Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Doc Savage and the Winter Soldier

What a crazy five years or so it has been for Bucky Barnes.  He went from being one of the few Marvel Characters to stay dead, to being found alive as The Winter Soldier.  Shortly after, Captain America was killed off and he assumed the title.  When Cap returned (he got better), Bucky was killed again at the climax of a line-wide event (he got better, too).  Now he is in his own self-titled series and his saga will be the basis for the next Captain America film, which just began shooting.  Not bad for a character that was pushing daisies just a few years back!


Anonymous said...

This is the Best. The definition of Art.

Bob Greenwade said...

This is yet another great cover.

Still, Bucky Barnes is one comics character that I think, purely from an artistic standpoint, should have stayed dead.

Philosophically, I'd prefer that any character who dies should stay dead; resurrections should be a rare event, regardless of what character is involved. That includes Steve Rogers and even Clark Kent.

Even under the established tradition of superhero characters not staying dead, Bucky Barnes and Barry Allen should have been the exceptions. Both had very good reasons for dying, and for staying that way.

Which brings me to my point: how about a cover featuring those two, being chased by some force that wants to return them to their deceased status? It could be Black Racer, Access, Thanos, or any of many other possibilities, but I think it would be a hit.

Ross said...

That's a cool concept!

Mark said...

I could see different Death avatars coming after each of the "should be dead" characters. Cool idea.

Storywise said...

Doc Savage is one of those odd pulp story concepts that although has survived and has been rebooted for ages, has never seemed to connect to a larger audience, unlike The Shadow, The Lone Ranger, or the Phantom, etc. I think its because his origin just never made any sense. No mention of his mother or maternal female figure, he was "raised" by this adventurer father, and a team scientists in a laboratory to be the "perfect" man. Unlike Batman, no angst or raison d'ĂȘtre, unlike Superman, no fish out of water pathos. Doc Savage just "is". And I'm afraid that was never good enough for most fans of fiction. So his comics were always short-lived, and his movies b-list busts.

pblfsda said...

And yet Doc Savage's pulp novels were numerous and went in and out of print for decades. Whatever the appeal was, it was probably keyed to generational differences. There was a time when science fiction prose magazines were numerous and many people expected that technology, if applied properly, would eventually solve all our problems. Doc Savage, the scientist-athlete-anthropologist, probably appealed to an aging adolescent audience who were growing wary of the gratuitous racism and unintentional homoeroticism of Tom Swift novels. The next generation, raised on Superman and Frankenstein movies, expected scientists to be the villains. The next time things cycled through and scientists became heroes again, they were astronauts. Foreign lands here on Earth were no longer places to explore, but places where wars took place. Tarzan still fought poachers and the Shadow still fought gangsters but Doc Savage could only continue as a period piece, when test tubes and pre-Enigma Machine cryptography could be thought of as cutting edge.

Having no maternal figure never hurt Jonny Quest's ratings (or the Hardy Boys' sales), but not having a clear cut motivation or emotional connection became a bigger problem when audiences stopped presuming what they were or reading their own aspirations into him. That may be why his stand-in was the only pulp-era character to survive into the modern age in the first arc of "Planetary"-- he was enough of a blank slate that the modern characters could trust him to be objective as the only living witness to the event that killed his peers.

SmearySoapboxPress said...

"World War Thirteen!" is a totally awesome title! I love the Doc Savage pulps for what they are, but his "period piece" comics always come off as flat to me. I did enjoy the Denny O'Neil/Mike W. Barr series from the late 1980s that brought him into the present, teaming him and his aging assistants from the pulps with a new team of younger assistants.

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