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  • #16
    Some reviewers have really given Lobster some flak over his "two-dimensional" personality. The fact that we never get inside his head or learn anything about him is part of the reason he's so awesome. Other heroes' origins are gone over again and again, so that everyone knows about the radioactive spider or the destruction of Krypton. But even though he's my favorite character, I would much rather have Lobster's origin leak out slowly rather than be immediately told and re-told. And if they do reveal his origin, I hope they only have bits and pieces of it, so the character retains his sense of mystery.
    Here's a link to an article about a similar topic:http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=54247

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
      Some reviewers have really given Lobster some flak over his "two-dimensional" personality. The fact that we never get inside his head or learn anything about him is part of the reason he's so awesome. Other heroes' origins are gone over again and again, so that everyone knows about the radioactive spider or the destruction of Krypton. But even though he's my favorite character, I would much rather have Lobster's origin leak out slowly rather than be immediately told and re-told. And if they do reveal his origin, I hope they only have bits and pieces of it, so the character retains his sense of mystery.
      Here's a link to an article about a similar topic:http://www.comicbookresources.com/?p...ticle&id=54247
      So true. Characters whose every thought and motivation isn't spelled out for the readers in black and white are more realistic, and more interesting. Most people are complicated and aren't so easily reduced to a neat psychological type that explains the causes and predicates their reactions to everything.

      Look at the Shadow pulp novels, particularly the early ones where he's largely like an offstage puppeteer or a chessplayer moving his players around in a play or game. We don't spy on his inner thoughts or get an omniscient viewpoint of all of his activities. The mystery is maintained. Reader interest and imagination is engaged by speculations about origins and motives.

      Wolverine is another good example. How much more interesting was this character in the early years of the 1980s, when his past was nearly a blank slate with only the barest of tantalizing clues? It's fair to say that it was that very element that propelled him to popularity.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by pulphero View Post
        I have a theory relating to the Lobster's origin...

        I think the spirit of the pirate captain Lobster is fated to live time and again, to balance the scales of justice as penance for his sins. Perhaps he even agreed to this bargain in remorse over his misdeeds. In a sense, he is a little like Deadman, in that his spirit takes possession of a human body (perhaps a criminal whose spirit passes on to its final fate, after being dealt justice by a previous incarnation of the Lobster). But he is also like the Spectre, in the sense that he can never rest until his mission is fulfilled (or until he gains enough karma to earn redemption). Unlike those two, however, he must always inhabit a physical body, and possesses no other powers of a mystic or supernatural nature. Later on (present day times) this changes, as seen in various Hellboy stories, and he is a true ghost, but somehow still able to affect the physical world (but only to complete an unfinished mission of justice). Exactly how this situation came about, I don't pretend to know, and I may be way off-base in various details. But "Get The Lobster!" makes it clear that the connection to the pirate captain Lobster is somehow important. Also, the Lobster seems to somehow be able to survive things that should really kill a normal man, if he were a mere mortal being. I also don't know how (or even if) our pretty reporter will be able to discover or deduce these things.

        This theory would at least account for why the Lobster seems to have no life outside of being the Lobster, and why we never see his face (and I get the impression none of his helpers have seen it either). The face and the former life of the body he's currently wearing make no difference. It's just a vehicle for his mission on earth. And knowing Mike Mignola, there has to be a supernatural angle in there somewhere, apart from some of the monsters and mystic menaces the Lobster sometimes encounters in his mission of justice.
        On http://multiversitycomics.com there's a very interesting article about Lobster Johnson.
        In a nutshell, it speculates that the reason he is somewhat reckless with his own safety once justice is being dispensed is that if he is killed, he instantly possesses a dead enemy, but retains how he previously looked (so even though he had possessed someone else, he would still look the same). That would explain several instances where he likely would have died of his injuries, and it would also explain his inability to release the possessed Johann after someone other than him dispensed justice to Memnan Saa.
        Link to the article here: http://multiversitycomics.com/column...bster-johnson/

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        • #19
          Does anyone else remember the character Torch of Liberty from Seed of Destruction? He was there when Hellboy appeared, and Hellboy mentions that Torch of Liberty taught him to shoot. As far as I know, there hasn't been any other stories involving this character. He seemed to be modeled after Captain America and other patriotic superheroes. Maybe him and Sledgehammer could have a team up...

