WA Weighs In: 3 Fictional COMIC Characters

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If you’re active on social media lately, you may have seen the fun fad of #3fictionalcharacters, wherein you choose 3 characters you feel represent aspects of your personality best. We at the Alliance decided this would be a fun topic for an article, wherein we share our favorite and most fitting COMIC and WEBCOMIC characters. And you may notice a certain someone managed to wander in after a long vacation… welcome back Byron!

 

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val_tabletitansVal from Table Titans by Scott Kurtz, Steve Hamaker, Brian Hurtt, and Tavis Maiden

Val is idealistic, enthusiastic, loyal, and wields a mean dwarven axe or hammer when playing D&D.  A lover and a fighter, with a touch of a prideful streak.  She’d rather bash obstacles on the head than strum a lute, although at times she will do both.  (This is how I tend to RP too.  I’m thinking of making a giant alligator murder bard in the near future…If only to be able to shout “Big Lipped Alligator Moment” as a catchphrase.)  A connoisseur of unappreciated, esoteric cheeses.  The principles behind an action matter to Val, and I love that even though she will eagerly lead the charge, she also always keeps others in mind.  She was first introduced in PVP in a story-line about a band of dungeon crawlers called the Table Titans that won my heart and I have been a fan ever since.
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bio_rockyRocky Rickaby from Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler

Originally I was going to pick Calvin, aka Freckle, but then I had to admit to myself that my madness runs much closer to the surface.  Rocky represents my optimistic side, which is pretty dang deranged, but I have no other explanation for my repeated risk-taking.  Even though logically I am pessimistic, and always 100% certain everything I do will end in failure, I STILL DO THE THING.  Why??  Who does that?  Who would throw themselves into uncertain situations when they are sure events will blow up in their face and probably light on fire??  Well, crazy people.  And Rocky Rickaby.

Tracy was one of my earliest inspirations.  I first found her work, years before Lackadaisy, when I was 13.  The life and energy in the characters made me want to bring so much more personality and story to my own characters.  I started experimenting with paints and other mediums because of what I saw her do with Gouache.  I researched and studied the anatomy of humans and animals to give my drawings more realism.  And my first comic, which I’ve never shared online, but worked on for years, was directly inspired by the gorgeous drawings and characters she was creating even then, and she’s only gotten better and better with every passing year.
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20160301_picklesPickles from Sheldon by Dave Kellett

Pickles is a very special bird for me.  No matter what Pickles does, this tiny purple bird always manages to screw it up somehow.  Yet there’s something so dang endearing about it, that I just can’t stay mad at Pickles.  That’s the genius of it.

Depression makes me feel like a failure a lot.  Sometimes it seems like no matter what I do, there’s just no point.   That feeling can be so overwhelming that it becomes debilitating.  Basic tasks, like preparing food, sleeping, or taking a shower, can feel impossible.  No matter what I try, I am always going to be a worthless screw-up, so why even get out of bed?

When Pickles first starting showing up in Sheldon, I really related to this bird.  I found that, on days when I was beating up on myself for failing at things “normal people can do” that it became easier to accept and move on past those failings by saying to myself, “Hang in there, Pickles.  It’s going to be okay.”  Pickles became the way I could be kind to myself.  If I can’t stay mad at Pickles, than I can’t stay mad at the Pickles-shaped-part of my heart.

 

 

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hazelHazel from Girls with Slingshots

Well, I DO tend to always have a “drink of the week” at the ready for our Podcasts….
Hazel is bitingly cynical, super-independent, a good deal stubborn, and probably suffers from resting-bitch-face more often than not. I imagine that’s pretty much the first impression I give off….. yknow, when I’m not in giddy farting-rainbows “Con Mode”. Clumsy in an endearing way, and just as much a bull-in-a-china-shop when it comes to love and relationships. My now-husband had to just blurt out “well, I like you, so you’ll just have to deal with that”…. and much like Hazel I had to take some time in the fetal position to fully comprehend that.

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rat-queens-violetViolet from Rat Queens

So, yeah, about that stubbornness…..
I’d LIKE to think I’m as badass as Violet the dwarf warrior, or even possess a sliver of it. During my sports days, I honed her competitive, don’t-back-down attitude, and it sometimes rears it’s fiery head. I do not like being told I’m inadequate at something, especially something at which I excel. Violet is rebellious and willing to question tradition, which she proved when she shaved her beard. When it comes to tradition, gender norms, and what’s “socially acceptable”, I constantly weigh that with what makes sense and serves a logical purpose… if they don’t match, I ditch “normality” and tradition nearly every time. I’m very much outside-the-box like Violet.

