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Effects of the modern world on comic book worlds.


pinecone
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11 hours ago, Greywind said:

Gyrich's involvement with the Avengers showed otherwise.

 

If the Government were covering all costs, they would be exactly like Steve was saying in Civil War; they would decide who the bad guys are and who the Avengers could go after.

Depends on how it is done. Are the Avengers a government branch? an NGO? Something else? What governance is in place? I am sure that the "money" people would Want to control opperations, but each super has non replacable skills. Having a self run super team is far better than Not having a super team....in a world where world, and galaxy threatening enemies pop up without warning. (We are lucky they seem to choose NY to appear instead of sentinel island....)

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31 minutes ago, pinecone said:

(We are lucky they seem to choose NY to appear instead of sentinal island....)

 

Have you seen the interior of (North) Sentinel Island?

As far as we know it could be Alien Wakanda. With Sentinels.

Or the home of the Ghost Who Walks.

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You probably wouldn't be alone in that - and how many supervillains can fit on a small island?

 

What would happen when the Indian Government and UNTIL find out?

 

It could be an interesting twist on The Island of Doctor Destroyer.

 

I wonder how much magic the North Sentinelese have?

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Maybe that's the secret. The successful super-villains who you hear from, because they keep cropping up to do villainry, are the crazy obsessed types. There are plenty of the previously lower level but then got a power up or some training or just a sack full of treasure, who you simply stop hearing of and you tend to assume that they finally died off after Punisher found them, or got sent to the Suicide Squad, or whatever. You know, basically the word on the street is that they finally got big enough to draw too much attention for their power level/smarts and got killed. But what actually happened was that they got all they ever wanted.

 

Somebody with the small pocket dimension powers that let them smuggle weapons and cash and stuff as a mercenary, retires once they figure out how to make a whole extra pocket universe, because instead of smuggling *an army*, they'd rather make a lot less money much more safely by simply letting supervillains retire to a pocket world mansion. 

 

Some sort of immortal who only became a supervillain from boredom finally reaches the end of the century that they promised themselves they'd spend as a supervillain, and disappears, with nobody realising their connection to the new superhero who rises on the other side of the world, being a hero for the next hundred years.

 

 The evil wizard that everyone was so worried about finally kills their good guy archnemesis... and promptly resurrects them, joins the their team and is revealed to have been that hero's mentor all along, not having turned evil but merely trying to test the hero's worth and having found it wanting, but with potential.

 

Basically, in a comic, heroes and villains tend to keep coming back the same as they ever have been, with any changes (even good, well-written, famously popular changes) being retconned or simply ignored by some later writers who either didn't do their research or just refuse to acknowledge the changes. 

 

But in the real world, with those heroes and villains added, there's much more scope for long-term redemptions, or a retirement for a super-villain, or just an illegal deal actually going well.

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:28 AM, DoctorImpossible said:

Maybe that's the secret. The successful super-villains who you hear from, because they keep cropping up to do villainry, are the crazy obsessed types. There are plenty of the previously lower level but then got a power up or some training or just a sack full of treasure, who you simply stop hearing of and you tend to assume that they finally died off after Punisher found them, or got sent to the Suicide Squad, or whatever. You know, basically the word on the street is that they finally got big enough to draw too much attention for their power level/smarts and got killed. But what actually happened was that they got all they ever wanted.

 

Somebody with the small pocket dimension powers that let them smuggle weapons and cash and stuff as a mercenary, retires once they figure out how to make a whole extra pocket universe, because instead of smuggling *an army*, they'd rather make a lot less money much more safely by simply letting supervillains retire to a pocket world mansion. 

 

Some sort of immortal who only became a supervillain from boredom finally reaches the end of the century that they promised themselves they'd spend as a supervillain, and disappears, with nobody realising their connection to the new superhero who rises on the other side of the world, being a hero for the next hundred years.

 

 The evil wizard that everyone was so worried about finally kills their good guy archnemesis... and promptly resurrects them, joins the their team and is revealed to have been that hero's mentor all along, not having turned evil but merely trying to test the hero's worth and having found it wanting, but with potential.

 

Basically, in a comic, heroes and villains tend to keep coming back the same as they ever have been, with any changes (even good, well-written, famously popular changes) being retconned or simply ignored by some later writers who either didn't do their research or just refuse to acknowledge the changes. 

 

But in the real world, with those heroes and villains added, there's much more scope for long-term redemptions, or a retirement for a super-villain, or just an illegal deal actually going well.

 

I had a couple of supervillain individuals who essentially made enough money to get a Wealth perk then retired their costumed identities and reemerged as part-time heroes.

 

Honestly on Marvel Earth, you can't throw a coffee mug without hitting some hero who's a multimillionaire. And since most of their villains seem to be motivated by money, I've often thought the best way to handle their supervillain problem would be to hire them as heroes. Not as a prank or a long-term scheme of some sort. Just a simple exchange of money for "go punch that bad guy when we tell you to".

