Tag Archives: Magnus

Ten Types of Literary Conflict Table

Ten Types of Conflict Table

Introduction

Aristotle posited four types of conflict. Three types were external including man versus man, man versus nature and man versus society. Aristotle treated internal conflict as a category in its own right and this internal conflict is generally labeled as man versus self. This is an attempt to revamp Aristotle’s thesis and suggest there are actually five major conflictual topics and each topic can have an external versus internal perspective.

1) Man versus machine (external) – Character is in a struggle against a robot and/or computer. The Terminator franchise and the comic book hero Magnus, Robot Hunter would be examples of this type of conflict.

2) Man versus machine (internal) – The character is a cyborg and struggles to maintain a human identity despite the computer implants in their brain. Deathlok and the Robocop franchise are both examples of this type of struggle. The converse version of this type of conflict is a robot that strives to be human. Data of Star Trek would be an example of this type of struggle.

3) Man versus man (external) – The character struggles against another character or characters. A common subset is good versus evil. Batman versus the Joker would be an example of this sort of struggle. The struggle may have psychological accents but is mostly physical.

4) Man versus man (internal) – The struggle between the characters is not physical but psychological. A good example of this sort of struggle is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf by Edward Albee.  Commonly a character has a psychological problem that causes conflict with the other characters this problem can be alcoholism, neurosis, a personality disorder, or even a character flaw. The conflict is internal but the audience see’s the manifestation of the internal struggle via the effect of this conflict on other characters. Watching an alcoholic talking to himself in a room is a lot less fun to watch than watching an alcoholic at his birthday party.

5) Man versus nature (external) – The character struggle against the forces of nature. The Old Man and the Sea is an example of this sort of struggle.

6) Man versus nature (internal) – The character struggles with the animal within. The protagonist of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes must inevitably follow the dictates of social Darwinism in order to survive. There is an animal inside man and in the struggle with nature this animal may have to be unleashed for us to survive. Some Vampires may want to control their thirst for blood but the animal within is too strong. The humanity of the vampire in conflict with the vampiric urges of the vampire seems to be a recurring conflict in the works of Anne Rice and this is especially true in the case of her character Louis de Pointe du Lac.

7) Man versus society (external) – The character struggles against an authoritarian system physically (The Hunger Games).

8) Man versus society (internal) – The character resists the socialization, institutionalization, seduction or even brainwashing of an authoritarian system. Joker in Heavy Metal Jacket takes part of collective punishment to Pyle and becomes part of the system he had previously derided. Chief accepts the system in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Chief is huge yet chooses not to talk because his shackles are internal not external. The character struggles not to become institutionalized or socialized but the struggle may in turn make the character more ruthless and similar to those in the system.

The external struggle against society and the internal struggle are juxtaposed in the theme that “He who fights dragons becomes a dragon”. In Star Wars the empire provides external conflict. The Sith Lords provide external conflict with light saber duels but more importantly the Sith Lords endeavor to create anger in the Jedi and cause them to fall to the Dark Side.

9) Man versus universe (external) – The character is in a struggle against cosmic level forces such as the supernatural (The Shining), fate (Slaughterhouse Five) or even God (A Canticle for Leibowitz). Lovecraftian horror is also an example of this type of struggle but the struggle has a large internal dimension. The most common version of this cosmic level struggle is actually not with God but with the Devil in deals with the devil stories. Man is hopelessly outmatched in terms of power in this type of struggle and cannot win via power but must rely on his wits and/or luck.

The realization that the universe is absurd is generally treated as an existential crisis that falls under is (5) man versus self. However, in some cases the universe is absurd due to an external cosmic level change. The very nature of reality has altered due to unknown and often unknowable mechanisms. The TV show The Twilight Zone specialized in this type of man versus universe scenario. In the very first episode of The Twilight Zone, Where is Everybody?, a man finds himself alone in a town. All the people have mysteriously disappeared. Rod Serling, the writer bothers to come up with an “explanation” of why there are no people in this episode but in other episodes the universe has changed and no explanation is given and this is much more disturbing. In The Twilight Zone episode, And When the Sky Was Opened, astronauts start being erased from existence one by one and no real explanation is given and this lack of explanation makes the episode all the more disturbing.

Perhaps this is why zombie stories are so disturbing. One level of conflict in a zombie story is man versus man in that the protagonist must fight other humans in the struggle for resources but also must deal with the fact that the impossible has happened. Our scientific world view precludes the existence of zombies but the character must deal with a universe gone mad and this struggle is perhaps more disturbing than the struggle with zombies. If zombies are explained using a disease model as in the case of The Walking Dead then a cure might exist. However, George A. Romero realized that living dead that exist as an ontological puzzle are much more disturbing than a voodoo based or science based zombie. In Day of the Dead, Romero explores the ontological puzzle of living dead in more detail. Is the fabric of reality a fragile thing that can suddenly change? We like to think this is not the case but when the Aztecs fought the Spanish they also fought a change in their world view that perhaps was more harmful in the long run.

10) Man versus universe (internal) – The protagonist struggles with madness but the madness is so pervasive that he or she cannot tell what is real or not real. The Aviator would be an example of this type of conflict.

You can also download my autobiography of my struggle with a bipolar condition on  Am I Kitsune on my Google Drive.

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DC vs. Valiant Universe Overview – 0

I probably own every issue of the short lived Valiant Universe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valiant_Comics) and in my view the demise of this line was a sad day in comic book history.  The Valiant line was conscious attempt to make a better super hero for reasons I will outline in the introduction.

