About Kingdom Come

Discussion in 'DC Comics' started by El Bastardo, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    Okay, DC peoples. I need a bit of help from any of you familiar with the book the thread's title.

    I'm taking a course titled The Graphic Novel this semester. The agreement was for the class to choose, through vote, a fourth book, and for we students to make suggestions. Because we're studying comics as a medium, and had not yet looked at a superhero book, and because the superhero genre accounts for about 90% of the medium, I suggested a superhero book. After speaking at length with my comic store owner, he said I should probably suggest Kingdom Come, due to its standing alone and out of continuity as an Elseworlds title (the people in my class, for the most part, have no superhero experience), its price, and said that it was some of Mark Waid's finest writing. I figured, okay. I read Waid in Top Cow's Hunter-Killer.

    I pitched the idea, the class voted, and Kingdom Come won.

    Of course, the people who hadn't voted for the book don't like it. More accurately, they probably don't let themselves like it. "They're superheroes... I mean... how can you even take it seriously? I can't read this." <-- Sample line from class discussion, hurrah.

    Here's my problem: most of the class seems so happy to point out a few lines of dialogue here or there, comment on how corny, campy, melodramatic, etc. they are, and from there move to condemn all of the writing in the book as corny, campy, and melodramatic. And, you know, hey, certainly some of the dialogue is, but not all of it. Or that it's simplistic and doesn't match the plot. I don't know if they were expecting some human crime drama, or a book modeled after Seinfeld, or something... but, c'mon. They're superheroes, it's a superhero book - the text is going to be more fantastic than realistic. Apparently only I get that.

    So, I ask any and all of you for help and suggestions in defending the book in class (or at least to make me feel better, and not like a loser for liking it @[email protected]), for I am pretty much at a loss.
     
  2. Elijya Registered

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    You shoulda gone with Marvels, IMO. It woulda worked much better on a skeptical crowd, since it's superheroes viewed from a human perspective

    If you wanna make the case for it, just use the mythology analogy. Superhero Comics are the modern day descendents of Hercules, Achilles, St. George, Beowolf, Paul Bunyon, etc.. DC characters, in particular, are Iconic, they stand for a greater ideal. Marvel characters are the ones you relate to, DC characters are the ones you look up to.

    Superheroes are a metaphor for all that can be good inside us. Most fiction, particularly science fiction, uses extreme metaphor to put our own lives into perspective. In this case, the extended metaphor is men who can fly and lift buildings. But they still have to stand for something.
     
  3. Elijya Registered

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    Out of curiosity, what other books are you reading? Some Eisner and Spiegelman, I trust?
     
  4. Elijya Registered

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    Pose a question to the class: If you had super powers, let's say Superman's set, what you do with them, really? Get rich? Live a life of luxury? Work for the government and the military? Help humanity? Conquer humanity? What would you really do if you had them? Now consider that, and consider what you see Superman doing. Sacrificing day after day, never stopping, never giving up hope and faith in humanity, never making the easy but wrong decisions instead of the hard but right ones (you also shoulda considered Superman: Peace on Earth). Why does he do it? Why would you do/not do it if you had the same abilities?

    Saying "I can't relate to people with superpowers" is rubish, because they're all still human. Behind their masks and powers, they face the same decisions you would have to face if you had their powers. They're not different where it counts
     
  5. LibrarianThorne Registered

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    There are better superhero stories than Kingdom Come, for people new to the medium. For a skeptical crowd, I'd have thrown Watchmen at them. People see Watchmen as much more mature, and it really is a book that says "Think superheroes are campy and melodramatic? Think again!"

    As to your class, bring up myths. Something like, "I bet many scholars at the time thought the Odyssey was campy, fantastic, and unrealistic. What about those trials of Hercules, huh? Battle of Troy? And hey, Alexander the Great is SO unrealistic. I mean, conquering the world? What's up with that?"

    Lex Luthor is Alexander the Great. Superman is Hercules. Batman is Odysseus. Martian Manhunter is Jason of Argo (a reference to the JLA being the Argonauts).

    Superheroes are our myths and legends. Just as we still know and talk about Hercules, so will our descendants and future people talk about Superman, the 20th century's greatest myth.

    If you really want to spark debate, give them something unexpected. Critique the Odyssey as a superhero work. It's so fantastic and unbelievable, that's what it is, right? You can't hop on a boat and fight giants and go to hell, can you? So of course it's a superhero story.

    Because, and this is pretty much the point of the superhero, that one man's myth is another man's superhero. You might need to switch around a lion pelt for a red cape with an 'S' on the back, though.

    Edit: My room mate (an English major and comic nerd about on par with me) said that if you want them to respect the work, you have to get them to like it. Ask them what's bad about the plot, or the characters, and if they like the plot or the characters then really you can go from there.
     
  6. ToddIsDead Registered

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    I wouldn't have picked Kingdom Come, eventhough it's probably my favorite book, but I think it's better for people to atleast know a bit about the characters before they go into this huge epic that is mostly about various character conflicts.

    But remember, Kingdom Com is very biblical, and it's roots are deeply grounded in ancient mythology. Use some of that.

    P.S. They all suck. Kingdom come rocks.

    Kingdom Come > The majority of your class :p
     
  7. Binker Registered

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    What school/college are you taking? And how can I join that school/college to take that course?
     
  8. ToddIsDead Registered

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    I'd like to know too.
     
  9. Elijya Registered

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    a number of colleges and universities offer courses centering on Graphic Novels
     
  10. ToddIsDead Registered

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    I didn't know that. I'm only a Sophmore in High School, so I haven't looked into many colleges.
     
