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-   -   What is "Iconic" anyway? (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10859)

CapeandCowl September 18th, 2005 08:58 PM

What is "Iconic" anyway?
 
Heya;

I have a question: What does "Iconic" mean when it comes to the DCU anyway?

If you go to the Batman forum you will see many posters, like me, who dig All Star Batman and Robin. Just as many hate it.

Those who don't like it often say "well, this is not the iconic Batman". Some say the Adams/O
Neil Batman is "iconic" - you know, the power blue and grey suit. Others look farther back to Swartz and the days when Batman was a plucky adventurer. Others, I would guess would say its the Batman animated series, Adam West, or the Batman of the 1990s.

So what is iconic anyway?

I honeslty don't know what that is supposed to mean. If by Iconic DC means that something is distilled to its essential elements...well that is not particularly specific. What is "timeless" about Batman or Superman depends on who you are talking to.

Some readers, for example, will think that Clark Kent married to Lois Lane, and Lois being part of his life is as timeless as the big red S on his chest. Others won't.

My own view is that "iconic" is something of a buzzword, but it is actually pretty meaningless.

Sometimes I think the only think that is really 'iconic" are the costumes, and in the case of character like Batman is it more the pointed ears and batcape...it doesn't matter if the suit is blue & grey, black and grey or all black....

I don't know. A good writer will keep any character "in character" in a story. So basic stuff like Batman's parents being killed, the fact that he wears the suit, has gadets, doesn't kill, has Alfred and so on...those are his trappings - like Sherlock Holmes living at 221-b Baker Street. But honestly, are those iconic? If you change those elements you don't have Batman anymore. So they are more fundamental than iconic.

So I guess I am wondering what is iconic to you guys? is it just a marketing buzz word being used to DC doesn't have to called All Stars, "Ultimate"? Or is there something to it?

Can1 September 18th, 2005 09:09 PM

I think all you need to do is go back to the word 'icon'

What makes Batman and Robin ... Superman ... and Wonder Woman icons?

Its not what is happening now or what happened ten years ago or what will happen within 'continuity' ten years from now ... its the aspects of these characters that immediately come to mind when someone other than a comics fetishist see their images ... these are the 'iconic qualities' you seem to be asking about.

For me

Batman is Bruce Wayne ... orphaned as a small child after witnessing the murder of his parents ... Robin is his youthful ward Dick Grayson who's parents were also murdered ... together they have vowed to fight criminals and protect the innocent while serving the concept of justice.

Superman ... so easy really .. strange visitor from antoher planet with powers and abilities ... well you know where I am heading here

Wonder Woman ... representation of an ideal .. phyiscal and intellectual ... warrior and humanitarian ...

CapeandCowl September 18th, 2005 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Can1
I think all you need to do is go back to the word 'icon'

What makes Batman and Robin ... Superman ... and Wonder Woman icons?

Its not what is happening now or what happened ten years ago or what will happen within 'continuity' ten years from now ... its the aspects of these characters that immediately come to mind when someone other than a comics fetishist see their images ... these are the 'iconic qualities' you seem to be asking about.

For me

Batman is Bruce Wayne ... orphaned as a small child after witnessing the murder of his parents ... Robin is his youthful ward Dick Grayson who's parents were also murdered ... together they have vowed to fight criminals and protect the innocent while serving the concept of justice.

Superman ... so easy really .. strange visitor from antoher planet with powers and abilities ... well you know where I am heading here

Wonder Woman ... representation of an ideal .. phyiscal and intellectual ... warrior and humanitarian ...

I agree with you...however, when people say "All Star Batman and Robin" is not iconic, I don't get it...because by the kind of defination, that for example, you provide here, is it totally iconic.....but then MOST DC comics are.

R. Ekedal September 18th, 2005 09:17 PM

If you read the two page origin summaries that Paul Dini and Alex Ross came up with for their oversize series (Peace on Earth, War on Crime, etc.), that would give you a pretty good idea of the iconic basics of these characters. It's what comes immediately to mind when anyone hears the name of Superman or Batman. This may differ in detail from person to person, but certain basic concepts are shared. And they are embedded in our culture, hence the term - iconic.

CapeandCowl September 18th, 2005 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by R. Ekedal
If you read the two page origin summaries that Paul Dini and Alex Ross came up with for their oversize series (Peace on Earth, War on Crime, etc.), that would give you a pretty good idea of the iconic basics of these characters. It's what comes immediately to mind when anyone hears the name of Superman or Batman. This may differ in detail from person to person, but certain basic concepts are shared. And they are embedded in our culture, hence the term - iconic.


