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mygif

Huh. I’d actually never encountered Sunfire outside of his appearence in Crisis, so this gives a whole new appreciation for him.

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mygif

You’re just calling him Biggs because of his sweet mustache.

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mygif

Is it just me, or are there a lot of Japanese heros with light/sun based powers, just to go with the whole “Rising Sun” thing?

Clearly, somebody needs to make a shadow-based Japanese hero.

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mygif

I think ninjas of various flavors have a lock on shadowy Japanese superheroes/villains, don’t they? Any japanese superhero with Shade-esque powers would just end up being played as, like, some kind of SUPER ninja.

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mygif

Thok: Ninjas have that whole shadow thing covered, but yes, as a half-Japanese guy, I am totally aware of the whole Japanese Superhero Rising Sun Shoehorn Effect.

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mygif

Clearly, I meant “Shadow based Japanese Superhero who isn’t a ninja”.

Damn Ninjas.

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Matthew Johnson said on January 21st, 2010 at 12:45 pm

There is an iron rule of superheroing: if you live anywhere outside of the United States and receive super powers, your powers will in some way be related to your nation of origin. (The only exception is if you are part of a super-hero team all made up of people from the same country, in which case only some of you will be total stereotypes.) This is why all three of Japan’s DC superheroes have more or less the exact same powers (which are also the same power as Sunfire, who was for many years Marvel’s only Japanese hero.)

I totally agree, by the way, with your assessment of Crisis #12. I remember finishing “Final Crisis” and thinking “something’s not right here” — I took my Crisis TPB off the shelf and re-read the last issue, and then said “Oh, yeah. _That’s_ how you do it.”

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Mad Scientist said on January 21st, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Alas, poor Thok. We knew him well.

But he just pissed off all of the Interninja. He’s soooo dead….

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mygif

Now I wish to read Crisis on Infinite Earths.

To Demonoid!

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mygif

Matt, what about the Big Science Action Team, or whatever it was called in Final Crisis? Sure, there was a Rising Sun figure on the team, but there was super strong Sunny Sumo, a flash analogue, and some Ultraman figures. I didn’t read the “Dance” mini series had a bunch of different superheroes. Most Excellent Superbat, for example.

And Suicide Squad usually had some weird international superheroes going on. I remember some really odd characters, like a female Isreali spellcaster.

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mygif

Big Science Action Team are just the big players of the DCU filtered through a stereotypical Anime/Manga filter. They total fit the stereotype rule.

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mygif

It was such a nice understated panel showing Dr.Light at the shrine for his funeral to.

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Matthew Johnson said on January 21st, 2010 at 4:42 pm

John: note that I wrote “The only exception is if you are part of a super-hero team all made up of people from the same country, in which case only some of you will be total stereotypes.” When writers have to make up a whole team they’re forced to get creative (though I’d say Sonny Sumo is still fairly stereotypically Japanese being, y’know, a sumo wrestler.) As for Suicide Squad, you seem to be remembering the Hayoth, Israel’s superhero team, whose members included Golem (Jewish folktale), Ramban (Kabbalistic magician) and Judith (assassin named after a Jewish assassin in the Hebrew bible).

The only fully non-stereotyped foreign supergroup I can recall were the West German superheroes from Mark Gruenwald’s run on Captain America, who had punning German names but not (AFAIK) stereotyped powers.

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mygif

Sunfire also made a brief appearance in Morrison’s Doom Patrol run- does anyone remember the Japanese superhero who was being followed around by a bunch of photographers and fought the Brotherhood of Dada briefly, when they broke the Quiz out of the asylum? That was Sunfire.

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mygif

Argh! Sunburst, I meant Sunburst, not Sunfire (who is a totally different Japanese superhero with sun-based powers).

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mygif

….where’s the Japanese superhero with fish based powers?

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ps238principal said on January 21st, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I’m impressed by the inhuman control he appears to have over his eyebrows.

And surely, NCallahan, you’ve heard of Kikkoman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HckRLrBXQM

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mygif

PEDANTIC NERD ALERT

Chris, Sunburst actually had a bit more of a history than that Who’s Who page lets on. He was part of a Superboy story in the early 80s that sent Superboy to Japan. Of course, that story depended on there being a Superboy, and when DC decided to scrap Superboy…

Well, now I’m sure you can see why Marv killed Sunburst off in Crisis. (In part of the same glut of deaths that killed off other superfluous/homeless characters like the Earth-2 Robin, Huntress, and Green Arrow.) And why the Who’s Who page, published in late 1986 after Crisis was over, can’t even hint at his real history. A tip for aspiring comic book companies: print your encyclopedia before or after your massive continuity-resetting crossover, not during.

Actually, I respect Wolfman even more for taking what was basically an editorially-mandated retcon and giving it some meaning. If Sunburst had never appeared again nobody would have even noticed he was gone, but Wolfman used his death to raise the stakes and write a little story of heroism (and complete Dr. Light’s character arc). And that is how it should be done.

PEDANTIC NERD ALERT OVER

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mygif

Also, I don’t think Big Science Action are stereotypes so much as thinly-disguised analogues of various manga, anime, and TV characters: Astro Boy, Gundam, Akira, Marine Boy, etc. all on one team. Basically a 20th century Japanese version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

REALLY OVER THIS TIME

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mygif

See, in that one sentence I kind of got confused and thought you were implying that The Wolf Man made Sunburst a noble figure.

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mygif

“….where’s the Japanese superhero with fish based powers?”

Tsunami, Japanese WWII villainess who flips sides and joins the Young All-Stars (IIRC).

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mygif

With five lines of dialogue and maybe six or seven panels over an entire double-sized comic book, which was not incidentally one of the most important books DC had ever published, the final issue of the absolutely enormous gamble that Crisis was.

I’d like to see you expound on these feelings someday.

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mygif

I wanted to argue against the whole nationality/power thing, but had a suitably hard time coming up with examples. There’s a few out there – 1/2 of Alpha Flight, but that really just back’s up the ‘forced to get creative with whole teams’ caveat. Excalibur is more of an X-book based in England, and if you remove the X-Men it falls pretty strongly within those parameters.

The German group… they’re the ones that had captured the Red Skull’s team right? There was a Cap analogue, a guy that could manipulate time and someone else. Sort of a German Avengers, there was some potential there.

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Matthew Johnson said on January 22nd, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Jev: those are the only ones I remember too, Hauptmann Deutschland (Captain Germany) and Zeitgeist (Time-Spirit — he was the pun I was thinking of.) I have no idea if they’ve ever appeared since then; I didn’t read the second issue of that storyline, so for all I know the Skull wound up killing them all…

And I’d argue that the only member of the original Alpha Flight that doesn’t rely on some kind of Canadian stereotype or cultural reference is Marrina (ironically, Vindicator — the one who wore the flag — is the one with the most generic powers.)

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