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          • #20
            Originally posted by pulphero View Post
            Look at the Shadow pulp novels, particularly the early ones where he's largely like an offstage puppeteer or a chessplayer moving his players around in a play or game. We don't spy on his inner thoughts or get an omniscient viewpoint of all of his activities. The mystery is maintained. Reader interest and imagination is engaged by speculations about origins and motives.
            In some issues The Lobster barely even appears. In The Burning Hand #1, our hero only appears in about three panels, even though the story revolves around him.
            I wonder what fans' reactions would be if something like that was done in an issue of Batman or Superman...

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
              In some issues The Lobster barely even appears. In The Burning Hand #1, our hero only appears in about three panels, even though the story revolves around him. I wonder what fans' reactions would be if something like that was done in an issue of Batman or Superman...
              Oh, they've done it at least a few times for both over the course of their long careers. Most often it's a story that's either POV of a secondary (or one-time only) character, and how Batman or Superman's actions (mostly at a distance, but sometimes they intersect, ever so briefly) affect their life. Usually it's a story whose point is to illustrate what Batman or Superman means to, or inspires in, an ordinary person, occasionally a small-time crook, but most often someone who'd be totally off the hero's radar. Other times it serves to reveal the motives of, or relationship with, one of the supporting cast, whom we don't know nearly as completely as we do Batman or Superman.

              But it's not really the same type of story, because we obviously already know much more about Batman or Superman than any person living in their universe ever could. Once you've revealed all the defining moments in their histories and become privy to all their most closely-guarded secrets, there's no going back. That bottle of "mystery", once uncapped, begins to evaporate like smoke, and you can never put it back in the bottle. Guess that's why they have to reboot the old icons every few decades. We just know too much about them, and after a while it becomes difficult to maintain a high level of reader interest.

              You'll note that Kurt Busiek uses the "outsider" or "average person" POV a lot, both in MARVELS and ASTRO CITY. That, and the large casts, keep those series interesting reading, because they're atypical for superhero comics.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
                Does anyone else remember the character Torch of Liberty from Seed of Destruction? He was there when Hellboy appeared, and Hellboy mentions that Torch of Liberty taught him to shoot. As far as I know, there hasn't been any other stories involving this character.
                Well, not in the "Mignolaverse", maybe, but the Torch of Liberty is actually John Byrne's character (created back in the day of Dark Horse's "Legend" imprint). He first appeared in DANGER UNLIMITED #1-4, then in John Byrne's BABE, then in his own one-shot special. Pretty much all in 1994.

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                • #23
                  Oh. That would explain his lack of appearances in the Mignolaverse.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                    Oh, they've done it at least a few times for both over the course of their long careers. Most often it's a story that's either POV of a secondary (or one-time only) character, and how Batman or Superman's actions (mostly at a distance, but sometimes they intersect, ever so briefly) affect their life. Usually it's a story whose point is to illustrate what Batman or Superman means to, or inspires in, an ordinary person, occasionally a small-time crook, but most often someone who'd be totally off the hero's radar. Other times it serves to reveal the motives of, or relationship with, one of the supporting cast, whom we don't know nearly as completely as we do Batman or Superman.

                    But it's not really the same type of story, because we obviously already know much more about Batman or Superman than any person living in their universe ever could. Once you've revealed all the defining moments in their histories and become privy to all their most closely-guarded secrets, there's no going back. That bottle of "mystery", once uncapped, begins to evaporate like smoke, and you can never put it back in the bottle. Guess that's why they have to reboot the old icons every few decades. We just know too much about them, and after a while it becomes difficult to maintain a high level of reader interest.