 

One way to arrange comic book universe battles is to match up opponents that are more less doppelgangers of each other.  This is what happened in the DC vs. Marvel miniseries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_vs._Marvel)

that matched up such doppelgangers as Aquaman (DC) and Namor the Submariner (Marvel). The advantages of the doppelganger approach are many.  The main one is you get contests between more or less equal heroes.  Secondly, you can keep a score card.  Maybe universe X has the strongest hero but Universe Y has the fastest one.  DC may have more heavy hitters in the area of magic but Marvel has more heavy hitters in the area of the power cosmic.  You put the top mage of the DC Universe, Mordru, against the top mage in the Marvel universe, Dr. Strange, and of course Mordru wins but in another category such as the power cosmic, DC wins. The Silver Surfer, for example, easily defeats the Black Racer.  I did not apply the doppelganger approach to my earlier D&D vs. Marvel post and am trying to do this with a future post, DC vs. D&D. 

 

I have tried to apply this logic to the DC vs. Valiant post as much as possible.  The problem is that many of the DC characters were created in simpler times when the one gimmick rule applied.  The Flash was the fast guy.  Green Lantern had a power ring.  If they had any other talents or weapons then this never came up.  Thanks to Stan Lee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_lee), at Marvel, heroes starting having something resembling characterization and DC followed suit but not to the same degree as Marvel. 

 

This use of characterization meant that psychological stuff could impact the fight not just their super powers.  This so called Marvel Revolution started with the Fantastic Four.  The Thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_%28comics%29), of the Fantastic Four, is not as strong as the Hulk or Thor but he is a disciplined fighter.  When the Champion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champion_of_the_Universe), an Elder of the Universe, challenges the “strongest” heroes of the Marvel universe to a boxing match, the Thing wins not the Hulk or Thor.  The Thing wins because he follows boxing protocol.  The Hulk just goes nuts and is dismissed from the ring.  Thor pulls out his hammer and is also dismissed for breaking the rules.  In Secret Wars II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Wars_II), the Thing single handily stops and army of evil doers from touching the Beyonder through sheer will power rather than strength.  Ben Grim, the alter-ego of the Thing is a tough New York from the wrong side of the tracks who never gives up.  Daredevil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daredevil_%28Marvel_Comics%29) has gone up against the likes of the Hulk and Namor and his determination to keep fighting to the end have enabled him to achieve pyrrhic victories against both these Marvel powerhouses.

 

Later still, heroes started carrying weapons!  This makes total sense to me.  If I was the Green Lantern I would still carry a 45 to shoot those giant yellow eagles that seem to be all over the place when you are a Green Lantern.  The Green Lantern ring is helpless against yellow colored objects.  Interestingly 45’s don’t share this weakness.  Green Lantern could have just plugged any number of yellow colored menaces during his career.  Better yet why not get one of those nifty utility belts from my buddy Batman?  If I was the Flash I would definitely grab some shrunken and knifes that I could hurtle at super speed like the Whirlwind, of the Marvel universe, eventually did.  Ok the Flash is a good guy and can’t use bladed weapons that kill but how about rubber balls that he throws at varying levels of super speed for different levels of lethality?

 

The Valiant universe is a later more complex universe than DC and Marvel and this complexity makes doppelgangers harder to find than between DC and Marvel.  The Batman aversion to guns, a prime example of the weapon monomania that plagues comic books, does not exist in the Valiant universe.  Most of the Valiant heroes will grab and use weapons as opportunity allows.  Being a martial arts enthusiast and big fan of weapons of opportunity I like this characteristic of the Valiant universe.  The X-O Manowar, a Valiant hero for whom a post will be written, is a barbarian that understands swords and does not fully understand super armor, when abducted by Aliens, but understands a weapon is a weapon and you might as well grab a good one when you can. 

 

Also, I have noticed that Valiant heroes, inherited from the Gold Key Comics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Key_Comics)

line, often have a category of villain they go after rather than just fighting bad guys in general and this is characteristic is hard to match in the DC or Marvel universe. There will be 22 posts in this series including this one. In comic books there is a fashion to start a series with zero rather than #1 and I like to be fashionable.  Anyway, this is the numbering system of the major arcana of the Tarot and therefore good enough for me.

 

 

The Valiant heroes covered in the series will include:

1) Archer & Armstrong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_and_Armstrong)

2) Armorines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armorines)

3) Bloodshot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodshot_%28comics%29)

4) Dr. Mirage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life_of_Dr._Mirage)

5) Eternal Warrior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Warrior)

6) Geomancer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_McHenry_%28Valiant_Comics%29)

7) H.A.R.D. Corps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.A.R.D._Corps)

8) Harbinger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbinger_%28comics%29)

9) Magnus, Robot Figher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus,_Robot_Fighter)

10) Ninjak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninjak)

11) Outcast (http://www.valiantentertainment.com/wiki/index.php/The_Outcast)

12) Psi Lords (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psi_Lords)

13) PunX (http://www.valiantentertainment.com/wiki/index.php/PunX)

14) Rai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rai_%28comics%29)

15) Secret Weapons (http://www.valiantentertainment.com/wiki/index.php/Secret_Weapons)

16) Shadowman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowman_%28comics%29)

17) Solar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_%28comics%29)

18) Timewalker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timewalker)

19) Turok (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turok),

20) Visitor (http://www.valiantentertainment.com/wiki/index.php/The_Visitor)

21) X-O Manowar( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-O_Manowar)   

 

I have about 100 plus “What if fights” planned for this blog so stay tuned. We have to assume that for these fights to even happen both fighters live in a common universe.  Anyway this is the assumption I will make in all “What if fights” since the whole how they meet thing is repetitive and tiresome.  The same assumption will be used in the “What if dates” post the second major category of this blog site.

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