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The Comics 8 Ball 12.09.13: Top 8 Comic Book Clichés

December 9, 2013 | Posted by Anthony Kennedy


Welcome back to the Comic 8 Ball in the Movie Zone everyone! Before I we get to the column, wanted take moment to discuss some very minor comic book related movie news that happened this week, did it?

The internet exploded in fits of rage as Sony released the first trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2. Tons of criticism was thrown around with the revelation that Spidey will have to deal with three members of his rogue’s gallery –cause that worked so well in Spider-Man 3– as well as the emo look of Harry Osborn. I’m taking a wait and see approach before I label this DOA. While I don’t like the angst tone the trailer displayed and fear they’re going further down The Dark Knight style of comic book film story telling, the filmmakers gave us a few teases that have me hopeful. The easter eggs of the Vulture’s wings and Doc Ock’s tentacles along with one keen observer seeing the Venom storage and Dr. Morbius mentions sure does imply that someone in the decision making process has a long-term plan for the franchise leading to well, thought out future films. All that Spider-Man movie talk brings me to…

Is Bryan Singer the biggest troll of non-Fox produced Marvel films? I get it you don’t want people to forget about your impending awesomest of all awesome X-Men movie next year, but you had to announce X-Men: Apocalypse is coming forcing your studio to give a date as well? Damn dude, that’s twice he couldn’t let a Marvel Comics related film get some shine on it’s own. Remember last month when the comic fans jizzed themselves over the killer Winter Soldier trailer? He had to metaphorically run his mouth by leaking a Vine teaser of the Days of Future Past trailer. We get it dude, you’re proud of what you’re working on and a die-hard comic geek. I’m all for a creative rivalry among these properties as, I hope, they lead to great movie being made as the filmmakers try to one up one another. But considering you’re the reason they had to reboot Superman (again) it might not be a smart move to irk your diehard audience by being salty towards anyone else doing a Marvel comic book flick. He keeps this up and he’ll run the risk of turning off the movie going audience completely by the time the new X-Men hits theaters. Especially if he doesn’t deliver Age of Apocalypse as comic fans know it, we’re really going to look at you with the side-eye!

It’s just my opinion.


Axl CDC: My personal favorite one is his death in Days of Future Past. An old Colossus throws an old Logan on to a Sentinel, the Sentinel turns to him in time to blast him to death.…
(the Sentinel’s tirade should have been erased, though)

That was definitely worthy of an honorable mention as it is an iconic moment in comicdom.

CyberVenom: Not a bad list. I think you missed a few though. Here’s mine in no order:

10. Magneto rips the adamantium out.
9. Uncanny X-Men #132. Wolverine in the sewer.
8. You feel lucky?
7. Old Man Logan. The death of the X-Men
6. Marvel vs. DC. Wolverine vs Lobo (Not a positive one, but memorable for it’s negativity)
5. Wolverine vs the Dark Phoenix
4. Spock knocks out Wolverine with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch (and I’m not a Star Trek fan. Lol)
3. The death of Yukio and Mariko
2. The final battle with Shingin
1. Logan popping his first claw

Help me understand, I never found the rise from sewer thing all that awesome. It’s great artwork no doubt, but for me it’s grossly overrated. Kudos for reminding me of the “epic” Wolvie-Lobo fight though.

redhotrash: Ah Wolverine. Has there ever been a character more overrated and overexposed? Wanked by writers and fans alike, this dude starts as a cool antihero and outstayed his welcome. Amazing how a self professed loner who “doesn’t play nice” has been on every team in Marvel (at the same time in many cases). Granted lately Deadpool has been taking his place ever since they neutered his character.

I was as big a Wolverine mark as anyone, especially in the late-80’s and during the cartoon show run, but was always of the belief that he worked best as part of an ensemble, not the focal point as they are doing with him now. It leads to burnout on the character and eventually backlash, instead of true appreciation to what he brings and adds to a team book.

Caliber_Winfield_The_3rd: Wolverine has to have the greatest growth of looking like a total lame-ass in the debut, to what he looks like currently. With perhaps The Punisher in second place, going from his look in Spider-Man to the fantastic simplicity of the Garth Ennis MAX series. And no, I’m not counting the Steve Dillion stuff, as that wasn’t MAX. People were still saying “motherlovin’ psycho!” and such.

HAHAHA..that first costume was hideous. The Punisher wasn’t a bad costume but will co-sign that his later designs have been an improvement. That actually gives me an idea for a future 8 Ball column.

