Oh hey, it’s this guy
First and foremost, check out this art of Jill by Mary Cagle. It’s awesome. It’s adorable. It’s adorabawesome.
That out of the way, just stopping by to give a quick update on where we are. Right now I’m watching Sabu’s picarto stream, as she draws some Saffron and Sage. That’s still a think we’re working on, and you can see it being worked on if you follow her there. Gotta figure out the website situation, soon.
For LotH, I have five pages written up and Carlos has access to them, though things are in need of a cleanup and Carlos has some ~*things*~ to take care of before we can really return to full power, but rest assured, that cat’s starting to purr as well.
Patrons‘ll probably start getting teaser images pretty soon, but I don’t want to commit to a date yet. Hopefully by the end of the month, but this is partially dependent on factors beyond my control.
I want to thank all the Patrons for supporting us in these weeks of in-between work. The financial difficulties that led to the hiatus are starting to clear up (though I’ll never pour cash into the advertising fire again), and we’re moving on to a bright future of comic updates.
Anonymous said to thewebcomicsreview:
How do you approach your writing? Do you come up with interesting characters first? Do you create broad concepts and scenarios? Do you just write down random ideas and see what sticks? Help an anon who has no idea what they’re doing.
Later, she gains the intention to save Riley, and then things start moving more smoothly. If Jill’s in a room, what does she do? She looks for Riley, unless there’s something more pressing, in which case she does that. Having her intentions clear is what powers her as a character. That’s why the first or second song in a musical is the protagonist saying what they want, sometimes known as the “I want” song.
(The fourth one’s “In Summer”, for comic relief snowman guy)
Writing question: What makes a good villian?
Also being Generic Bad Guy lets him be a straight man to the comedy of the heroes.
There are other stories where generic Flash Gordon style villains can be successful. Sometimes, all you need to turn a generic overlord guy into a cultural icon is a cool outfit and some asthma.
In the original Star Wars, Darth Vader was just Some Dude. He acted kind of like an old-timey pulp supervillain, but he’s not actually important in the grand scheme of things. Obi-wan gives us some backstory about how Vader was a former apprentice who killed Luke’s dad, but that doesn’t actually get mentioned again (the original Star Wars is great for using throwaway details like that to make the world seem big an epic. Unfortunately, Star Wars has become smaller with every movie, but that’s a different essay) In the original movie, I mean. Obviously it does in the sequels, but the sequels were made after Vader was a hit villain, so I’m pretending they don’t exist.
Even though that means ignoring one of the best fight scenes in all of genre movies, but that’s also a different essay.
Anyway, original Star Wars. Vader gets a cool entrance, makes some obvious deductions about escape pods, and Saturday Morning Cartoon speeches that “There’ll be no one to stop us, this time!” (Which implies that someone stopped them at some point in the past, a cool fill-in-the-blank detail that’ll presumably be filled in for us with the Rouge One movie because Hollywood hates imagination).
Later, after his troops let Luke escape, we see Vader in a meeting with some officer dudes. One of them insults Vader to his face, so Vader reveals his incredible ability to choke people with his mind from slightly further away than he could do with his arm, which is actually a pretty lame power. He can’t even choke the dude from across the room, he literally walks closer to get in range. Yes, Empire let him do this from across the galaxy, but we’re pretending the sequels don’t exist. He doesn’t even get to kill his minion like a real supervillain, because the actual bad guy of the movie makes him stop.
If you asked 100 people who the bad guy of the original Star Wars was, 90% was say Darth Vader and 9% would know it was the old guy but not remember his name. If he had cool armor, it’d be different.
But here’s the thing. Vader’s an advanced mook. He fails repeatedly in the movie, dialouge implies he fails a lot even before this movie (“No one will stop us this time!”). His backstory is generic “Evil Student turned on master” that’s been done a million times, and the only powers he actually displays in the movie are completely lame. His most impressive bad-guy feat is being able to kill a super-old dude, and only after the old guy literally lets him kill him. But he looks awesome. And “choking with your mind” is a cool power conceptually. And he’s voiced by James Earl Jones. So he’s a cultural icon. Even if all the writing was the same, if he looked like this
it wouldn’t have worked. But he looked cool instead, and the movie was awesome, so there you go.
