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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Bananas

I was thinking about the supporting casts in superhero books and how quickly they tend to rotate in and out of the main character's life. (Especially with changes in venues or creative teams.)

I know for me, a character I always wanted to see more of, was little Terry from Green Lantern. Mostly because as he was, he seemed to be only used as Judd Winick's 'Give me an award, plz!' character. The gay-bashing story was very heavy handed, turning a very complicated issue into black and white, and didn't even really give Kyle a chance to explore his anger and the aftereffects thereof.

But I did really like Terry, himself, in those rare occasions when he was allowed more characterization than just 'the gay assistant!!!' I even enjoyed the story where he initially came out and his crush on Kyle was made apparent. It was nice to have an enthusiastic younger character that Kyle could mentor.

In a way, he reminds me of Damon from Manhunter. In the sense that both are younger, gay, somewhat innocent/inexperienced professional colleagues of straight superheroes. Of course, Damon's handled very differently (and better, in my opinion) than Terry ever was. But I look at Damon and I think a bit on how interesting Terry could have been.

I also miss Radu. Because Radu is awesome. And sticking with Green Lanterns, I really really want to know what happened to Guy's incredibly terrifying mother.

What about you? What minor/supporting characters would you like to see again?


  • At April 25, 2007 9:29 AM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    Booster Gold's secretary Trixie from his '80s series. She was nice. She had moxie, too; she even put on the Goldstar suit once to help Booster out of a jam.

    Also: why hasn't Peachy Pet Thunder been more of a recurring supporting character in JSA? I read somewhere that she became some kind of ice cream executive or something, but that's okay; there's room for her to drop in for a visit every now and then.

  • At April 25, 2007 9:52 AM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    I wish they'd bring back Wonder Woman's supporting cast from Greg Rucka's run. He worked so hard to surround her with interesting characters, and then they were all gone in a matter of months.

    Also Steve Trevor. He hasn't gotten nearly as much recognition as he deserves over the last 20 years.

  • At April 25, 2007 10:15 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Mason Trollbridge and the rest of the crew from William Messner-Loebs's run on the Flash in the late 80s/early 90s. Every now and then, one of them pops up (usually Chunk or Tina McGee), but I'd like to see more of them.

    I'd also like to see that detective Wonder Woman used to hang around with when she worked at Taco Whiz.

    And Dr. Jennete Klyburn! She made science sexy without ever trying. Redheads in lab coats... sigh...

  • At April 25, 2007 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1. Paul Jenkins supporting cast from Peter Parker: Spider-Man. Especially Kevin the Cheese who lived in Peter's fridge.

    2. Connor Hawke's supporting cast from the Chuck Dixon era of Green Arrow. Because even as Chuck Dixon's mouthpiece and a stereotypical naive martial arts master, Eddie Fyers and Master Jansen are about ten times more interesting than the current Green Arrow supporting cast of Fred "Black" Tuckman and John "I'm Black AND Jewish" Smalls.

  • At April 25, 2007 11:00 AM, Blogger Flidget Jerome said…

    I'd really like to see Jason Bard return to the Batbooks. Robinson made a really nice case for him as part of the regular supporting cast.

  • At April 25, 2007 11:13 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I miss all the supporting characters from Warriors. Buck Wargo, Rita, Desmond, and Verona were great, well-written and fleshed out people. And they were funny too, dammit!

    You know why Sinestro went after Maura Rayner instead of Peggy Louise Gardner? Because even Sinestro is afraid of Guy's Mom! Incidentally, Guy is supposed to be confronted by his "greatest fear" when he runs off to Mogo in the next issue of GLC. My guess is that it is his Mother moving back in with him.


  • At April 25, 2007 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rob S,
    Really? The Messner-Loebs' Flash cast? I was ecstatic when most of those guys (with the exception of Linda and Piper, who were nice to have around) pretty much dropped off the face of the earth…especially Wally’s horrible parents.

    I would, however, love to see the triumphant return of the equally bad, if not worse, mother Gardner.

  • At April 25, 2007 12:27 PM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Yep, I'm totally serious.

    I wouldn't need to see them take over the series (as they sometimes seemed to) -- I'd just like to see them show up every now and then.

    Although I agree -- I'd be perfectly happy to steer clear of Wally's folks.

  • At April 25, 2007 1:42 PM, Blogger Jason said…

    I think this is why Gotham Central was my favorite series, the book was about a supporting cast. Every arc would focus in on another team of partners. Along with that, they managed to "out" Renee Montoya in a natural way and play her homsexuality as a real thing, not just as something to hang a story arc on.

