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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Comic Conventions

No, not these conventions. The writers' conventions and tropes used in comics and associated media.

***SPOILERS for Green Lantern BELOW*** 

As you know, I took my dad and my husband to see Green Lantern today, as a Fathers' Day treat. I enjoyed the movie a lot; it was beautiful to look at, has a good story (much invocation of Clarke's Third Law), and it was really well-written, but overall a couple things that bothered me. So Dad and I discussed it on our way back to the ferry dock.

1) This is Earth, in the DC Universe. Where the hell was Superman when the entire planet was in danger of annihilation? I decided this was a case of Hero of Another Story, combined with The Chosen One. Hal Jordan was more or less preordained (by the Green Lantern Corps and/or the Guardians, or possibly the entire Universe) to Handle This One On on His Own. And as Superman (and Batman and the Teen Titans and Wonder Woman and the Flash (AH-ah) and any other Earth-centric hero in the DC pantheon) have their own stories, they were at their respective Fortresses of Solitude or in Tokyo or what-have-you). Problem One resolved.

2) So Yellow = Fear = Evil, right? And Green = Courage/Will = Good, right? So how (here's the real spoiler) did Hal manage to defeat the Big Bad Parallax by shoving it into a yellow sun? Yellow should feed on yellow in my mind, not defeat yellow. Green defeats yellow. Dad's argument was that pushing anything into a sun is going to destroy it, just by the sheer bigness and hotness of the sun. Okay, but...

...and then I realized. My tropes differ from my dad's tropes. We have a large overlap, as we share similar tastes in literature (I came by it honestly, from both sides). But there are some we don't share, by virtue of being 32 years apart in age (he has more of the Golden Age ones than I do) and because I play console RPGs and watch anime (so I have more specifically Eastern tropes in my repertoire than he does). To me, Yellow should absorb Yellow, and Green should defeat it. But Green Lantern was written in 1940, in the USA, when such console-RPG tropes were largely unknown here. Problem Two resolved.

The moral of the story? TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. Or at least make you more aware of it.