I was going to build off of the comic review today and go into the trope of sewer workers coming across a monster or portal to the netherworld or whatever, but believe it or not this isn’t an officially recognized trope. I went to three different websites that examine tropes and there wasn’t anything. I even had two great examples: the 90s Spider-Man episode “Night Of The Lizard” and the first episode of Extreme Ghostbusters. Neither recap (when there was one, and frankly workers finding portals to hell are rampant in both Ghostbuster shows, and probably the Filmation one as well) came up with anything. A general look at sewer tropes would come up with underground worlds but nothing even showed this to be part of a wider trope, like guys coming across monsters in museums or something. So I’m not sure where I can go with that so if any of you trope experts can point me somewhere I’d appreciate it. However, I still need a topic.
Therefore I’m going to use a potential daily video posting that YouTube recommended to go over a trope I probably wouldn’t have considered doing for Trope Shark: the cursed object. My fantasy watching is admittedly low and while there is a sci-fi equivalent I’ve never really thought about it for some reason. Lucky I have a video by someone who does, the duo over at Overly Sarcastic Productions and their show/segment Trope Talk. In the video below Red (I think I’m getting that right, there’s nothing in the about section so I’m going by their website) discusses the history of cursed objects. And since this isn’t filler or a quick post I’ll drop a few comments of my own. This trope fishing however I’ll leave to an expert. Minor cursing in this video that is only mentionable because of how I do things around here.
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I did add this to the comments:
You know what might be neat? If the object was actually anti-cursed (for lack of a better term) and actually started giving the holder a conscience, actually making them LESS evil. Skeletor had Christmas in the He-Man/She-Ra holiday special while Starscream in the Generation Two comic was slowly being manipulated to help his enemies by the Creation Matrix (itself being cursed for a bit in the later G1 Marvel comics as it was influenced by an evil being who held it for a time). So it has been done before.
The host’s focus is on mystically cursed items, not surprising given the name dropped on this trope. There are also science fiction examples, devices or aliens who have a similar effect. The video includes Red Lanterns but you could make the case for the Black Lantern rings as being even more corruptive, creating not just zombies but ones who act counter to the actual personality of the wielder in life. This is how the Black Lanterns manipulate their victims. For another superhero example how about the symbiotes, like Venom (also seen in the video, though this was actually a later addition by the 90s Spider-Man that ended up being accepted as canon).
There’s also stories that devices can try to influence or outright take you over. Sticking with sci-fi superheroes the tentacles of Doctor Octavius did this in Spider-Man 2 while the Scarab worn by Jaime Reyes was supposed to do this to him but got damaged and eventually Jaime ended up influencing it. High-tech “cursed” objects are more likely to just be the AI trying to fulfill their program with no intent of malevolence by the device itself or even their creators. You could make the case that the Borg isn’t evil in intent, just in practice (until they introduced the Borg Queen nonsense); the computerized hive mind is simply following the goal with no concern for the desires of the beings it has opted to add to the collective, and killing races like Species 8472 because it can’t be absorbed.
In addition to the idea I mentioned earlier about a good object reforming a villain, I’d like to see more magical cursed objects follow Jaime’s example as well. Obviously not all or even most because that would defeat the purpose of the cursed object thematically but a object born of darkness brought into the light because the wielder is so good natured that he or she basically reforms the object. It would be a different type of story and an interesting subversion to explore if done right. Subversion doesn’t seem to be done right as much these days because you can’t subvert just for the sake of subverting but that’s for another article.
So what’s your “favorite” cursed, anti-cursed, or reformed cursed object? Do you have any more examples of the technological version of this trope? And did you go check out their channel? I don’t usually use videos this way, at least for the Trope Shark series (I’ve clearly built articles around responding to videos and articles before), but she thought about this trope more than I did so go to the video and show your love. Let her and her partner Blue know what you think.