I haven’t yet mentioned that I read the second installment of the Mr. Miracle comic series.
I have a whole list of the problems with it, but I’ll sum it up as being far lesser than the first one.
Of course, as I do, I had some deeper thoughts about it and also about why it bothered me so much. You see, by comic book standards of the seventies, most of it was passable; it wasn’t terrible if I compared it to the Superman of the fifties and sixties. However bad it could be, Barda and Scott could never be that campy and still be the same characters. But they weren’t the same.
I know that this bothers me more than some would say it should, and some hard core fans would be even more upset than me, but for my part, here’s why I get upset when this happens, and it happens a lot.
When a creative person underperforms, it bothers me because it seems like they didn’t know what they had. Often, I think that even when I like what they’re doing. Because it seems too good to be the work of some one who was not trying to be astounding, and often the source was not.
Check out the making of Frozen, for example. It was a long process and what they were trying to do at first ended up being the opposite of what they did.
I also think of the early Ever After High series, it seems like the show was just supposed to be for kids and yet the points is made were worthy of a lot of adult consideration.
Generally something like this gets ruined because of a new writer who just wants to use the franchise to make money. But sometimes the staff remains the same, and they just seem to lose touch with what made their show or series so great.
(Forgive me, but I think this happened with the Percy Jackson series when it switched to “Heroes of Olympus.”)
The problem is, once you get a devoted fan base, you always have an audience, even if you were to do the worst thing possible some of them would defend it. And believe me, as an aspiring writer, I think about how I would handle this problem.
There will always be those who don’t like anything you do that’s new, either. When Ever After High switched over to covering the opposing point of view in their rebel-royal conflict, a lot of people weren’t happy, including me. But I had to hand it to them that a couple times it came out well and deserved some appreciation.
I don’t think a little change is bad, writers and movie makers are always expanding their vision, or so we would hope, and they fill out their stories. They have the right to do that.
so, I would not have faulted Kirby for that, and some would say that is what he was doing.
But there was a very serious problem with how he ended the story. He let evil have the last say. It was sort of like how the Empire Strikes Back ends, (always my least favorite by the way,) but even worse. Because we know it’s not over for Luke and his friends, and we have hope, but the evil figure of this comic book steals the best moment of the whole story from the best people in it. It’s just so unfair to them, and they don’t seem to realize it.
I can’t go into it fully, but that is what I had a problem with. The beauty of Kirby’s creation of Mr. Miracle was in how good triumphs over evil against all odds, and even against our human weaknesses.
Together Scott and Barda are unstoppable. But only when they are being the best they can be. I’d say that’s true in real life. I hope all of us have met at least one couple who was like that, amazing separately, but together they became an inspiration.
That’s what made the whole thing work. I liked Scott okay by himself, and I like Barda by herself, but I didn’t really get into their stories until they were together.
And it wasn’t that that changed, it was how they were together. It just wasn’t the same. But worst of all was I felt like Darkseid showing up at the end made it his victory.
In fact, I really wonder if Kirby did it on purpose. But that’s a whole other discussion.
I guess the point I want to bring out of all this is that, fan base or no, your work will not be worthy of admiration if you lose touch with what made it special. It’s important to know what truth you want to show, and to listen to what your positive feed back is telling you; what people are getting out of your work, I mean.
I’ve been surprised by what people got out of my stuff sometimes, but once I saw it that way, I thought it was even better than what I planned.
Which is not to say you can never try anything different, I try different plots and usually I like the result, and my siblings are always trying new things with their creative pursuits, but you have to have a core.
Otherwise you might start to think it’s about you, and how great you are, instead of about what you give to other people through your creativity. Or your service, if that’s how you give.
I think I’ll end with this song which is about that very thing:
“A single voice is joined by multitudes in song, with every note they’re finding harmonies that rise to carry on, richer and richer the soil in which they thrive, higher and higher a hymn of what it means to be alive.
You’ve got to give a little more than you take, you’ve got to leave a little more than was here; you may be prideful of the strides you will make, but keep one things clear. You’re just a player in a much bigger plan, and still you have to give it all that you can, the very measure of your soul is at stake, you’ve got to give a little more than you take.”