Archive for August 13th, 2008

Aug 13 2008

When Spiderman ties up a criminal, what do the police charge him with?

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

One of the tropes of superhero stories is that the superhero ties up the bad guys and leaves them for the police. This helps readers feel that Spiderman isn’t a vigilante trying to replace the police, he’s just helping them. But when the police find a criminal tied up somewhere, what do they charge him with? Unless they have enough evidence to make a case, the police have to release him.  Here are a few ways you can use this to create dramatic situations…

1) The superhero comes across several criminals he tied up the day before. If this happened repeatedly, it may make him cynical about his work as a superhero.

2) Your hero blathers about how much he loves police officers (“they do all the things I do but without superpowers!”), but cops hate him because he never gives them anything they can use to secure a conviction. He never shows up to testify or deliver depositions. If the hero ever comes looking for leads, expect the police to give him the cold shoulder.

3) The police department gets sued because they’re complicit in the superhero’s abuse of the civil liberties of alleged criminals. Look at this from the perspective of a defense attorney or the ACLU. The police department gets easy arrests because Batman savagely beats confessions out of suspects. Batman regularly assaults criminals. Not only has the police department failed to arrest Batman or freeze his assets, but he sometimes meets with police officers in the station. If a defense attorney can’t convince a judge that’s police-sponsored brutality, he should be disbarred.

4 responses so far

Aug 13 2008

Insure Vs. Ensure (OR: Fox News has betrayed me!)

You should only use the word “insure” if you’re talking about buying or selling insurance policies. The word “ensure” should be used when you want to guarantee an outcome. For example, “please ensure that you don’t make that mistake.” Unfortunately, Fox News hasn’t gotten the memo…

Fox News: “We expect Russia to insure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for civilian transit,” Bush said.

No, Fox, no! You will rot in the deepest, hottest bowels of grammatical hell. Devils will stab you with semi-colons until you beg for death’s sweet embrace.

9 responses so far