Comic Books, Part II: Characters
So, on my last part of this series I discussed story arcs and why they were so important to what comics I read, and what ones I love. This time I am going to cover the ground of good characters. This might be a tad touchy, but in reality this is like anything else we do here at Legacy (it’s our opinion).
Characters can ruin a story that is compelling simply because the characters are flat or boring. Worse yet, they can be being used as a prop to advance an agenda or make some point. Those characters tend to be very one dimensional. So, what do I think makes a good character? Well, I am glad that question gets asked, because here is the three things:
1. Characters must be compelling. That means they can’t be a stereotype or one dimensional. Characters that are predictable are boring and they don’t accomplish the goal of furthering the story. Most characters like that are there for one thing: filler. They don’t really feel like part of the team, or a real villain. A good example of this type of character for me is Cyclops through most of the 1990s.
2. Characters must have a decent background. A character without a background is just shallow. Who cares about a character who doesn’t have an explanation for why they do things? Gambit would have been boring as a character had they never developed his background with the Thieves in Louisiana. You can look at early comic development to see how to master this. The First Appearance of the Juggernaut is a great example of development of a background (Professor X).
3. Characters need to have purpose. Characters that do things with no real goal drive me nuts. When you find yourself reading a story and the characters don’t seem to accomplish anything it makes me quit. So many comic book characters find themselves in story arcs that don’t really fit them. You saw it in Secret Wars and the Infinity Gauntlet. Some of the characters felt forced into the events. Civil War was the same way.
So, what drives you to particular characters? As always follow the rules guys!