Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go for it!

Is there a lamer catchphrase than "go for it"?
For that matter, has there ever been a less intimidating superhero than Dazzler?


I have nothing against catchphrases per se. In fact, I began this year of blogging with this very subject ("Okay; clear my calendar." ). Beyond that, I spend the better part of July looking for my own signature phrase, before adopting one from Starman as a birthday gift to myself.

Real people do, in fact, have characteristic turns of phrase, and using them is part of what make one person (or character) sound different than another. This is particularly important in a non-aural medium, where we cannot "hear" voices and must rely on their phraseology to identify them. Here's a good example of a story that takes advantage of that "flaw" in the comic book medium.
Clearly, this scene could not work this way on television or radio; you would hear Lois's voice and it would be immediately obvious that it wasn't Perry, so there would be no surprise. In comics, all unseen Lois has to do is "borrow" Perry's typical phraseology and we can't tell the difference between them.


So I'm no foe of catchphrases, and am a big fan of
signature epithets. Particular Aquaman's. You'd be surprised what an impression you can make on people with a hearty and well-timed exclamation of "Great Gastropods!" I'm pretty sure that's what aced my college interview for me.


But, as I mentioned in my original post on this subject., I detest "battlecries", a monstrously unnatural form of catchphrase almost exclusive to Marvel. Oh, DC has an occasional embarrassing anomaly like "Hawk-a-a!" or "Long Live the Legion!" But, on the whole, it's a Marvel thing to shout "It's clobberin' time!" or "Flame on!" or "Avengers assemble!" If you've ever watched Who Wants to Be A Superhero, you know that its most embarrassing moments are when artificial-hipster Stan Lee shouts "Excelsior!" in his heavy nyewyawker accent at the contestants or, even worse, makes them say it, and they all visibly cringe in mortification. Even people bold enough to parade around in spandex and capes unselfconsciously can't bear the dorkiness of Stan's "battlecry".

Dazzler's battlecry is "go for it". I mean, really. Was "hey!" already taken? Worst of all, "go for it" isn't something you say to yourself, it's something you say to other people.

So whenever Dazzler rallies to battle, she sounds like she's auditioning for a Nike commerical or High School Musical IX. Even "Time to shine!" , "It's show time!" , or "Eat light, suckers!" would have served her better.

Really, it's not Dazzler's fault; it's almost as if the Marvel staff went out of their way to make her lame.

23 comments:

totaltoyz said...

For that matter, has there ever been a less intimidating superhero than Dazzler?

Going to go with Matter Eater Lad on this one.

SallyP said...

At leastt Matter Eater Lad isn't wearing glittery rollerskates. NOBODY looks cool in rollerskates, not even Iron Man.

Brushwood said...

I think of Matter Eater Lad on the cartoon, silent with the sunglasses and cocky grin, like he's about to chomp on something that belongs to you and you have no idea what, and he will ENJOY it.

Well it intimidates me, anyway...

Dan said...

For that matter, has there ever been a less intimidating superhero than Dazzler?

Hrm. That train of thought led me to wondering what an Uncle Marvel Vertigo series would look like. .

totaltoyz said...

Now, don't be hating on Uncle Marvel! This is the man who defeated Black Adam! TWICE!

Anonymous said...

Technically, the Phantom Stranger isn't the slightest bit "intimidating". He will kick your ass, but he's not intimidating.

Mela said...

This blog post and its earlier summaries remind me of a worse one: "Get - Into - The - Groove."

I wish he sang the rest of the song. Then it might've been non-sequitar cool.

Michael said...

B'wana Beast? Ma Hunkel? The Byrne-era Wonder Girl? Or how about Eel O'Brian's kid, Offspring?

Also not indimidating: Power Pack and their silly alien horse, except for Katie Power. She's a bad ass (see Uncanny X-Men #206).

You know who is intimidating? Crazy Jane.

Oh, and any of the archers, even the new Speedy. Are you really gonna rush someone who's got a compound bow aimed at you from fifteen feet away?

JonnyQuest037 said...

But... but... "Go For It" was the battlecry of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. And if that's lame, then my entire childhood is a lie.

MaGnUs said...

Scipio, you're forgetting DC's other battlecry "TITANS... TOGETHER!"

Anonymous said...

Brushwood, that was the best desciption of matter-eater lad ever.

