Physics Phail

August 13th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

Fine, I know, spelling fail, too.  Still.

In comics there are a lot of situations in which characters of wildly different sizes fight.  Lilliputian characters will go up against regular-sized people, or normal people will fight fee-fie-foe-fum-style giants.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes these fights will contain knock-out punches delivered by the smaller character.

Imagine a fist smashing into your face, hard enough to knock you out.

Now imagine a something the size of a pen cap smash into your face at the same speed as a punch.  Now imagine a pen-tip.  A needle tip.

Yes, it would depend on the thickness of the relative giant’s skin, and the amount of momentum behind the punch.  But if you see Wonder Woman punch Giganta, Giganta shouldn’t fall down, she should be stabbed through the cheek.

I would think this would appeal to some of the gore-loving creators.  Think of a super-speed-powered character punching a giant foe again and again, ripping holes into the skin, the hero’s arms dripping with capillary fragments and subcutaneous fat, until the giant character was just one walking blood-fountain.  Very Ennis, no?  Or do I mean Ellis?

Well, I imagine they’d both like it.

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6 comments to “Physics Phail”

  1. This actually came up in The Irredeemable Ant-Man. The protagonist punches a guy in the neck, and is greeted with a font of arterial spray.

  2. It’s a fine line. Certainly smaller characters really shouldn’t have a chance against people of similar fighting experience, but for the sake of character variety in the story and because the “surprise in size” can be a neat visual trope.

    But yeah, I don’t really care if a giant robot’s entire body falls to the ground even if it was only hit in the jaw by Superman’s tiny tiny fist. Superhero fights have always been kinetic fights, where primary action deals with being thrown around, pushed back, whipped around by a right hook, or shoved through three layers of drywall. Perhaps this was started to let people have their violent cake and eat it too, but the fact is that these forms of character movement are a defined aspect of the genre. From what I read, you probably agree.

    But yeah, if superpowers are taken to their realistic end, then fights would logically be as gory as hell. Many writers and artists have done this to excellent effect. Look at Invincible, for example. It’s just not the mainstream expectation, unless someone’s trying to make a point of “serious moment” or “I’m writing Superboy Prime.”

  3. @Munch: I do a rant with DC characters only to find Marvel has gotten there first. It shames me.

    @Dane: It’s true. And I don’t even want realism in my comics. Don’t know why this bugs me so much.

  4. I remember a black and white indie comic from the 90s (I think) that featured ‘realistic’ super hero physics, such as a punch froma superman analogue knocking someone’s jaw clean off their face and other such niceties. Can’t recall the name of it, but saw a lot of talk in Wizard and other comic related places back before the internet was all the rage.

  5. I think they did the small-flying-hero-as-projectile-against-giant thing in Authority (after Warren Ellis, when they go up against the other super-hero analogues) and Ultimates 2 (both Mark Millar).

    I think.

  6. I think issue 2 of Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye had something similar as well, in a scene that’s sort of a parody of ‘violent gore-as-fist pumpingly awesome’ material.