Friday, November 30, 2012

That is the Question.

Since this is now a writing blog, let's take a look at some writing that more people should be familiar with:

The Question.

No, not a thing that ends in a question mark, but the superhero "The Question". Why take a look at this character?
Well really, I want to take a look at a amusing part of his character that remains relatively consistent regardless of writer.

For those who don't know, the Question (or Charles Victor Szasz, or Vic Sage after he changed his name) is a superhero whose defining feature is a mask that makes his face appear to have no features. No nose, no eyes, no mouth. He can still see and speak, it's just a very clever mask. He is frequently seen in a blue trenchcoat and fedora (though his clothes have changed depending on the artist, as has his hair colour), but the one defining feature is his faceless mask. The second Question was Renee Montoya (who some may remember from the TV show of the early 90's, Batman the Animated Series, as a police officer) and she too had this mask.

So what do I want to say about the Question? His wit. He had a lot of pseudo-philosophical (and indeed, very philosophical) moments in comics, he talked a lot, he had some great jokes (in my opinion, he is at his best as the conspiracy theorist of the Justice League Unlimited series, where he appeared in just a few episodes and absolutely stole the show). His best jokes were simply a part of his character. People love to comment on the obvious, you see, and nothing endears one to a character more than a quick wit.

"What happened to your face?" someone might ask.

"Grandmother's lye soap. I was always grateful she never made me wash my mouth out with the stuff." He might reply.

"You've got no face!" Shouts a drug dealer.
"About time somebody noticed." Question muses dryly.

"What happened to your face?" Asks a doctor.
"Acne medication. I over-did it!" Q replies.

But when someone else asks
"Are you crazy?"

He says to an avenger:

"I am not innocent. Do I deserve to die?"

Characters who are otherwise difficult to redeem can become redeemable with a sense of humour. Characters that are otherwise very serious can be made into very friendly sorts with a few well-placed bits of wordplay. It's all a matter of finding the time and place. Question is a character with a good deal of depth if you get to know him, but I just wanted to highlight some of his humour.

Hopefully that will keep your interest today. Perhaps I'll touch on the topic of the Question again in the future. I'm sure I've mentioned him before.

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