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The Incredibles and Kurt Busiek's Astro City

Spoilers here, so don't read further if you don't want to be spoiled for either the movie or the Astro City storyline called "The Tarnished Angel."



gnomi and I went to see "The Incredibles" on Sunday afternoon, and enjoyed it immensely. But as the plot played out, I realized that it struck a chord of familiarity with me.

The villain of the movie "The Incredibles" is a super named Syndrome. He devises a plot to build a bunch of robots to invade the world. He doesn't want to take over the world, however; what he plans to do is show up in the nick of time and save the world from the very robots he built, so that the world will laud him as a great hero.

Four years ago, in the comic book Astro City, Kurt Busiek wrote a story called "The Tarnished Angel," available in a compiled trade paperback. The villain of the piece is actually a former superhero named El Hombre, who made a fateful decision when his popularity was on the wane. He hired a villain called the Assemblyman to build a robot top attack the city, and El Hombre planned to show up in the nick of time and save the city, so he would be lauded as a great hero. That plan fell apart, but as the comic book unfolds, El Hombre is trying a similar plan...



Am I the only person to make this connection? I'm not saying that Brad Bird ripped off Kurt Busiek at all, I'm just noting the similarity of the two stories.

Comments

well, yes, and a somewhat similar story played out in the second story arc of The Tick (the comic book), IIRC; the villain in question was the Red Scare, and the wannabe hero The Running Guy.

i don't think this particular scheme is novel, and i'm pretty sure Kurt Busiek has no greater claim to it than Brad Bird does. doesn't keep it from being funny, though. :)

-steve
What I really liked was the fanboy turned villian/wannabe hero. That one was a new spin for me and I really liked it. I think it was fun to see a genesis of a Super Villian as the "first" movie in a comic world, rather than the genesis of the Super Hero.

Zhaneel
Goes back even further. Circa Avengers #215 or so, Yellowjacket creates a robot to attack the Avengers. He plans to save the day by deactivating it so he'll be hailed again as a hero.
Oh man, did THAT ever go awry... poor Hank Pym, he aint even an Avenger no mo'.
I think that as with all Genres, there are only so many super-hero stories you can tell... the poser-hero is something that many people have tried, it's really the execution that counts.
Some comic related questions:
1 - Have you been following Identity Crisis? What are your thoughts? I feel that it's compelling storytelling without an interesting or "good" story...
2 - What are your thoughts on the casting for the new Superman movie?
3 - How is the art in astro city? The penciler just took over one of my favorite books, I'm nervous if it'll be good or not.
1) I have indeed been following Identity Crisis. My feeling is that it's a way to update some of the old, silly stories to current comic sensibilities. Because, of course if a villain managed to switch bodies with a hero, he'd make a point of looking at the face and finding out the secret identity. This series is basically doing some retconning that appears obvious in retrospect.

2) No opinion on the Superman casting, except to agree with William Goldman -- you're never going to get a star to play the part, only an unknown, because a star will look at himself in the costume and think he looks silly.

3) The art in Astro City is excellent. You may relax now.
Sorry you weren't able to join our group Saturday night, it would've been nice to see you...

And it seems to me I've seen similar plots before, too. It's hard to think of something truly original.
Yeah, the problem with Saturday night was that we really wanted to see Anything Goes and Iolanthe, and had planned to see Anything Goes the weekend before. But then I was in NYC over that weekend to help out my Mom, so we had to crunch things into the past weekend since it was the last one for Anything Goes.
Completely understandable. Hopefully we'll be able to get together with you one of these days.
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