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Saturday, October 10, 2020 

Inverse's list of whom they consider the best antiheroes

The Inverse website, run as it is by liberal millenial type reporters, published a list of 50 antiheroic characters from comics, films and video games they consider the best, and while there are some who can qualify as good choices, there's also others who just don't. And the following paragraph relating to TV shows honestly makes me cringe:
On TV, the age of the antihero really began when The Sopranos made mobbed-up murderers into the kind of folks viewers wanted to spend an hour with each week. But the comic book industry’s antihero wave rose even earlier, inspiring a similar “grim and gritty” approach in video games and comics-inspired movies. Modern superhero, science-fiction, and fantasy stories have their origins in the old pulp magazines and paperbacks, where crimefighters, soldiers, and cowboys didn’t always play nice. And these prickly protagonists — old and new — have become some of the most memorable in any genre.
Well if this is supposed to imply comics offered up the kind of "anti-heroes" the Sopranos were known for spotlighting long before, I find it distasteful. Mainly because of how, as time went by, villains became far more of a focus, with stories at times running the gauntlet of becoming sympathetic to them, and worse, their causes. Seriously, I wouldn't want to spend time in the company of crooks like the Kingpin and Justin Hammer. And, as the following examples from Inverse's list make clear, there's so-called anti-heroes I'd rather not either. For example, from Garth Ennis's The Boys:
Amazon’s TV adaptation of the violent, raunchy comic book series The Boys has drawn some overdue attention to writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson’s corrosive social satire, all about celebrity superheroes allowed by the government and public to do more or less whatever they want. Fighting against them: Billy Butcher, whose band of revolutionary vigilantes may not be morally superior to “the good guys,” but who are at least more honest about their sketchiness.
If the character lives up to his ghastly name, there's one we could honestly do without. (Of course, I'd already written about The Boys before, so the point is pretty moot.) And the following example from the now defunct Vertigo line is another we could also pass on, if only for other reasons:
In the ‘90s, DC Comics’ adult-oriented Vertigo line generated antiheroes en masse, as a cadre of hep British writers filled their books with chaotic eccentrics, navigating weird worlds of sinister supernatural shenanigans and techno-dystopian troubles. One of the oddest is writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan, anchored by Spider Jerusalem, an anti-authoritarian gonzo journalist — modeled on Hunter S. Thompson — who courts danger as he speaks truth to power.
Gee, I wonder why this counts, considering Ellis has, in the past few months, been accused of abusive behavior towards women, at least a few who might've been underage when he had affairs with them, certainly if they lived in the US? How come no mention of the slang "filthy assistant" and how it's possibly a figure of speech for "slutty"? It's certainly bound to take on a whole new meaning when viewed through the eyes of women worried about disrespectful attitudes, which this late 90s-early 2000s series might've influenced. Chances are by now that Transmetropolitan's lost some of Ellis' prior audience, and will be viewed very differently in the future, even by the far-leftists Ellis was courting back in the day. There is an argument that, no matter how hard you pander to an ideology as leftists like Ellis have done, they'll dump even that much in the scrapyard later on. The next example doesn't impress me either:
Writer James Robinson’s 1990s version of the Golden Age superhero Starman was a Gen-X hipster, nostalgic for the characters and adventures of his father’s generation. One of his closest confidants was the ageless rogue the Shade, a former Injustice Society villain who could kill people with shadows if he wanted to — but who, in the Starman comics, mostly drinks absinthe and feeds his friend’s appetite for anecdotes and arcana.
Forget it, this doesn't alleviate how overrated Robinson's unpleasant vision really was. If anything, it served as an early example of a writer getting rid of characters to suit his narrow vision going forward (or backward, if you prefer), as he did with David Knight, in order to replace him with Jack Knight. And at the end of the 1994-2000 series, which was intended to be finite not unlike Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, he got rid of original Starman Ted Knight in a final battle with the Mist. Based on the pretensions sadly lurking in much of the series, that's why I find their citation appalling. Robinson was also a precursor in some ways to Geoff Johns, whose employment of nostalgia was overrated, though not as noxious as the violence and other questionable content in much of his writings from the past 20 years. Maybe if they'd tried basing their choice of the Shade on previous iterations, I'd be more impressed, but alas, I can't be. And I'm not pleased at the next choice either, which is Lobo:
The version of the alien bounty hunter Lobo that became wildly popular in 1990s comics was intended as a lampoon of the kind of ultra-violent action heroes who dominated the industry at the time. But fans so enjoyed the carnage this motorbike-riding egomaniac brought to nearly any story that he quickly became a ubiquitous DC Comics guest star.
As I'd noted in the past, the whole notion a character established post-Crisis as guilty of annihilating much of his own race is sickening. If it was meant as some kind of nod to Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, whose Soviet regimes led to the deaths of many subjects (Lobo's planet in the 90s was called Czarnia, surely an allusion to Czarist Russia), that makes it all the more distasteful, and having read some of Lobo's 90s appearances some time ago, they haven't aged well viewed through the retconned lens. I particularly disliked the appearances he made in Gerard Jones' scripts, including one of Guy Gardner's solo books, which I wrote about earlier. Inverse also cites a manga:
