character: zim

A Stupid Way to come up with Original Characters and Stories (That Somehow Works)
  • Find a character from a work you admire. Any media will do, but Children’s media works the best.
  • Ask yourself a few questions about the character in question. I don’t have a complete list, and the questions are likely going to vary, and most of this is coming off the top of my head, but yeah, here are a few suggestions.
    • Was there anything about this character that ticked you off? Maybe this character did something that you thought was ooc? Or maybe this character is too perfect and could use a few more flaws.
    • Does the medium or genre prevent the character from performing certain actions? Furthermore, do certain aspects of the characters life, including sex, gender, social status, and age prevent this character from acting in a certain way?
    • Is there something you want to see the character do that you know will never happen in the show?
    • And finally, is there anything you want to change about this character?
  • Rant to yourself or to tumblr about everything the show apparently did wrong. Constantly switch between getting mad at yourself for nitpicking a show you love and being mad at the work itself for not being 100% perfect. 
  • Scream into a pillow, make yourself some hot cocoa, eat a full dinner, and then take a hot shower. 
  • Get out a sketchpad or a word document or anything else you use to brainstorm and start drawing and or writing about the character in the show. But write the character the way you think they should be, as opposed to the way their presented in canon. 
    • Take into account that changing some aspects of your character will effect the story in some pretty big ways, especially if what you changed is an action the character performed. Maybe that Magical Princess ran away at a young age under the stress of becoming queen before joining a gang and ultimately becoming a crime boss? Maybe that Alien supervillain can be reformed by showing them the good things about the planet Earth. When you change an aspect of a story, justify the change by having it affect every other aspect of the story. Whatever you do, though, don’t handwave the change. Instead embrace it… those changes are where the heart of your story lies.
    • Don’t be afraid to add in elements from other works of fiction other than the one you’ve chosen. Most of the plot elements of Gravity falls and Rick and Morty, for example, are just similar enough to make a meeting between Ford Pines and Rick Sanchez possible. 
  • Look over your work and note just how far you’ve drifted from canon. If you’ve changed the idea enough, it should feel kinda alien to the original work. If it’s too similar, then if might be a good idea to repeat the previous steps.
    • Some of the things to note include tone, genre, level of obscenity, and target demographic. Considering how fanworks typically go, we almost unconsciously make dark shows light and fluffy and light and fluffy shows dark and gritty. This can be a good thing when done right.
    • The humour of the work will also depends on the type of humour you feel comfortable writing. Sometimes your humour will be almost exactly like the original work, and sometimes it’ll be drastically different. Aim for the latter.
    • If you added in elements from another work of fiction, then certain patterns are inevitably going to be formed. using the Rick and Morty/ Gravity Falls fandom above, one can’t help but make Ford and Rick foils of each other; two interdimensional science dorks, but one has a stronger sense of morality. The character reactions between the two of them is dripping with potential that we’ll never see in canon, because these two shows air on different networks and are aimed at different target demographics.
  • If necessary, repeat the process again, but this time apply this to your version of the character. Continue until your happy with what you have.
  • Finally, rename the characters, and if you’re an artist, re-draw them as well. The new names and designs should reflect the character you wrote, not the character you were inspired by. 
  • And bam, you just made something original. 

Now obviously, this isn’t the only way to make characters or write stories… artists tend to draw from real life just as often as they reference other works of fiction. But the great thing about this process is that it depends entirely on your own personal interpretation of not only the work of fiction in question, but also of how the world around you works. I believe that we, as humans, are natural complainers and nitpickers, constantly believing ourselves to be the sole authority on how the world should work. On one hand, it might be easy to just rant about it and call it a day, but I believe these rants hold quite a lot of creative potential. Writing isn’t about coming up with something wholly new and original… story telling is pretty much limited to the human experience, and we’ll always fall back on something familiar (note the tropeless tale)… instead, its about writing about the familiar in a new way.

Thoughts?

