Face it: the best you can hope for is being a supporting character-in-law.
You have no superpowers, Olympic-level abilities, or leotard/cape combo outfits with your emblem emblazoned on them. You don't even have an emblem.
What's more, you don't know anyone who does. If you're very lucky, you're someone who knows someone else who does. If so, you're a supporting cast member for a member of somebody's supporting cast. You're Boris from "Steel"; you're Terry Berg's boyfriend; you're Marsha Mallow.
But take heart, for you are not without abilities of your own! Supporting characters-in-law have the power that many walk-on characters have, a highly specialized form of exposition called:
Introposition -- the ability to synopsize your personality and story-function with one word balloon.
In the panel above, Marsha Mallow and Kristen Cutler (whose names certainly help) use their power of introposition to quickly establish themselves as the Fat Comic Relief and the Self-Centered Bitch. Both of them, in one panel.
The economy! The tersity! The simplicity! You think comic book writers love to write characters that can move planets? No, they do not. What they love are characters with the incredible power of introposition.
Can you imagine a person in real life walking up to you and saying, "I'm Marsha Mallow! Too many calories, no will power -- and a new diet every week!" It would be AMAZING. People who would basically speak in "personal ads". You would know immediately everything you'd ever need to know about them, how you should treat them, and what to expect from them. How much better society would be!
Here's my challenge:
- You've just walked on panel and have to "introposition" yourself to the other characters within the space of one word balloon. How do you summarize your personality and role in life's storyline...?
It isn't pretty but if something sucks I will most definitely alert others. I've also developed my own Nalaspeak for this which most of my friends now know.
But I don't think I've ever say my name out loud even in a comic panel!
Hi, I'm Shon Richards. Too much blog reading and not enough of my own writing crushes my hopes every night. How are you?
"Hi, I'm Chris! I'm a cynical yet tenderhearted dreamer with the soul of a poet, the language of a sailor, and an intimidating countenance that belies my inner softie!"
Er, or something like that.
"Hi, I'm Scipio Garling, a dog-friendly go-getter, with the same attitude towards my comics as towards my men: the bad ones can be as much fun as the good ones!"
"Hey, I'm Devon. I'll be your Black friend in your sitcom of a life. I'll roll my eyes alot and talk about what White people do that Black people don't do. Could I be any less threatening? If so, let me know."
Oh, pshaw, Devon!
I think you're VERY threatening, so there!
Tom Curry. I spend my nights hopping from DC dinner party to DC dinner party, intropositioning like mad because I'm generally the only gay guy, the only comic geek, the only writer, and the only non-government employee in the room. Invite me to your next party and I'll happily answer even the most thoughtless, condescending questions about cocks, comics, Calvino and constituents with verve and aplomb, and, if the vodka tonic is strong enough, no small amount of elan.
"Hi, I'm John Biles. My purpose in your superheroic life is to provide historical exposition so you don't actually wipe out humanity in your time travel adventures and to provide hours of role-playing enjoyment in your secret identity which I will pretend not to figure out so you don't worry about me. But don't ask me to eat Mexican food or people will start dying."
'Hi, I'm JP. I use many vocabulary words during perfectly normal conversations, which will help your comic seem educational, and provide a perfect set-up for your witty rejoinders. Sometimes I know strange pieces of normally unwanted trivia that may provide vital clues at opportune moments. See I just used a vocabulary word ha ha. Also I am easy to draw. Will I do?'
JP, I want you in MY supporting cast!
This really reminded me of a scene in Anchorman.
"People call me the Bry man. I'm the stylish one of the group. I know what you're asking yourself and the answer is yes. I have a nick name for my penis. Its called the Octagon, but I also nicknamed my testes - my left one is James Westfall and my right one is Doctor Kenneth Noisewater. You ladies play your cards right you just might get to meet the whole gang."
"I'm Brick Tamland. People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks. Years later, a doctor will tell me that I have an I.Q. of 48 and am what some people call mentally retarded."
"Hi, I'm Jon. I'm smiling now, but don't piss me off. And I like your sister/girlfriend/wife/mother/aunt/cousin/boss/co-worker/sidekick/partner/Earth-XX couterpart with the incredibly bouncy chest."
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