Strip Talk #07: What makes up heroes or villains?

Lyndsey Mosley, editor-in-chief

I’ve often wondered what makes a character a hero or a villain in comics. What makes a character “good” and another “bad”? How does the writer who creates the characters sit down and decide “I’m going to make this person evil personified” and another “the greatest hero to have ever lived.”

I’ve always wondered about those who are obviously at the different ends of the spectrum, such as Superman or Apocalypse. Superman is the embodiment of all that is good and righteous in the world of comics. He has a sense of right and what is morally acceptable in the universe ascribed to him. He can do no wrong, and he is considered the paragon of what is “All-American” and apple pie. Then you have someone like Marvel’s Apocalypse, a 5,000 year-old-mutant who is hell bent on world domination and survival of the fittest. Who came up with the idea that these two characters are the stations of their particular ideologies?

And what about the middle men, as I like to call them? Those anti-heroes who follow a fine line between good and evil? Say what you will about Magneto or Batman, but they have their points to be made about what they’re trying to accomplish, and they will accomplish it through any means necessary.

The case of Magneto is especially complex. Here you have a character based on a real figure, Malcolm X. His nemesis, Charles Xavier, is based on also real Martin Luther King Jr. Who’s to say that Magneto is necessarily a villain?

Examining the character traits of comics’ heroes and villains is an interesting bit of research for those who want to dig deep into the minds of man. Sometimes, it seems, not every case can be made for strictly good and bad.

Lyndsey Mosley is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She ponders the nature of heroes and villains at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

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Strip Talk #04: ’80s and ’90s themes are the soundtrack of my life

Lyndsey Mosley, editor-in-chief

I don’t throw the title “child of the ’80s” around often. The definition is someone, like myself, that was born between the years 1975 to 1986 that remembers the pop culture of the era because they lived through it. Myself? I am a quintessential child of that time. I remember WWF, Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Kids, Rainbow Brite, Jem and the Smurfs well. I got up on Saturday mornings to watch most of those shows and when I got home from school it was TMNT, Ducktales, Darkwing Duck and the USA Cartoon Express all the way. So, why are we rehashing all of these titles? Simple: They had some of the best intro themes of all time.

Don’t get me wrong, the ’90s had some great stuff, too. X-Men the Animated Series, Fox’s Spider-man, Doug, Goof Troop. All are great shows with excellent introductions. So what is it about this these two periods of animated television? Was it because I was young and in-tune to music through chorus at school? Possibly. But more likely it’s the fact that this was the golden age of animation, a time when good cartoons were routinely introduced with flair, savvy and a well-sung introduction that told you everything you needed to know about the show.

That’s the crux of why this was such a good time for animated television. Take, for example, Transformers. Everything you ever needed to know about the Autobots and Decepticons, their battles and their affiliations were told in 30 seconds through singing. Same thing with Ducktales, Powerpuff Girls and TMNT. Sometimes you didn’t even need singing to tell the story. X-Men’s instrumental intro famously showed the principal cast and the fight of mutant kind.

As a child of the ’80s it was hard not getting up to see many of these shows every morning while getting ready for school. Now, it’s hard as an adult not to tear up when I hear the instantly recognizable themes of my childhood past. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve found I’m not the only one wishing for the return of the golden age of cartoons. The ’80s and ’90s were the gold standard for hooking an audience into a show that may or may not have shapeshifting robots, teenage mutant ninja turtles or racecars, lasers, airplanes to spin in Duckburg. I look forward to the day when I have a child old enough to understand and appreciate the era that mom learned about good animated television.

Lyndsey Mosley is editor of Gaming Insurrection and a proud self-proclaimed child of the ’80s. You can contact her via email at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

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