Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Character Integrity

I used to get hooked on a lot of TV shows, and then get disappointed with them, and I eventually came to the conclusion that you can't trust fictional characters. No matter how good and consistent they seem at the beginning, they're always going to end up doing something stupid and out of character, possibly something hostile, that you were certain they would never do. At least that's the impression I got from TV. And it always turns me off from the show. I get into a TV show or a book because I like the characters, because I feel like I can trust them. So when they break that trust, it's like the whole point of why I liked it in the first place is gone.

I know sometimes this happens and it's not the fault of the character. Like, in a supernatural universe, sometimes there's some mystical device that causes a character to become evil in some way, or otherwise out of character. Red kryptonite, for instance. I can forgive the characters for things like that, but I still don't like it. If I'm interested in a piece of fiction because of the characters, I don't want to see the characters being forced to not be themselves by some mystical power. I don't think it's fair.

This is one reason why I wanted to start my own work of fiction with my own characters. There are a lot of things about my comic that I don't take very seriously, but what I do take seriously is the integrity of the characters. It's not like the characters are all completely moral and trustworthy, but they all have their own kind of integrity, and you can trust them all in certain ways. I care so much about the integrity of the characters that I'm not going to make them do anything that goes against that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Abnormal Things in Everyday Life

I recently published an article on Squidoo about Comics Like Questionable Content. It highlights some of the characteristics that I like about Questionable Content (one of my favorite webcomics). One of the characteristics I pointed out was the blending of abnormal things into everyday life, such as, in the case of QC, anthropomorphic robots. It's not a comic about robots — it's a comic about life. It just so happens that robots exist, and it seems normal.

I like it when comics have this characteristic. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy comics that exist in fantasy worlds, but I do like it when a real life comic has a small fantasy element to it. It's the same thing I do in Think Before You think. Although the comic is mainly about mind-reading, it is set in a normal universe where only one person can read minds, and everything else is just normal life situations. This concept, where the main character is the only one who has a special power and everyone else is normal, is something I've seen often in TV shows, like Pushing Daisies and The Secret World of Alex Mack. But I don't find it so frequently in webcomics. Most comics I come across are either full fantasy comics, where everything is weird, or real life comics where everything is normal.

Among the other comics I brought up in my article is Selkie, a comic about an alien girl who gets adopted by a single guy. At least, I assume she's an alien. The subject never really gets talked about much, it's just evident that she's different from everyone else, and she doesn't look human.

Another comic I mentioned was Hot Mess, about high school girl with imaginary animal friends that represent different aspects of her personality and follow her around everywhere, providing commentary on everything that's going on. It's not so much a supernatural element, since it's all just imaginary, kind of like Calvin and Hobbes, but it's still a weird addition to the comic.

Like I said, I haven't come across very many webcomics like this. Do you know of any other ones that I didn't mention here? Please comment.