Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Calm Before A Storm (aka Cheap Emotional Manipulation)



Pages 11 & 12 were a quiet but still important sequence. Emotionally it lets us take a breath after the heat of the last pages and let's the exposition settle in. On page 11 we introduce Titan.  Originally named Titus, I changed it since Robin got a new Bat-Hound named Titus over in the Batman books. Titan is the heart of the group, if you ever want to know how Dan feels (or should feel) look at Titan. He really is an extension of Dan's personality as well as his tether to sanity. Without his best friend he may well have given up. On page 12, we give the big emotional reveal. I assumed most readers had figured it out already by reading between the lines but I wanted a moment where he says it would loud. I wasn't doing it as an insult to the readers intelligence, but rather a character beat. In my mind that is probably the first time in years Dan has been able to actually say it out loud. Structurally, it was the absolute worst thing I could do to a character to create sympathy. No one should outlive their child, but writers do things like this all the time. If they want you to like someone, they will hammer character loss in the character debut to make you feel sorry for them. Don't believe me: I'll go through a few of my favorite characters: Both Ben Sisco and John Sheridan on DS9 and Babylon 5 lost wives. Sinclair on B5 lost his entire team. The Fugitive's Richard Kimbel's wife was murdered. Ollie's dad committed suicide in Arrow. Barry's mother died on The Flash. Peter Parker's uncle. Batman's parents. On StarGate O'Neil lost his son. I could keep going, but the point is made, it's cheap emotional manipulation but it works, even when done ham-fistedly by a hack like me.

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