Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by Autovolt 127, Oct 15, 2015.
And Jimmy's projecting again
That's not problem with Robert's writing, but with an arguably twisted perception in the part of the fandom, something that puzzled me from a long time how much massacre and wrongdoings people can accept coming from characters and still not get the hint that they're supposed to be villains.
My favorite and serial nitpick with lack of understanding of the full monstrosity of the Decepticonism doctrine and this freakin moral relativism - nobody even tried to put themselves into shoes of their victims... Dunno. Maybe I can get it better because I come from the country that for decades was uder the totalitarian doctrine and while we still had it better than people in countries like North Korea it wasn't anything nice.
But you can't say that Roberts gave absolutely no hints how to read these guys.
The problem is, you are talking about the same subset in the fandom who's seriously rooting for the DJD and has an "AWWW!!!" reaction when they show any kind of higher feelings.
That the same people can't get how wrong are the Scavengers does not surprise me at all. I don't know what Roberts should do to change it, given this audience.
Short of putting a huge big caption box over the head of every character with red "WARNING, BAD GUY, DO NOT LIKE" inside.
But he wants you to like them. They're the protagonists of the story. He's not asking for their actions to be condoned, but you are supposed to be invested in them just like every other bad guy who's ever been a protagonist. Vince Vega and Jules Winnfield are terrible people who do terrible things, you're still supposed to like them.
Was Burgess really trying to make his protagonists likeable in the Clockwork Orange?
Then there's a thing that Roberts is British, so it may be a very black comedy approach. You're not really supposed to like Mr Bean, for an example.
Or even Al Bundy and his ilk... Taking it to the US side.
It also can be "let's watch the trainwreck" kind of writing.
But then there's another thing with Roberts kiiinda falling into the trap of his own overenthusiasm (is this even a word?) on Twitter. I get that he loves writing and he's happy, but he could use this feed to communicate his intentions in a more clear way when he was at it, just to stay on the safe side.
I'm sorry but I legitimately don't know how I'm supposed to read these guys, because the Lost Light has characters like Whirl on it, and Rodimus who tastelessly brags about the fact that Thunderclash is about to die.
Roberts has a SERIOUS issue with balancing how sympathetic we're supposed to treat "comedic sociopath" (a term I don't like btw) characters, and it plays a role here.
And even without that... the story is STILL concerned more with the Scavengers. Who are comparatively better abled than Grimlock and "functional". The fact that Grimlock is a plot device and not a character is still a factor.
Just because they're the protagonists doesn't mean he wants you to like them. All he's doing is showing you that they're not 100% cartoony evil like characters usually are in bad old cartoons.
Or do you think you're supposed to like the Child rapist and murderer from Spawn, just because he got a single issue in which he was the protagonist and showed that he had other concerns and not just raping and killing children?
Or what about everyone's current favorite Game of Thrones, that series often shows the world from the perspective of utter monsters and give a more realistic look on them as persons.
FFS, these are the people who would cheer for Hitler and love him if they read Mein Kampf, because it's from his perspective and shows you how he sees the world and how he wants to "save" Germany.
Meanwhile, in MTMTE, you're made to feel for the guy who murdered billions of his own people and organics. And the emphasis is on what a tragic character he is. Solidly.
So yeah, there's PLENTY of reason why one would assume he wants you to like the Scavengers.
Yeah, that's the thing I can't get behind no matter how hard writers are trying. I really don't care how sorry Megatron feels. Or even how justified Prowl was.
Put an energon charge between their optics and call it a day.
Playing Magneto simply doesn't work here.
Can't comment on the Spawn issue as eww, Spawn.
But Ice and Fire? Damn right. People love the incestuous, oath-breaking, child-paralyzer. He's likable. So is the patricidal, whoring, drunkard. So is the pre-pubescent, murderous sociopath. I coudl go go on. Ice and Fire is not where you want to go to if you want to give an example of terrible people who should not be liked and cheered for.
