Cartoon or Opera?

Lethality in the superhero genre is an interesting phenomenon. Heroes and villains (apparently) may perish, but their eventual return is all but guaranteed. One of the factors in bringing The Jagged Earth to life is how to deal with death. Characters – good, bad, and other – need to resonate with readers and keep them involved in the story. Killing off any character risks alienating the reader, but traditional literature tends to leave plenty of dead bodies around. On the other end of the spectrum are cartoons where a character’s death may only last a frame or two. Superhero comics land somewhere in-between. Sometimes part of the fun of reading comics is to find out how in the world the writers are going to resolve the inescapable death trap and bring the hero – or villain – back from certain doom.

So where does The Jagged Earth fit?

Escape Hatches

Characters are going to die in The Jagged Earth, even heroes, and some of them are going to stay dead. It won’t be a place where heroes measure success by the body count (villains play be different rules, naturally). Any character’s death should be significant to the story, not easily dismissed with a wave of the resurrection wand. If it isn’t significant to the reader, then there is no emotional content, no connection. So, I’m going to take the risk of the book being thrown across the room (literally as well as figuratively) when a character perishes.

Of course, this is still superhero fiction…


Written by D. D. Wolf

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I'm on my 5th or 6th career depending on how you count them, but ideally this one will be my last with the kind help of our readers. I've traveled to several states across the U.S., but the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina will always be where I'm most comfortable. I've been an avid reader of comics for more years than I'm going to mention, but I return time after time to the old pulps. Obviously the Doc Savage books have been a tremendous influence. There's just something about seeing and hearing those characters in your mind's eye, just the way YOU, as the reader, think they should be.. I've been writing poems, lyrics and stories of varying quality since I was in my teens, which means most of my archives are on paper in three-ring binders! I've been creating characters in various RPG systems for at least that long. I've always thought characters made the story: good characters can live on through story after story. It wasn't until the last 6 or 7 years that I felt I could write characters well enough to be engaging. You'll have to let me know how I'm doing.

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