What is it about DC that every character seems to get a best friend? Is there a pair that you think works especially well? Are there some that don't, or that need some work? I've always wanted to see the Aquaman/Martian Manhunter friendship work a little better. They so rarely seem to even be in the same room, yet I'm pretty sure their supposed to be each others only friends.
I'd argue that any DC character without a strong friendship is a struggling character. Someone like Wonder Woman for example, who seems to have no friends and therefore has no real place in the DC Universe.
I'm sure that its pretty obvious if you've ever read one of my posts that I think the Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan friendship is the best, but there are certainly others.
Thoughts? Anyone completely disagree with my assertion? I know Marvel characters have friendships, but I'd argue that they're rarely such that the two characters are difficult to discuss without discussing said friendship.
Post by scottharris on Feb 1, 2009 15:27:19 GMT -5
Ollie-Hal is my favorite as well, but it's interesting that in many comics, Hal is depicted as being Barry Allen's best friend. I agree that DC puts special emphasis on these friendships, but it's usually on a one-on-one basis -- with team-ups rather than discussions of group dynamics. Because of this, I think it would be very interesting to investigate the dynamic between Ollie and Barry. They are very, very different people, who presumably appeal to different aspects of Hal's personality. Though they obviously are friends and comrades, I have to suspect that there would be some tension between Barry and Ollie over the different ways they influence their mutual BFF Hal.
Now that I think about it, DC in general has set up deeper and more interesting relationships between their heroes than Marvel has. Or, at least, has overtly explored them more. For instance, Cap's friendship with Hawkeye is a pivotal one in Avengers history, and important to both characters, but has almost entirely played out as subtext rather than in stories that really examine it. The only issue I can think of that really gets into it is Cap #401, and even then, there is more time spent on Cap's relationship with Tony Stark.
In general I'm not as big a fan of DC heroes as I am Marvel, but this is one area Marvel could learn from.
Post by Doctor Doom on Feb 1, 2009 15:34:52 GMT -5
Well, I'd argue Wally West is one of DC's best heroes and he certainly doesn't have much of a friendship. He *had* one with Nigtwing but other than one Geoff Johns story, that pretty much vanished out of sight for the last decade or so. A few writers gave him one with fellow 'new guy' Kyle Rayner, but he actively *disliked* him just as frequently.
That said, you are by and large right. My personal favourite DC friendship will always be Superman and Batman, simply because they are opposites in almost every way. The combination of the two is infinitely fascinating and, when played right, thought-provoking. Though the title dedicated to it very, very rarely exploits this.
Also? Hawkman and the Atom was one I loved, even though it was frequently underplayed or forgotten.
As to Marvel and the same- I think both of you have a point in that Marvel could learn here. The best example I'd point to there is Spider-Man and the Human Torch, who have a great little history though it's never really been delved into deeply. Tony Stark and Reed Richards have cultivated one in recent years that I'd love to see explored more.
I echo Doom's opinion, the one I prefer is Superman and Batman. They are the odd sort of friends who see the world in completely opposite ways, but somehow that makes it work. Everytime I look for old DC books I always aim for those where these two team up (Superman Man of Steel #4, Generations, a number of specials etc etc), and Superman/Batman is the only DC book I regularly buy and enjoy most of the times (with some exceptions, like the issues trying to build a friendship between Pa Kent and Bruce's father, or even between the latter and Jor-El).
As for the all friendship thing, I agree that it's more heavily played at DC, which is funny considering that heroes there leave in different cities and are less likely to meet. Still, Marvel has a few very strong ones too, like Spidey and Daredevil, Spidey and the Human Torch, Wonder Man and Beast etc. Despite what happened in the last 5 or so years, I'd also say that there is (or used to be) a very strong friendship between the Avengers' Big Three. In fact, I wrote an essay on this topic for Assembled 2 ;D
I neglected to mention Roy Harper and Dick Grayson. Their friendship always amuses me because they actually have the friendship that Green Arrow believes he has with Batman.
As for Wally West, doesn't the continued attempts to build him some friends show the importance they play in the DC Universe? Sort of like how they tried to make Kyle Rayner into a friend for Conner Hawke to give the new GA some context?
Post by freedomfighter on Feb 3, 2009 1:26:18 GMT -5
There always was a real camraderie in the JLA. Even Elongated Man and the Flash were "superfriends" (couldn't resist) and Ralph never had his own book. Flash and Atom were buds as well. In fact, it may have been a very direct result of The Flash that there were so many close friendships in the JLA. He seemed to be the glue, the everyman that pulled them together, look at how many ties he had--Elongated Man, GL, Atom... the real outsiders were always Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The Superfriends cartoon paired them often and it seems thatDC history says they had a romance at some point. Who knows given the way everything gets revamped?
The JSA as well, Flash Hawkman and GL are kind of like the founding fathers likely to take each other's side. the more sidekick-ish guys hung out, too. Johhny Thunder and Atom, the smarter guys seemed close, like Mid-Nite and Starman and Sandman. Of course Fate and the Spectre hung close--they seemed to be the only ones who understood each other. I actually find the Batman Superman friendship these days to be a bit ridiculous. It's fairly obvious that Batman finds Supes contemptible in so many ways and that's not a good basis for friendship.
Post by thunderstrike78 on Oct 29, 2009 17:53:13 GMT -5
I dunno, I think there are plenty of super-friendships in the Marvel universe as well. They're just less noticeable because they don't tend to involve two characters who have their own books. What makes the Batman/Superman relationship so notable is, in part, because they're both A-list characters with their own books. Ditto with Flash/Green Lantern, Green Arrow/Green Lantern, blah blah blah.
Marvel heroes have strong friendships, too--in fact, I'd argue that they have much more solid and fleshed out relationships. But they don't tend to involve 2 flagship characters, and I don't know that Marvel has ever tried to do a "buddy" book outside of Power Man & Iron Fist.
Actually, that would probably be a good pitch for Marvel: some sort of "buddy book", like a "buddy cop" show with two contrasting characters. But who?
And yes, I realize that no one has looked at this threat in, like, six months, but it tickled my fancy.