BCB, more than most things in the world (besides Sonic) seems to have encouraged a culture of people creating their own characters to exist in the world Veronica has created. I think it's for a number of reasons:
- The characters are a anthropomorphic, so it's easy to think up and draw a design
- The context of a school lends itself to the introduction of new characters: "hey i'm the new guy faggot the dog, wanna be my friend mike"
- The fact that Veronica used Tess, Carson, McCain, Kizuna and Carter earlier on set up this new culture where people think it's a normal thing to create a fancharacter and, in certain cases, try to convince her to put the character in the comic. Hasn't helped that Vero has cameo'd new fancharacters in the background, and written a semi-canonical Liam chapter.
- A lot of artists (or would-be artists) read the comic, and see creating a fancharacter as key to finding an audience for their work.
This phenomenon is remarkable in itself, I think, because it does go over the top. It seems like one in every two people who participate in the forum or IRC have a Mary Sue character that is in love with Lucy.
IS THIS LAME?
Heck yeah it is. Furries are already a pretty shameful subculture, and the kind of quasi-furry phenomenon that is fancharacters seem even more disingenous and lame than straight out making up some stupid character to post on your FA.
Why is it lame, even in the cases of characters everyone loves like Melody or Liam? Essentially, because they're cheap, lazy and self-serving.
But it's true! The argument I've consistently made is that they show the following:
- A lack of imagination. Why do you have to piggyback on the BCB universe? Can't you make your own world and characters for them to interact with?
- Laziness. Can't you be bothered to invent a complete story and world? Why make bullshit fanworks when you could surely design something if you applied your mind to it?
- A selfish attitude. You do realise you're essentially co-opting the fanbase of an established comic that takes a lot of effort to create and present to you, simply so that your half-baked furry character can get some attention? In a lot of cases it feels like people create characters with loose connections to the real BCB characters simply to gain an audience for their character or their artwork generally (in the past, on forums or DA, these days, on Candybooru) and this is really unscrupulous.
- A childish dedication to furry\anthro characters. Most of you developing fancharacters are over the age of 12. Why, then, is your creative mind limited to making things that would fit in Disney movies? The fact that BCB is based on anthro cats and you think BCB is great doesn't excuse the fact it is based on a childish concept of talking cats that would be revised if it were possible. You should be making humans living in a human world, or at least have a damn good reason for using animals.
It's somewhat convenient that most of the fancharacters people have made are really bad, but there are some good stories well-told. Melody, Liam and Larken come to mind. THESE CHARACTERS STILL BELONG IN AN ORIGINAL WORLD AND SHOULDN'T BE FUCKING CATS. There's no reason to except them from all of the above, and the criticisms of every one can still be made. This means that, based on the fact they made these characters, Kaxbe, Mouse and Toasty have shown themselves to be selfish, lazy, attention-stealing artists with limited imagination. (That might well be the wrong assessment, but these works indicate it and these works are all we're talking about.)
The more charitable way to explain away Melody etc would be that their characters fall into a special protected category of "good characters" along with Carter, Tess and McCain. But it's not true.
WHAT ABOUT CARTER, TESS, MCCAIN, ETC?
These are indeed fancharacters and as in point 3 at the top might be part of the reason why people are so into making BCB characters. BUT!!
They have been developed by Veronica through consistent use and have essentially been adopted as her own. Their original creators should still be credited, however things about Tess' story have deviated from what Lily intended, McCain has been used in ways outside of the scope of what Matrixx originally envisioned, etc.
It's the fact that Veronica has contributed to their development in a substantial way that separates them from the others, and makes them more acceptable to use in art. They're really not that different from the regular characters.
WHAT ABOUT ARIA?
For those who aren't aware, Aria is a character in SpaceMouse's comics. Like Melody, something of a self-insert but of SpaceMouse's friend Credence. Credence adopted the idea of Aria as a fan-character killer and drew a comic about it, then some later after everyone went wild about the idea. It was pretty funny, except when a full-fledged comic about Aria appeared that seemed to run the joke into the ground and make Aria just another bullshit self-insert fancharacter instead of a shortlived funny joke.
Aria seems to represent the way we can tolerate some fancharacter ideas, at least for a while. I'll speak for Vero here, in saying that she gets really annoyed at fancharacter shit a lot of the time, yet struggles to explain what her general opinion is because of the seeming exceptions to the rule, like Aria. Aria epitomised this - a great idea, extended with a few comics by Credence that made it funny.. until everyone went over the top, started worshipping Aria and making fan-art purely featuring her and drawing their furries being killed by her and ugh. So now Vero finds the character a whole lot less endearing and hopes people stop drawing Aria.
MAN YOU'RE WHINY, MAYBE JUST EVERYONE DOESN'T LIKE YOUR COMIC OR THE BCB CHARACTERS?
You're welcome to go visit Kaxbe's site and check his latest comic pages instead. Or read up on the latest Liam comix at toastyjester.com.
Oh, you can't? Well, you might have to wait for them to make their own boorus and forums and webcomic sites. The thing about posting this fancharacter stuff over and over on the BCB site is that once you pass a certain threshold it starts to feel really disrespectful to the comic. If you like the world enough to create a character for it, or to chatter about someone else's character for it, surely you can appreciate the hundreds of pages that have gone into the development of the current cast? If you want to draw or write BCB stuff, why not embrace the large cast of characters and tell stories that represent your understanding of the comic?
To back off from that, to go "oh I'd rather write a story about fred the baboon the new casual teacher at bcb high than get paulo wrong", seems to indicate more than anything that you've only superficially enjoyed BCB, that you didn't care for the story and think that it's best used as a template for your own ideas. That hurts, and it's only made worse when your ideas are utterly bad and make BCB seem like a shitty fictional fursona convention for bad writers. It might not be what you think, but it's what you signal. Because why else? Most of these characters you obsess about are actually pretty shallow and shitty.
I think it's reasonable to have the gut reaction that it's childish to get upset by fancharacters, but if you dwell on it a little, you might understand why it becomes infuriating after the 30th fanfic is posted starring some bullshit character with a minor part for Lucy in the second paragraph of the third chapter. I hope some of the above explains why.
Anyway, please post your responses\defences here. It's an issue that needs some degree of exploration, but I'd stand by anything in this post and think it's a good start.
This post has been edited by SuitCase: 07 December 2010 - 03:36 PM
Reason for edit: Reworded a bit about Kaxbe\Mouse\Toasty that didn't really reflect my meaning