Zombie Cliche Lookout: Big Damn Hero
Audiences love a hero. When the chips are down and it looks like the zombies are about to overrun the safe house and kill absolutely everyone in their path, it’s nice to see a hero or two pick up the torch and run in and save the day. And if they happen to crack a few skulls and spill a comical amount of blood, well, all the better. Whether this trope is played straight or completely turned on its head is, of course, up to the writer. Both can be interesting, if done well.
About this Episode:
Once again, I’m trying to do a bit in this little series of episodes. This episode focuses on Inez and Russell. We’ll worry about Stewart, Brent, and Cheryl soon enough.
Discussion Question: A Strong Female Character?
Here’s something I wonder about a lot: what makes a strong female character? Let me pile on a bit of context here. You don’t have to look very far these days to find a story about how sexist pretty much every form of entertainment is. Women are relegated to relatively few roles. They’re victims, they’re points of sexual fixation, they’re rewards for the hero’s hard work. That’s creepy.
Of course, a lot of people see this as a problem, and want to do something to fix it. They look at the situation, and jump to what seems like the most obvious answers: let’s make some strong female characters. It’s a pretty good thought, but they way it’s implemented rarely works. It seems like “making strong female characters” means little more than having a woman act like a traditional male hero: make them kick ass and… well, that’s about it really. This isn’t really a solution in my mind, and that’s where you guys come in: how do you write a truly strong and effective female character?
As some of you pointed out, the comic was a bit late. Don’t worry, there are no issues with the site. The problem is that I am occasionally stupid and forget to publish things.
I think this episode should have been titled “The Return Of The Mighty Wrench”. Good thing Russel is coming to save his friends, but I hope he doesn’t forget that Stewart and Brent (that the name of the camera guy ain’t it?) also need help.
About today’s question…I think the main mistake some zombie stories do is whenever they need a strong female character they throw in the pit a total badass who can kick ass at any day of the week for no absolute reason. I think we can look at Carol from AMC’s The Walking Dead as a fine example of a strong female. She’s lost her entire family, but she’s pulling through. And even though she isn’t a total badass, she knows her way around zombies and general surviving. What I think makes Carol such a strong character is that she’s strong mentally, and not physically.
People really do love that wrench.
Excellent points on characterization. I think emotional strength is often overlooked because it’s much harder to show than physical strength.
It’s harder to pull off, but it compensates. Although I think that a physically strong female character can too be done well, such as Michonne from AMC’s The Walking Dead (you’ll notice that all I talk about is TWD).
Michonne has often been a problem character for me. I think this last season did a lot right with her though in that it finally humanized her a bit. Before, she was just this inscrutable badass. Now that we’ve got a better sense of where she’s coming from, and seeing her relationship with Carl, her character is working for me a lot better.
A strong character is one who stands by their convictions despite the forces against them. Thisnis often portrayed through violent means in visual media but often times the final confrontation is an emotional or intellectual one.
As examples “Once upon a Time” has gone way off the scale of women are strong only in male type roles while Clara on “Doctor Who” stands for herself very well. On the other end of the scale a female on “Supernatural” doesn’ stand much chance of living long enough to be strong.
The only show of those that I watch is Supernatural, and you’re absolutely right about the female characters not lasting long. Speaking of which, have they killed off that annoying redhead yet? God did I hate that character.
What i find comical about this episode is that Stewart and Brent are frozen in time along with the zombies they’re fighting, while Russell rescues Inez, despite the fact that Michael and Joy are still around somewhere and presumably could be helping them, not to mention Cheryl, too! 😀
I really do hope none of them die as a result of author laziness! 😉
Actually, both of those characters, and the zombies, move in every frame. It’s probably hard to see since they’re in the background and out-of-focus.
Cheryl will be showing up soon, however.
Also, this episode is typo free! 😀 +1 for Dave! 😉
Well, as long as you remember the continuity error and don’t go offing Brent without at least a plausible explanation, I’ll be happy to see what developments happen. 😀
And, yeah, they do move, at least Stewart does, not sure about Brent though, he seems rather still over there. Like a character frozen in time! 😀
Brent is hard to see because there are zombies blocking the view (they also move).
I also see reply chaining is still broken. You got any leads on the suspect yet? 😀
Still trying to figure that one; it works for me, and I don’t know why.
Not exactly she went with Dorothy back to Oz so might come back.
Ugh. I really, really dislike that character.
Hmmm, interesting question this time. I’d say the best way to right a strong female character is, to keep in mind she is a female. So even thought it might go against the concept of “Strong” she can act girly, have her go shopping or just do girly things when she’s not kicking ass.
You could still have her bashing in zombie head, fighting a alien with a machine gun, or even just training. But it’s important to make her feel human too, have feels, make her have moments where she’s weak and can’t fight. But then have her grow stronger so she can make up for her weakness.
I tend to write with a strong female character as the leads just because it feels easier to me the writing a guy.
I think you’re really on the right track when you say that she should become stronger and overcome her weaknesses.
Inner monologue: “I know this is what we have to do, but…(insert excuses and a commentary on the gore) and something about context.” In one scene we can have a female off her zombie parents (phsyical and emotional strength one shot). The next the female cries, 3rd an over the shoulder shot of a mob attracted by the noise. Finally the female stands/faces the threat, looks and (add best decision here fight or flight). The only other thing you have to convey is that female has no other means of communication to another living person (no cell phones, walkies, beepers, tin cans on strings).
Btw this also makes a great psycho, but the line could be walked between, because some B.A. Types get their strength from that.
So pulling strength through necessity and isolation? Interesting.
Maybe right time, wrong place, right type of F-Bomb-SKY high-up?