A Comic Who Comments on Comics

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to explore the psychology and personalities of some of the most famous and most popular characters from comics and pop-culture. Although I am very excited to begin, I feel I should take this opportunity to introduce myself.

My name is Benjamin Emley. I am a Communications-Advertising student at BYU-Idaho, though I’m originally from Orange County, California. Here in Idaho, I perform with a BYU-I campus comedy group (hence the name of this blog post). I’m an avid fan of Marvel Comics and, to a lesser extent, DC, and I am absolutely thrilled that superhero blockbusters are currently the popular trend. To help you get to know me even better and to give you a little taste of what’s to come in later posts, let me tell you about a couple of my favorite characters.

My Favorite Superheroine

Just recently, I was with a small group of friends, asking each other about our favorite superheroes. I was surprised to find that each of our favorites, even those of the women present, was a male hero. Though they have been, admittedly, a bit underrepresented in the cinematic universes thus far, there is a wealth of strong and inspiring female characters written in the pages of comics and graphic novels; So I posed a new question to the group: Who is your favorite superheroine? Most of the answers were somewhat typical– Supergirl, Catwoman, Black Widow– and mostly for the simple reason that these are the only characters they have been exposed to. These are the most recognizable ones. My choice was also a recognizable character who has been portrayed in movies, but there are deeper reasons she is my favorite.

Marvel Civil War #4

Susan Storm, or “The Invisible Woman,” is a member of the Marvel team, The Fantastic Four. She has been portrayed in film four times: Once in a forgotten 1994 movie so bad it wasn’t ever released, twice by Jessica Alba, and once more in a horrendous performance by Kate Mara in the recent flop reboot. Suffice it to say, I’m not a great fan of the way she’s been played on-screen (Jessica Alba got the closest, but that’s not saying much).

So what is it that makes this character so great, and why have her portrayals been so bad? Susan Storm is arguably the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. She could easily overpower any of her teammates, and even take down some of the strongest characters in the Marvel universe. Yet, despite her enormous potential, her most defining characteristic is easily her empathy. Sue is one of the most empathetic characters in all of comics. She can relate to just about anyone, including her genius, socially inept husband Reed, the king of Atlantis, and the god of thunder. She could use her power and her will to stand toe-to-toe with just about anyone, but she chooses instead to talk through the conflict whenever possible, resolving issues peacefully rather than violently.

(This is one of the reasons Kate Mara’s performance was so terrible. She played Sue as this work-focused, antisocial loner who valued independence over love and friendship.)

Check out ScreenRant’s list on how to make a great Fantastic Four movie. Susan has her own section in #4.

http://screenrant.com/ways-to-make-great-fantastic-four-movie/

(ScreenRant is a website devoted to movies, TV, and all things geeky. ScreenRant writers publish news stories, opinions, and reviews, all devoted to films, comics, and series.)

My Favorite Hero

My favorite Hero of all is a bit of a simpler choice. He’s not one whose comics I’ve read more than any other, nor is he the most popular or most prolific in the cinematic universes. Rather, I chose this character because I relate to him on a deeper level than I do other heroes. My favorite superhero is…

Kelsey Grammer as Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand

… X-Men’s Beast.

At first glance, Hank Mccoy is an imposing figure. At face value, he is a terrifying blue lion man, ready to beat you into submission or eat your face off. However, underneath Beast’s exterior is a genius mind and a gentle heart. Those who know me in person know that I, too, am a very large, imposing person, leading many to assume I might be rough and mean. Even worse than that prejudice is the one held by those who judge my appearance and assume I’ve got an enormous head with nothing inside it. Sometimes I’m reminded of the quote from the first “Shrek” film, when Shrek tells Donkey “People take one look at me and go ‘Aargh! Help! Run! A big stupid ugly ogre!’ They judge me before they even know me.” I often feel the same sentiment. I may be large in stature, but my mind is greater, and my heart is even bigger than that. That is why Beast is my favorite hero of all.

 

Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, I look forward to these next couple of months, discussing and analyzing some of my favorite characters and dynamics from pop-culture. Thanks for reading. Farewell.

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