The Big Picture: Scarlet Unity - What Assassin's Creed and Batman Have in Common

Triaed

Not Gone Gonzo
Jan 16, 2009
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Huh... as Bob was describing the Assassin/Pimpernel I kept thinking of Rorschach (Watchmen). I guess there are influences all around
 

Gorrath

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Rabidkitten said:
I don't think I would call the Scarlet Pimpernel, "the first super hero". As Mythology is absolutely packed to the brim with super heroes. Every myth has some super human feat be it Thor, Hercules, or who ever. Gods and heroes are constantly changing shape and putting on disguises. Almost all of comics draws from ancient mythological characters in some fashion or another. I mean there is an Avenger who IS Thor. I'm sure if dug deep enough you would find Batman like Vigilantes all through out fictions vast history.
Indeed, I fear this might have been a bit of an over-reach by Bob to play the, "See, a woman invented stuff you like!", card. That's not to take any credit from Orczy or The Scarlet Pimpernel, it is undoubtedly one of history's most influential work when it comes to hero tropes of that particular stripe, but way over playing it to suggest that Orczy totally invented super heroes is a disservice to all those who wrote those types of stories and came before her.

Not only is Blakeney not the first super hero, he's not even the first with a secret identity.
 

Merklyn236

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Jun 21, 2013
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Okay, bonus points for the Looney Toons reference this week.

Never knew who wrote the original story though. That was interesting....TO THE INTERNETS!
 

walsfeo

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Rabidkitten said:
I don't think I would call the Scarlet Pimpernel, "the first super hero". As Mythology is absolutely packed to the brim with super heroes. Every myth has some super human feat be it Thor, Hercules, or who ever. Gods and heroes are constantly changing shape and putting on disguises. Almost all of comics draws from ancient mythological characters in some fashion or another. I mean there is an Avenger who IS Thor. I'm sure if dug deep enough you would find Batman like Vigilantes all through out fictions vast history.
While Bob might not have done a great job of explaining the kind of hero he meant, mythological entities are of a different stripe all together. Yeah, comics have co-opted mythology, often treating it poorly, but a myth about a god is not the same as a member of society who steps out of his persona to counter wrongs and save people. I'm pretty sure Blakeney didn't create the concept of hero, but she was the first I'm aware of to build up a "normal person" creates an alternate identity to do heroic deeds.

So yeah, not all heroes trace their parentage back to the Scarlet Pimpernel, but within our genre of geeky heroism he is the earliest I can find that fits the mold.
 

gorfias

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Rabidkitten said:
I don't think I would call the Scarlet Pimpernel, "the first super hero". As Mythology is absolutely packed to the brim with super heroes. Every myth has some super human feat be it Thor, Hercules, or who ever. Gods and heroes are constantly changing shape and putting on disguises. Almost all of comics draws from ancient mythological characters in some fashion or another. I mean there is an Avenger who IS Thor. I'm sure if dug deep enough you would find Batman like Vigilantes all through out fictions vast history.
Fantastic points. I agree.

I did like Bob's mention of John Carter of Mars, so ripped off so many times that by the time they actually did a movie about him, it didn't resonate! I blame marketing and a couple of problems with the movie itself, though it was good.

Reminds me of a 1 picture funny: Superman standing outside Julius Schwartze's office saying, "what do you mean `be original' Julius? I am the original!"

walsfeo said:
While Bob might not have done a great job of explaining the kind of hero he meant, mythological entities are of a different stripe all together. Yeah, comics have co-opted mythology, often treating it poorly, but a myth about a god is not the same as a member of society who steps out of his persona to counter wrongs and save people. I'm pretty sure Blakeney didn't create the concept of hero, but she was the first I'm aware of to build up a "normal person" creates an alternate identity to do heroic deeds.

So yeah, not all heroes trace their parentage back to the Scarlet Pimpernel, but within our genre of geeky heroism he is the earliest I can find that fits the mold.
I don't know. Before I could afford comic books, I'd spend my time reading stories of the G-ds. Mostly Hercules. I liked the idea of a super powered do-gooder killing monsters and cleaning giant stables. One of my favorite early films was "Jason and the Argonauts".
 

Pontifex

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Mar 17, 2010
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I absolutely adore the Scarlet Pimpernel, particularly the 1982 film. He's been around long enough to be in the public domain, so I'm really hoping that one of the Assassins in the game is Sir Percival Blakeney (Baronnet).
 

MB202

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I like how Bob says "THE French Revolution", like there's just one. Yeah, I know he's referring to the more well-known one, but France had a LOT of revolutions back in it's day, most of them very bloody and not amounting to a whole lot...

Also, how could this guy be "the first superhero" when Greek mythology is pretty much the basis for a lot of superheroes?
 

Norix596

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It's always a fun little game to try to guess what the Big Picture episodes are going to be about from the name -- I got no where on that one.
 

RoonMian

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Hutzpah Chicken said:
It would be humorous if Ubisoft made every trailer look like the first French revolution, but the actual game is the third French revolution.
That would be so cool... 1848 saw revolution all over Europe. You wouldn't be confined to Paris because there was shit going down from Paris to Prague, from Italy to Prussia. You think climbing Notre Dame would be fun? The High Dome Church of St. Peter to Cologne (also just called "The Dome") is twice that. Prague would be awesome, too. Historicistic Berlin.

Hell, you could even throw some conspiracy theories in there because that was the time when major events in German history started to pile up on November 9th.

