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I really shouldn't be bothered by these things.  I haven't bought and read comic books in years.  Once a fanboy, always a fanboy, I guess; and when I read about comics companies revamping characters I've known and loved, even if they're obscure third-stringers -- heck, especially if they're obscure third-stringers -- it bugs me.

The latest one, however, is kind of amusing.  But it will require a bit of explananation, perhaps, for you to understand exactly what DC Comics has done to LOBO, THE LAST CZARNIAN

Proceed beyond the jump, if you dare.

About a year or two back, DC Comics rebooted it's whole universe.  It's something that happens every other decade or so and something fans have come to accept as part of the Circle of Life.  DC has used the reboot as an excuse to make changes in a lot of its characters; in some cases updating them, in some cases finding new takes for them.  This isn't new either; back in the late 1950s, editor Julie Schwartz ushered in the Silver Age of Comics by revamping Golden Age characters like the Green Lantern and the Flash, bringing them up-to-date and finding new approaches for them.

Some of the changes in "The New 52", as DC calls it's new line-up, have been decent.  From all reports, the new Aquaman is pretty good.  Some are controversial, but make some sense from a narrative point of view, such as undoing Barbara Gordon's paralysis and having her be Batgirl again, or having Superman start dating Wonder Woman.  

Some I find really annoying, such as changing the Steve Ditko character The Creeper from a wacky guy in a costume into an actual demon  Yeah, the Creeper's pretty obscure, but I've always liked him and I think making him a demon is actually less interesting than what he was.

Worse than that is what they did to Amanda Waller, the tough administrator of the Suicide Squad, a government task-force that recruits super-villains for covert missions.  She was originally a short, stocky middle-aged woman who looked tough enough to wrestle Granny Goodness two falls out of three.  One early issue of SUICIDE SQUAD showed her facing down Batman.  Yes, the Batman.  Now, she's been transformed into a slim, leggy super-model.

But I was talking about Lobo.

Lobo (whose name in an obscure alien dialect means "He-who-devours-your-entrails-and-enjoys-it-thoroughly") first appeared as a villain in a space-based series called OMEGA MEN (which for some reason I always thought was connected somehow with ALPHA FLIGHT.  It wasn't.)  He was a space bounty-hunter on a rocket-bike; an amoral sociopath who looked like he wandered off the stage of a KISS concert.  He was brought back in the late '80s by his creator Keith Giffen as a parody of Wolverine and the kind of violent anti-heroes who were becoming popular at that time.  

To Giffen's surprise, the character became popular, becoming a supporting character in the comic book L.E.G.I.O.N. and the title character of a long-running series of his own.  The Lobo of the '90s was a big, scruffy, muscular biker dude, dripping with chains, weapons and testosterone.

Which is why his fans -- and yes, Lobo has fans -- were shocked when DC revealed a new look for the character.  Apparently, DC's editorial staff decided that the swaggering over-the-top psychopath fans have known and loved was too comedic.  As his new writer put it:

"My goal for him was to make him less comically hyper-masculine and more focused. He's still vicious, still savage and still entirely immoral, but I wanted a gravity out of the character. When he showed up, I didn't want him walking away from explosions and smoking a cigar. When he shows up, I want people to feel like, 'This is it. This is the end.'"
The New Lobo is younger, sleeker, and dare I say it, prettier.  what we have here is a bishonen Lobo.  I can't help but wonder if he sparkles.

But although I will mock the new bishou Lobo, I can't manage to work up some good outrage over the change.  He was a fun character in small doses, but I never really liked him much.  Not as much as I liked the Creeper or Amanda Waller.

There were probably fans of the Golden Age Green Lantern who complained when Julie Schwartz made him a Space Cop.  "You don't understand the character!"  So maybe this new guy calling himself Lobo will turn out to be a decent villain.