And Vader wouldn’t be the last Star Wars villain to get popular solely based on looking cool.
Of course, most good villains aren’t Vader. So here’s something you might be able to actually use:
One thing I’ve found while writing is that people react more to kicking a puppy than blowing up Puppyulon IV. Or Alderaan, for that matter. If a reader can’t identify with villainy, it feels less “real”, and thus they don’t hate the character for it. A lot of cartoons are great examples of this.
Lapis Lazuli stole the fucking ocean, and tries to kill Steven and everyone he loved, breaking his dad’s leg in the process. Fans had forgiven her by the end of the episode.
Peridot tried to smash Steven with giant robot hands and worked for a program that was intending to blow up the earth. No biggie.
Jasper headbutted Steven and is generally kind of a jerk. This is unforgivable.
You can even see this dynamic in Legend of the Hare. Peggy murders an old man and a little girl in her first appearance, no one really cares. People actually ended up liking Peggy, because her villainy otherwise was kind of funny. Riley had sex with Jill and then fired her. Readers had a much stronger reaction to this. It’s because no one really knows someone who burns sentient rabbits to death, but everyone knows a Riley.
♫No one make girls think of a bad ex like Gaston!♪
But again, all this depends on the story you’re writing. If the basis of your comic is the heroes cracking jokes and having relationships, you don’t actually need or even necessarily want a memorable villain. The Marvel Cinematic Universe movies don’t, and they’re popular and acclaimed. If your villain is an important character, treat them like any other character. If you can’t make an interesting character, you’ve got bigger problems than the villain. If they’re not, maybe “good villains” are a little over-rated.
If one show was going to suck what was the point of this “brand split”? Which doesn’t make any sense if (I’m assuming) both shows are owned by the same company. It seems like you would lose ratings.
Why they did the brand split: They did it in 2001 after buying WCW and all their talent and having too many characters for one show. It was a big success for a while, because blah blah blah.
Why it sucked: Okay. You can write books about why wrestling writing sucks. People have! (Amazon referral link alert! Death of WCW is legit one of my favorite books, though, WCW was surreal).
WWE’s biggest successes came at a time when all involved were doing ashitload of drugs.
(WWF had a steroid scandal around this time, surprising literally no one)
Also, it’s comically political (wrestlers get popular when they win. For another wrestler to win, another wrestler must lose. Wrestlers who become stars become millionaires. This is not a formula for friendly co-operation) and all the writers have no training except doing wrestling for decades..
Imagine if Dave Willis, Aaron Diaz, Tatsuya Ishida, and Ryan Sohmer decided to pump out a series of crossover graphic novels at a rapid pace, except they were all on drugs at literally all times, hated each other, and wanted to destroy each other’s careers while making themselves and their characters look awesome. And occasionally someone would literally shit in someone else’s hat. That’s how wrestling has traditionally worked, and this is why I find it so fascinating. WWE is also infamously vindictive of anyone they don’t like, or anyone who gets popular without their permission.
Zack Ryder did, on his own, a YouTube show that was a bit of a hit, and made him the most popular wrestler in WWE even though he wasn’t “supposed” to be popular. This is how his character started getting written shortly thereafter. If you’re wondering how you do this stunt safely, the answer is “Fuck you, Zack Ryder”. It was years before he started showing up on Raw in any capacity. Dolph Ziggler was also subject to a bit of this, but not to the same extent. WWE is scummy.
Modern WWE isn’t quite so insane, but it’s pretty insane. For example, last Tuesday was the first live episode of Smackdown (the other big gimmick they’re doing). The big hook of the episode was the “draft”, in which the storyline owners of the two shows would pick out wrestlers for their shows. The live show started at 8pm. The writers figured out who was on which show at 7:30. This meant that all the wrestlers found out what show they were on in real life at the same time their characters did.
Why is there no tag team or women’s title belt on Smackdown even though there’s a tag team and women’s division? I think the honest answer is literally “they forgot”. They’re making this shit up as they go, and it really shows at times.
The fine folks over at What Did I Just Watch invited me to talk about the movie Bad Milo, Nathan Fillion, and Lemons. Check it out!