In every version of the Japanese fantasy/thriller franchise Death Note, the main character Light Yagami is — to put it mildly — “problematic.” A smart and charismatic youngster, granted the power to exterminate anyone he deems unworthy with the help of a supernatural notebook, the kid re-fashions himself as a vigilante named “Kira” and finds that killing at will clouds his moral judgment.
I know this isn't USA stuff, but I'd say it's best not to overlook how frustrating and aggravating a vision like this can be. They also bring up Venom:
The freaky Spider-Man villain Venom is ostensibly an alien superhero costume with a mind and a mission of its own, realized by possessing various human hosts. Introduced in the mid-1980s, Venom proved too exciting to consign to a few story-arcs. The concept quickly spread to its own comic book series, and then to other media, making the idea of a morally slippery “dark Spider-Man” incredibly popular.
I don't think Eddie Brock ever killed many innocents in his early years (although he did asphyxiate a policeman to death in his first official appearance in 1988), and the villains he put to death were more notable (including those in a short-story from ASM Annual #25), so maybe this isn't as troubling, unless you ponder that here, they run the gauntlet of promoting a villain with a deadly record as though that's preferable to promoting the Punisher, although Frank Castle does come up on the list later on, which I'll get to ASAP. For now, here's something I just don't get, based on lack of story merit, if anything:
In the early 1980s, X-Men writer Chris Claremont introduced the idea of a dystopian future timeline, and by the end of the decade, deeply damaged mutants from that X-universe started journeying regularly into their past, trying to change it. One of the most enduring time-travelers was Cable, the son of original X-Man Scott Summers (sired with the clone of another original, Jean Grey). Cable’s complex plans sometimes look to his colleagues more like indiscriminate war-making than justice.
Honestly, Cable's solo adventures looked awfully pointless in retrospect, and if his goal was to prevent the dystopian future he'd grown up in from happening, even that became less clear as it went along. If he was depicted taking the risk of warmongering, that was no improvement. I also notice Dave Sim's Cerebus was cited:
Launched as a straight-faced parody of Conan the Barbarian — and later as a more outrageous spoof of grim ‘n’ gritty superheroes — the warrior aardvark Cerebus would eventually become a statesman, a pope, and a pawn in a never-ending struggle between the forces of dark and light. Throughout, cartoonist Dave Sim’s creation he maintained one unshakable principle: What’s in it for Cerebus?
Whatever's not in it for anybody with sanity, that's what. Sim's personality has long been suspect, and his attitudes towards women were dreadful, some even turning up in the comic itself. What makes this a great choice? On the other hand, as noted before, it's amazing to find the Punisher listed here, in one of the better choices (and pretty amazing a left-leaning site would consider him worth a pick):
Though the character debuted in a Spider-Man comic in 1974, the Punisher became a phenomenon in the late ‘80s, when his no-quarter-given approach to crime-fighting synched up with the tough talk of the Reagan era. Later takes on the character have restored some moral ambiguity to an antihero whose militancy makes him a fascinating case study in what we’re willing to accept in exchange for security.
Well at least here's something I can agree with them on. Then again, can I? If a guy who usually intends to terminate the most deserving of criminals is depicted as "morally ambiguous" that could make it difficult to appreciate this entry in their list. Most later takes post-2000 were bent on depicting Frank Castle as a lunatic, and I recall there was one time in the early 2000s when Garth Ennis depicted the Punisher going after George Bush Jr. while in a MAX title, Frank was unwilling to go after terrorists. In hindsight, the forced politics were stupefying. Frank was a fine creation, and it's regrettable he fell victim to political correctness much like every other corporate-owned character. Since we're on the subject of heroes who kill vile criminals, let's decidedly take a look at the last entry on this list, Wolverine:
There were rough-hewn, willing-to-kill heroes in comics before Wolverine joined the X-Men in 1975, but the arrival of that particular character (a charismatic loner with a working-class ethic and a poet’s soul) on that particular team (a colorful band of bickering misfits) at that particular time (when superheroes and superhero audiences were maturing) helped transform the genre. Forty-five years later, the creators of comics, movies, TV shows, and games are still seeking the next Wolverine.
And thanks to modern political correctness, they won't find them. See, there's something funny about putting 2 different characters in the MCU who have no qualms about slaying the most deserving criminals on the same list: on the one hand, the Punisher was looked upon negatively by liberals who disliked the idea of a hero who was willing to terminate evil scum like murderers and rapists with extreme prejudice, and Frank's own co-creator, Gerry Conway, won't stand behind him either. On the other hand, these same liberals gave Wolverine a pass in almost every instance, and Logan rarely ever got the kind of unkind viewpoint Frank received; you can be sure that had little to do with the time a few years back when Wolverine was sent to the afterlife (which the Punisher probably visited at least twice). I'd guess part of the difference in reception had to do with status and recognition. Wolverine was part of a larger franchise, the X-Men, his solo books notwithstanding, while the Punisher's were a whole separate one, and he rarely worked with a whole team of different heroes. And in the end, it's clear that any double-standards held to both these characters will continue for as long as Marvel is still around, though they probably won't be much longer with the way they're going about business now.

