Category Archives: What Were They Thinking

What Were They Thinking?: Superman-ly

You know, it's surprising that Superman doesn't turn up more often here on What Were They Thinking (the place where we take a look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history). Maybe it's just because he's been in publication the longest of any character in the medium, or maybe it is simply because the writers and editors who create the book a required to be madder than that Batman villain who likes hats when they apply for the job, but the guy has been involved in some of the strangest/ stupidest storylines ever put to paper. The Man of Steel has been involved in porn, he started the whole "kill off a character for a few weeks" craze and he was turned into a centaur, then a woman and then had a polygomous relationship all in the same comic. But we've talked about all of that before. This week I want to focus on this stuff here:

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What Were They Thinking?: OH! MY! COD!

Need I say anymore?

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What Were They Thinking?: Keeping It Separate

You know, a few months back I did a What Were They Thinking? (the place where we take a look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) we covered the introduction of one of DC's earliest black superheroes, Black Lightning, and how he managed to dodge a bullet in his first few issues by not having a terribly racist origin story. At the time I thought DC had gone mad, especially considering that Black Lightning was to be only their second black superhero. But, turns out I was wrong on two counts. Firstly, Black Lightning wasn't DC's second black superhero and in fact, DC didn't go mad. They were always mad. They just managed to get away with it on the low down the first time and only got caught when they really tried to push the boat out.

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What Were They Thinking?: Do-manga-trix

Back in the early 2000's, Marvel were looking to cash in on the anime boom that was going on in America at the time after the success of Japanese imports such as Dragonball, Sailor Moon and Pokemon. So, what they decided to do was to take some of their most beloved characters and give them the manga treatment, creating what was basically a manga-Ultimates line. Now, this is a great idea in theory. Take some of the most recognisable characters in western comics and apply eastern manga tropes, for example Iron Man became a giant mecha along the lines of a Gundam or an Eva, whilst Hulk became a kaiju. But, of course, this being Marvel, they can have the best idea in the world and still screw it up. There's plenty to talk about when it comes to the mangaverse here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history). We could talk about the stereotypes, the fact that they took characters and tropes and mashed them together regardless of how well they fit or we could talk about just the general randomness of it all. But instead, let's take a look at one specific character in this whole thing. A character who came so out of left field that it's weird even for an alterniverse style story. I am of course talking about the mangaverse version of this guy:

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The What Were They Thinking? Swimsuit Special

It's summer, even here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comics history), so I thought we'd take a break from all of the racism, drugs and rape that we usually cover to chill out for a bit and hang out with some superheroes down at the beach, or by the pool, or even on an alien holiday planet. Yup, we're going back to the 90's and taking a look at the Marvel Swimsuit Specials (because they made 5 of the damn things).

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What Were They Thinking?: A Song Of Fire And Snow

So, last week on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest and most ill-advised things in all of comics history) we talked about the New Guardians, specifically the villain in the first issue of their series, who was a vampire who infected non-caucasian people with AIDS when biting them. However, I also mentioned the villain of the second issue of the New Guardians series in passing as a further example of the series idiocy. Well, in for a penny in for a pound, we might as well take a look at this guy whilst we can, so Ladies and Gentlemen let me introduce you to Snowflame.

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What Were They Thinking?: Actually, It’s Damn Stupid

Rarely here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we take a look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) am I actually lost for words about a subject we cover. I've managed to find things to say about Marvel running rape storylines with both victim blaming and the victim falling for the rapist, Frank Miller turning Batman into a child abuser and the Elongated Man into a viagra salesman, and I managed to talk about The Widening Gyre. But this week, I'm exactly sure what I'm going to say, purely because the sheer level of "WHAT THE ACTUAL" is so far off the charts. And surprisingly, we aren't talking about Marvel. Nope, it is back to DC we turn for this week, as we take a look at Hemo-Goblin.

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What Were They Thinking?: A Boat-Load Of Trouble

Now, I feel I should start this weeks What Were They Thinking? (the place where we take a look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) with a caviat. We are talking about a single character this week and not a very long lived one either, with all of this characters appearances taking place in the 1940's. As I am sure everyone is aware, attitudes in the 1940's were quite different to what they are now and that does go some way to explaining why this character is so terrible. However, I am still going to talk about it, because we are not talking about some jingoistic war-time anti-Japanese propaganda (though that is unacceptable as well) or any of the numerous Nazi villains, those are somewhat understandable and, in context of the time, somewhat excusable. This character though, is not. And it happened with all the right intentions as well, which makes it even worse. So, this week, we're going to talk about Fawcett Comics and how they sunk their own Steamboat.

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What Were They Thinking?: DisConnect and Reboot

Last week on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history) we looked at the Marvel cycle, where Marvel eroded reader investment in their storytelling by overuse of large scale comic book events to change the status quo of their comics universe only to change the status quo back within a short period of time. This week though, we are looking at Detective Comics Comics Incorperated and their own, equally destructive variation, the DC cycle.

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What Were They Thinking?: A Series Of Meaningless Events

Here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history), we tend to look at individual storylines. We have, in the past, looked at the effects of long term business practices, such as the turmoil caused by DC's New 52 or the battle for control over Archie Comics, but we hardly ever focus on how the creative directions of these companies affect not only their overall output, but their overall perception by the end consumer, i.e. you and I. Both of the Big 2, Marvel and DC have developed unfortunate crutches that they lean heavily on and have leaned on to such an extend over the last 20 years that they're starting to crack. This week we're looking at the Marvel Cycle (DC will come next week).

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