nemo's heart

anonymous asked:

Speaking of Tom Swift. I don't think Alan Moore thinks too highly of him. I just finished Nemo: Heart Of Ice (which is a spinoff of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Swift (spelt Swyfte to avoid copyright infringement) is a thoroughly unlikable character.

Jean Luc Godard once said that the only way to critique a movie is by making another movie.

That said, I have a hard time seeing how Alan Moore got the idea that Tom Swift was an arrogant egotist. I have no idea where this characterization came from. In the stories I’ve read, Tom Swift, if anything, seemed downright underconfident. He deferred a lot to older authority figures like his parents or Wakefield Damon, he often hesitated before taking certain actions. In fact, the number one thing I remember from these stories is that there were just endless scenes of Tom Swift getting pep talks about courage from a wise Dad. I spent the majority of my time reading Tom Swift stories waiting for him to cowboy up, and do the big boy stuff he’s gotta do.

If you wanted to make Tom Swift unsavory or vaguely villainous, a more logical “in character” way to do it is to make him a dupe of smarter, more Machiavellian evil people who are exploiting Tom for his genius, and who manipulate him by flattering his need for a wise father figure to listen to.

Alan Moore has a tendency to do commentary on a character that never existed. For example, I have absolutely no idea what his Supergirl commentary character Suprema is making fun of, because Supergirl never had a prudish, snotty, catty personality (hell, she had tons of boyfriends), Supergirl was always tough and strong-willed and smart and was never a Gidget-esque ditz who chased after teen idols and used words like “dreamy,” and heck, while we’re at it, she was never even a teenager for all that long: she was enrolled in college as early as 1964. Supergirl was a grown woman in her 20s with a career for the majority of her existence. The worst part is that because of Suprema, this became the canon interpretation of classic Supergirl for close to a decade (for instance, witness Peter David’s revival of Kara Zor-El, where she lived in Disneyland and said “golly”).

It’s interesting, one of the text stories in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen featured John Carter of Mars as a Gaston-esque alpha dog who had disdain for his descendant Randolph Carter for failing at his standards of masculinity. I remember being incredibly disturbed by this, because this characterization didn’t ring false! Everyone is an asshole or if you catch us on the right day. Still, I do vastly prefer the take in L. Sprague de Camp’s Sir Harold of Zodanga stories where they said that John Carter’s greatest skill wasn’t in swordfighting but in diplomacy and politics, getting sworn enemies to make peace and fight alongside each other.