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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default Do you thinking creating major characters for story arcs is a probem?

    Don't get me wrong, I love story arcs. Well, some of them. But when a creator creates a character for an arc, the character is often at loose-ends afterwards.

    Obviously, it's most overt with villains. Bane or Doomsday were created for one purpose. But are popular, so get re-used. The real problem for me, though, I think, is when new heroes are created for - or at least with - a certain story. They sometimes don't quite have the "reusability" of those created as an idea that were just cool heroes and had villains and stories made for them later. Because everything about their personalities is geared to that first story. Their supporting cast all fit in the right place for that story. But once that story is over, the subsequent villains don't click as well or the supporting cast is left with nothing to do or the hero doesn't have a reason to keep up the gig, as they've accomplished what was their one big goal. Worse yet is if the creator leaves after that story and someone new is left swinging in the wind with an entire cast designed and built around a single story that's already been told.

    I feel like starting off with a major arc with new characters (not just comics, but other mediums) often means the first story is great, and then it goes downhill.

    Still better than starting off with the idea of grand mytharc but no idea what it actually is, though.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Hmm interesting point, I'd have to think of some examples.

    There are plenty of legacy characters introduced during a big event or arc that did well afterwards, like Kyle, but perhaps they have the benefit occupying a ready-made spot in that universe. Heroes created for a story that just linger afterwards, hm. I'm sure there are plenty out there. The main ones that come to mind are supporting characters. Various Batman sidekicks, various new speedsters during Barry's post-New52 run, etc.

  3. #3
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    ...The only one I can really think of at the moment is Harper Row.

  4. #4
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    Only if nothing is done with the character afterwards. A creative writer could take that character in a new interesting direction.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning Rider View Post
    Various Batman sidekicks
    Duke and Damian, maybe. Don't know his other later ones. I would say that Dick, Barbara, and Jason were definitely not designed for stories, but the other way around. I think the same is true for Tim.

    Also, the very fact that they are sidekick kinda isn't what I'm talking about - they exist in a very "already developed" space (usually). I was more thinking about a brand new character on issue #1 of their own series with their own supporting characters (or a new team of mostly new characters) and the writer has 12-24 issue arc planned out to introduce them. First seasons of tv shows with new arcs each season (or half-season) have this happen, too, IMO.

    I guess it really comes down to whether a character was created with an eye for long-term use. Some created during events were created with a plan for long-term use. Others were intended to be gone after (which is fine if they stay gone). But some I feel like a writer says "I have a great story for a hero" and creates the hero and tells the story and then doesn't really have anything left to do or the characters are too purpose-made to be versatile. But it's not a movie or self-contained novel, but an ongoing, so it goes on, just not as well.

    I kinda feel like the 2006 Blue Beetle fits this way. The first arc was great. But in it, he found where the scarab came from, turned it good, and defeated the only significant villain he had (which was tied to the element that gave him powers). His best friends - one the niece of a potential enemy who has turned quasi-ally by the end. The other is part of the Posse that was a definite threat that turned ally by the end. His mentor had done enough mentoring. Now, his friends can still be friends, but they don't have the same connectivity role they already had. He doesn't really want to be hero (well, he's starting to, maybe). It was an absolutely fantastic story, but I feel like one could easily say his story was done, if you know what I mean. It certainly didn't have to be, but it was a point where it certainly could have been.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 03-28-2020 at 06:20 PM.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    No, it relies entirely on execution. The greatest example of this is Jack Knight. He was created to tell a story and went back in the box afterwards. I realize you meant more for a six-issue arc, but long-form Jack Knight fits. Starman is one of DC's hidden gems and Jack is possibly the best example of what a lot of newer fans complain they never see: a story with a beginning, middle and end.

    TBWL is an example of when this is abused. He can't get deleted from the DCU fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

    I'm not against it in practice, but I do think it's uncommon for it to not end heavy-handed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Duke and Damian, maybe. Don't know his other later ones. I would say that Dick, Barbara, and Jason were definitely not designed for stories, but the other way around. I think the same is true for Tim.

    Also, the very fact that they are sidekick kinda isn't what I'm talking about - they exist in a very "already developed" space (usually). I was more thinking about a brand new character on issue #1 of their own series with their own supporting characters (or a new team of mostly new characters) and the writer has 12-24 issue arc planned out to introduce them. First seasons of tv shows with new arcs each season (or half-season) have this happen, too, IMO.

    I guess it really comes down to whether a character was created with an eye for long-term use. Some created during events were created with a plan for long-term use. Others were intended to be gone after (which is fine if they stay gone). But some I feel like a writer says "I have a great story for a hero" and creates the hero and tells the story and then doesn't really have anything left to do or the characters are too purpose-made to be versatile. But it's not a movie or self-contained novel, but an ongoing, so it goes on, just not as well.
    The real problem is HOW the character is portrayed over the years!!
    This means if he/she is allowed to grow up, interact, learn etc. etc.

