Sunday, April 05, 2009

Marvelous thoughts

Courtesy of Brainfreeze:

If this is timed for July 4th, I might be able to keep my ice cream money.

And if we're reading this promotional stuff right, I hope Bucky goes back to being Winter Soldier rather than some silly new identity. Winter Soldier is actually a pretty good codename, considering the alternatives, and I absolutely adore that character design. Honestly, I wish he'd wear his Winter Soldier outfit and just use the shield more often.


A conversation on Twitter about X-Men merchandise led to the realization that Wolverine is the Lancelot of the X-Men. This probably isn't anything original, but those of you who haven't seen it come up should consider these three points:

-- Lancelot was added in the 12th Century to a mythos that dates back to the 5th Century.
-- Wolverine was added in the 70s to a franchise created in the 60s.

-- Lancelot's romantic plotline includes many women (most named Elaine), but revolves around a mutual attraction with Guinevere, who is married to the King.
-- Wolverine's romantic plotline includes many women, but revolves around a mutual attraction with Jean, who is married to the team leader.

-- Lancelot is a Frenchman in an English court.
-- Wolverine is a Canadian on a US team.

-- Lancelot periodically goes off wandering to avoid being tempted by the Queen. At least once he went crazy and lived in the woods like a wild animal.
-- Wolverine periodically goes off wandering into other people's books. At least once he went feral lived in the woods on the schoolyard grounds like a wild animal.

-- Lancelot is now such a central character that a King Arthur movie or book without Lancelot is almost unthinkable.
-- Wolverine is now such a central character that not only is an X-Men team without Wolverine is almost unthinkable, he has to guest-star in every comic Marvel publishes. Hell, they once did a whole month where everyone just fought Wolverine! He was in the fricking Invaders that month!

I'm certain we can find more if we tried.


And finally, I'm more extensively annoyed at Marvel over on Robot 6. Enjoy.


  1. Re. Wolverine as Lancelot I'd have to quibble on a few points (although I'll leave aside the probably insoluble question of how old the Arthurian myth really is, since that does not significantly alter the fact that Lancelot is a later addition):

    Re. Lancelot/Guinevere/Arthur and Logan/Jean/Scott there are some not insignificant differences: most of the Jean/Logan stuff actually happened before Jean and Scott got married, even before they were formally engaged. And Scott is not the Arthur figure of the X-Men mythos, Charles Xavier is.

    Lancelot was not an alien figure at Arthur's court because he came from the continent, and he certainly was not a Frenchman at an English court. "France" did not yet exist in Arthur's day, and he fought all his life to prevent England (the land of the Anglo-Saxon invaders in Britain) from becoming a reality. At the time when Lancelot was added, nearly half of France belonged to the Norman and Plantagenet rulers of England and Arthur was seen as the ruler of a kingdom spanning both sides of the Channel (and according to Geoffrey of Monmouth Arthur's grandfather Constantine came from Brittany). This English/French dichotomy is more a later reinterpretation, a product of Englishmen (descendants of Arthur's enemies) trying to claim the Arthurian myth as their own and in particular to deny its continental roots (Breton folk tradition and the continental writers basing themselves on it). I don't really see Lancelot as more of a stranger at Arthur's court

    Also, I am not so sure if King Arthur movies or books without Lancelot are as unthinkable as an X-Men movie without Wolverine. At least I recall with fondness the TV series "Arthur of the Britons" with Oliver Tobias.

  2. Other ways in which Logan is like Lancelot (apart from both beginning with the letter L):

    - Lancelot can defeat any other knight (with one minor exception, Galahad, when a later writer wanted to validate his pet character)
    - Logan is the best there is at what he does, apparently able to defeat even Galactus mano a mano if need be (with a few minor exceptions, often also to validate a writer's pet character, e.g. Gambit (who also starts with "Ga-", hmmmm).

    - Lancelot tries and sometimes fails to live up to the code of honour of chivalry.
    - Logan tries to but not always lives up to the samurai code of honour.

  3. If it's not a SPECIAL July issue, and just comes out July 4th, you still lose. I'm not letting you cheat me out of ice-cream.

  4. I've gotten to the point where I can no longer take Lancelot seriously anymore, because I now always picture him in my head as John Cleese in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where he runs through the castle slaughtering everyone, and then sheepishly apologizes afterwards.

    To me,...that's Lancelot. AND Logan.

  5. Menshevik: It's kind of bad form to tell someone to lighten the fuck up on their own damn blog.

  6. Lancelot is, like, one of the earliest Marty Stu characters.

    He's the result of French writers rewriting the whole canon to make *their* hero the main character. (I don't agree with Menshevik- I've no doubt that Chretien De Troyes and other French writers of the time saw him as a French hero- because characters from 'the Matter of Britain' cross over into 'the Matter of France' (Charlemagne, Roland and so on), so it's clear that they weren't concerned with historical accuracy.)

    Also, I'm convinced that later, English writers had no idea that Lancelot wasn't a part of the original canon.