Paragons of Virtue

So I’ve already admitted that I think it is easier to write interesting villains, but I don’t want that to be misconstrued into “he don’t like tha’ good guys!” Not that I really think a bunch of red necks are reading the site.

I’ve long been a fan of comic books, and obviously with the capes and spandex you get a lot of over the top soap boxing on morals and virtue. To my earlier point on the ease of creating interesting villains, none of my comic nerd friends have ever been fans of Superman or Captain America (I actually am), for the reason that they are ‘boring’ characters. They are predictable because they follow the rules and are paragons of virtue. I, personally, think this is what makes them interesting. A willingness to do the right thing even when it costs them dearly or hinders their goals. Batman on the other hand, arguably the most popular and beloved of super heroes, is only steps away from being one of the criminals he fights. He will cross lines if it helps him get the job done, hell the man keeps a file full of plans on how to kill all the A level super heroes – just in case.

It seems easy to say that the best way to make a hero interesting is to make him bad in some fashion. Of course, The Punisher has failed in multiple box office releases and it seems to me he is the simplest of super heroes to translate to the silver screen. Man with guns and questionable ethics kills lots of other guys with guns and more questionable ethics. Isn’t this the formula for just about every action movie? And yet, Punisher has never been successfully recreated in Hollywood.

All that said, I don’t know that I have a good answer. When I feel like my heroes are shaping up well, I inevitably write a line that would sound just as good coming from Batman or from Han Solo, and it turns out I’m mostly just riffing on the success of others. It’s something I’m constantly working on, and don’t see an end in sight.


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