ESTABLISHING CHARACTER: DISITINCTIVE DETAILS IN WRITING AND DRAWING

Successful animated characters are distinctively written and drawn.  One of the problems with the original run of X-Men comics (’63-’70) was not the talent of the creators (initially legends Jack Kirby and Stan Lee) but in the “separation” of the character choices they made (see cover below).  Their blue suits and hooded masks made them look alike, and the dialogue, certainly in the first ten books, was almost indistinguishable among the male characters (excluding Professor X).  Beast sounded like Cyclops sounded like Iceman sounded like Angel.  The fact that there was only one “girl,” Jean Grey, was also a problem.  This would have been a concern for us on X-MEN:TAS, since we had to come up with 76 half-hours-worth of stories with nearly 20,000 lines of dialogue to distribute among the cast.  Who gets what line?  Well, luckily, the books had evolved by 1992, both in design and character mix, so by the time we were entrusted with choosing words for the cast, it was a pleasure.  No one would mistake a Wolverine line for a Beast line, and no one would write a Rogue-sounding line for Storm.  We writers choose the words and actions.  Artists differentiate the characters in other ways.  Look at Will Meugniot’s recent drawing of Rogue.  All of our female characters are powerful and beautiful.  Only Rogue would be described as lonely.  Thus Will chose to add a tear to her eye.  He wouldn’t have done that for Storm or Jean or Jubilee.  We all strove to “give our characters separation” (as they say about receivers in football) by words, actions, and visual details.

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