Won't stop me from mocking him, though.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:44:21 PM PDT

  •  I grok. The 'New 52' is why I cancelled ALL my DC (4+ / 0-)

    Subs - and I had 14! As far as I'm concerned, everything theyve done to the characters and the tone of the books is horrible. Nobody is friends anymore, everyone hates everyone else, there's no cameraderie or humor at all. EVERY issue had a minimum of DOZENS, if not HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of innocents getting casually killed. And as you say, it's terrible what they've done to 'minor' characters like Lobo and Creeper - my favorite character was the Phantom Stranger. He was an incredibly powerful but totally mysterious person who had no story or explanation, he just WAS - and so he had a wonderful atmosphere of mystery about him. SPOILER;

    But in the 52, they finally gave him an origin, and IT SUCKED; he's JUDAS!!! Eff you, DC. Seriously. Cancel all my subscriptions, I'm going to read my library of Justice League, JSA, Superman/Batman, Power Girl (drawn by Amanda Conner, WOW!) and all the rest of my old friends. And I'm going to wait impatiently for the NEXT reboot, so we can pretend all this crap never happened.

    "You are beautiful and angular. If you were a gas, you would be inert." - Dieter

    by Fordmandalay on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:06:35 PM PDT

    •  The Phantom Stranger (4+ / 0-)

      Ugh.  I remember reading about that.  I much prefer what DC did in it's SECRET ORIGINS series in the '80s.  For their issue focusing on the Stranger, they gave him four different origins written by four different writers.

      A lot of fans liked the story Alan Moore wrote in which the Stranger was an angel who refused to take sides during Lucifer's rebellion and therefore wound up welcome in neither Heaven nor Hell.  But that was only a possible origin; the definitive truth behind the Stranger remained shrouded in mystery as was the question of where he got all those white turtlenecks.

      And the cover of that issue, a hommage to an M.C. Escher print, was cool too.

      Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

      by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:17:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hadn't seen that about Lobo (3+ / 0-)

    So stupid that they did that to Lobo.  The 90s series were parodies of the comic world.  Come on, this character was once hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa.  He was a JOKE and that is why the character was so over the top.  This new guy...ugh.  Can you see him in Blazing Chains of Love or Infanticide?!  They were ridiculous, over the top, and silly...and meant to be that way.  

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:33:22 PM PDT

    •  To Be Fair... (4+ / 0-)

      ...Lobo kind of operated on two different levels of reality.  His one-shots and specials and his ongoing LOBO series were broad parody and satire.  When he appeared in the rest of the DC Universe, as in his occasional guest shots in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL and SUPERMAN and his supporting role in L.E.G.I.O.N., he couldn't get away with nearly the stuff he did in his own title.

      Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

      by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:47:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds camp to me: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper, Neon Vincent, llywrch
    To Giffen's surprise, the character became popular, becoming a supporting character in the comic book L.E.G.I.O.N. and the title character of a long-running series of his own.  The Lobo of the '90s was a big, scruffy, muscular biker dude, dripping with chains, weapons and testosterone.
    ...which is probably why the fans loved him, and DC didn't.

    I haven't followed comics at all since college (and even then it was mostly the really cool underground ones) so I don't really know what you and Ellid are writing about.

    But I followed her links, and can extrapolate.

    LOL!

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:35:06 PM PDT

  •  Never liked Lobo... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper

    ...and really dislike the new Amanda Waller. :(

  •  Of course, this is just one of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper

    at least 52 Lobos.  With the discipline of Crisis undone, another hack at DC can introduce the Lobo of the Earth-29 universe, who happens to look like the Giffen version.

    Gresham's Law of reboots and multiple universes...

  •  I always found this a problem with DC... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper, Neon Vincent, llywrch

    Nothing was ever consistent -- and, when enough people brought that point up, they just scrapped everything, started over to make it consistent, then went right on with what they had done before until it was all messed up and they had to start over again.

    I realize that for some of these long-running titles, you have to reboot now and then.  Batman would be how old now?  I could look it up, but you get the point.

    I haven't followed comic books in quite some time, and you've thoroughly depressed me by cluing me in on what they've done with Amanda Waller, the Creeper, and Lobo, who happened to be three of my favorite-r characters.

    Okay, you didn't do it, but who knows how long I could have gone without finding out?  :-)

    My sarcasm aside, honestly, thank you for pointing this out.

    Sheesh, DC, what's next...?

    Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

    by theatre goon on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:57:30 AM PDT

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