The fickleness of fictional characters...
Feb. 18th, 2009 @ 04:46 pm
I get annoyed when people call Poison from Final Fight a transsexual, why? Because someone thought it was wrong to hit women, so they gave her a penis.... And yet Roxy who was in the game remained unchanged... It seems she was probably female in Final Fight Revenge and now her gender depends on where you live, the day of the week and what you had for breakfast....
Which made me realize something terrribly depressing, no matter how popular a character is, their creators can mess with it's past, future, gender, personality or even their favorite flavor of ice cream!
Think about it! Mario used to be an Italian plumber from Brooklyn, but now... he was born in the Mushroom Kingdom... and yet still has an accent from a place he's never been to...
The Koopa Kids? What Koopa Kids? Bowser only has ONE son, right?
Sonic is from Mobius, right? Or is it Earth? Or a planet that's kinda like Earth?
We all know who is Mario's true love, right? Pauli... I mean Princess Toadstoo... Peach?
You get the idea by now, right? A fictional character (videogame one or not), can be changed, deleted from history, get a personality change.... you name it!
Why does this happen? I can only guess, but I'm pretty sure that in retro games the reason is that we didn't really care that much about plots back then, the plot of a retro game can fit in a Twitter post easily, "OOH! A BAD GUY! KILL IT! Also, rescue the princess..."
As time passes people start demanding a better plot, which forces people to create a mythos over something that didn't really have one, which creates these changes in the game world to make them easier to explain, or simply to introduce new elements into the gameplay.
Sometimes someone new takes control on the franchise, and changes the world to fit their world view and ideas for the game.
And sometimes the world changes because us fans demand it.
So... Believe whatever you want about a game character, what today might be true can become a lie tomorrow... Or both!
Still, it's rather depressing to know that they can change, kill or delete from history a character just like that...
A question I've struggled with for the last few years, I don't remember what originally got me thinking about it, is how much "ownership" do fans really have over the characters they like.
If, for example, Marvel changes Spider-man with a deal-with-the-devil storyline or DC "time-punch"es the Legion, is that really disrespecting the fan base? Or, is it trying to appeal to a different audience?
I'm torn. On the one hand, I am a fan and don't like sudden changes that do not organically grow out of the character. On the other hand, I'm also a creator who feels that I can do with my characters what I think is best.
"One More Day" was Joe Quesada appealing to Joe Quesada.
At least comics can change gradually, games come out every few years, they can't change gradually...
Don't superhero comics reset or change the origin stories of characters very often? Have they ever gone so far as to pretend something never happened or if somebody never existed?
Fans shouldn't dictate how you work, but doing something that you know will upset them is not good either... :|
There are, I think, 12 recognizable ways to retcon something or someone in comics. The most popular way is to simply never refer to it again. Like Reed Richards and Ben Grimm being active military during WWII, or Peter Parker's affair with Betty Leeds (wife of Ned Leeds who was the first Hobgoblin before that was retconned).
But, sometimes they do stories where they reveal "everything you know is wrong" or they hit the Cosmic Reset Button and strange things happen. Like Justice is no longer a dimension-hopping police officer and is instead a crazy ex-cop with super powers. Or, Superman was the Last Son of Krypton(except for all of those people. Wait, no he is the last again and always has been. Well, except for her.)
I remember a horrible story Marvel did once that literally undid 5 years of continuity, resetting a popular title back to issue 6. Then they canceled it and it was years before the characters were even mentioned again. (Power Pack)
But, I'm not talking just about comics. Also, video games, cartoons, novels, movies, etc. I know someone who says that Star Wars was "ruined" when it was "changed" so that Luke and Leia were brother and sister.
At some point the fan's have ownership, and at some point it ends. But, I am not sure where that point is.
I guess there's a sweet point? There is a limit to how much you can change, as in you can't make a child's story dirty just like that and while fans should influence you a little, they can't control you?
Mario and Bowser also used to be arch-enemies, and now they play tennis together.
Do you read superhero comics, by the way?
No... I only have an issue of Captain America because Danielle Corsetto ghost inked it and gave it to me... ^_^;
I am going to pick up that X-Men story Dave and Raina are working on though!