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mickMick from Imy

Thing is, from inside my lonely glass coffee-pot home, y’all are pretty weird.
It’s kind of the reverse of the “outside looking in”, but Imy’s pet fish Mick floats around in his tiny home and observes all the antics and peculiarities in the world around him. Company inside my bowl is so rare, that when someone else sees things from my point of view, I latch on. Also, I tend to prefer dogs to cats.
Annnnd now you better understand why I wrote Zorphbert & Fred. I’m an alien on my own planet most days.

 

 

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cmajor3characters_katKat from Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell

Kat spends way too much time working on her projects, messing around with computers, and talking shop to people who probably aren’t quite as enthusiastic about her geeky endeavors as she is.  But she’s also smart, creative, and very supportive of the people she loves.  Gunnerkrigg Court is one of the staples of the fantasy longform webcomic world, and the growth and intrigue of this story have kept me reading for years.  Highly recommended if it somehow isn’t already on your reading list!
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cmajor3characters_almondAlmond from Cucumber Quest by Gigidigi
Almond is full of energy and always up for an adventure or challenge.  Even when she’s way in over her head, she has an overabundance of confidence and optimism.  She knows she’s always right (right?), and brute forces her way to the end, for better or worse!  She’s a not-so-secret anime nerd, too.  Cucumber Quest has adorable art and a fantastic cast of colorful and charming characters, and is also one of those I hope you’re already reading!
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cmajor3characters_sevSeverian from Runewriters by Shazzbaa
Sev has a lot of optimism and humor, and several stupid yet creative ideas that get him into boatloads of trouble, such as accidentally turning his arms into tentacles. He’s a sucker for helping others out.  Also he can transform into a dragon.  So yeah, feeling a lot of similarities.  Runewriters is a comic I’ve been following for a while and just picked up the print versions from Shazzbaa at Small Press Expo (which has a million character development notes in the back).  It’s so good!  Do give it a read!

 

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Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl from Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

I actually hesitated to put Squirrel Girl on this list just because she is one of my favorite comic characters of all time, so I might be biased. She is upbeat, with a can-do attitude. She never gives up. Even though other people may laugh at her, she still gets the job done! Her powers are ridiculous, but she makes it work, and ends up being an Avenger and beating some of the toughest characters in the Marvel universe. Sometimes I have the same tenacity and drive, despite being told that I can’t accomplish the thing.
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img_3790Clint Barton/Hawkeye from Hawkeye (Matt Fraction and David Aja)
Oh, Hawkeye. I love him so. He’s a normal guy around super powered guys and he does his best. No matter what, he always does his best despite that he has a stick and a string instead of a magic hammer or super serum. I love that about him and I think, like Squirrel Girl, I have some of that inside me. Also I love dogs just as much as Clint Barton does (and I, too, am kind of a loser.)
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img_3792Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius
SCIENCE!! Agatha is a bit of a mad genius and a lot of golden heart. I just realized that both the girls on my list here are involved in STEM in some way. STEM is really important to me, especially getting girls in to the field. It’s so important to encourage our young girls to pursue these fields. And Agatha is clever, strong, brave, crafty, and smart. Plus she is a good person, especially for a Spark. Now I’m nowhere near as smart as Agatha, but I do love science, even a little bit of the mad kind.

 

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Sid, from "Ice Age"

Sid, from “Ice Age”

Sid, from “Ice Age”

Sid is the lovable, naive, kinda stinky and motley friend who is always annoyingly happy. No matter how much he tries to help, he manages to screw up. He has the best intentions in his heart, but can’t control himself sometimes. He’s shown mostly as un-resourceful, but when necessary, Sid manages to come through for his friends. Sid has a short attention span, and takes verbal teasing from his friends in stride. I’m not quite as stinky, but I relate a lot to Sid. I often try my best to help situations, and somehow manage to make things worse. I have been overtly happy for most of my life, and that just annoys the heck out of some people. What? I can’t be happy? I try to find the silver lining in all situations, much like Sid. And in the end, I realize what a weird “pack” my friends and I make. Each of us needing the other to keep the “pack” going.

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Calvin as Spaceman Biff

Calvin as Spaceman Biff

Calvin’s Imagination

Yes, yes, lot’s of people relate to Calvin, but his imagination is what I relate too the most. He’s shown getting in trouble in class for daydreaming, and all through every level of schooling, I was the biggest daydreamer of all. I spent second grade sitting mostly in the Principal’s office due to my antics in class. I would sit and doodle in class, once again prompting trips to the Principal’s office. They had a chair with my name on it. But despite being constantly punished and ridiculed for my imaginative dreams and drawings, I continued to draw and make up stories. Calvin gets in trouble for his imagination and lack of attention in class, but he prevails in the end. I also relate to Calvin for his relationship with his parents. For most of my life, my father never understood me, but it was particularly true as a youngster in grade school. Calvin’s father is the same, and gets upset with his son’s antics, just like my Dad did.

