In today’s pop culture climate, there is one huge fallacious argument that keeps popping up, over and over again: I call it ‘The One True Whatever.’  Rather than enjoy what they like, live and let live, people insist on taking sides and picking fights over points of pop culture.  Do you prefer Barry Allen or Wally West?  Cyborg or Martian Manhunter?  Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?  Whichever side you choose, it seems that the important part is that you argue that the other side is stupid, wrong, and a knee-biter whose mother never, ever loved them.  For my part, I often have conflict because I like multiple takes on characters.  ‘Space Ghost: Coast To Coast’ and ‘Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law’ are a lot of fun, but I still appreciate the straightforward 60s square-jawed heroes in their retro glory.  Thus, when the sides get taken, I can’t be part of either group of cool kids, which leads us to today’s heavily-factionalized query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) still can’t think about ‘The Brak Show’ rap episode without giggling like a lunatic, asking: What characters with multiple iterations, like Space Ghost, do you like in more than one of those iterations?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Luis Dantas
    March 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    Most, honestly. It is usually specific conceptions that I dislike (such as Guy Gardner and the unnameable Kyle Rayner).

    The exception would be Booster Gold. The original, all too shortly lived Dan Jurgens version is the only one worth reading, IMO. And no, Keith Giffer did _not_ ever use anything resembling that character, quite on the contrary actually.

  2. Alisha
    March 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    Quite a few, actually.

    “Transformers” as a whole comes to mind. I’ve lost count just how many incarnations there have been over the years between cartoons, comics, Japanese exclusive series, movies, toyline only stories and settings, etc. There are incarnations I really dislike (the live-action movies or the 2001 “Robots in Disguise” English adaptation for instance), but even the incarnations I dislike still hold my interest to some degree or another. For instance, while I don’t really like the live-action movies for story, they are still fun to watch solely for the giant robots fighting, and they often have some neat toys in the movie series toylines that bring another version of a character I like to life (such as the recent movie’s Grimlock variant painted in G1 Grimlock colors). I also liked some of the storylines in comics, toys and such that toyed with the idea that there is a TF multiverse, and almost every incarnations exists alongside the others.

    “TMNT” is another. I grew up watching the old cheesy 80’s toon, then fell in love with the comic incarnations (both Archie and Mirage as well as later titles by other publishers) and have enjoyed several other incarnations since. Just like Transformers, there are incarnations I dislike (the live-action FOX series “The Next Mutation”, though I DID like the crossover with Power Rangers), but they have been few and far between. I was actually quite excited when the special movie “Turtles Forever” and some of the comics (such as a Mirage story from a few years back where a character from the Archie TMNT comics appeared, but rather than being a Mirage version of the character, it was the same character from the Archie comics timeline) used the idea that almost every incarnations of TMNT exists in a TMNT multiverse (and how in “Turtles Forever” the 80’s version and 4Kids version met the original black and white comics version of themselves, as well as seeing short glimpses into other timelines).

    And, of course, Spider-Man. Between his various cartoon incarnations, live-action series (both a US series and the Japanese one where he had the awesome Marveller/Leopardon), movies, games, Hostess snack ads, The Electric Company and so on, he’s had plenty of incarnations separate from the comic version. Some of them stick close to the comics, but all of them put their own twist on the character to some degree.

    I could name more, but I think this is a good enough example.

    • March 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm — Reply

      Several Superheroes, but as above, Transformers is actually a very good example how several iteratiosn of same character can be cool. Except those scrap pile looking Michael Bay ones.

  3. StellarLeader
    March 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    I tend to like every incarnation of the characters I love (unless it is Shyamalan’s Last Airbender, which is absolutely unlikeable). I also have fun coming up with explanations of how each new version fits the continuity of that character or what would happen if that character was suddenly aware of all the other versions of itself.

    • Alisha
      March 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm — Reply

      While I like the series well enough, I wasn’t a big enough fan that I rushed out to see The Last Airbender. I kept thinking “It can’t REALLY be THAT bad, can it?”. Then I saw it late one night on cable. It was one of the few times where I literally said “What the hell did I just watch?” afterwards.

  4. March 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    I’ve got quite a few, so I needed to think on this.

    LEGION OF SUPER HEROES: This one is hard, because every iteration has something I liked, even if it was solely an idea whose potential wasn’t realized. But if I had to pick one Legion version I see as “mine”, I’d say that the post-Legion Lost DnA Legion would be it. Despite some missteps like the Jan/Garth body swap, it highlighted characters who’d fallen by the wayside, redeemed some mistakes (notably Umbra), and tied the Legion into DC’s wider universe without derailing their existing one. Also, I like Chris Batista’s art.

    SAILOR MOON: Probably heresy for my age, but I like the live-action the most. The new plot twists & character elements worked well, the cast is strong, the villains are well developed, and it has the most likable version of Sailor Mars. Talkie Toy Luna & campy ballet fights are dwarfed by the rest of it.

    JONNY QUEST: After that baffling trailer I found (that apparently isn’t an April Fools joke), I’ve got thinking about this series again. I feel guilty saying that my favorite version is the second season of The Real Adventures from the 90s, but I like the stories & how they mixed the first season’s stuff with callbacks to the 60s show, I mostly like how the characters were handled (especially Jonny & Dr. Quest), and I liked the cast. The weird 80s series with the talking golem is now a close second, though.

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