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Monday, December 11, 2006 

A surprising revelation about Dazzler's history

I found a Wikipedia entry on Alison Blaire that featured the following data on Marvel's mutant singer:

Dazzler: 1981-1985

Dazzler proved a success, largely due to guest-starring several key Marvel Comics characters in its first few issues: Spider-Man, The Human Torch, Dr. Doom, Galactus, The Hulk, The X-Men, and Klaw were just a few of the several guest-stars who placed Dazzler squarely into the Marvel Universe. Dazzler herself also guest-starred in Marvel titles, such as X-Men, The Avengers, and the Marvel crossover, Contest of Champions.

The series, however, was not free from critique. Several readers disapproved of the "real life" focus of Dazzler, including the focus on "soft plots" -- career, family, relationships -- rather than action-based and more traditional superhero plot devices. Dazzler's "superhero" outfit was her performance outfit, which also serves as a major disconnect from the superhero staples of the day. Years later, DeFalco reflected on these criticisms as an inherent hypocrisy with the readership: on one hand, readers clamored for something "new," which was how Dazzler was conceived. Yet on the other, they wanted Dazzler to be a superheroine in the mold of Phoenix and conform to other superheroic stereotypes.
Thinking about this, if the material here makes sense (since anyone can write the entries, I always have reservations about Wiki) it makes me wonder if what readers wanted then was something more akin to...DC Comics? That would suggest that what they were more interested in was a simpler concept that didn't rely much on personality.

If that's the case from back in early 80s, it certainly does make me feel surprised. After all, personalities and personal problems were something that Marvel did master in one way or another, and if they could pull it off, then they should be lauded for it.

I'm not saying that personalities are that important when creating the characters, but, if they have been created with them and it works, then there's no need to complain about it.

To me, this also sounds a little like a reverse take on what mistakes DC's been making today, which is not that they're giving their characters personalities, but rather, that they're making their lives needlessly depressing, and so too their stories, without giving them any convincing developments. Personalities and human relations are always welcome, but that doesn't mean that what's required or what would work is darkness.

On another note about Dazzler, here's another something I find interesting from her profile:

Blaire moved to the Los Angeles area from New York City, and formed a romantic and professional relationship with Hollywood celebrity Roman Nekoboh. Nekoboh produced a motion picture (which was never released) featuring Blaire, and persuaded her to reveal publicly that she was a superhumanly powerful mutant. The revelation backfired, stirring up renewed public hostility against mutants. Blaire was virtually blacklisted in the entertainment industry, and had to take primarily low-paying obscure jobs in order to continue her singing career.
Today, one could easily wonder if that makes a good allegory to the anti-conservative sentiment in Hollywood, even though Alison would surely have to be a very apolitical person herself.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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