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Augie Doggie and Daddy Doggie

Augie Doggie and Daddy Doggie

Doggies Daddy, and son Augie Doggie

A VERY old cartoon from Hanna-Barbera (surprise). For some odd reason, most cartoon characters have only one parent. Doggie Daddy’s son is no different. Doggie Daddy is challenged every day raising his young son and teaching him the ways of the world. They have lots of adventures together, and in they end they love each other very much. Now, my three sons were luckily not stuck with just me as the only parent, but I made it a point to interact with each of them as much as possible. I worked from home as much as I could to make sure they had a Dad around to have fun with, learn things, and be taught the ways of the world… from me. They grew up just fine regardless of my interference. Doggie Daddy and I have a lot in common.

 

 

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For those of you who know me, I usually don’t have problems talking about complex things. For some reason though picking three fictional comic characters to describe me was the hardest thing ever. It was harder than talking about the presidential debate on Facebook.

I kept trying to figure out why I was having this issue and I realized why.

Brace yourself.

As of late, it’s been hard to find characters that really fit my personality. I’m unremarkably odd. I’ve never really fit any mold. And the molds that people perceive of me are often wrong. I think that type of character is hard to create because in a visual medium you need some sort of archetype.

danielSo I created a character that represented people like me. He’s Daniel from my Not So Super Comic. I felt weird about doing this because it looks like a giant self-promotion. But it’s true! I seldom saw characters of color who are complex. Who aren’t particularly strong, insecure even, yet bubbling over with potential.

I didn’t see enough characters of color who have the lovability of Peter Parker, and yet dealt with unique cultural issues in interesting ways.

So I created Daniel. A character that represents what I couldn’t find in the comics I enjoy to read.

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Editor’s Note: Let Jacques’ conundrum be a lesson, comic writers… the more depth & complexity your character has, the more realistic he/she is. This is regardless of race; race alone isn’t “character depth”. Complexity may mean fewer readers directly relate to a character, but the type of character-based stories that remain with you are the ones where a certain level of realism achieved. They hit home, even if the characters aren’t a perfect reflection of yourself.

 

 

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speed-racer-5Speed Racer

Hey! Animated cartoon characters count as well, right? This might be a theme running along my three characters but Speed was the very first character I ever really became an obsessed fan over. Sure, I was only five or six but every day after school, I would rush home to make sure I wouldn’t miss the “NEXT EXCITING ADVENTURE OF SPEED RACER”. Speed was, for me, what Little Orphan Annie was to Ralphie in The Christmas Story – only I was never disappointed by a crummy Speed Racer decoder ring disguised as a “lousy commercial”.
But despite all of that, to me, SpeedHe was my very first “hero” that I ever wanted to emulate. He was trustworthy, always wanted to do the right thing and never wanted to disappoint anyone… whether it was working with Inspector Detector, dealing with his rival/secret brother Racer X or dealing with his dad, Pop Racer. I think many of my friends who know me or have met me on the comic book convention circuit will tell you many times I tend to inhabit those same kind of “Speed Racer characteristics” so that is why he is the first of my three cartoon characters.

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cap3taskmaster1Captain America & Taskmaster

Again, everyone that REALLY knows me knows that I have two favorites when it comes to super powered characters. One is a hero and the other is a villain. Oddly enough, they both wield shields as part of their costumes. The villain is, of course, Taskmaster while the hero is Captain America. So why am I breaking a bit of a rule by selecting two characters as my second choice? Because, to me, they are like two sides to the same coin. I think we all have a “good side” and a “bad side” and that’s what Cap and Task represent to me.
For my Cap personality, he represents: My patriotic, love the country, always wants to do the right thing, a seeker of justice, a defender of injustice and not afraid to speak out against inequalities. While Taskmaster represents the selfish, not A-List character he could be. Taskmaster represents the one part of all of us we usually cringe at when people describe us as “having potential”. Cap lives up to and exceeds “potential” while Taskmaster still has to strive for it. I think those are two aspects all of us share at various points of our lives. Sometimes we achieve and exceed and sometimes we run away because we know our ego got the better of us and we’ll live to fight another day.

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taz-looney_tunes-svgThe Tasmanian Devil

I am Taz whenever I am three hours into a project on the computer, forget to save and have it crash. I think we all are. But usually, my inner Taz doesn’t really come out very often – only when things are really, really bad or when I’m really, really frustrated over things that are out of my control. My “inner Taz” has gotten better over the years but every now and then, he’ll raise his ugly head and spin out of control.

But there’s another reason why Taz in one of my three/four characters… When I was first creating Roy (my werewolf character) I used Taz as the model for much of Roy’s personality. In fact, I also used a bit of Daffy Duck as well – especially the heightened, angry versions of Taz and Daffy as those two were always the funniest when things weren’t going right and when they let their emotions get the better of them.

So yeah… those are the three/four cartoon characters I most associate with. Of course, as soon as I post this, I will think of another three or six that probably represent me better than any of these. But what the hey… this is how I feel today.

 

 

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