Again I agree. So what is something like "All Stars" anymore iconic than any other title?

Batman07 September 18th, 2005 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CapeandCowl
Again I agree. So what is something like "All Stars" anymore iconic than any other title?

Iconic is the undying nature of the character. It doesn't matter who's writing him, it's how the character will always be looked as. In 100 years, Batman will always be looked apon as a loner, but with a heart. Superman will be looked as a selfless defender from another world. Batman will never be remembered as a guy who calls people retards.

Can1 September 18th, 2005 09:32 PM

I don't see it as more iconic ... I see it as a title that can focus on the iconic qualities of the characters without continuity ... past, present or near future being an issue.

I don't see the All Star line as being better or purer ... just a stage better suited to focus on the iconic qualities of the characters

Jeffrey Neary September 18th, 2005 09:33 PM

The root of it is the symbolic representation that is perceived when viewing a particular image.

As Can1 detailed..when thinking of Superman or specifically..the S shield...Clark Kent and Strange Vistior from the planet Krypton comes to mind. But these representations are devoid of any true detail. It is the backbone or the light in which the character should be portrayed.



However...its use in MB forums is that of ones own view of a given character or symbol. But again, we are talking about basics here. The core of a given character or image or symbol. So I find it strange to refer to a specific story containing what is defined as a "iconic" character. I think that when people refer to the Iconic Batman..they are speaking of their preference but trying to impose it as the core standard in order to invalidate what they don't like..or validate what they do like.

avathar476 September 18th, 2005 09:44 PM

When you think of the word "ICON", it's what pops into your head when someone mentions a person, place or event. Like the Beatles are a symbol of everything 60's or that Supes' spitcurl along with the unerwear & the big red S is what defines the character to many.

Wilder Midnight2 September 18th, 2005 09:47 PM

"iconic" in regards to comic book characters is a word reserved for those select few characters that inspire, the ones the others are derived from, the ones who came first, the ones who have broken through into other aspects of our culture and the ones who give you the warm fuzzy fanboy o's when they're done right.

avathar476 September 18th, 2005 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wilder Midnight2
"iconic" in regards to comic book characters is a word reserved for those select few characters that inspire, the ones the others are derived from, the ones who came first, the ones who have broken through into other aspects of our culture and the ones who give you the warm fuzzy fanboy o's when they're done right.

Yup. That too. ;)

Wilder Midnight2 September 18th, 2005 10:05 PM

gotta love those fanboy o's...

mandoImissmst3k September 18th, 2005 10:47 PM

turns out, I'm iconic.

J-Liv September 18th, 2005 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Batman07
Iconic is the undying nature of the character. It doesn't matter who's writing him, it's how the character will always be looked as. In 100 years, Batman will always be looked apon as a loner, but with a heart. Superman will be looked as a selfless defender from another world. Batman will never be remembered as a guy who calls people retards.

I think that this is the one that really hits it in terms of Batman. The phrase, "with a heart", is what jumps out at me. A lot of Batman's "iconic" aspects, as the word is defined by most on this thread, are present in ASB&RTBW (god, that is a long abbreviation). But there is one very iconic aspect missing. Sure Batman is an anal, grouchy, loner. But, despite all that, he has always had a heart, and this version of the Bat simply does not, at least at this point.

-Jason

CapeandCowl September 18th, 2005 11:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonLives
I think that this is the one that really hits it in terms of Batman. The phrase, "with a heart", is what jumps out at me. A lot of Batman's "iconic" aspects, as the word is defined by most on this thread, are present in ASB&RTBW (god, that is a long abbreviation). But there is one very iconic aspect missing. Sure Batman is an anal, grouchy, loner. But, despite all that, he has always had a heart, and this version of the Bat simply does not, at least at this point.

-Jason

you don't think so...I think his whole re-evaluation of how he was approaching Dick at the end of the issue...along with this own doubts of even taking Dick with him, shows he has a HUGE heart.

J-Liv September 18th, 2005 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CapeandCowl
you don't think so...I think his whole re-evaluation of how he was approaching Dick at the end of the issue...along with this own doubts of even taking Dick with him, shows he has a HUGE heart.


Its just not quite enough. He had those thoughts, but he didn't even take a second to really think them over. If he really had a heart, he would have given Dick a choice, but he's just sort of dragging Dick into it. Maybe thats just splitting hairs, but the whole scenario just seems very un-Batman, from the standpoint of motivations and such.


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