On Being a Character Loyalist

On Being a Character Loyalist

Aug 29

I don’t really think of myself as the kind of fan who makes sweeping, “If [property I like] does [plot twist that sounds dumb/shark jumpy/whatever], then it is dead to me!!!” I’m more of a last gasp hanger-on-er. It takes a lot for me to break up with something.

It just struck me, however, that there have been a couple instances wherein I’ve sort of drifted away after swearing to “give [property I like] a chance and see where it goes” when said property killed off one of my favorite characters. In both cases, I kind of knew it was coming and I prepared myself, even though I wasn’t happy about it. And in both cases, I don’t think said property suddenly got shitty just because the people behind it killed off a key figure. I just sort of…lost interest. Does that mean that I am, above all things, a character loyalist? Without even trying to be, really?

OK, so first of all: Gert in Runaways. When this happened, I seem to remember there being a lot of “kill your darlings” talk. Which, in theory, should do totally amazing things for the storyline and for your other characters. And maybe it did…but I don’t really know, cause I just stopped. This seems to go against my fanishness altogether. I mean, I loved Runaways. Trumpeted its greatness to anyone who would listen, blah blah, was determined to see it through even though they offed the character who, to me, seemed like the heart of the thing. And Joss Whedon? Terry Frakkin’ Moore? These are some of my favorite writers. What’s wrong with me?! I guess, even though I like the other characters, something about Gert’s shrinking violet nerdishness drew me in and anchored me to the story. Leaving the series behind once she was gone wasn’t really a conscious decision, it just kind of happened.

The other example I’m thinking of is Jenny Sparks. She was on my mind after all the Authority-related chatter on Twitter the other day (from now on, I should probably just put an Inspired by Twitter! disclaimer on all of my blog posts) — it sounded like some folks pretty much ditched the series circa the Millar era. I loved The Authority with a burning, drooling-over-panoramic-panels passion during the Ellis run. But when I gave up on it…it wasn’t really because of Millar, to be honest. It was because I missed the hell out of Jenny Sparks. I still think she’s one of the ass-kickingest characters ever. She makes me want to wear Union Jack tees and swear more creatively. And I know she had to die, because Spirit of the 20th Century and all, but I think she really embodied and conveyed what that book was all about in a way that Jack Hawksmoor never quite could. (Also, Jenny Quarx? Whatever.)

So. Character loyalist? Is that me? Maybe. I suppose, in the end, characters are what really draw me in and keep me there. If I like the people, I’ll sometimes put up with a bad storyline or a bad twist or whatever, simply because I want to keep watching or reading about them. I guess I’m OK with that. If I have to stick yet another label on my fandom, well, that’s not a terrible one and hopefully it doesn’t make me sound like too much of a raving jerkwad.

And yes, I am one of those people who is totally and completely for Jean Grey coming back, no matter how many times she bites it.


  1. madmarvelgirl

    I totally agree about Jean. They were only starting to get at the potential of that character when she died. Both times. (Both times she stayed dead; not talking about other times).

    I can’t think that I’ve ever drifted away from a story immediately following a character death, but I know that lineups definitely have an affect on my interest in following stories. I say I’m an ‘X-men’ fan, but there are a lot of ‘classic’ stories I haven’t bothered with because they don’t have Scott or Jean in them.

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