Thursday, February 16, 2006

Could Vibe Dance?

I'm sorry, people, but...


how can you not love Vibe after seeing this? Teasing lunkheaded Steel while dancing behind his back in genie pants and a cut-off tee? Priceless.

There's not enough dancing in comics nowadays. Heroes used to dance all the time; when did we all become so serious, so ashamed, that we became embarrassed about dancing? Nowadays, readers lap it up when characters hump, shoot, decapitate, or yell at one another. Is dancing so much more horrible?

Poor Vibe was the scapegoat for this Unnatural Fear of Looking Foolish. Vibe had no fear of looking foolish (as his outfits would suggest). He had no fear of confronting Aquaman, Batman, or Green Arrow. For pity's sake, I'm surprise the Guardians didn't give HIM the ring (y ahora yo soy ... La Lanterna Verde!)

But instead of praising a hero who inspired us by being unafraid, we damned him for not validating our fears of our bete noirs (like Batman and dancing). Oh, the terpsichorean tragedy. So we killed the Sensational Character Find of 1984, Vibe the laughing young daredevil in his ridiculous red, yellow, and green costume. Boy, I'm glad we humorless readers weren't around in 1940; if we had been, "Robin" would be the answer to a trivia question by now, wouldn't he?

When comics were written for fun-loving kids, readers thrilled when their heroes didn't take themselves or what they were doing too seriously. That's why heroes made jokes when they fought, because that's how confident and unashamed they were. That's what being cool was. We didn't need our heroes to take themselves seriously in order for us to do so; quite the opposite.

But now that comics are written for painfully self-conscious adults, desperate to be taken seriously, and to have their prefered reading material taken seriously, heroes must be dour. Our superheroes used to enjoy their jobs; now it seems like a punishment (wow; how very Marvelesque!). Kids try to have fun every day; adults seem satisfied if they can make it through the day on grim determination and a sense of purpose.

Terry Sloane loved having the opportunity to put his talents to use for society's benefit; Michael Holt seems like he's been sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Plastic Man (friggin' Plastic Man!!!) struggles with being an out of wedlock father, Blue Devil wears black leather, Zatanna is a mindraper/mindscraper, Detective Chimp has a drinking problem, the Elongated Man's wife is raped and killed, Flash's Rogues now include a psychokiller who cuts out people's tongues, Aquaman is wielding a sword instead of embarrassing people with the clever use of electric eels.

Why? Because we killed Vibe, because he could dance.

26 comments:

Vincent J. Murphy said...

Well, we did kill off Robin, too. :) Just later.

Sharif said...

I never even knew Vibe and now I miss him :(

Bill Meisel said...

"La Laterna Verde" -- boy, Hal Jordan must really rock in spanish!

Anonymous said...

Am I nuts in thinking that a comic teaming up Vibe and the Thing would be unspeakably great?

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Am I nuts in thinking that a comic teaming up Vibe and the Thing would be unspeakably great?

No, no, you're absolutely correct.

That'd be an awful lot of awesome for one comic, though. Might blow the staples off.

Now, you may ask yourself: Can the Thing dance?

Silly person. Of course he can. Not well, but yes. Just keep him out of any mosh pits.

David Campbell said...

I like how Vibe's dialogue is all done phonetically, kind of like Chris Claremont's dialogue for Rogue. "Hey, meng, chu want to watch me break dance for chu, meng?"

Anonymous said...

Actually that would be:
"La Linterna Verde"
thus concludes today's anal retentive moment

Mike Loughlin said...

Scipio,

Can Kyle Rayner dance (or has that been answered already)? We know he goes to "raves," but that's not *really* dancing.

Can J'Onn J'Onzz dance? I say: yes he can, but he just won't. Dancing is one of those human things aliens find illogical. Like Hawkman and doors.

Most importantly-

Can Orca the Whalewoman dance?

ostrakos said...

Why does Vibe sneeze so much?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that one writer had J'onn doing some freaky shapeshifting meditation dance-thing once...

Kris

Bully said...

Less than a week until Vibe: The Movie, Meng! opens! I'm fetching my lawn chair and getting in line now.

Scipio said...

"Can Kyle Rayner dance"
Yes. See previous post on "Can Kyle Rayner Dance?", with evidentiary picture.

"Can J'Onn J'Onzz dance? "
I know the answer to this, but I'm prepared to share it just yet.

"Can Orca the Whalewoman dance?"
No. Remember, when not whalified, she's wheelchair bound.

" Why does Vibe sneeze so much?"
Vibe actually DOES suffer from hayfever bad enough to nearly debilitate him during the League's Canadian wilderness adventure. Zatanna had to protect him from pollen with a spell. Really.

Adam said...

The dour comment hits home. Check out ANY action figure released in the last ten years. When I was a kid (yeah, shut up) you could tell who were the bad-guy toys by whether they were frowning or not. Now they ALL frown. Or grimace.

J'onn J'onzz said...

Of course I can dance! Since I'm no longer posting Tooth here look on fanfiction.net under DC superheroes for updates on his ongoing saga.

Devon said...

I love Vibe's t-shirt, "Numero Uno," indeed.

Reverb had one that said "Dos Equis."

philip said...

And now I know where Hank Azaria got the idea for his character in "The Bird Cage." Sweet.

totaltoyz said...

When I was a kid (yeah, shut up) you could tell who were the bad-guy toys by whether they were frowning or not.

Must have been before (or after) I was a kid. In the Age of Mego, a lot of the bad-guy action figures grinned; Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Mxyzptlk, Green Goblin...

Diamondrock said...

When I was a lad all the villains had skulls for faces. And the heroes all had Prince Valiant haircuts.

Made things real simple...

carla said...

Preach on, brother. Preach on.

Martin Wisse said...

Vibe died for our sins.

I can see a Thing and Vibe comic, with the gruff and loveable Thing going to some sort of high muckity-muck society due with Alica, getting snubbed and storming off to some low end dive, only to bump into the breakdancing marvel of the eighties.

Mistaken identities result in a fight, the heroes realise their mistake and team up and the true villian, some onehsot wonder, is given his comeuppance.

The story ends with the Thing breakdancing himself, of course.

Mike Loughlin said...

Scipio & all,

Thank you for the answers (including those yet to come). I can go on with my life now. My wife and son will be pleased.

Re J'Onn & freaky shapeshift dance: was that during the Martian Manhunter limited series? If so, it doesn't count. Mark Badger made every character look like they're doing a freaky shape-shift dance.

Sleestak said...

Check out Birds of Prey 91. Is it just me or do the new members of the Royal Flush Gabg have costumes patterned after Vibe's?

Adam said...

how about a Vibe and Dazzler team-up!

Martin said...

Michael Holt has his reasons!

Citizen Scribbler said...

Hey all,

For a second time, I'm breaking my rule of not commenting before reading through the whole blog, but I just wanted to point out...

How come Orca can't dance because she's in a wheelchair? I'm not a roller myself, but I daresay plenty of folks confined to wheelchairs know how to bust a move.

Don't try to tell me Oracle and The Chief can't dance, 'cause I ain't buyin' it.

-Citizen Scribbler

Kristian said...

It can't really have success, I feel so.
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