Thanks for the feedback, now onto this week’s 8 Ball.

Top 8 Comic Book Clichés
I think we’ve all seen ‘em and, at one point, groan from them. The comic writers just can’t help themselves, these ‘tropes’ for the most part is what got us addicted to comics in the first place. However it’s 2013 and you’d think some of these comic book clichés would no longer be apart of comics in some instance. With that intro let’s countdown the Top 8 Comic Book Clichés:

Honorable Mentions:

  • “No, it can’t be YOU!”: Mysterious villain turns out to be someone the hero knows.
  • Wisecracking Vigilante: You’d think a fight to the death would be taken more seriously.
  • The Evil Superhero Doppelganger: You can’t have a superhero without having a evil version of that superhero.
  • The Sexy, Female Superhero Doppelganger: See above, only a female version.
    #8 The Superfluous End of Storyarc Group Pose
    No matter the traumatic experience our group of heroes have just gone through, the artist seems to always find a way to wrap up this multi-issue crisis perfectly. You’ve seen it, the introspective pose as a team to reflect on what they’ve just experienced and foreshadow what troubles lie ahead.

    Most Egregious Offender: The X-books. Mutants No More being the most contrived, groan inducing offense.

    #7 Tragic Death is the Superhero Origin Story

    Batman 404 - Year 1 part 1_Page_01
    If the lab accident was the method de jour for a superhero acquiring his powers, than a tragic death was THE go to catalyst for a superhero to embark on his life of protecting the innocent and repelling evil.

    Most Egregious Offender: Spider-Man. Time after time you, there was some tragic occurrence he was dealing with that kept him dedicated to his cause.

    #6 Boobs

    Male comic fans dig chicks with huge breasteses. It doesn’t matter if the superheroine or villainess is a mutant, meta, Amazonian or humanoid looking alien, she has to wear a minimum D-cup or else! Not only are they large but somehow defy gravity with their self-supporting perkiness for mammaries of that size.

    Most Egregious Offender: Power Girl and we thank every artist for continuing to draw her as such.

    #5 Every Team has a Tank
    Or the all teams must have a strong guy rule. Take a look at the roster of most team books there is some unwritten rule prerequisite that their be at least one super strength possessing hero. Heck Joss Whedon resurrected Colossus just to fulfill this quota.

    Most Egregious Offender: Fantastic Four. No matter the roster change, that fourth member is going to be a tank, i.e. Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, the Hulk!

    #4 Crisis of Faith

    Our hero seems to go through this at some point during their crime figting career, heck even Supes. To be a true trope it generally occurs after a catastrophic mission failure, ala Cyclops post Dark Phoenix saga or Reed and Sue Richards after their miscarriage. We generally get a few issues of our favorite hero taking some sort of self-loathing, soul searching road trip to find themselves and figure out what it is to be a hero before their dramatic return.

    Most Egregious Offender: X-Men. At some point every one of our merry mutants has gone on the superhero-questioning sabbatical.

    #3 Clones
    Spider-Man, you get a clone. Superman, you get a clone. Magneto, you get a clone. Wolverine, yes you, you get a clone too! Sheeesh, even Gwen Stacy had a clone. It’s one of the easiest outs to work a storyline with a previously killed off character, which begs the question, why did you kill them off in the first place?

    Most Egregious Offender: Spider-Man. As I said, is there anyone in his book that didn’t have a clone?

    #2 Superhero Misunderstanding Leads to a Fight
    The old “Whenever heroes meet for the first time they MUST fight.” Marvel writers would use this device in order to satiate comic fans lingering questions of what would happen if, say, Spider-Man was forced to battle the Hulk?

    Most Egregious Offender: Marvel Comics. In general they utilized this technique to its utmost effectiveness during the Bronze age.

    #1 No One Stays Dead

    No one in comics ever stays dead. Except Uncle Ben, And even he pushes it sometimes with flashbacks and whatnot. True, it’s an easy way to spark interest and sell some comics but it’s so clichéd that they build up this multi-issue storyline where someone will die, when we all know that they’ll find a way to bring them back when a writer comes along with the right (read: money making/generating) opportunity.

    Most Egregious Offender: DC Comics! Look no further than the 80’s and 90’s where they killed off (almost) every major character only to bring them back by the mid-00’s and re-establishing the former status quo.

    Well that’s my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss someone that deserved to make this list? Let me know! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Have a great week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at! I’m done.

    Have a great week and don’t forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at! I’m done.

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