Hello Squiggly, I hope you are doing okey! So I wanted to ask your opinion about hero/villain/anti-hero storyplot. I have been researching this kind of plot as I´m also trying to develop a story around it and watching your analysis of the Ghost Rider franchise got me really interested in knowing more about your point of view on the matter. Of course if you´ve got the time as I know you are a really busy person. I will be more to the point on the next ask!... ( part1)
(part2) So I wanted to focus on how the hero stories tend to be really good on the first episodes but then it starts to get quite repetitive regarding the episode plots as it mostly tends to go around the hero vs villain scenario where it the focus goes to have flashy action scenes and little character development. Which in my opinion gets old pretty quick in a long running show but I guess it kind of attracts the audience of young children and teens.
(part3)… I wanted to know your take in this and how is the focus you want to give to your project of Ghost Rider: Re-Imagined and if you had thought about this issue. I have seen your designs for secondary charactersand villains, while some of them might be outdated, I have noticed that they are really interesting and seem to have more in them than just the backseat character episode of the day. Of course I may be wrong as I´m talking without knowing your opinion.
(part4) I have followed lots of hero/villain shows and while they might not be my favorite I think they are really interesting to develop. But what I have found really annoying in this kind of shows is the lack of character development not only of the hero( if they are anti-heros, writers tend to give them much more development and I know you are focused on making Ghost Rider an antihero) but also of the characters surrounding them.
(part5)… Plus many shows get into really obvious clichés and tend to not give much effort in writing interesting villains but only making the “villain of the day”. Which makes the episodes,If not well written, get repetitive and bland, having the hero/anti-hero go against the bad guys just because that´s their function and secondary characters just acting as support to the plot or hero when needed, restraining any kind of development on their part.
(part6)…So I wanted to know about how much have you thought about Ghost Rider using these common tropes, and/or if you were going for a more unconventional way of presenting your hero/antihero story. I´m sorry if my thinking is all over the place, english is not my main language and I may have been quite vague adressing it because I didn´t want to spam your askbox with my lenghty rambling. I hope you have a great week and good luck with all your projects!! thank you so much!
This certainly is an involved question! Let’s see if I can do my answer for you any justice.
I think the tropes you’re referring to are largely present in shows aimed at very young children, wherein the depth of the plot isn’t the main point. Many old comic books followed the general “hero encounters problem, hero solves problem, hero saves the day; lather & rinse & repeat” formula, because it’s easy to crank out and easy to follow. These kinds of stories tend to be very popular with younger children who aren’t necessarily looking for depth of story – they tend towards simple superheroes for this reason.
To illustrate my point, when you’re talking to a young kid about Spider-Man, does that kid ever once mention Peter Parker? Nah, man, it’s all about Spidey saving the day from the evil clutches of Doctor Octopus!
As a result, because superheroes tend to lend themselves heartily to this formula, they are also its most common victims. It’s unfortunate in a way, because that generally means older audiences don’t get the depth of story that these characters might otherwise offer. But, again… that’s not really their intent.
The antihero trope you mention is largely for the same reason – most often, their purpose in the plot is to prove how the hero, being good of heart and genuinely friendly, can turn even an enemy into a friend. That’s why the antiheroes often get more development – it’s to show that even the bad guys can become good guys.
As for how this any of this applies to GR:R… GR:R is aimed at a much more mature audience. I don’t need to keep the plot super simple, because I’m not trying to appeal to a younger crowd who might not understand all the deeper and more complicated aspects of the characters’ development – an adult audience is more likely to understand and appreciate that kind of story, so if I aim it at a more adult audience, I’m a little more free to explore deeper character development.
Johnny Blaze in GR:R is a genuinely good guy, but he’s not necessarily a “Good Guy,” if you catch my drift. He’s kindhearted and honest, but he’s dense as a brick. He’s considerate and trusting, but also rather selfish and vain. He thinks and acts with his heart, which occasionally gets him into trouble. He’s hard to make angry. And above all, he’s naive. He has quite a bit of room to grow as a character. But his strongest merit, the quality about him that will never change, is that he genuinely means well and acts with both bravery and occasionally blind stupidity.
The Ghost Rider is simultaneously Johnny’s foil and also very similar to him in a lot of respects. Without giving too much away, GR is cruel, uncaring, and unforgiving. He’s extremely sharp and cunning, and he trusts nobody, making him a formidably capable individual. He also has a terribly short fuse, and tends to act rashly when riled up, despite his normally astute observational skills. That being said, he shares Johnny’s blunt honesty and a certain degree of naivete, though he’s naive in different ways than Johnny. And they’re also both brave to the point of possible stupidity.
GR’s mere existence challenges Johnny’s overall naive trusting demeanor, and Johnny’s existence likewise challenges GR’s cold cruelty. For either of them to grow as characters, they BOTH need to grow, and it’s not always gonna be pretty. But for any of this growth to be meaningful, it needs to take place over the course of longer story arcs, rather than just doing a “villain of the week” formula. Certainly, there will be a full rogues gallery for the story, and the same guys won’t pop up over and over again, but the end of each hypothetical episode wouldn’t just reset back to how things were at the beginning – consequences would be lasting and would carry over across the course of the series and serve as pieces to longer stories, with the occasional episode between them to offer a slight change of pace.
I hope this answers your question! Thank you for being so detailed!