Thursday, April 14, 2005

Are You Down With POV?

One of the cooler plot devices in comics is the "point of view" character.

The POV character helps the reader to get a better view of the surrounding characters, because the POV character is the "normal" viewer of an otherwise outlandish world of heroes and villains, superpowers and doomsday devices.

I will now tell you my five favorite POV characters in comics.

1. Kitty Pryde - X-Men/Uncanny X-Men (Chris Claremont/John Byrne).
The X-Men was already an interesting book BEFORE Claremont and Byrne introduced Kitty Pryde, but her down-to-earth approach to super hero life really added a major spark to the book, and helped the book a lot in its "post Phoenix" life.

The spotlight issue, of course, is Byrne's last issue, with Kitty one-on-one against a demon. It is probably one of the best issues of the Claremont/Byrne run, and it would not have worked half as well if Kitty was anyone other than, well, Kitty.

We saw the fight through her eyes beautifully, and it made it that much more frightening and exhilirating when the day was won.

2. Everett Ross - Black Panther (Christopher Priest). My pal Stony tells me that Ross was based a lot on Chandler Bing from the TV show Friends, and Stony is correct on that point.

Only Ross is often funnier than the TV character, which is good to know.

Ross was the rather inspired choice (in my book) of a POV character to get close to the otherwise difficult to get close to Black Panther character.

With Ross, the book had an excellent flow to it, and I was quite pleased. I think Ross is probably one of the best new characters of the last few years.

3. Sophie Bangs – Promethea (Alan Moore). Sophie is really the POV character of Alan Moore’s dreams, isn’t she?

She is the device that allows Moore to give us all these lectures about stuff.

And if it weren’t so darn interesting, I think it would be annoying. Still, through Sophie’s eyes, Moore treats us to a lot of interesting ideas, stuff that would not work without a POV character like Sophie (the latest Promethea), so she is definitely one of the top POV characters out there.

4. Abigail Arcane – Swamp Thing (Alan Moore).
Moore gives us another great POV character with Abigail Arcane in the pages of Swamp Thing.

Like with Promethea, Moore wanted to explore some new worlds and ideas, and used Abby as the reader’s companion on these trips, most notably the issue where Abby and Swamp Thing have “sex.”

5. Yorick – Y The Last Man (Brian K. Vaughan). Vaughan’s world without women, where we meet new characters and new situations every storyline (like what happened to ____ since all the men in the world died), is one where we the readers would be lost without a companion

Luckily, just as Yorick has his constant traveling companions, so do us the readers have Yorick as our companion, and his down-to-earth approach to life (with just enough wackiness so that he is not boring) are the perfect way to approach the weird situations that arise when the women of the world are forced to carry on without any men.

Those are my picks.

How about you folks?


Blogger Brad Curran said...

Kitty's POV role has to by why so many people who read X-Men when they were getting in to comics are fond of her. Especially if you were around her age, like I was when I got hooked on X-Men Classic. She really was the eyes through which you viewed the X-Men and their adventures.

As far as other POV characters, I think you can make a case that Spider-Man is one, or at least was one in his early days. Part of his "the super hero that could be you!" charm was the way he viewed the situations he was in with a combination of incredulity and fear, which is something that's a lot easier to feel in regards to superhero fights than the way, say, Batman handles them.

Speaking of Batman, you can maybe make a case for Carrie Kelly in Miller's DKR serieses as a POV character, but I'm too damn tired for that. Robin has always served a purpose of being Batman's sounding board, the Watson to his Holmes, so that's a role the audience can at least kind of relate to (in the "Gee whiz, Batman, how did you figure that out?" sense. Except no audience member or Robin has said "Gee whiz" since roughly 1947.) I bet you could even make a case for Ted Knight and Hellboy being POV characters, but seriously, I'm not doing it.

I just got the reference in the title, by the way. I never expected a Dylan fanatic to quote Naughty By Nature. So, that's something. Not sure what, but it is something.

4/15/2005 3:23 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Everett Ross was in one of the funniest comic book pages ever - the one with Mephisto, when he doesn't have his pants. That's good stuff.

4/17/2005 11:37 PM  

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