Scipio, you're usually right but
you're just too hard on Marvel. If they invited you over for dinner, paid the bill, and tucked you in at night you'd complain about the color of the sheets.

How about Robin for least intimidating? He's 14 in green underwear.

Anonymous said...

I'd be intimidated by a kid who routinely jumps into grown gangsters' asses. (Check the 1940s covers of Batman.) Kid will give you hemorrhoids! I'd be afraid, very afraid.

And knowing Marvel you would have to wait for four weeks for the main course so the presentation would be just right...

Dave said...

I've always heard about Dazzler fighting Galactus. Unfortunately, it probably didn't work like this:

--

Page N, Panel 1: DAZZLER rushes out the backstage exit into the dark, dirty alley, sobbing.

Dazzler: Those dirty RATS! Now everyone is just TAPING my ALBUMS for FREE!

Panel 2: Close-up on DAZZLER's tear-stained, emo face.

Dazzler: Now I'll NEVER be able to AFFORD Aunt June's MEDICINE!

Panel 3: High above Dazzler, a vast figure hovers in the air -- GALACTUS, vast and immortal world-eater!

Caption: {see panel description}

Panel 4: GALACTUS illuminates Dazzler with a light from over-head. She turns, blinking at the space-god.

Dazzler: Look! -- A spotlight! I'll let my music do the talking!

Panel 5: A close-up on Galactus's face as he listens to Dazzler's sad, sad song just for her alone.

Panel 6: Like Panel 5. A single tear falls down Galactus' cheek.

--

For one thing, I'll bet it took longer.

Allan said...

Aum, Anonymous (if I can call you Anonymous--please forgive me if you think it too familiar), but have you actually seen the colour of Marvel's bedsheets? I lack the vocabulary to identify it by its proper name, but I think "Fluorescent Puke" best does it justice. Anyone who can spend a night under those covers and NOT complain is entirely devoid of aesthetic judgment.

I suppose I could now go on to suggest that such lack of discernment goes hand in hand with being a fan of the output of a certain comic book publishing company, but I won't.

I'll merely imply it instead.

totaltoyz said...

On the subject of Matter Eater Lad, I've just never understood how the ability to eat anything would be any good in a fight.

"Ha! Pull a gun on me, would you? I'll just eat it! Hold still while I take a bite..."
BANG!
"Ow...."

Brushwood said...

I'd imagine ME-L would be useful testing for poison, since he can apparently process anything. Drugs probably wouldn't affect him, neither would alcohol. He's like a living Mr. Fusion machine.

He's usually shown with the ability to bite though anything, so I guess he's got a super-strong jaw and teeth..?

totaltoyz said...

I'd imagine ME-L would be useful testing for poison, since he can apparently process anything. Drugs probably wouldn't affect him, neither would alcohol.

Then how is it an effective test? If a Twinkie laced with PCP wouldn't affect him any more adversely than the standard Yellow Dye #5, how would you know it's tainted?

Harvey Jerkwater said...

What would be a good disco-based battle cry?

"It's raining JUSTICE!"

"Lady Marmalade's gonna jam!"

"Je n'attendrai plus!"

"Prepare to be...HUSTLED!"

Perhaps there is no "good disco-based battle cry."

Disco. Yeeg. Were I a super-villain and confronted by Dazzler, I'd probably surrender immediately rather than risk a fight with a Georgio Moroder soundtrack.

Scipio said...

I really like "it's raining justice".

totaltoyz said...

What would be a good disco-based battle cry?

"Fly, Dazzler, fly!"

"It's Boogeyin' Time!"

"For truth, justice, and white leisure suits!"

"You're gonna stay at the J-A-I-L!"

"Up, up, and par-tay!"

God, I need help.....

Josh said...

Lamer catchphrase? How about "Bring it on", "There you go again", or "This will not stand"? Republican presidents, your endless fount of lame catchphrases.

Mela said...

I'd imagine ME-L would be useful testing for poison, since he can apparently process anything. Drugs probably wouldn't affect him, neither would alcohol. He's like a living Mr. Fusion machine.

Actually, one of the earlier Legion archives has a story where MEL is used just that way - he's part of a group stranded on an alien planet, and he taste-tests stuff to make sure it's safe for everyone else to eat. He's like a superheroic Beefeater.

Scipio said...

Very good point, josh.