Monday, February 23, 2015

Comic Book Writing Chronicles: We Have A Villain!

Quite often, a hero or group of heroes is only as good as the villain or villains with whom they clash. For the script I'm writing, I had my team of heroes.  They're a fun mix of personalities and abilities, led by my main character, who is meant to be representative of the fight against depression.  I modeled him off of an earlier character I had that had become too "dark age of comics":  brooding, broken, immensely flawed, and so on and so on.  Why not make him someone who loves what he does?  Sure, he's encountered darkness and great danger in his adventures, but he'll have an outlook that leans heavily towards the optimistic.  Part of that personality was inspired by the DC Comics character of Nightwing.  Dick Grayson, once the original Robin then Nightwing (and even Batman for a spell), was always meant to balance out the darkness of Bruce Wayne's Batman, who was forged in tragedy.  My main character had a similar path - I even made him an "intern" to a Batman-like character - but struck out on his own and kept the same code name his entire career.

But the villain.  What kind of villain could I have go up against him and his friends?  They're a powerful group, but just like in professional wrestling, the villain should actually be stronger than the hero.  I had some villains created, including some that would be personal, but the best I had previously was a holdover from my character's "dark age" beginnings and that character had evolved to the point of being more of an "honorable rogue."  I needed someone stronger, deadlier, and far more evil.  Someone that wouldn't be cheered for the way some villains are cheered for in films and comics.  One of my favorite villains is DC Comics' Darkseid, created by Jack Kirby.  Kirby made him this majestic, evil despot of a hellish world.  My favorite writer Grant Morrison made him a frightening, living idea that could affect whole dimensions with his actions.  The implications could be hugely scary.  I wanted to create my own Darkseid.  Turns out, he was right under my nose, literally already on the page.

Many years ago, I had created a villain that had slaughtered the hero's previous team before being taken down and imprisoned.  Upon release by a ratings-grabbing televangelist who insisted he was "cleansed," he sets about with his new plan.  That version of him was as a powerful magic-user and manipulator.  I thought, why not keep that version of him, only make it one fraction of what he really is.  Now I was getting somewhere.  On one of my long drives home from work, I started thinking of different ways he'd screw around with the main character and his team.  By the time I got home, I had the circumstances that put everyone in place as the story begins, or at least when the reader first picks up the story.  The background will provide deeper flashbacks in further issues.

So now I have the basic story, the leads, the main supporting cast, the setting, and the villain.  Next up, I'll be splitting the story into parts which in turn will become issues.  There is a lot of work yet to do but as long as I'm having fun with it, I'm good.

Eventually, when I search out an artist, things will kick into high gear.

Thanks for reading!