It’s July 3rd and I am still embroiled in writing, so here’s a quick post for the next week. When I was 11, my good friend Rosemary O’Malley introduced me to the Uncanny X-Men. Here’s just a smattering of the lessons I learned.
Sometimes heroes and villains just have to take off their masks and have a rational (if contentious) discussion. The villain might even be genuinely horrified to hear that one of his adversaries is dead.
The best villains are capable of human emotion, including remorse.
There are times when a tricky scene is best viewed through the eyes of a character who stands apart.
Even the closest relationships have their angry moments, especially if the dynamic is mentor/mentee or parent/child.
When good people do terrible things, the root cause is always the same.
Different leadership styles may be called for, and surprising results may occur.
Change is never easy.
Even tough guys can be paralyzed by fear.
The most interesting hero/villain dynamics are based on similarities as well as differences.
Your most impulsive character may literally throw himself off a cliff rather than quit while ahead. Also: it’s glorious to see a hero do something stupid when that stupid action entirely in keeping with their characterization.
There is such a thing as a genuine change of heart. But amends and trust-building won’t come easy.
There’s all kinds of toughness (emotional, intellectual, physical) and all kinds of heroic people, from pretty ladies to growling savages.
It’s natural to look back on your old writing and want to cringe, laugh, or kill it with fire.
Note: it’s difficult to credit anything as collaborative as comics properly, but let me give a shout out to Glynis Oliver and Tom Orzechowski, who hand-colored and hand-lettered most of the panels I included, back in the day.