Friday, August 29, 2014

Of Faces and Heels

This article has been taking forever to write.

Anyway, the dynamic between hero and villain has become almost a cliche at this point, and anything to change it up is often sought, though how successful it is varies.  The most interesting idea is when the character switches sides.

In wrestling, of all things, "good" characters are known as "faces" and "bad" ones are "heels," thus the creation of the phrases Heel-Face and Face-Heel Turns, where the bad guy becomes good and the good guy becomes bad.  Watching a hero become a villain, or vice versa, makes for an interesting study on what makes each and how they interact.

Aaron from Blue Blaster, for example, started his career, as it were, playing as a heel, a villain, though it wasn't really about being evil.  For him, it was a form of justice, though more like vengeance.  He spent a great amount of time beating up his bullies and stealing their money.  His last major act was a bit of property damage against his school that he blames many of his problems on.  Then is partner in this act started killing people and Aaron decided the whole thing had gone too far.  Yes, he has been acting as a heel, but he really did have morals, so once someone crossed it, he decided it wasn't what he wanted.  That said, the WORLD still views him as a villain, which is making his attempts not to be all the more challenging and interesting.

On the flip side is Moonshadow (Mary), from Strong Female Protagonist, who I'm pretty sure murdered 4 people in the course of the current story.  It's out of pace with the rest of the story, the murders I mean, they just suddenly happen, throats slit on a group of accused (and acquitted) rapists, and the possible wife beating judge who let them off, but no visible person responsible.  Later, when Sonar (Brad) and Allison talk about her, we are only given hints at what she can do, and the stress she now experienced.  From the undoing of the entire villain/hero system that had dominated the world until then, to Allison leaving behind her role as Mega Girl, it seems Mary got the worst of it.  The last image is of her disappearing into the night, an angry, but determined look on her face, and a big freaking knife in her hand.  While the comic hasn't outright said it, I think it's likely she's killed those people, a form of vigilante justice that crossed the line.  It's a believable fall, Mary is trying to still be a hero, even now, but her methods have gotten harder, more lethal.  When the confrontation between her and Allison occurs, and I suspect it will come sooner rather than later, it'll be quite the sight to behold.

The fine line between hero and villain can be crossed many times by the same person, such as Sandra, or is it Zandra now, from Zebra Girl.  Her role as hero was cemented when she slipped into Sam's world and fought the soulless mad scientist that ruled it.  She spent a LOT of time acting as a hero until hero/villain Professor Broadshoulders decided that Sandra WAS evil, and tried to send her to Hell.  She turned the tables on him, but got a taste of what evil was and became a villain herself, generating and feeding off fear in the town of Miscellaneous (yes that's the name of the town).  Only when she was flushed away to a kind of limbo dimension was she forced to confront what she had done and had become, and decide to act as a hero again.  Unlike both Moonsshadow and Blue Blaster, Sandra has a much more pressing issue:  she has become a literal demon from Hell, and that makes it all the easier to slip in to a much more evil role, but she still has her human soul, so she can work against her nature just as easily.  It's less a choice for her and more an active battle to decide her fate, and one that I suspect isn't over yet either.

And that's really just the a few examples, as switching sides is something so common that I really wanted to just tap some of my more recent comics (and one I just did a Not-So-Wild review on, you know, like 3 weeks ago, damn work).  I could easily tap Sluggy Freelance for this one (Dr. Schlock), and numerous others if I really put my mind to it.  It really does give a much better view of who the character is and why they are that way when they switch sides as it were, or in Sandra's case, when they switch back.

Okay, next time, I don't know, something, hopefully.  Damn work.  Until then kiddies.

No comments:

Post a Comment