                    You'll note that Kurt Busiek uses the "outsider" or "average person" POV a lot, both in MARVELS and ASTRO CITY. That, and the large casts, keep those series interesting reading, because they're atypical for superhero comics.
                    Maybe Batman and Superman are bad examples. The Lobster is much more mysterious and lesser-known than those guys, so the effect wouldn't be the same if used in their books.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
                      Maybe Batman and Superman are bad examples. The Lobster is much more mysterious and lesser-known than those guys, so the effect wouldn't be the same if used in their books.
                      Yeah, well, the Lobster's been in what, about 2 dozen comic books total? Trust me, if the Lobster is still being published in 40 years, there probably won't be much left (if anything) that you don't know about him. He'll have hit all the story cliches by then on the way to getting there, too. You'll be able to fill your kids in on all the details of the various phases of his career - The All-New Lobster, Savage Lobster, Dark Lobster, Ultimate Lobster, his new costume(s), death of a sidekick, and the Death of the Lobster (and Return of the Lobster). When he quit and was replaced by another man (or woman) in the Lobster identity. His headquarters, vehicles, and crime-fighting gadgets. His various ancestors, and the future Lobster of 20XX. His numerous agents, living and fallen in battle. The list of crime bosses he's killed, monsters he's fought, his various mystical antagonists, along with a catalog of mystic artifacts. And so on.
                      Last edited by pulphero; 07-27-2014, 06:24 PM.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                        Yeah, well, the Lobster's been in what, about 2 dozen comic books total? Trust me, if the Lobster is still being published in 40 years, there probably won't be much left (if anything) that you don't know about him. He'll have hit all the story cliches by then on the way to getting there, too.
                        Very true. Although I seriously doubt Lobster will still be published 40 years from now. Mike Mignola has said that there are a finite number of Lobster stories because our hero's career was only about 7 or 8 years long, and we've already covered about 3 of those years.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
                          Very true. Although I seriously doubt Lobster will still be published 40 years from now. Mike Mignola has said that there are a finite nuthe mber of Lobster stories because our hero's career was only about 7 or 8 years long, and we've already covered about 3 of those years.
                          But all of that was before the movie franchise, animated cartoons, and action figure sales took off and raked in a few million off the top for Mr. Mignola.
                          You don't really think the comic books have covered everything that happened to ol' Lobby in those 3 years, do ya? Why, we haven't even had a flashback miniseries of Lobster Year One yet.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                            Yeah, well, the Lobster's been in what, about 2 dozen comic books total? Trust me, if the Lobster is still being published in 40 years, there probably won't be much left (if anything) that you don't know about him. He'll have hit all the story cliches by then on the way to getting there, too. You'll be able to fill your kids in on all the details of the various phases of his career - The All-New Lobster, Savage Lobster, Dark Lobster, Ultimate Lobster, his new costume(s), death of a sidekick, and the Death of the Lobster (and Return of the Lobster). When he quit and was replaced by another man (or woman) in the Lobster identity. His headquarters, vehicles, and crime-fighting gadgets. His various ancestors, and the future Lobster of 20XX. His numerous agents, living and fallen in battle. The list of crime bosses he's killed, monsters he's fought, his various mystical antagonists, along with a catalog of mystic artifacts. And so on.
                            It would probably be better for the character if he had a relatively small amount of stories, but very high-quality ones rather than a lot of mediocre stories. I consider myself a huge Lobster fan, but I don't want a ton of Lobster stories if they're not very good. Fortunately, nearly all of the Lobster stories so far have been great.
                            Last edited by Lobster Johnson; 07-27-2014, 07:15 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                              You don't really think the comic books have covered everything that happened to ol' Lobby in those 3 years, do ya? Why, we haven't even had a flashback miniseries of Lobster Year One yet.
                              In a way, The Burning Hand was a year one book. It was set "about a week" after Lobster's first appearance.
                              Maybe we could have a two-issue mini-series about that week, where he recruits Harry, Lester, Theo, and Max. I'd love to see him use his bi-plane before the Black Flame destroyed it, too. That plane was so cool.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Lobster Johnson View Post
                                It would probably be better for the character if he had a relatively small amount of stories, but very high-quality ones rather than a lot of mediocre stories.
                                If only comic book publishers had felt that way in the 1930s and 40s, what a different comic book industry it would be today. But a solid, high-quality seven-year run for Lobster Johnson is something to be fervently hoped for. I'd love it if Tonci Zonjic could remain to do the entire run.

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