So that sums up a look at what a rather PC site like Inverse has to say about anti-heroes, not all of which are the greatest choices, and even those that are get hampered by un-altruistic positions.

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Wolverine was more of a sci-fantasy character, while Punisher was in a grim and gritty world that was meant to be more like the one we live in. So his murdering ways become more problematic. In his world, people are good or evil so you kill the evil guys. In our world, we don't have that perect knowledge so vigilante murder is more disturbing, not to mention a bad influence on kids. This is the kind of story that can help drive a Kyle Rittenhouse to do evil things believing he is helping his country.

"In our world, we don't have that perect knowledge"

I don't know about that: I think anyone who openly advocates murdering people on live television for politics (like Keith Olbermann did with his "maggot republican" statement, which directly led to an NBC employee murdering a peaceful protestor), not to mention openly advocating that, once in power, they reenact France's Reign of Terror and make it even MORE of a bloodbath (like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels did a long time ago) is very obviously evil, so even if we don't have absolute perfect knowledge, we'd at least know enough to form a baseline.

And for the record, Kyle committed self defense. It was those mobs who were committing evil (or maybe you've forgotten that one of the people he shot was carrying an illegal Glock with the clear intent of using it against him premeditatively).

You and God. If only it was that easy for the rest of us.

Keith Olberman as obviously evil? Trump says uglier things than that on the days when he is in one of his good moods. Compared to talk radio hosts, Olberman is positively innocuous.

Kyle's actions were confused; the real criminals are the ones who called out to a teenager to come from out of state armed to do what - protect brick and mortar? He was set up by people who appealed to his patriotism in order to create a situation on the ground that would lead to violence. But it will be up to a judge to assess his responsibility; it is not black and white. In the real world, there is a process set in place to get at the truth while protecting his rights. Kyle was a scared kid, not obviously evil; the other people in the crowd weren't obviously evil either. The evil was putting a gun in the hand of a minor with no training. Sometimes bad things happen because of stupid in the moment mistakes. We will find out more, hopefully.

