Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rambling about Crying in Comics

Be Warned, there are spoilers for the Sinestro Corps One Shot.

Because I'm not one for message boards often myself and would thus miss the fun, Ragnell tossed a link my way. I don't have the link anymore, unfortunately, but I can tell you what it was about and why it irked me.

This person was complaining about Sinestro Corps, which is perfectly understandable. (I loved it myself but different strokes and all...) But in it, he complained that Kyle Rayner was crying.

Because apparently, when you're broken down physically and emotionally, besieged on all sides, had a spirit of willpower yanked from your chest and was just told your mother was actually murdered because of her connection to you (a murder you might have been able to stop if you'd known in time), you're not actually allowed to shed some tears.

Okay, there are a few characters that I can understand being somewhat irritated by seeing them cry. Batman for example. If Batman's crying, something really fucked up is going on. I won't say I can't ever see it happening. But it's gotta be something huge. If it's not, I get irked. Guy Gardner's another one. Guy's not really likely to cry. Punch things, sure. Cry? Not so much. Maybe over Ice. Possibly when reconciling with the ghost of his abusive father. The writers really need to earn those tears damnit.

Kyle though. Kyle's a sensitive modern boy. He doesn't cry often, sure, but he's cried before. (For example, at Alexandra's grave.) For perfectly understandable reasons. He's not as much a machismo-laden basket case as say the two aforementioned hero-types and thus, while it's still incredibly rare that he'll need to cry (we ARE talking about superheroes after all), it's not unheard of. Kyle can and will cry when circumstances call for it.

There's nothing wrong with crying when it's a perfectly understandable and organic reaction to a situation.

I remember seeing an old episode of Earth Final Conflict, where one of the enemy alien race is explaining to the humans why his race split off from the "ally" alien race. And how it had initially started with a spiritual/philosophical difference. The ally race had decided become cerebral, giving up most of their emotions. As the alien race explains how his people simply couldn't and wouldn't do that, he's crying with absolutely no shame whatsoever. He's this gigantic warrior guy, with an attitude kind of similar to Star Trek's Klingons, and he's crying as he describes how his people would NOT relinquish their anger, sorrow, joy or passion, because that's who they were. And somehow, during the process, he seemed like even MORE of a flipping badass.

And well, hell, look at that preview for All Flash:

The fact that Wally is CRYING just raises the "oh shit" factor of this confrontation through the ROOF. I'm very, VERY happy to not be Inertia right at this moment. This is BAD.

There is one character I always have trouble with crying that has nothing to do with his characterization and that's Superman. I think it's perfectly in character for Clark Kent to be willing to cry. He's a mild-mannered, sensitive, open, nice sort of fellow. His parents aren't really the "suck it up" sort and he doesn't seem prone to ridiculous displays of machismo. I'm perfectly fine with Clark Kent crying.

But not when he's Superman. Not that I think Superman would be any less prone to crying than Clark, but the visual symbolism is all a bit much. If Clark's crying, it's because of something personal. Grief. Sorrow. Rage. Guilt. Whatever. If SUPERMAN's crying, it's because of something grand. It's not just a "big deal", it's a "there's something wrong with the WORLD" sort of deal.

It always seems very forced. Like a giant neon sign screaming "The Man of Steel is CRYING!!! This is BAD." I'm not saying it can't work in a specific sense, but in general, I really think it doesn't.

It's kind of like those old television commercials where people throw litter out their car window and it lands at the feet of a stately native american gentleman who sheds a single tear.

...I'm horrible, but I snickered at those commercials and the sparkly tear of emoness. It's just so over the top. And it's like that when Superman cries for me. It usually doesn't work.

Aside from that though, I don't necessarily think that there's anything wrong with crying as long as it's a relatively natural response to the circumstances. Like getting tortured and finding out your mother was murdered. And you had a giant space whale in your chest. Perfectly understandable reasons to cry.



  • At July 01, 2007 8:44 AM, Blogger Neil said…

    First of all, when Wally cries, he cries tears of lightning. That's Chuck Norris level bad-ass.

    Second, while I agree that Superman shouldn't cry, I think it's hard to say that Clark is allowed, but Superman isn't. It's not like Billy Batson/Captain Marvel, Superman isn't a different character (or at least the same character with the added voices of gods in his head).

    Storywise, you are absolutely right about only Clark crying. But, in execution, I think it would be hard to pull off and explain, why, in the same situation, Clark is able to turn to Superman and not cry.

  • At July 01, 2007 10:05 AM, Blogger Centurion said…

    Batman's cried before, in similar respect to Kyle, when Jason Todd was killed.

    I think it's silly to say when someone close to you is needlessly slain that you won't have a physical reaction to it.

    Kyle Rayner was crushed both physically and mentally. The least he will do is cry.

  • At July 01, 2007 10:43 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    It's a good thing the poster didn't notice Kyle also wet himself, eh?

    Sure, superheroes can cry. But it should only be done when it's earned, and never during a baseball game. You hear me, X-Men? There's no crying in baseball!

  • At July 01, 2007 12:59 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Superman annoys me because he seems to cry every time he sees a cute kitten, which is beginning to get annoying.

    I have no problem with Kyle shedding a few tears,poor baby, he's had a pretty rough day.

    What does annoy me is that a numbder of people seem to think that Kyle was beaten too easily. Considering what he went through, I'd like to know what these guys thing would be tougher!

  • At July 01, 2007 4:51 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Doctor Doom only cried when the twin towers were destroyed. (but that was actually a doombot)

  • At July 01, 2007 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was regret that he hadn't thought of it.

    "I go to all the trouble to build elaborate doomsday plots and the accursed Richards foils them. 11 total morons hijack a PLANE and kill thousands! Bah."

  • At July 01, 2007 11:18 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    The most powerful scene in the "I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League" story in JLA:Classified was when the group loses Ice again at the end of part 4, with the final page of Guy and Fire crying uncontrollably and comforting each other. Maguire was on top of his game with that page. Because he cries so infrequently, the impact hits like a freight train.

    That's the effect DC Editorial THINK they're getting when they show Supes crying (which is still relatively seldom) after the big event, but because they've gone to the well too frequently with that, it loses its impact.

  • At July 02, 2007 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There's no crying in super heroing!

    (what, noone else thought of that Tom Hanks line from a League of Their Own? "There's no cryingin Baseball!").

  • At July 03, 2007 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I die like a hero! Weeping!"

    - Plastic Man

  • At December 03, 2011 6:23 AM, Anonymous said…

    The guy is absolutely fair, and there is no suspicion.

  • At June 01, 2012 1:47 PM, Anonymous sports handicapping services said…

    actually not quite to my taste but this entertaining


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