This is baffling stuff, really. You guys do realise that it's both (a) possible, and (b) eminently responsible on any author's part, to write about characters who are sympathetic at the same time as being morally reprehensible? Out-and-out villains are lots of fun, sure, in the same way shooting baddies in games is fun - because it's purest fantasy.
But if author or audience is remotely interested in the nature of evil - and the *fact* that good people, in the right circumstances, are capable of terrible actions - you have to have villains and killers you can sympathise with. That's why even Overlord looks pitiable for a moment when his life's quest looks like it has ended in failure.
And if you're having trouble knowing how sympathetic someone like Whirl is 'supposed' to be, that's kind of the point. I mean, that's good writing. You're not supposed to have some easy signal as to whether he's OK really, just a bit of a manic, or actually a complete shit. As a reader, you ought to feel conflicted about someone like that. You ought to simultaneously feel affection/sympathy and disgust. The point is that the guy is seriously fucked up.
Same with the Scavengers, really. Imagine a story about a group of low-ranking thuggish soldiers in the German army in the 1940s who are sort of working out/facing up to the fact that they were the Nazis all along. They knew they were a bit dickish, sure, but that was against the background of it all being for a decent cause. Because the truly scary thing about Nazism isn't reflected in the villains from Indiana Jones movies - it's that most of its supporters were ordinary people who got round to thinking that fascism was a worthy cause to be fighting for.
So yes, of course Roberts wants you to like the Scavengers. He also wants you to be aware that they are awful people who have done - and will continue to do - awful things. He probably wants you to want them to be better than they are.
I've read back a bit further now into this argument for context, and see that Da_Razosaw's main point is this:
I disagree. It's a story about both. When Misfire says, "Who hurt you, buddy?" and when we get a clear visual of Grimlock's face, when he writes his name on the board - at these points, we, the audience, are thinking about Grimlock, what he's going through. We are trying to imagine what might have happened in Garrus-9, what's going on inside his head, wondering whether he's painfully aware of his own limitations, or simply horribly confused.
There's simply no way that this part of the story is told simply from Misfire's POV. The great thing about comics is that the attention of the audience can be flipped rapidly yet fluidly, and we get our visual and verbal cues to put ourselves in both these characters' shoes.
This. It's center on what happened to Grimlock when he was Garrus 9. Misfire said Grimlock was gone. Just gone not even missing or killed. Fortress Max can be a trigger for Grimlock some how it is not a warm fuzzy reunions.
You know, I think all I can really add to this conversation at this point is that, well, I know some of you are going off about how Roberts was "harassed" and "censored" and driven into hiding and such, but uhh... He hasn't been. Said so himself tonight:
The bolding is my own addition, of course. But seriously, it looks like a lot of people have jumped the gun to defend a man that didn't really need defending, and they did so in some of the most insulting ways, including genuinely harassing those who posted even the mildest criticism ("I'm disappointed in you" and such is not exactly scathing harassment) of Robert's original tweet. Especially since, well, a lot of people replying to that post who didn't think it was an offensive joke ALSO took it as a joke--something that Roberts clarified was the complete opposite of his intent--as you can see for yourself in the comments.
So yeah, a lot of the white-knighting going on looks to be misplaced, as from that response it seems more that Roberts was just kinda sad that some people took his tweet the wrong way and stepped away for a few days to think things over.
What I don't really get is how people think Grimlock is anywhere close to being on the same level in terms of mental illness as they are in real life. Having a mental illness does not make you a delegate for all people with mental illnesses. Grimlock can't speak, nor read, nor control his bodily functions. He cannot even comprehend what is going on, or what it even means to be "sold" for profit. If you're reading this sentence, you're more likely to be able to relate to Misfire (who has the Cybertronian equivalent of ADD if I recall) than to Grimlock. In this kind of scenario, it is almost impossible to make the comic "about him", because he does not have the capabilities to offer anything to the discussion taking place. If Misfire were to go "Wait, what does Grimlock think?" It would cut to him just sitting there; staring at them. And to think Grimlock would want to make any decision other than staying with the Scavengers is just stupid, so there really shouldn't be any reason for debate. There are some great stories out there depicting characters with Autism and Aspergers, but Grimlock, in the state he is written in, is not that character, and to make the story from his POV would be basically fruitless for people reading the comic with mental illness and without.