On-Topic: I have never heard of this. What a shame. There isn't even a German Wikipedia entry on it. I have the feeling it came under the wheels because of German/French animosity around the turn of the century. Still a shame.

Edit: I forgot to mention: The Dome is a construction site to this day which would only add to the fun of climbing around on it.
 

walsfeo

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Gorfias said:
I don't know. Before I could afford comic books, I'd spend my time reading stories of the G-ds. Mostly Hercules. I liked the idea of a super powered do-gooder killing monsters and cleaning giant stables. One of my favorite early films was "Jason and the Argonauts".
Yup, I can see that 100%, but there are significant differences. Old Heroes were about fighting monsters sent by the gods, or brainless forces of evil and nature. I'm not saying they weren't heroic, but they were different tropes altogether.
 

Keith K

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Oct 29, 2009
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Seems more like True Lies than Mr. & Mrs. Smith. At least the dynamic between the married protagonists.
 

Alterego-X

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Hutzpah Chicken said:
It would be humorous if Ubisoft made every trailer look like the first French revolution, but the actual game is the third French revolution.
Or that short, sucky one from Les Mis.

1832, was it?
 

Darth_Payn

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Abyss said:
I would like to see Bob explain what it is about Spawn that drives him crazy, that he occasionally uses him as an example for approaches to superheroes he just doesn't like. Granted, I wasn't really impressed by the writing of the collection of the first issues of the comics when I first read them, and it had that irritating style that reminded me of some of Frank Miller's one-dimensional rant about the state of the world comics (and Miller did write the stories for some of the comics). Still, I liked the mythology McFarlane (and Neil Gaiman) created with Spawn, and the villains were varied and inventive. The animated series certainly improved upon the faults of comics, even though it was short-lived. I'd still like to see Bob do a video about his thoughts about Spawn someday.
I think he went over some of that in his Big Picture on comic books in the '90's, but I'd like a little more depth to it as well.
themilo504 said:
Very interesting stuff.

I wonder what yathzee thinks of unity since he liked the idea of a assassins creed game set during the French revolution, Personally I really like the idea since it?s a great setting with lots of potential for interesting game mechanics.

Also I?m curious if bob actually played assassins creed.
My guess is if he did, he didn't enjoy it, judging by how snide he sounded describing the series in the first two minutes of this video.
 

Ashoten

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Aug 29, 2010
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Bob: "Basically he was the first superhero.." SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCCHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Stop the god damned train Bob I am getting off. WHAT?! the first superhero? So we are just going to pretend that all those figures from mythic tales and religious stories about gods and monsters and demi-gods that got told over and over again since before civilization was a thing didn't happen huh?

Ok ok I can hear you saying it already 'well of course the Scarlet Pimpernel doesn't predate the concept of heroes or superpowers or said heroes fighting hugely absurd monsters spawned from Zeus getting bored one day and molesting a taco or something. What the Scarlet Pimpernel does do is bring all the elements of a master swordsman/thief aristocrat dressing up in a costume al la.Batman and fighting injustice from the shadows. Thus giving birth to the modern concept of superheros like batman and Zorro that we know today' Fair enough Bob but that statement still felt like a punch to my fucking jaw.

Also. I loved all the Scarlet Pimpernel references in the old looney tunes.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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Bit dissapointed that this was a more shallow "rabbit hole" episode, but it was a bit interesting.

Unity will come out crap though, speaking as a fan, I can guarantee it.
 

mjharper

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Apr 28, 2013
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walsfeo said:
Rabidkitten said:
I don't think I would call the Scarlet Pimpernel, "the first super hero". As Mythology is absolutely packed to the brim with super heroes. Every myth has some super human feat be it Thor, Hercules, or who ever. Gods and heroes are constantly changing shape and putting on disguises. Almost all of comics draws from ancient mythological characters in some fashion or another. I mean there is an Avenger who IS Thor. I'm sure if dug deep enough you would find Batman like Vigilantes all through out fictions vast history.
While Bob might not have done a great job of explaining the kind of hero he meant, mythological entities are of a different stripe all together. Yeah, comics have co-opted mythology, often treating it poorly, but a myth about a god is not the same as a member of society who steps out of his persona to counter wrongs and save people. I'm pretty sure Blakeney didn't create the concept of hero, but she was the first I'm aware of to build up a "normal person" creates an alternate identity to do heroic deeds.

So yeah, not all heroes trace their parentage back to the Scarlet Pimpernel, but within our genre of geeky heroism he is the earliest I can find that fits the mold.
This, basically. Yes, there have always been heroes in the myths of the world. But the point Bob was making - you know, through that list of comparisons to Batman - was that many of the specific tropes we nowadays associate with superheroes, as a specific subset of heroes, can be traced back to the Scartle Pimpernel.

Also, someone already mentioned the Blackadder episode, but I'd like to give a quick shoutout to the Don't Lose Your Head, one of the Carry On... films, also a spoof of the Pimpernel :)
 

Rblade

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no exactly on topic, but Paris is so unbelievably more suited for AC then the open plains of America. Should be a blast, jumping of the sacre coeur and all that.
 

Eldritch Warlord

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Rblade said:
no exactly on topic, but Paris is so unbelievably more suited for AC then the open plains of America. Should be a blast, jumping of the sacre coeur and all that.
None of the AC games have been set in the open plains of America. AC3 was in the New England woodlands and mountains, AC: Liberation is in the Louisiana bayous, AC4 is in the Caribbean archipelagos.

Personally I found the woodland traversal very fitting to the series, though the lack of monumental architecture in these three games was a problem.