Carrying Your Totem

If you’re a comic book fan, you’re long-since familiar with the idea that there is some goofy shit characters you like have done that you want to ignore. You know what I’m talking about. Batman being a pirate. Wolverine babyistting. Moonstone marrying Hawkeye. Avengers 200. There’s always something.

Some people let single instances in continuity define and destroy appreciation for a character. Not the route I’d choose, but it’s something some folk I know do. What I prefer to do is a more defined version of what everyone usually does. I ignore the worst of it.

Oh, there are fans who pretend they don’t, but they do.

See, one of the things that long-running game and videogame franchises have done to their marketable characters is create lots of bad material. Even in franchises where there isn’t that much material at all, there’s always going to be some bad stuff. What’s important, then, to you, is to take the character and the aspects of that character that you do like, and boil them away to the way those things make you feel.

Tony Stark is, broadly speaking, usually a supergenius rich guy who experienced a change of heart after originally manufacturing weapons. Sometimes this is super literal (his heart is mangled and he needs the Iron Man suit to keep him alive), and sometimes the change of heart comes at the hand of a super racist stereotype (seriously, check out the original origin story for the guy sometime), but every story is about that person.

That’s how you have to embrace comics, and often videogames. Sometimes you’ll love a story up to a certain point, and A Thing will happen. You have to decide if you’re going to let that Thing ruin the story or the character for you, or if you can take away from it the story that was, mostly, otherwise being constructed in your head. The story you imagined will almost always be better, after all!

These are the totems of the character. The individual impression, the way that character makes you feel about that character. It’s not written anywhere, but script on the sides of your soul. And that’s yours to keep, no matter what some awful person later creates.


  1. See: Wars, Star

    1. See Also: Trek, Star.

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