    Tim, for example, is a great character, BUT I dont like his current YJ character...
    I prefered the RED ROBIN character (outfit and also character)...

    Tim tried to keep his identity secret and also told his YJ friends (in the old series) his other secret name (ALVIN DRAPER).
    He kept his mask on etc. etc. Now he uses Drake as Codename and also his character seems to be different.
    He was in some sense similar to Bruce (dark, being a mastermind, detective etc.) and this made him different to Dick for example..

    The ToT Batman Tim for example was the better portrayal of Tim Drake than his YJ counterpart is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    ...The only one I can really think of at the moment is Harper Row.
    Harper Row is a cool character which I would love to see in more stories....
    I have to say that I would like to see her replacing Duke...Harper is one of the characters which I really miss..

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Honestly, I don't know enough about character debut that lasts that long. The examples I know are extensions of what's supposed to be a simple debut but altered because of the situation surrounding them.

    Harper Row's debut concept was simple. A street-level point of view of Batman, but then they over-deliver her superhero debut too much that it was not well-received they have to cancel it. They already started on the wrong foot when, immediately after Nightwing was retired, they wanted to make her Nightwing, and then they make the mistake of promoting him to be Batman's vision of The Perfect Robin.

    Duke was conceived to be the next Robin. When that's canceled, they have to think up another place. It took them too long to figure out what to do, and finally, use a mega event to get attention to his superpower debut, but that didn't help his mini. Honestly, I don't know what I would've done with him.

    All I can say for both Duke and Harper's case was don't be overeager. Snyder was trying to fill the blanks of both Nightwing and Robin too soon and had to scramble to find a different idea. Like, right after they each were killed or exposed, he made the plan and launched it. Too eager.

    Damian's concept was pretty simple too. A symbol of divorce, literally torn apart by their parents. He went on to be far more popular than the initial plan, Morrison wanted to kill him right on his debut, that writers actually develop his character and relationship beyond that. So by the time he's actually killed, people already like him and want him back.

    As for non-sidekick, I don't know.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    Probably the whole Dark Matter > New Age Heroes is a recent set of examples to look at. I think a few of them were fit to continue on (Silencer, Sideways) while others seemed like they were only ever going to serve whatever the story was (Immortal Men, Curse of Brimstone), in my opinion.

  10. #10
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    In these circumstances the problem isn't with the character or the initial story, but the follow-up stories. There needs to be a level of restraint, otherwise it just leads to diminishing returns, and what made the character cool and popular in the first place is lost. And sometimes it's okay for a character to be a one-off. Thanks to the book market and digital market, that story can stay in print in perpetuity.

  11. #11
    Boisterously Confused
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    IMO, it's case specific. Get right down to it, Ras al Guhl and Talia were one-arc characters, but other writers found good stuff to do with them later (and admittedly, some writers did not).

    Bane and Doomsday have ready been mentioned as the obvious, opposite examples.

    A special case of it is Darkseid. His arc was clearly articulated very early in his existence. However, other writers, starting with Levitz and Giffen, wrote stories that either ignored or pushed his destiny off to some date far down the road.

    Deathstroke's another special case. His arc ended with "The Judas Contract," but writers couldn't resist using him, even tho they had to turn him into something very different than what he was created to be.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member WonderScott's Avatar
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    New characters don’t bother me too much because they allow creators to tell the stories and explore the themes they want to. It’s also part of the creative process - sometimes a new character’s POV isn’t something we’ve seen before or they don’t come with the baggage of an existing character.

    I love a good revamp, like Catman, and how Simone used his history to propel him to a new place, but I also love that we got the all-new Scandal Savage alongside him and the initial mysteries about her that played out over time.

    You can have both and I think you need to have both in the ongoing saga of speculative fiction universe.

  13. #13
    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    No, it's not a problem. New stuff should always be created, and, if it happens that a character lose his mojo after one story, let him rest for a while. Someone will eventually have a take, then let them do it.

    For instance, Jo Mullein was created specifically for Far Sector. She's already my favorite Green Lantern (by far). If they forced a pre-existing character into that story, we wouldn't have them.

    Sometimes, moer is more.
    ConnEr Kent flies. ConnOr Hawke has a bow. Batman's kid is named DamiAn.

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  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Adekis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    A special case of it is Darkseid. His arc was clearly articulated very early in his existence. However, other writers, starting with Levitz and Giffen, wrote stories that either ignored or pushed his destiny off to some date far down the road.
    I kind of feel that way for the whole of the Fourth World.
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  15. #15
    It sucks to be right BohemiaDrinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adekis View Post
    I kind of feel that way for the whole of the Fourth World.
    It's meta as hell: they're mythical beings aware of constantly being updated on a universe of quasi-mythical beings unaware of constantly being updated.
    ConnEr Kent flies. ConnOr Hawke has a bow. Batman's kid is named DamiAn.

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