  11. Elijya Registered

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    I know 100 Bullets has been taught in classes about crime literature alongside works by Mamet, Chandler, and Hammett
     
  12. Elijya Registered

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    If you want to go to a school JUST BECAUSE they have courses for comics, learn to draw and apply at the Joe Kubert School
     
  13. ToddIsDead Registered

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    I had actually looked into the Joe Kubert school. I've been trying to tighten my art up for a while. But I might look into film school too.
     
  14. Binker Registered

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    I....'am.....really.....screwed.

    My dreams are all gone...I now I can't get it back.
     
  15. Motown Marvel Crimson and Clover

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    if they're getting pissed about a few pieces of dialogue and ignoring the story as a whole because of it...then they're just being ignorant, prejudiced, and stubborn...and you should tell them that. hell, citizen kane and casablanca are phenominal films, but i can certainly point out dialogue that leaves something to be desired.
     
  16. Lackey Registered

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    Exactly what was I gonna point out... the most obvious metaphor of Kingdom Come, the return of the messiah to save the world. :up:
     
  17. ToddIsDead Registered

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  18. gregtestagent humblevaudvillianveteran

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    Kingdome Come is for fans who are little more than "familiar" with most or all of the characters. It was great for me because I have been following most of these characters and I already knew what they were about and how they would act. Peeps who don't know about Flash or Captian Marvel, wouldn't know how to relate and adapt to them. Besides, there are few, if any, main characters in the story, and people hate that in a story.
     
  19. ToddIsDead Registered

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    Like Elijya said, Marvels might have been a better book. You wouldn't neccessarily need to know who all of the characters are. Even something like Batman Year One or Arkham Asylum would be good. If you really wanted to knock them out, Watchmen.
     
  20. twylight One And Only

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    What college are you going to?
     
  21. drastic_quench Registered

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    Aw, man. Kingdom Come was a bad choice for the uninitiated. It's hardly a book with stand-alone continuity because it's one big game of "Whose that guy?".

    Watchmen would've been cool because you don't know who any of these people are. The Charlton references aren't necessary to the story.

    DKR - You tell 'em: Bruce is Bats, Gordon's the Comish, Dick was the Robin you all think of when you hear Robin. Jason's the dead one. Alfred's the butler. Harvery's Two Face. Joker's Joker. You're good to go.

    Even more so than Marvles, Astro-City: Life in the Big City would have been an inspired choice.
     
  22. El Bastardo Literary elitist

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    Egads. So many responses. Thanks, guys. =D <3

    As for the college: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Local to where I go, so it's cheap for me... I'm just trying to make the best of what I'm stuck with. >_<

    And yes, the students are, for the most part, prejudiced, ignorant, and idiots. For the most part, the ones that are whining are the ones who didn't vote for it, in favor of "literature" like Maus (which they've read before in another class with the same professor) or Stuck Rubber Baby. Because certainly superhero comics cannot be counted as "literature." :rolleyes:

    And... I dunno about Kingdom Come being such an awful choice for a title. I've barely read any DC, and have only a passing familiarity with characters... and, really, the three characters at the helm of Kingdom Come are Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, then with Luthor and Captain Marvel. The readers don't really have to know every bit of information about every character, or even the major characters, to read the book. I know I haven't. =/ And there is a little section of bonus materials in the back that details the major characters, so... *shrugs*

    That said, my comic guy said this is probably one of his favorite and top 10 trades. And it also stands alone, which was a big plus. I don't think I've noticed any references to detailed past events that stand outside of the book, and as for character interactions, well, I'd say it's fairly easy to pick out the enmity between Superman and Batman, for instance.

    I don't think the choice of text is so much a problem as is the unwillingness displayed on the part of my dearest classmates. And yes, Kingdom Come > the majority of my classmates. :D

    And Elijya - our other three texts were Peter Kuper's graphic novel adaptation of Franz Kafka's short story "The Metamorphosis," Mr. Punch by Gaiman and McKean, and In the Shadow of No Towers by Spiegelman.

    All that aside... Thanks a TON, guys, for the idea to use mythological references. I had seriously not considered it, although I had thought of something like it. Instead, I used Shakespeare. Yeah, I'm an English major.
    I made the loose comparison of Kingdom Come to Hamlet (or, really, any of Shakespeare's works). They're both written works - the reader opens to the first page and rides the story to its ending point. Do comic readers (or those with any familiarity with DC heroes) get a little more out of Kingdom Come than the uninitiated? Yes, they do. Then again, someone who knows European History gets a little more out of Shakespeare's plays. Does lacking either background destroy the ability to read, absorb, and understand the text in question? No.

    Said reasoning was, of course, lost on the louts. Big surprise?

    I shall certainly try with the mythology idea - but the cynic in me thinks they'll say myths and legends are silly and stupid too.

    Thanks again, guys. Feel free to keep posting anymore comments or questions, or send a PM my way.
     
  23. batnkevlar Registered

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    Kingdom Come is a good one, and even Ultimates Volume One, I mean, they'll oogle at the art... but for literature, Kingdom Come and Marvels are good choices...
     
  24. LibrarianThorne Registered

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    If they say myths and legends are silly, perhaps you could regale them with how myths and legends inspired the Nazi movement. Or the Christian faith (Samson, anyone?). Maybe ask them why it's the myths of ancient Greece, and not the overtly serious works, that have the greatest impact on the modern day world.

    I'd really hope your professor would laugh at the people that sayid myths were silly and stupid, though. Any English major worth his or her salt will recognize the importance and value of a myth.
     
  25. Lackey Registered

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    I'm curious to know what your teacher thought of the choice and if your teacher had read it before... what's your teacher's background?
     

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