I often notice a disturbing trend among fans when it comes female characters and male characters. I mean when you think about it there are a lot of disturbing trends, really, but the thing that bothers me in particular is when fans hate on a female character for something they love about a male character. And sometimes fans seem to just ignore a flaw that a male character has, but then they crucify a female character for having that same flaw. It’s incredibly aggravating to me to watch this constantly play out again and again. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at some examples.
Lady Saika and I made the mistake of watching Man of Steel together. While I was up in arms about the problems I had with the movie versus the comic books, Saika was actually excited for what the movie did right, specifically women characters.
She had a point. Lois Lane is just all sorts of awesome, although she still kept her ridiculously bad luck when it came to falling from high heights (or good luck, in that Superman is always there to catch her.)
I have never really liked Lois Lane. Not saying that she isn’t a feminist or a well-developed character, I just didn’t like her. I especially didn’t like her relationship with Superman. I was always a big Wonder Woman/Superman shipper (and a little Superman/Catwoman—I love rare ships!) because I thought that Diana actually accepted and understood all of Superman. Lois Lane is notorious for liking Superman, but not Clark Kent, and even in some versions when she gets to know Superman better, she is uncomfortable with his more Kryptonian side (Kal-El). So even though most people see Lois and Superman as the ultimate superhero love story, I always saw it as a problem. Lois loves the hyper-masculine Superman, but dismisses the more sensitive Clark and the more eccentric Kal-El. So basically Lois only seems interested in the stereotypical male she sees Superman as.
Another major problem I have had with Lois is, despite her being a woman who is supposed to be clever, intelligent, and streetwise, she not only gets kidnapped all the time, but also is usually one of the last people to figure out that Clark Kent is Superman, despite having a lot of interaction with both alter egos on a regular basis.
But Man of Steel fixes all of this!
The Everyman (or Everyperson, as the case may be) is one of the most underestimated and important characters in storytelling. The Everyman is a character with no powers or special abilities outside of those that a normal person might have. The Everyman is not the chosen one; they usually are the stand-in character for the audience (though not always); and they can be the main character or supporting in the story. But the biggest and most key factor here is that they must be a completely and utterly ordinary character. This character represents what a normal person would be like in an extraordinary situation.
Many movies, TV shows, and books like to indulge in our fantasies by revealing that an ordinary person is actually someone amazing. These stories say, “Are you an awkward outcast and loner? Well, that’s actually because you’re a wizard/demigod/slayer/the chosen one!” And while this particular plot is great and all, at some point when watching or reading about one of these characters, you might wonder what it would be like if you were in the story. You then quickly realize that you are not a mutant/fairy/genius/alien and that you would be extremely screwed if you were to step into the story just as you are now.
But what if you weren’t? The beauty of the Everyman isn’t just that they are completely normal and average, but that they somehow survive against all odds in impossible circumstances.
So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom:
Do you see the guy currently dominating this banner? Who is it? Is it Superman? Damn right, it’s Superman! But it has come to my attention that some people who are new to comic books think Superman is lame.
I’m only going to say this once. Superman is cool.
The main reason that many people think Superman is lame is because of how he has been mishandled in movies and TV shows. Furthermore, people tend to think that Superman is actually this really great, squeaky clean guy and, thus, has no depth of character or anything interesting to offer. They couldn’t be more wrong.