Quivering Jack

Playing around with yesterday’s SED (which I didn’t finish) I took a stab at writing my first non-powered superhero, an archer named Quivering Jack. The couple of paragraphs I scratched out aren’t good, but that’s not important. I enjoy the concept of the character, who is basically a jackass and womanizing glory-hound. And that’s just in his off hours. His day job as an actor will offer various other opportunities for him to be a bit of a diva as well.

It’s fun to write characters that are unrepentent jerks, but of course you still have to figure out how make them palatable for the readers. There’s a built-in advantage, though, in that any story that ends with them not being a complete asshole can be considered at least somewhat of a success in terms of character development. Deep down, Jack is a good guy, but his attitude will likely get him into trouble along the way.

Writing someone without powers will be interesting. With someone like the Scarlet Ranger I can have all sorts of big, exciting things happen – tossing her through nuclear reactors, leaping off buildings, etc. That sort of big-budget extravaganza has to be toned down for the street-level heroes. There are certain practicalities to consider – how they get around, how heavy their equipment is, how they deal with injury, all that stuff.

With an archer, there’s another level to worry about, that being that bows probably aren’t all that practical for crime-fighting. If you need to slaughter 10,000 Frenchmen, sure, break out the longbows, but there are serious concerns when it comes to street fighting with that sort of weapon. It’s not exactly a non-leathal weapon. The ammunition is a bit bulky, so I imagine it’s hard to be an acrobat while lugging around a quiver full of arrows. I’m undecided on whether to give him trick arrows, but I’m leaning toward keeping him grounded. The one bit I liked from what I wrote yesterday was Jack advising an injured goon that with modern surgical techniques he’d likely only lose 20-30% functionality in the impaled hand. Regular pointy arrows will keep the cheating to a minimum, I think. No short-cut boxing-glove arrows for quick victory.

All the same, archers have a fine tradition among the ranks of superheroes, so I thought it would be fun. As soon as I get something good written I will perhaps post a bit here.

5 thoughts on “Quivering Jack”

  1. Superheroes without super powers are interesting creatures. I read a story once (possibly on Strange Horizons) about a guy who had joined a superhero team because he was an amazing gymnast, but he’d had to fight prejudice all along the way — both from heroes who didn’t think he was good enough (read: thought he was lame) and regular humans who thought he was betraying them to allign himself with the big heroes.

    And characters who aren’t stalwart and true are always an interesting challenge. I love my Siren character, but it’s so hard to make her palatable — everyone dislikes her because she maniplulates all her friends with her Siren voice. Still working on that one! 😉

    Sound like you have an interesting character here. Good luck pounding out his first story.

  2. “Quivering Jack.” I get the pun. He could also…. sell a line of eponymous vibrators. Sorry, that’s what I thought of first.
    I laugh at your joke about recovering “20-30% of the impaled hand” functionality. Even though you didn’t put the actual joke up here; I laugh at the IDEA of the joke. So it’s a good one. Look forward to reading this.
    Rope arrows? Surely those aren’t cheating.

  3. hah!

    I imagine, actually, there’s probably some sort of “rubber bullet” arrow equivalent, right? That would be nonlethal but still horribly painful and effective.

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