Disclaimer: SPOILERS ahead if you live under a rock! Also, that art belongs to James Hance. None of that “pasting art and claiming it’s mine” nonsense.
Sometimes, I work from the ground up, thinking of a topic and then finding examples to fit around it. At other times, I work top-down, looking at my list of saved examples and finding something to say about them. Also, using them as an excuse to share images like these.
Today is one of those top-down examples, drawing from two of geekdom’s favourite tragic dark characters: Darth Vader and Severus Snape.
These two are popular for a number of shared reasons. They’re ‘dark’ characters in style and personality, they have tragic backstories, they smack the heroes around (either physically or verbally), and lost love is a major motivator in their lives.
And, of course, they are the ones behind what are probably THE biggestreveals in their respective fandoms. Reveals which would cement their legacies as tragic anti-heroes.
And that’s what I’ll be talking about today: Reveals.
And Namor, yes, I-want-to-bone-your-wife-you-loser-nerd Namor, admitting that Reed is a man of honour and Doom is probably jealous of his brains.
Today, I’ll be talking about a special type of story: The Tribute Special.
As you can probably tell, these are specials which are almost like clip shows, special occasions such as weddings, funerals, or anniversaries. They provide an occasion for the vast majority of the character(s) or team in question’s social circles to get together and share their thoughts about the subject. Funerals may have an air of finality, anniversaries may mark a legacy’s end or continuation, and weddings are about the bride and groom.
But whatever the occasion, one thing is certain: It builds a plot around the event, and draws in a supporting cast to reflect on what makes it special. Stripped down to nuts and bolts, the event is set up, there are probably more than a few official or unofficial interviews talking about what those characters mean to others, and then it all leads up to the actual event itself.
So WHAT they are can be pretty diverse, but easy to understand. But WHY are they special? Gotta have something if I’m taking the time to talk about them, right? Well, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson…
After all, it’s not like the world has any +3 Writing items or potions. And no, overpriced caffeine drinks do not count.
Time for another writing lesson! And like last time, it’s about writing in real life.
So, I’ve covered how external issues tend to REALLY be. Now what could I say about writing itself? What insight could I give for something that is deeply personal, moved by inspiration as we dig deep within our creative selves to birth worlds of words?
Simple: Suck it up and write even when you don’t feel like it.
Pictured Above: One really evil little shit.
What, you were expecting me to coddle you with soft words about your soul and how you can truly only write when inspiration strikes like lightning? Maybe give you tips on finding the right venue, ambience, or diet to switch on creativity?
Hahaaa, no. But I CAN share my thoughts on something we CAN control: Discipline.
It doesn’t age because of the magic within it. It doesn’t feel hunger, pain, or even pleasure. All it perceives is the world around it, the hands seeking to wield it.
After weeks of finding something to say about storytelling, I’ll be changing gears for a bit and going back to something I’d set out to do more often: Giving a crash course of tropes, characters, and concepts!
Today we’ll be talking about a certain type of character: The Artificial Character. Self-aware objects, artificial intelligence, living weapons, spirits trapped within objects, you’re probably familiar with these things. They are a thinking, cognizant existence of a different kind from conventional life. Basically, the servants from Beauty and the Beast. From wisecracking sidekicks and sage advisors to malevolent enemies and alien entities, many fantastic settings have given ‘life’ or ‘spirit’ to what was once lifeless.
So what is the deal with these guys, and what happens when you give your props lines of dialogue?
Set aside the fact that a Spider-Falcon sounds TERRIFYING and let’s talk about when comics dip into REAL real life!
Agendas. Messages. Themes. From the days of the Golden Age’s Hitler-punching propaganda to the we’ll-hate-mutants-but-not-cosmic-radiation-freaks racism allegories, reality has always had a place in comics. And in today’s age of “This Is The Internet So Any Moron Can Put Their Opinion Online” we also have no shortage of people trying to explain the meanings and intentions of these stories (plus why you are objectively bad if you disagree with them).
However, I’m not here to tell you whether you should lean to the Left, the Right, or the Red. My priority has been and always will be one simple thing: Does it make for a good story?
Well, get your animal suits out of the closet (don’t ask, I know you have them, you bronies, don’t deny it) and let’s take some recent examples from the men themselves: Black Panther and the Falcon!
I mean, come on. How dare people have an opinion different from what we want? What are they, living beings?
Today, I’ll be plumbing some of my own personal feelings and struggles to talk about something a little harder: Challenges writers face in life. No flowery metaphors, no glib pithy insights to trivialise it, no saccharine “but passion will prevail” nonsense, just what I feel to be the realest emotions and problems writers face when they try to be functioning adults with jobs and social lives.
If you’re going through them, maybe it’ll help to put things in perspective, or to learn you’re not alone. If not, well, hopefully it’ll help prepare you in case it ever happens. So then, ready for some real talk?
Also, it has Ashley Tisdale in it, who went on to voice Candace in Phineas and Ferb, and she is the best part of the franchise.
Following up on my point of the Emperor’s New Groove, we’ve seen what I opined to be the height of a story which could have been one big pandering mess and yet became one of the most honest, hilarious tales of all time. Here are some other examples to illustrate what it means to be ‘genuine’ in works.
I realise belatedly that there’s a term for this sort of honesty, of believing in what you’re doing, no matter what you’re doing, no matter how ridiculous the premise: kayfabe, the spirit of pro-wrestling.