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Quote of the Day | ‘The best characters are relatable’

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“Yes he [Aquaman] talks to fish, but it’s more interesting to find out what drives him and motivates him. How are those powers a metaphor that we can relate to? […] The best characters are relatable. They don’t have to be relatable in a literal sense where they have a problem with a job. The things that they experience and the things that they go up against have to reflect upon us emotionally. It doesn’t have to be timely. It’s nice when it’s timely, but it has to be emotional.”

Geoff Johns, addressing his penchant for injecting new life into neglected characters, in an article that includes a rundown of DC and Vertigo titles that influenced him as a young fan

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8 Comments

Noble sentiment, but ironic coming from Geoff Johns.

I don’t get why that’s ironic? He pretty much follows what I like to think of as the “original Star Wars Trilogy” style of writing. Relatable characters that encompass a section of society thrown into the deep end of amazing cosmic situations. His characterisation is always spot on. I find that his main problem is that he drags things out a little too long (way too long re: Green Lantern.) But the same can be said for many other writers from Brubaker to Bendis to Claremont.

I find it ironic because every time I see him write Wonder Woman, all he hammers on about is how un-relatable and not like normal people she is.

According to Geoff Johns, Wonder Woman is an aloof, sanctimonious zealot, from an archaic society, that adheres to a nonsensical, contradictory philosophy that is incompatible with modern life. She has zero grasp of how normal people think or act and she needs to be taught how to be human.
Despite his reference to what drives and motivates characters, he has shown repeatedly to not have the faintest grasp of what Wonder Woman wants or why she wants it.

Now, having said that, I’ll grant Wonder Woman is just one character among the many, many that Geoff Johns has written. I’m sure he writes every other characters perfectly fine, but I’ve yet to see him write Wonder Woman properly even once.
His efforts are, at best, dreadfully misguided and completely antithetical to the notion of making a character relatable.

Andrew Collins

May 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

What’s interesting to me is that his list of influential DC comics mirrors mine almost exactly (I would have put Loebs’ Flash above Baron’s, but other than that…) and yet I don’t feel like what Johns has done has felt influenced by really any of those comics. Especially the lighthearted tone of Giffen & DeMatteis’ JLI…

“The best characters are relatable”

*Irony mode on Irony mode off*

because Geoff Johns really knows how to develop complex and relatable characters. bwahaha :)

Jake Earlewine

May 8, 2013 at 3:19 am

Batman was my favorite character for many years (before they made him pathological) yet I can’t relate to him at all. I’m no millionaire playboy nor do I wear masks and punch people nor do I have a bat fetish. I relate to Superman even less.

Some people think that Johns is the “ultimate” master on all things DC Comics.

No, he’s not.

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