Thursday, September 15, 2011

Regarding Anthropomorphism, Red Lanterns, and Psychology



Atrocitus: Former Psychologist

Okay, first off, I'm digging the DC relaunch! I think, in the long run, it'll do more good then bad and give fresh looks at some stale concepts! New is good! Frankenstein and Animal Man, written by Jeff Lemire are especially comics that are over-the-top and fun and pulpy! So check them out at your local comic book store!

BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT RED LANTERNS. 

It seemed and, honestly, still does seem like a great concept - a corp of intergalactic aliens transerversing the universe, fueled by RAGE AND VENGEANCE. How cool is that?

And look at the guy pictured above. That guy is mother' flippin' Atrocitus. His entire home planet was annihilated by guardians called Manhunters, meant for good but, at that time, programmed to do bad. That is a cool and devastating origin for a bad ass RED LANTERN.

UNTIL YOU READ HIS INNER MONOLOGUE.

Page Seven: As Atrocitus makes his entrance into the comic world and goes all bad ass RED LANTERN killing! Let's read some of his thoughts to get to know this guy, am I right?

"The fire is weaker. I'm not the...same."

Okay, okay, a little emo, but I can dig it, conflicted alien killing machine, okay.

"It's as though I'm simply going through the motions."

Note: he is killing aliens while thinking this. He is massacring them. Okay? But I can buy it, it's not the way I would take the character, but it's still a choice and I can respect that. UNTIL...

"A fading actor repeating empty lines."

WHAT!

AN ACTOR? 

He's comparing himself to an actor?!

HE'S AN ALIEN! HE'S AN ALIEN AND HE'S TALKING ABOUT ACTING? LINES?

We're talking this guy here:

Atrocitus: Shakespeare Prodigy

And he's thinking like a middle school poet? Excerpt from my middle school poetry:

Everyone is fake
We're all wearing masks
Like actors
Repeating memorized lines

That is from my poem, titled: "Fake Mask Wearing Actors". 

Who knew Atrocitus, A RED LANTERN, the FIRST RED LANTERN would share so much in common with my fourteen year old, pimpled past self! We should've shared poetry and rage against the fake mask wearing actor types. 

So, needless to say, that line threw me off. But comics aren't perfect. So I was willing to forgive because the concept is cool. Because new is cool. 

Until page thirteen. A flashback to his homeworld being killed. His wife and child being killed. Tragic, terrible, a pivotal scene.

"My name was Atros."

Okay. Cool. Learning about this guy. But then he says this: 

"I trained to be a psychologist."

A PSYCHOLOGIST

I wonder if he had enough financial aid or if he had to get outside loans? 

You'd be spewing blood too, if you had his student loans!

A PSYCHOLOGIST

Here's my problem. 

Why did he have to literally call it: Psychologist? Couldn't the writer have at least used a different, more alien sounding term? 

With aliens like this talking about acting, psychology, and then, shortly after, being a good husband...

I get trying to make your protagonist, who happens to be an alien, more relatable, even almost human, sure. But to shift the language to squirming unbelievability, as silly as it sounds, those lines made me not believe in the comic.

It's called Anthropomorphism. It's the term usually prescribed to giving human characteristics to non-human animals or non-living things. I am not comparing Atrocitus to a chair that you think is watching you or a dog you think loves you - he's a comic book character. 

BUT

If you're going to write an alien character, if I am to buy this world of intergalactic vengeance and creatures that spew blood and hate, the language is essential. And by that, I say no to you, acting, psychology, marriage. 

STAY OUT OF MY RED LANTERN COMIC!