the benefit of a doubt, after all they are fans just like us, they have just happened to take that to the furthest possible level where they can make their mark on their favorite characters….if you don’t dig it, move on, but you can’t say a single word if you don’t take the ride

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  2. which is why i love ultimate marvel. cause everything goes. DC’s new 52 is a good venture to change the origins and as the name implies bring something new to the characters and the stories.

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    • I love Ultimate Marvel for the same reason. That’s why I refuse to got with the majority that still seems to think it’s all coming to an end.

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