 

 

 

I also had one character who was essentially a Daxamite/Kryptonian hero. He got tired of being the focus of world-beating supervillains and nearly losing his life. So he announced he was leaving the planet to fight an alien invasion elsewhere (touchy natives, very hush hush location...and OOC it also helped move the PC's to a more prominent position).

 

He disappeared himself, obliterated his costume, and moved to a different large city on Earth.

 

He didn't have anything against being a hero. He just didn't realize the enormity of it all until buildings started hitting him in the face. We've sort of gotten used to the Superman or DC Captain Marvel characters who with greater power comes an ever-increasing sense of responsibility. But I don't think that's very realistic. Power is fine. Heroing is fine. But there's a lot of potential heroes who I think wouldn't go all in just because of an awesome power set and I wanted to show something like that.

 

So he reinvented himself as a street level crimefighter with some gadgets. 

 

He wins because he's just fast enough and just strong enough and his armored costume of course is amazingly tough.

 

The gadgets and armored costume are real enough but just for show so really tough bad guys figure out who he is and don't start showing up pounding him again.

 

A couple of times he's come out of retirement in his original costumed identity explaining that he was escorting a fleet of refugees in the general area and though he'd check in (or some other excuse for being here but needing to leave again). And what do you know, his return just in the nick of time....

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Another way the modern world has progressively eroded a classic trope: the Hidden Lands have a harder time staying hidden.

 

Up through the 1960s, it was not too implausible there could be an uncharted island, a hidden valley in Tibet, or a lost city in the jungles of Africa. But as satellites with cameras proliferated, comic-book writers had to come up with reasons to keep them hidden, like the perpetual cloud cover over the Savage Land. Sorry, even that won't work anymore with cameras that use other frequencies to see through clouds. By now, the Hidden Land needs a holographic shield, or it's extradimensional, or whatever. I'm not even sure Atlantis et al. can stay hidden undersea, given US and Soviet/Russian programs to map the ocean floor in support of submarine warfare.

 

My latest campaign's Hidden Land, the Hot Zone where the mad super-biologiest villain Helix conducts his most radical experiments, is a complex of kilometer-wide caves beneath an African shield volcano. The world now knows it exists, but not all of what Helix does there. My previous campaign had Manoa, the City of Gold and last outpost of Mu, hidden from aerial surveillance by its Chronal Barrier. But that situation was made to be unstable: the Chronal Barrier is a fraud, easily penetrated once people know it's there... only one of the frauds underlying Manoa.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Along those lines, I appreciate the take by the writers of the current Superman and Lois TV series on Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Rather than build a giant crystal castle on the surface of the northern ice like in the Donner films and the Smallville series, Jor-El's tech opened tunnels and caves below the surface of Antarctica. From above it matches the contours of the surrounding landscape, and the entrance is only visible at ground level.

 

For my own interpretation of one of the Champions Universe's hidden lands, The Valley of Night, I placed it under a canopy of illusion that looks like the surrounding jungle. Being magic it can be assumed to be impenetrable to radar as well. That illusion was actually in place centuries before satellites, though. I decided to take the designation, "valley of night," more literally. Its inhabitants, originally rebels from the sun-worshiping Inca Empire, consider the very Sun itself to be their enemy, so the canopy allows no light from the sky to reach their valley at all. That and the Valley's heightened magic led to the evolution of a unique ecosystem.

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There's a lot of believers in a Hollow Earth who will point to shadowy crevasses in photographs of Antarctica and say "that's definitely an opening to a cave system which leads to Hollow Earth".

 

And maybe they're right. After all, I haven't examined every shadowy crevasse in Antarctica. :D 

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On 7/20/2021 at 8:28 AM, DoctorImpossible said:

Maybe that's the secret. The successful super-villains who you hear from, because they keep cropping up to do villainry, are the crazy obsessed types. There are plenty of the previously lower level but then got a power up or some training or just a sack full of treasure, who you simply stop hearing of and you tend to assume that they finally died off after Punisher found them, or got sent to the Suicide Squad, or whatever. You know, basically the word on the street is that they finally got big enough to draw too much attention for their power level/smarts and got killed. But what actually happened was that they got all they ever wanted.

 

Somebody with the small pocket dimension powers that let them smuggle weapons and cash and stuff as a mercenary, retires once they figure out how to make a whole extra pocket universe, because instead of smuggling *an army*, they'd rather make a lot less money much more safely by simply letting supervillains retire to a pocket world mansion. 

 

Some sort of immortal who only became a supervillain from boredom finally reaches the end of the century that they promised themselves they'd spend as a supervillain, and disappears, with nobody realising their connection to the new superhero who rises on the other side of the world, being a hero for the next hundred years.

