Deano’s answer to: “If you agree that Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman are the DC big 3, who’s #4?”

If you go by power level, Green Lantern

If you go by mainstream recognition, The Flash

If you go by “cool factor” for the few people who ever notice him, Martian Manhunter

If you go by Hughesian Debating Skills, I’m totally won over on Aquaman 🙂

Personally, I use the “Dan Brereton Coolest Art/Pose” factor, which again I would argue gives a pretty solid win to Aquaman:


(Also, look at the panels – clearly Aquaman is standing/floating IN FRONT OF the other three “JLA Core Members”, more prominently so in the bottom panels)

This answer originally appeared on Quora: If you agree that Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman are the DC big 3, who’s #4?

Deano’s answer to: “Do people still want to read ongoing soap opera-like comic books or only self contained stories?”

This is, to me, more an issue of economics than anything else – as the cost of production, printing, and distribution of paper comic books continues to rise, it’s harder and harder to profit from a “B-tier serial”, or to expand the audience for any comic outside of hardcore fandom (though it does happen).

“Self-contained stories”, or at least “digestible compilations” such as graphic novels of serializations, however, have taken off in the last decade for a few simple reasons:

  • economies of scale allow for a much cheaper $/page ratio for the reader ($3/32 pp for comics vs. $10/200 pp for GNs)
  • the larger format GNs look a LOT like “regular paperback books”, which is a product that all kinds of retailers, not just bookstores, already know how to shelve and sell.
  • Comics, on the other hand, typically require specifically constructed wall displays, or space-inefficient and clumsily-operated spinner racks… They are smaller and more fragile than other magazines, and while their content should be more evergreen (a big problem with selling older/out of date print mags like Time, say), there are so damn MANY of them, it’s just too hard to keep track of inventory/stage them nicely/etc.
  • For non-serialized single volume work of appropriate length (150-300 pp), it’s also now possible to make a profit with the more friendly book/box store/discounter/toy and game channels to exploit on top of the dedicated comic book market.

Simply put, it’s easier to display, sell, and manage inventory of graphic novels/longer form comics, and theoretically no less so for a single volume work (especially at book retailers – keeping all 42 volumes of Dragonball in stock at a given Barnes location, for example, is a complete NIGHTMARE).

But, you say, this has not answered the question “do people still WANT to read…”, and you’re right: what people want is not the same as what the publishers want, which also differs from what the retailers want. It’s a game of finding equilibrium between all three, and a messy game at that. Perhaps I could simplify it further: what people want in comics, and how much they are willing to pay for that stated want, are often out of alignment.

This is one of the reasons why digital and online publishing hold so much promise (outside of, er, monetization) – they are FAR more closely linked between creator and reader, with fewer middlemen taking a cut, or enforcing limitations over content or frequency.

Do people want daily/weekly/monthly “chunkable” serials? YES. Do they want nice, tightly wrapped stories/arcs, even if that means a year between releases? YES. Are you more likely to find the latter at Target, or even Amazon.com? Most certainly!

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Do people still want to read ongoing soap opera-like comic books or only self contained stories?

Deano’s answer to: “Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle has the most physical strength?”

All of the turtles are, for their comic universe, quite incredibly strong, with additional “supporting strengths” of high endurance and physical durability.

That said, the most consistent references/occurrences of high physical strength and/or “overall strongmanosity” seem to be in favor of Raphael.

(Lookit those muscles! Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/zak…)

The combination of his rage/anger management issues, and propensity to lunge for the center of the fight, gives Raph more opportunities to use direct brute force/strength, instead of the more subtle, tactically-sound techniques of his brothers.

Still, barring Raphael’s strength stats in later TMNT video games, or various semi-official or fan-sourced expressions of the various turtles’ might in various RPG systems[*] there is very little hard data one way or another.

[* Like this: http://forums.thetechnodrome.com…]

This article originally appeared on Quora: Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle has the most physical strength?

Deano’s answer to: “Who was the first comic book superhero?”

This is a bit tough… Given the particular wording of your question, I’d go with Superman. He’s the first archetypical “superhero” who appeared in comic book form, at least in the US

(This is actually just Christopher Reeve chasing me after I keyed his car…)

According to Wikipedia[*], the French once again beat us to the punch with a fella called the “Nyctalope”:

(My doctor says I have to stop eating Nyctalope for breakfast when I hit 40…)

As far as other possible “first placers”, you have all manner of costumed superhumans or “ultimate” humans –

  • The Phantom,
  • The Shadow,
  • The Spider,
  • Doc Savage,
  • Tarzan,
  • Zorro,
  • The Green Hornet,
  • etc…

– all of whom, if they magically dropped out of subspace in the Marvel or DC Universes, would be instantly recognized as “Superheroes”, or possibly “Super villains” in some cases.

Nevertheless, just about all of the other candidates appeared first in print books and magazines, comic strips, and radio dramas, and most did not take a strong stand in the comic book format until well after Superman had led the way as a groundbreaking title in the genre/medium in 1938 in Action Comics #1.

[* It’s actually a great Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sup…]

This answer originally appeared on Quora: What was the first comic book superhero?

Deano’s answer to: “Were the Hulk movies accurate in portraying Hulk’s strength?”

It would be exceedingly difficult to claim that a movie didn’t portray the Hulk’s strength accurately, for one simple reason:

The madder he gets, the stronger he gets.

(Rarrr… Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/tim…)

Thus, any time the Hulk appears to be “weaker than he should be” could be argued away as merely a reflection of his lack of sufficient anger at the given moment… Or, in general, a lack of adrenaline, which is not always induced by anger (there’s a scene in The Incredible Hulk which covers alternate potential means of transformation, but those images are all protected by copyright)

(Let’s just say this is a fair facsimile, and be done with it. Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/the…)

Given the comics’ precedent that there is no significant “upper limit” to the level of the Hulk’s strength, which can reach so-called “Cosmic Levels” under the right circumstances, it’s basically impossible that anything the Hulk does in the films could be considered to be “too strong for the character”, for similar reasons[*].

Where the movies tend to fail is in over-simplifying or misunderstanding the Hulk’s many weaknesses.

[* Actually, since the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk movie appears to have closer ties to “Ultimate Hulk” – a creature born of a mutated gamma-irradiated version of Captain America’s Super Solider Serum, there probably is a more reasonable upper power limit, we just haven’t come close to hitting it yet.]

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Were the Hulk movies accurate in portraying Hulk’s strength?