I was recently involved in a terrific discussion about writing believable characters with some fellow comic writers and fans. The conversation steered quickly toward the necessity for characters to have their own specific voice. I think that this is a valid point. I've heard many modern comic readers complain about older comics because of stilted dialogue or cookie cutter personalities for heroes. It's something I do give a lot of thought and I figured I'd highlight just a few of my characters and my thoughts on their individual voices.
When writing for Moonfish I always try to first think about how I would approach a topic at my most skeptical. Moonfish grew up in Forest without any other interaction with men, so she isn't very chatty or personable. I also want her to be act as a voice for the reader. Her inquisitive nature helps me answer questions about how the 3rd World operates. Her inexperience with the world mirrors our own.
Nimbl grew up in Canyon so he is a much more loquacious sort. I try to form his dialogue based on my most enthusiastic responses. Nimbl loves to talk, and loves to hear himself talk. I try to have him ramble often and distract himself. It has been a fun challenge to have a character that rambles, but doesn't artificially inflate balloons to obscure the panels. I'm not sure if I've been completely effective, I second guess my decisions with every edit. I think the challenge is worth it, as I can really separate his tone of speech from that of Moonfish.
Some characters I have given the same speech patterns as people I know. Mera's few bits of dialogue were taken from what I imagine a friend of mine would say. The children of Public Education are oftentimes verbatim recounts of what I hear at work.
For the Heroes Journey I've been reading up on lots of silver and bronze age comics to try and help myself recreate that same feel. I'm using lots of alliteration and puns in my banter. I'm using more narration than ever before. I've even started toying with caption boxes to the reader. Everything I can do to make the legends of my Heroes read and feel like the old heroes I read about in comic books. Here's a sneak peek of what these Heroes are going to look like.
Thanks for reading and as always I hope I gave you something to think about.