 

 The evil wizard that everyone was so worried about finally kills their good guy archnemesis... and promptly resurrects them, joins the their team and is revealed to have been that hero's mentor all along, not having turned evil but merely trying to test the hero's worth and having found it wanting, but with potential.

 

Basically, in a comic, heroes and villains tend to keep coming back the same as they ever have been, with any changes (even good, well-written, famously popular changes) being retconned or simply ignored by some later writers who either didn't do their research or just refuse to acknowledge the changes. 

 

But in the real world, with those heroes and villains added, there's much more scope for long-term redemptions, or a retirement for a super-villain, or just an illegal deal actually going well.

I started writing CU fanfic with one about a retired villain who accidentally discovers the identity of his archnemesis and launches into his revenge before realising that he has the grandkids that day. 

 

Hilarity ensues. 

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9 minutes ago, archer said:

There's a lot of believers in a Hollow Earth who will point to shadowy crevasses in photographs of Antarctica and say "that's definitely an opening to a cave system which leads to Hollow Earth".

 

And maybe they're right. After all, I haven't examined every shadowy crevasse in Antarctica. :D 

 

Most openings that lead to a hollow Earth are usually portals to other realities, like Skartaris.

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On 7/21/2021 at 7:48 PM, archer said:

 

I had a couple of supervillain individuals who essentially made enough money to get a Wealth perk then retired their costumed identities and reemerged as part-time heroes.

 

Honestly on Marvel Earth, you can't throw a coffee mug without hitting some hero who's a multimillionaire. And since most of their villains seem to be motivated by money, I've often thought the best way to handle their supervillain problem would be to hire them as heroes. Not as a prank or a long-term scheme of some sort. Just a simple exchange of money for "go punch that bad guy when we tell you to".

 

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On 7/24/2021 at 1:23 PM, DShomshak said:

Another way the modern world has progressively eroded a classic trope: the Hidden Lands have a harder time staying hidden.

 

Up through the 1960s, it was not too implausible there could be an uncharted island, a hidden valley in Tibet, or a lost city in the jungles of Africa. But as satellites with cameras proliferated, comic-book writers had to come up with reasons to keep them hidden, like the perpetual cloud cover over the Savage Land. Sorry, even that won't work anymore with cameras that use other frequencies to see through clouds. By now, the Hidden Land needs a holographic shield, or it's extradimensional, or whatever. I'm not even sure Atlantis et al. can stay hidden undersea, given US and Soviet/Russian programs to map the ocean floor in support of submarine warfare.

 

My latest campaign's Hidden Land, the Hot Zone where the mad super-biologiest villain Helix conducts his most radical experiments, is a complex of kilometer-wide caves beneath an African shield volcano. The world now knows it exists, but not all of what Helix does there. My previous campaign had Manoa, the City of Gold and last outpost of Mu, hidden from aerial surveillance by its Chronal Barrier. But that situation was made to be unstable: the Chronal Barrier is a fraud, easily penetrated once people know it's there... only one of the frauds underlying Manoa.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

MCU Wakanda?

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2 hours ago, Echo3Niner said:

 

MCU Wakanda?

 

Actually that's a perfect example of DShomshak's point.

 

Originally it was just a country in central Africa with tight borders. Now, in the MCU, it needs high tech armies on all the borders with weapons designed to look primitive, another elite force of spies working worldwide, sci-fantasy cloaking fields covering all the cities from satellites and somewhat draconian laws to keep citizens from spilling the secret and restricting outside contact. 

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16 hours ago, Grailknight said:

Originally it was just a country in central Africa with tight borders. 

 

Better than that, the Vibranium boom didn't start until ten years before the Fantastic Four went there for the first time. Before that it was just another backwater.

 

The full high tech Disneyland effect didn't kick in until later.

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On 7/24/2021 at 5:12 PM, Lord Liaden said:

Along those lines, I appreciate the take by the writers of the current Superman and Lois TV series on Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Rather than build a giant crystal castle on the surface of the northern ice like in the Donner films and the Smallville series, Jor-El's tech opened tunnels and caves below the surface of Antarctica. From above it matches the contours of the surrounding landscape, and the entrance is only visible at ground level.

 

 

I always wondered about that because the original fortress from the comics was built into a mountain at the north pole. The only way you knew it was there was the giant key laying around outside. I think the door was only visible from the ground. 

CES   

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back in the 90s, I knew a guy in college who got in trouble for computer crimes. Well, the FBI showed up at his hearings and made him a deal, and he got off basically scott free in return for helping them catch other computer criminals. Back in 1995, the FBI's expertise on computer crime was embarrassing to the point of being anachronistic. I see a world with modern supers being much the same way; super criminals are so beyond conventional law enforcement that agencies will readily back almost anyone able and willing to take on the hero mantle. It would be much like the old gunfighter days, where the line between sheriff, bounty hunter, and murderer could be quite permeable.

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