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World's Finest Workshops Creating Fanfic Characters

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by aiwac, May 12, 2010.

  1. aiwac

    aiwac Member

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    OK, as per my earlier suggestion and with klammed's encouragement, I am starting this thread where fanficers can compare stories about non-canon characters they created. I'll go first, with a rundown of the origins of the killer my readers apparently love (and love to hate), William "Mad Dog" Madigan AKA the Northside Butcher.

    Canon: DCAU, BB (Through a Dark Mirror)

    The Creation of a Killer by aiwac

    He is a cold, remorseless serial killer; a vicious, highly intelligent monster who gets within inches of destroying Terry's entire world. Who are you, William Madigan?

    In the Beginning

    The Mad Dog was originally meant to be a one-shot character, the one who forces Terry to look in the "dark mirror" and realize exactly where he's heading if he doesn't "hit the brakes" and fast. He was modeled to some extent on Ledger's unforgettable performance (sans the manic energy) – especially the interrogation scene. His egging on Terry's violent and angry nature, practically begging him to kill him, is what makes Terry understand that his violent tendencies could destroy him. Mission accomplished, the character had served its purpose. Or had it?

    Mad Dog 2.0

    The image of the Mad Dog, as well as his evil doppelganger, haunted Terry in the various Max Payne-esque nightmare sequences spread throughout much of the story project. But could the flesh-and-blood version be of any use?

    After I "left canon", so to speak, I was thinking of a way to force Terry to confront many of his unresolved issues and dilemmas – of not being there for his father, his relationship with Dana, being Batman. I wanted to upset his seemingly linear path to Epilogue greatness. This must be the most serious test Terry has ever faced.

    Hence the story: The Killer Instinct. The purpose was simple: put Terry through absolute hell. All the gloves come off and nothing is safe – his family, his friends, even his identity. Even the Bat-suit and Bruce can't guarantee success. With time running out, Terry must make some very difficult decisions. Think the Dark Knight and replace Gotham with Terry.

    Obviously, for this you need a major bad guy. But the problem with most of the bad-guys in the BB universe is that none of them really care about Batman all that much except as an annoyance. They rarely take him seriously. Terry is regarded even less – Ras al Ghul makes the dumb mistake of "underestimating the boy" and the Joker holds him in such contempt that Terry's able to use this against him. Even "Big Time" didn't make much of an impression.

    Thus, for the antagonist to be credible and compelling, for him to serve the purpose of the story, he has to take Terry seriously. He has to be able to have that strong connection Bruce had with many of his foes. He has to "care" enough to want to hurt him, very badly. Enter Mitchell Leary.

    [Quotes from the movie "In the Line of Fire"]

    "Hello, Frank…"

    "I know who you are…Leary"

    "(smiles) I'm glad, Frank, friends should be able to call each other by name"

    "We're not friends"

    "Sure we are…"

    Mitchell Leary is the name of the would-be assassin of the American President in the movie "In the Line of Fire", played brilliantly by John Malkovich. He is the nemesis of Clint Eastwood's "Frank Horrigan", a grizzled old Secret Service Agent who is haunted by his failure to save JFK in 1963.

    What makes Leary unique is his strange feeling of "friendship" with Horrigan. On the one hand, like all good antagonists, he knows exactly how to push Frank's buttons, to make it into a personal war. On the other hand, he feels a bond with him – they were both "honest people" betrayed by the system. He even calls to offer his condolences to him after murdering his partner. This, then, was the perfect archetype for motivation.

    But what drives Madigan to go after Terry? Many serial killers suffered from some sort of abuse that helped force their sociopathy into murderous drives. What if the abuse is a distorted mirror image of Terry's own life?

    Like Hush (which I've never read [ducks tomatoes]), Madigan murders his own father, who abused him for several years. Having suffered abuse from his family, Madigan now sees the world through the eyes of someone betrayed, who sees human beings as nothing other than pawns to be used or destroyed at will. Eventually, he goes to "experimenting" on them.

    Madigan sees himself in Terry – a kid betrayed and used by his Mom (who left him and took Matt), Bruce (who uses him for own ends) and Dana (who broke up with him because it was no longer convenient). He believes that Terry is constantly denying his true destructive nature, and that he is being held back by these frauds. Hence the need to show him the light by removing the "obstacles" to his enlightenment.

    Ah, but the antagonist cannot just have motive, but capability. Believable capability. Enter Dexter Morgan.

    Dexter Morgan. By day, he is a forensic blood spatter analyst with the Miami-Dade homicide department. By night, he is a serial killer/vigilante. He received his "training" from his foster father Harry Morgan. Harry, a dedicated police officer, decides to channel Dexter's sociopathic tendencies and rage at his mother's murder into targeting only killers who will kill again. He trains him, providing him with the necessary knowledge and technique to avoid capture.

    Madigan, like Morgan, had a "trainer" – Dr. Ira "Spellbinder" Billings. I've never bought into the "he's in it for money" argument (he's a psychiatrist, for God's sake! He could earn tons in private practice!), and here was a good opportunity to show what I feel is his true motive – manipulation of minds for self-enjoyment, like watching rats in a lab. In this case, he took an already existing monster and turned him into true menace. Like Dexter, Madigan goes out "hunting" according to a specific profile – though in his case, it means ensuring he never fits a profile, as per his training.

    So, there you have it, a combination of two of the most mesmerizing killers to ever grace the small and big screens served as the material for the killer you see before you. And what will be his end? As the great Robert Jordan often said, RAFO (=Read and Find Out) next week. :evil:
     
    #1 aiwac, May 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2010
  2. klammed

    klammed the fool.

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    You've probably got a more emotionally driven character than Hush was in relation to the killing of his parents. Hush's negative emotions are purely directed at the Waynes because of the saving of his dad's life. He was a stone cold bastard child murderer (child who is a murderer, not a murderer of children) from the very start.

    I do like that you went with the 'put Terry through hell' idea with this character, making him run through a gauntlet the way Bane and Black Glove had done to Bruce in the comics. It's a very arch nemesis/Batman dynamic that has worked well for your purposes, and shows the reader what exactly the hero is up against - not some random muscle with no brains.

    Interesting stuff, and always great when that much thought is built into a new character to act as a foil for the protagonist :)
     
  3. Dr. Shore

    Dr. Shore Forever a N00b

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    For the record, and this is just a suggestion, if you're going to post descriptions of characters, please note the show/canon into which the character is presented. We don't all assume it's Batman (or, in your case, Batman Beyond). Since we have to do it for fanfics that we post here, I think it's perfectly reasonable to do it for non-canon characters as well. Plus it makes the description a lot easier to follow.
     
  4. aiwac

    aiwac Member

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    Oops! :p My bad. I added the canon above the essay as per your suggestion. Here's hoping more people join in!

    aiwac
     

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