The story isn't about making us feel bad for Misfire or Krok for having to deal with someone like Grimlock. Granted the first scene is definitely about someone with no experience dealing with someone like Grimlock attempting to learn how to deal with someone like Grimlock, but in the scene everyone is talking about, it is blatantly obvious that what Krok is suggesting is being made out to be baaaad. Misfire and Fulcrum, despite one being a druggy and the other a racist, are in the right here. They recognize that Grimlock is a sentient being and deserves to be treated like one, while the others are no better than the sort of ableist assholes that exist in the real world. THAT is the argument being made. That people like Grimlock do not deserve to be treated any less than a human being. Not that they should or could be sold, as some people have misinterpreted it.
So it is either A: a cliche focusing on interactions between neurotypical people (who aren't even that neurotypical) in regards to the one with the mental illness, or B: A story about how neurotypical people mistreat those with mental illness and why this is wrong.
Up to you I guess.
I have a cousin that's a lot like Grimlock. He cannot speak, he has no concept of social convention (he doesn't know not to shout when other people are talking), he can read a little with help, and he needs assistance in almost all of his daily activities. That said he is the greatest painter I've ever known personally. I think he's reaching his fourties in a couple of years. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is if my aunt or uncle suggested selling him I would be horrified and disgusted. And that's the reaction James is striving for here. People like my cousin and Grimlock live in completely different worlds from us. They aren't lesser, as characters like Krok would believe, but they are impossible to negotiate or have a conversation with when their minds are wired with their social side shut-off (or in Grimlock's case, until they get better. But that's not going to be the case for a lot of people in real life). So yeah, as someone who's been around people like Grimlock, I found the entire situation both powerful and progressive. But that's me.
EDIT: Reading Focksbot's post, I do have to admit that I felt quite a bit for Grimlock in that scene. But it was there that I found the circumstances to be perfect; like with Misfire asking 'who did this to you'. It shows just how far Grimlock has changed from what his reputation had described him as.
Yeah. While there was definitely some guilt-tripping going on, this is a pretty sad fact. Those posts going around trying to "dox" Roberts' "bullies" aren't any better than those who harass people over small trivialities like, well, like the sort of examples presented in this thread.
Misfire's ADD a doesn't count as representation. It's invisible in the story itself and relegated to side profiles.
It's better than nothing, but also next to nothing.
Hidden disability doesn't count as disability? Really?
Hmm... Now i'm confused. He wrote about being hurt that he received all those tweets, but now say he doesn't feel harassed. I guess some of my fellow posters were correct. Mountain meet molehill.
I still maintain that the reaction that the comic received was crazy.
I'm going to echo this one.
Actually it played a role in the Scavengers game where he could not focus on the task at hand when Spinister got drop on him.
Really hidden disabilities don't matter go walk a mile in that person's shoes who has it.
Oh for the love of.
There's a difference between a hidden disability, one that you can't tell someone has visibly or through immediate interaction, and a disability that's hidden from the audience to the point it's irrelevant and doesn't speak towards representation.
DC could come out tomorrow and say Superman has a learning disability and it'd mean NOTHING if they don't portray it in the actual story.
My brother and I are both on the autism spectrum and my sister has ADHD. Don't try to play "gotcha" with this.
No one is playing anything. Do you need a big red arrow over a character saying DISABILITY for it to be part of the story? We have enough to extrapolate that he does have something, else we wouldn't be having this conversation. Your Superman example is not at all analogous. One of the things MTMTE does well is organically introduce characters without saying 'and now, here's your token ADHD'. Can be read either as a) they're being treated like normal people or b) their disabilities are being glossed over and ignored in-universe. Or both. But to say Misfire doesn't count because the book didn't dedicate 20 pages to spell out his disability and the impact it has on his every day life is silly in a book FULL of characters with in-your-face PTSD at a minimum.
Separate names with a comma.