    Also, the supporting cast from Robinson's Starman, with them in the picture, you didn't even need Jack around. I wish that Robinson would check in on them again soon.

    (Oh yeah, ditto on the Jason Bard thing, I assumed that he would be a regular back-up in Detective after Robinson's run.)

  • At April 26, 2007 12:19 AM, Blogger Chris Sims said…

    Not. Terry. Long.

  • At April 26, 2007 1:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I concur with the desire to see a return of Wally's supporting cast. Even his mom after she stopped being quite such a bitch.

    As for Terry, I have to admit that I liked him as well. Especially in the beginning when he seemed more like a person and less like a device. The problem in my opinion is that a better writer could have revealed that Terry was gay and kept the narrative flow going, instead of making the whole thing feel like a "Very Special Episode".



    (Where's the love? It's at Geek Love.)

  • At April 26, 2007 1:30 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    From DC? No one. I don't want to see any more characters I enjoyed fed to the Johns/Meltzer/Didio/etc meatgrinder. Same reason I don't want any of the unused Young Justice people coming back...

  • At April 26, 2007 1:54 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Lurker -- You do realize that if no one ever uses them they are actually more likely to be offed gruesomely in a major crossover and replaced by a new character?

  • At April 26, 2007 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    kalinara, how is a "gay-bashing" a complicated issue?

  • At April 26, 2007 12:25 PM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Having not read the GL issues that dealt with gay-bashing, I'll walk into this potential minefield.

    Gay-bashing is wrong. Completely, absolutely wrong. And in a story, the writer can show us the perpetrator's motivations, without a shred of doubt.

    However, in real life, all we have to judge motivation by is the action itself. Person A assaults Person B, who is gay. The fact of the victim's sexuality might have motivated the assault, or it might not have. There could be other evidence that would point to that -- homophobic statements the perp made during the assualt, for instance. But in real life, motivation will [i]almost always[/i] be murky. Even when there isn't room for reasonable doubt on the fact of the crime (assault), there often will be for the motivation (in this case, homophobia).

    Classifying certain crimes as "hate crimes" has its uses: it can draw attention to a societal problem, and it might shed light on the nature of a particular crime. But when it comes down to the courts, some people feel that the evidence is often too murky to prosecute a person because of how they might have felt when they were committing a crime; others feel like the crime itself should be the only consideration, regardless of the victim. Others think that because of the pervasiveness of bad sentiment toward members of certain groups, crimes against those groups motivated by anti-X sentiment should be punished more severely in order to discourage crimes of that nature. It's not that "gay-bashing" is complicated -- it's the "hate crime" issues surrounding it that gets complex and divisive.

    In a story, though, we can know exactly why someone does what he does (if the author tells us). In real life, it's not that simple. That might be what Kalinara was getting at.

  • At April 26, 2007 3:56 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thanks Rob!

    I essentially think that gay bashing is a complicated issue in the same way that I think rape is a complicated issue. Real people suffer these acts, real people commit these acts, and thus, while I'm not against them being in comics I read, I think that it is VERY easy to screw up this sort of thing.

    In this case, the story was proported to explore Kyle losing it after his friend is attacked and goes too far. However, gay bashing, like rape, is a crime that is so visceral and sympathetic I think, that there's no way the bad guys can be anything but evil. Kyle might go nuts on the bad guy, but there really isn't any real exploration of that there. He went nuts on someone who deserved it, no one died, no long term issue.

    Not to mention that Terry's own recovery was given maybe a panel.

    In the story, also, it was very black and white. All of the good guy characters were very accepting of homosexuality without the slightest hint of discomfort. (I'm not saying I want my heroes to be homophobes mind you, ideally, heroes should accept everyone. However, when you have ALAN SCOTT at complete ease in a gay bar, you've gone a bit too far). Kyle and Jade are expected to be very accepting and liberal and that's in character, but the narrative went out of its way to establish EVERYONE as comfortable with it. Except the bad guys.

    I don't know, really, I think it could have been a really good story, but in the end, the storyline was far too simplistic for the issue at hand, IMO.

  • At April 29, 2007 10:39 AM, Blogger Neil said…

    Throw in another vote for Guy's supporting cast from his Warrior's days. Or better yet, give us a Buck Wargo and the Monster Hunters mini-series.

    I've also always had a soft-spot for Jose "Gangbuster" Delgado. There was just something about his war on crime, without the resources or training that Batman had, that was appealing.

    With Gangbuster and Guardian, you had some really nice counterpoints to Superman. Regular guys (well Gangbuster, I guess Guardian is technically a clone) who took on the stuff in Metropolis Superman couldn't (usually because he was dealing with larger foes, but still, you get my point).


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