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  • It's the NEW FLIPSIDE!
    Originally the home of a two-year long fanfic experiment-- where villains are the heroes and heroes are the villains-- now I sketch and blog all about Marvel Villains and other comics-type stuff. If you've come for pie, though, I'm sorry. We're all out. Email me at onceuponatokyo gmail.com

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May 16, 2011

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Josh W

Even if they can't have stories about their internal conflicts, these characters can still have driven stories.

Compare dark knight returns and batman inc: The latter is not about internal conflict, but external conflict. The main character wanting and doing stuff. Normally a lot of characters work through their conflicts while reacting to the agendas of villains, or have an agenda that sort of drives them through a string of events without having it's own drama. Rarely do you get characters who actually have dramatised adventures where their own agenda forms the story.

If they do, well then you can just give them fallout from their plans and give them character growth that way, while the procedural elements and outside consequences of their agenda form another kind of drama.

EG, what does the thing want? Is he driven to do anything in particular? If not he'll probably just help his freind Reed with his big ideas long into the future.

Danny


Oh, exactly. Any characters can still have driven stories, if only on a purely plot-level. That's why (as you kind of point out) the villains can be more important than readers realize. (I mention that in my post here as well as in another post: http://ozbot.typepad.com/marvelflipside/2009/08/musings-from-whence-comes-a-villains-story.html ) My argument is that, from a plot-building perspective, unless there is some new kind of development/change/resolution to *something,* including inner conflict, there can't really be what I call an "end." (Your example of the Dark Knight Returns isn't exactly apropos since I believe it was always conceived as being a definite beginning/middle/end kind of story.)

Which I'm FINE with, by the way. I'm not pointing out this "no-end" kind of storytelling to say it's a bad thing, and I don't mind if comic book characters have this weird "no-end" kind of plots. Do we really need Ms. Marvel to try so many different beginnings? Did we really need the Thing to get over his monstrous self-loathing? Maybe, maybe not. The Simpsons have been doing episodic plots for over 20 years with character largely unchanged from their beginnings. However, there are many, like myself, who have largely moved on and don't watch the Simpsons any more, whether they are changing or not.

If understand your intent, overall, i notice you keep "plot" and "character" very intertwined. But character growth and plot don't have to be the same thing. (Indeed, I'm just talking resolution here, which often isn't really "growth" at all) In that case, because of the absence of character-building, it wouldn't matter if the Thing helped Reed with his doo-hickeys (hey-oo!!!) or not, because at that point both plot-wise and characterr-wise it could just as well be Spider-Man, Iron Man, or even Squirrel Girl. So what makes a good "Thing" story? You can have many good Thing-stories without having to have character growth or any kind of resolution, although at the same time it may not be very satisfactory for a long-term reader. To put it another way, episodic comic book stories have a strange line to balance-- one that develops characters in "fresh" ways on one side and one that keeps characters "timeless" and recognizable on the other.

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