Death of a character

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Death of a character

Postby Arantor on Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:38 am

It's always interesting to see how a webcomic handles the death of a character; today's FF&HH is no exception to that rule.

The trouble is with the majority of comics, the death of a character (particularly a major one) is usually a watershed event, and that none of the future comics will be viewed the same way as the artist has made it clear that few people (except, usually, the title character(s)) are expendable. There are, of course, other similar events in comics, it doesn't have to be death directly. E.g. C-A-D's miscarriage storyline. Killed a lot of their readership in one fell swoop and a lot of people still haven't forgiven C-A-D for it yet. Readers have long memories.

Another example is Sluggy Freelance. Over the 4000+ strips, we've had fatalities, but usually of very minor characters and/or villains. None of the core cast has died, or at least stayed dead. Pete Abrams has said though that in Chapter 59 of the current book, that there will be a red-headed assassin and that it will "change everything" which many readers have taken to speculate that the very-able-to-regenerate Oasis will be back and that someone else will die. But he acknowledges that this will change everything. He even seems to acknowledge that many people will dislike it.

As for FF&HH, something was pinging about Mary Elizabeth dying. Whether it was going to be the result of her shaky hand, or the bad Doctor, was anyone's guess, but from the moment her shaky hand was mentioned to be serious, it did kind of smell of the inevitable.

The question now is what happens next. Characters die. Even major characters die sometimes. The question is what happens next. (Assuming, of course, that she actually is dead, and Martina didn't make a mistake in her diagnosis.)

It wasn't entirely unexpected, however I have to admit that I was expecting Basil to save her. I also think a number of the other readers were too.

I'm not trying to criticise FF&HH here, btw. I just think that the death of a character, seemingly one of the major characters, well, was a bit early. I came late to the party, I know, but as far as I'm concerned personally I still view July as the start of FF&HH, with the other stuff being prehistory, not the start of the strip, if that makes sense.

To me, we're on strip #76(+4) and it just felt a little early to kill a major character.

But I await eagerly to see what happens next. The doctor appears to have made a get-away for now.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Lolsworth on Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:27 am

Youuuuu BASTARD.

I almost allowed myself to believe that you wouldn't do this in the new continuity. CURSE YOU TROUTMAN
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Re: Death of a character

Postby John T on Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:59 am

Arantor wrote:To me, we're on strip #76(+4) and it just felt a little early to kill a major character.


That's a valid criticism. It is a bit early, and if I'd kept my 2005/2006 pages offline, she probably wouldn't have died right now. But with the previous comics in place, it won't seem as sudden if you end up reading everything as a whole, as any new readers would likely do. But yeah, is definitely too soon for the folks I snagged in July when I was trying to pretend the comic was new.

Lolsworth wrote:I almost allowed myself to believe that you wouldn't do this in the new continuity. CURSE YOU TROUTMAN


I almost allowed myself to believe that too. Seriously, she was REAL close to staying alive forever. In my previous little universe, she hardly even existed. She was just a backstory tidbit explained in dialog. When I decided to start over completely in 2005, I actually ended up showing Mary Elizabeth... and started to like her. Thus, even though I fully intended to kill her from the very start of the reboot, I kept trying to think of ways to avoid it. Which is why when you finally arrive at the comics in 2008, it's clear that I was incredibly indecisive as to her future. I decided to just pull the trigger because of the story possibilities it'd afford me. Which is to say - Basil going insane > Basil staying the course.

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Re: Death of a character

Postby Mister Munshun on Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:54 am

I know this really isn't comparable, but back when I was steadily writing a non-webcomic storyline of my own, I came to a point where a little voice in my head told me a certain central character should die, and I chose to ignore it because of all the stuff I had planned in advance. The story ended up dying instead.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, you probably made the right choice here. Whatever works for you, and the story, is the way you should go.

Also, is this why Mary Elizabeth was looking so damn good the previous couple weeks? You sneaky monkey.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby John T on Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:54 am

She looks so damn good because I finally figured out how to draw her after several years. Bad timing, I guess!
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Mister Munshun on Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:57 am

WAY TO GO JOHN.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Sir Ralen on Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:04 am

I've been reading your various comical endeavors since the first time you were mentioned over at El Goonish Shive some years ago. And I have to say...
Ballsy man, real ballsy.

Not everyone has the chutzpah to kill a character, even if they was supposed to die, after investing so much personality and development into them.
I proclaim this awesome.

Now I will eagerly await the moment when our hero tracks down Mary's killer and beats him to death with a spork.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Mister Munshun on Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:39 pm

<POINTLESS ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK WRITER TIME>

Felicity totally needs to kill this guy, thus robbing Basil of his chance for vengeance and providing numerous hours of angst and recriminations later.

</POINTLESS ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK WRITER TIME>
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Arantor on Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:57 am

Well, excuse her while she does just that...

Though Doctor Smith hasn't disposed of all the evidence like, um, a body?
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Lolsworth on Fri Oct 31, 2008 5:23 am

Mister Munshun wrote:<POINTLESS ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK WRITER TIME>

Felicity totally needs to kill this guy, thus robbing Basil of his chance for vengeance and providing numerous hours of angst and recriminations later.

</POINTLESS ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK WRITER TIME>


She needs to shoot him in the knees, then fetch Basil and take it in turns kicking him to death.

That is seriously and genuinely what I would do.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby John T on Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:30 am

Arantor wrote:Though Doctor Smith hasn't disposed of all the evidence like, um, a body?


http://www.flatfeetcomics.com/d/20080811.html
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Arantor on Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:42 am

I knew he'd kind of disposed of the other body, "Dr Jan Itor" but I meant Mary Elizabeth's body...

He's cleaned up the 'evidence' but the body is a fairly substantial piece of evidence. I should know, I'm a huge fan of CSI and they can solve everything if they have the body. *sarcasm mode off*
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Re: Death of a character

Postby John T on Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:56 am

I was pointing that out just 'cause he mentioned that he generally leaves bodies for the cops, which he did in this case. But true, CSI guys could totally find something though how'd they trace it to him I don't know.
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Re: Death of a character

Postby Mister Munshun on Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:08 am

John T wrote:I was pointing that out just 'cause he mentioned that he generally leaves bodies for the cops, which he did in this case. But true, CSI guys could totally find something though how'd they trace it to him I don't know.


I guess he just likes leaving behind a... *puts on sunglasses* body of evidence.

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