Saturday, April 09, 2005

When Characters Earn Their Way Into a Book

One of the coolest things about Spoiler, the character in Robin, was simply just about how she came to be such a major character (appearing in about 75% of the issues of Robin, even starring in the title for awhile as Robin IV!!!).

Unlike a lot of characters, she was specifically NEVER "forced" on to the readers.

The readers were the ones who demanded to see more of her.

Chuck Dixon did not plan on making Spoiler the important character she ended up being.

She was never SUPPOSED to become Tim's girlfriend.

When Dixon invented her, she was just simply a plot device in the pages of Detective Comics, something to get the plot from point A to point B.

However, the readers kept asking to see more of her, because she IS a unique character.

A female teen hero is unique enough (especially when she was created), add to that that she is a suburban hero, and most especially, that she is the daughter of a super villain, that is definitely the makings of a very good character....but all of that development happened only because she was given the CHANCE to develop due to the fans asking her to appear again, over and over.

When Dixon finally brought her into Robin in the early issues of that book for a storyline, that, again, was supposed to be it. Dixon had spent a lot of time building up the Tim/Arianna relationship, but once again, the fans were vocal, as they liked Stephanie BETTER than Arianna.

So eventually, Dixon complied, and soon, Tim and Stephanie had one of the cooler relationships in comics.

It is always impressive when a character strikes such a nerve with the fans that they EARN their roles in the comics.

Comics can always surprise you, can't they? If a throwaway character can become a fan favorite, then what CAN'T happen?


Blogger collectededitions said...

This is really interesting, and a great post. So, two questions:

1) How do you think this affected what happened to Spoiler during War Games (I haven't read it, but I've heard enough to get the jist). Do you think it was a reaction to the fans "voting her in?"

2) Any other examples of characters earning their ways in? I'm racking my brain ...

4/10/2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

1) I think there just are writers (okay, mostly editors) who really DON'T care as much as to what the readers ask.

This is not to say that that is a WRONG approach.

Someone (was it Joss Whedon? I can't remember) said something along the lines of "you can never be totally sure what the fans want, so the better thing to do is just do what you think is best, and hope that the fans agree."

I disagree, but I can see the point.

2) Well, there's another character that I'll have a post on in the future that I have in mind.

Beyond that one (don't want to spoil anything...hehe), I guess the Punisher is a good example. His initial appearance proved so popular that they kept bringing him back, and the fans really dug him.

4/11/2005 1:28 AM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

What happened to Arianna? I stopped reading comics right when Spoiler was introduced, and I haven't read an issue of Robin since.

4/15/2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

They broke up, and eventually her family bought a diner in the suburbs.

4/16/2005 2:53 AM  

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