Archive for October 9th, 2008

Oct 09 2008

“Yet Another Comics Blog” argues against origin stories

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.

Yet Another Comics Blog argues that origin stories are mostly a distraction from the real action.

The origin is not the interesting story; it’s background information. If the information in the origin is important to the story you’re telling, then you can go back later and fill in for the reader. But don’t start with an issues-long origin…

Think of all the good genre movies you’ve ever seen. How many begin with a long origin sequence? Did Raiders of the Lost Ark start with 45 minutes of young Indiana Jones getting his PhD in archaeology? Did Star Wars begin with the origin of Darth Vader?

I disagree.  A character is usually the most human and relatable during his origin story.  Additionally, for most superheroes they also provide an irreplaceable opportunity to introduce the audience to the character.  For example, an author couldn’t explain who Spiderman is without showing why his uncle died.

Also, Star Wars did not begin with the origin of Darth Vader, but it did explain Luke’s origin at length.  Over the course of three movies we saw a farmboy grow into the savior of the universe.  It worked quite effectively.  I’d also venture that the first Matrix movie benefitted from Neo’s origin story.  If it had started with Neo after he had been released from the Matrix, it would have been horribly confusing.

The author praises Batman but criticizes Spiderman and Superman for spending too much time on origin.  But these are exceptional cases.  Usually, the audience is completely new to the backstory.  If so, then explaining the character’s origin is probably essential to introducing the audience to the world and/or the character.

14 responses so far

Oct 09 2008

Classical Music Isn’t Punishment!

The Associated Press reports that a judge in Ohio offered to cut a fine for blaring rap music if the defendant listened to 20 hours of classical music. The defendant lasted 15 minutes.

One response so far

Oct 09 2008

Improving a Weak Quote

I found this Halo quote on TV Tropes.

Cortana: Just one question: what if you miss?

Master Chief:  I won’t.

The dialogue needs more flair.  If I wrote a similar conversation between two Superhero Nation characters, it might look something like this.

2 responses so far