Is the NBC employee you are talking about the Pinkerton security guard who shot a Patriot Muster guy who had slapped him and sprayed him with mace yesterday? Don't know what that has to do with Olberman, or why you don't give the armed guard the same benefit of the doubt you give Kyle.

At least Donald Trump didn't incite murder, while Olbermann actually did.

And last I checked, the guy who had that gun was very obviously evil: https://www.conservapedia.com/File:People%27s_Revolutionary_Movement.png

Also, the People's Revolutionary Movement is a Communist movement. In fact, the founder of Communism, Karl Marx, had these choice bits to say, and they obviously knew about them since they studied him:

"There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror."-Marx, Karl, “The Victory of the Counterrevolution in Vienna”, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, November 1848.
"Once we are at the helm, we shall be obliged to reenact the year 1793…"-Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, vol. vi pp 503–505, final issue of Neue Rheinische Zeitung, May 18, 1849. Quoted in Thomas G. West, Marx and Lenin, The Claremont Institute
"The vengeance of the people will break forth with such ferocity that not even the year 1793 enables us to envisage it."-Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, vol. vi pp 503–505, final issue of Neue Rheinische Zeitung, May 18, 1849. Quoted in Thomas G. West, Marx and Lenin, The Claremont Institute
"The classes and the races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way"-Marx, People's Paper, April 16, 1856
"They must ...perish in the Revolutionary Holocaust"– Karl Marx (Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 42, No. 1. 1981)

Yeah, last I checked, there's no way Marx can qualify by ANYONE'S definition of "good," especially after his openly advocating for making a gorier remake of the Reign of Terror, which amounted to the following quote from Louis Grignon: "My comrades, we enter the insurgent country, I give you the express order to deliver to the flames all that will be likely to be burned and to pass over the bayonet all that you meet of inhabitants on your way. I know there may be some patriots in this country; it is the same, we must sacrifice everything " To put it in terms you might understand: What Louis Grignon and Marx advocated for is basically what Joker implemented in his Injustice 2 ending.

As far the NBC employee, I'm referring to this guy: https://thepostmillennial.com/breaking-alleged-antifa-militant-shoots-and-kills-conservative-at-patriot-rally-in-denver

Yup. Same NBC security guard attacked by the same belligerent. See pictures of the incident.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8828259/Patriot-Muster-protester-slaps-TV-crews-security-guard-fires-mace-shot-dead.html

"And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Obviously evil.

Considering Jefferson supported the Jacobins as they were slaughtering Catholics and Protestants simply for even HAVING a religion at all, even when his first witnessing Bastille Day and its aftermath should have been a very big hint to even him that the French Revolution was absolutely NOTHING like the American War for Independence and if anything was extremely barbaric (gee, I don't remember hearing about the American Minutemen chopping the Redcoats to pieces without any trial, let alone a fair one and then parading their body parts down the street, do you? That description, BTW, was exactly what the French Revolutionaries did to the Bastille prison guards), yes, I'd label him as evil. Heck, even God would label him as evil. Besides, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and even George Washington clearly disagreed with Jefferson there, and even some of Jefferson's supporters, including Martin Short, disagreed with him by 1793.

Either way, even if we WERE to claim Jefferson merely had ignorance of what was truly going on (and considering he actually was in France when Bastille Day occurred, I doubt he was ignorant at all), Karl Marx most certainly knew exactly what he was doing when engineering that revolution, and wanted a sick, destructive revolution with no endgame other than death and destruction.

"Karl Marx most certainly knew exactly what he was doing when engineering that revolution, and wanted a sick, destructive revolution with no endgame other than death and destruction."

The French Revolution was in 1789. Karl Marx was born in 1818. No matter how precocious he was, I don't think he was able to engineer that particular revolution.

Jefferson "was in France when Bastille Day occurred"? Okay, Bastille Day is a holiday that occurs every year, I will grant you that, and it did not become a national holiday until Marx was 62, but the actual storming of the Bastille was in 1789.

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