About Zim
  • He’s an eager beaver
  • His favorite foods are sandwiches and Irken fundip
  • His favorite color is purple
  • He vents to strangers like he’s known them for years
  • He has the power to hypnotize people with his acne
  • The first thing he did after being born was hug a robot arm
  • His first three words were, “I love you”
  • He promised the moon to Gir
  • He finds technology and quirky gadgets “neat”
  • He likes moose (meese… moosen?)
  • Prisoner 777 made him a small, purple, moose, death machine knowing he’d like it.
  • He can easily become emotionally attached to objects, especially if they show some form of sentience (Ex: Robot arm, Gir, Minimoose, Squidgyblit).
  • There are times when he just wants someone to talk to. While he treats Gir like a companion, he can’t exactly have any real conversations with him.
  • He does NOT like to be ignored. Do not ignore the ZIM!
  • He looks great in hats
  • He’s actually a really good speaker and is great at motivating (manipulating) people to do what he wants (now Voting of the Doomed makes sense… he is a good politician!)
  • While small, he still has a demanding enough presence to immediately assert himself as leader among a group if he has to work with others. In a way, he does have what it takes to be a leader, but his obvious flaws impede him from being successful at most things.
  • His tenacity is derived from his need to constantly prove how great he really is, both to everyone (especially the Tallest), and himself.
  • His speech pattern is rather sophisticated most of the time, and the dramatic use of his lexicon is fairly impressive *sips tea*. He acts formal in front of the Tallests, but he’s more relaxed when hanging out with Gir.
  • He’s really patient with Gir and would do what it takes to keep him from getting upset, even if it means eating soapy waffles. This, however, is dependent on his level of frustration.
  • He’s a really nervous, loud, impulsive, proud, clever, small, tenacious space bug that yearns for positive feedback and attention from a world that could care less about him unless he poses a threat
  • Speaking of which, it is also evident that he craves affection, preferably from the Tallest (which is why he thinks they actually care about him). He wants all of Irk to love and praise him, and he seeks this attention by being the best at destroying stuff.
IZ Issue #17 Discussion - Part 1: ZIM and DIB’s Relationship

Invader Zim isn’t exactly the the type of series people would expect to have multifaceted characters or an interesting story. A lot of people agree that the series is just meant to be taken as a Sci-Fi comedy with a dark sense of humour, and that’s essentially what it is. However, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be more to it. I’m not saying you should go looking for meaning where there isn’t any either, I’m just saying that a good work usually has more to offer than what’s on the surface.

Invader Zim has two well developed leads: Zim and Dib. It’s worth mentioning that Gaz is fleshed out too, especially since issue #!4. Zim and Dib share a peculiar relationship. They hate each other the same way two school children would “hate” each other. One moment you see them fighting, the next they’re out there playing tag or something. The thing is, just like the show, their rivalry isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. Neither of them is mature enough to understand the other, which is one of the main reasons why they are “enemies” and not friends, considering how much they parallel each other. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that an interaction like this happened canonically:

Yep, Dib just invited Zim to a game of I Spy, and of course, Zim eventually plays along. They even have the classic temper tantrums and “I’m not playing with you anymore”s that kids would have. Apparently all it took for these two to get along was to be locked up in the same cell.

Now that we know they can be in the same room without killing each other, can we just talk about how Zim likes to tease Dib?

This image could easily be taken as Zim being stupid, but just look at his face. He’s teasing him :P This isn’t the first time Zim mentions being confused by human genders btw; it was last mentioned in issue #13, so kudos to the writers for continuity. I’m sure Zim’s referred to Dib as a human boy before in the show, maybe not in those exact words, but you get the idea.

Anyways, remember back in issue #15 where Zim caused Dib to go ballistic over ham?

It’s pretty obvious that Zim doesn’t think Mrs. Bitters is a Ham, he just wants to push Dib’s buttons and see what happens. He even helps Dib get in trouble:

And what does he do when he does?

Clever boy. He knew what he was doing all along.

So yeah, Zim’s a bit more playful in the comics isn’t he? In fact, he seems less angry and more mellow at times.