Behind the Shades

Rejects - characters who didn't make the cut!
DAJB at 7:29AM, Dec. 1, 2007
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When I was designing the characters for Shades, I drew up a long list of possible heroes and villains, most of whom never made it to the final cut. Here are some brief details on a few of the rejects:

Britomart / Britannia
Britomart is the female knight in Spenser's The Faerie Queen. Britannia is the traditional personification of Britain and is also usually portrayed as a female warrior. The idea of having a female warrior in the group appealed to me because it virtually guaranteed she couldn't be relegated to the “damsel in distress” role. Neither made the final shortlist because (a) both names just had that air of “labouring the point” about them and (b) a costume for either would almost certainly have had to have the Union flag emblazoned across it, and that would have been so cheesy!

Brain Storm
This guy would have been the scientific genius of the group. Actually, he is (very briefly!) mentioned in Chapter 5 and again in Chapter 9 but he never appears. He was to have been responsible for building all the wonderful gadgets that super heroes always seem to have handy! The main reason he was dropped was because the plot just didn't need him. But I also had a problem with his name - it just reminded me too much of Professor Branestawm from the children's books!

Dreadnought
Given the underlying theme of reflecting the British national character, I felt there ought to be a character who represented the maritime supremacy on which the empire was built. “Dreadnought” was the name of a class of battleship which, by the time of WW1, was more or less synonymous with that. It seemed like a great name for a hero and was steeped in history and so I kept trying to find a use for it long after the character had been jettisoned. For a while I thought about naming the heroes (collectively) as Dreadnoughts or even naming the book Dreadnought. Finally, it became the name of a pub in Chapter 6!

Godiva
Another rejected idea for a heroine! Although famous for riding naked through Coventry, Lady Godiva's reasons for doing so were entirely honourable - the protection of the poor. In my incarnation, her body was going to be made almost entirely of light. By throwing open her robe and revealing herself, she could therefore blind her enemies, much as she is said to have blinded poor old Peeping Tom. This idea appealed to me for a while because I thought it would add a certain whimsy to the story. In the end, however, I decided that a character who was essentially just a female flasher (no matter how well-intentioned!) would simply reduce the book to a parody of the genre. And it would probably have been a little tacky, too!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
alanajoli at 6:54PM, Feb. 14, 2008
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Ha! Love the Godiva concept, but you're right, I don't think it would fit the tone of the series.

Out of curiosity, what books are Professor Branestawn from? :)
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
DAJB at 11:37PM, Feb. 14, 2008
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Strangely enough, he's from the Professor Branestawm books! ;)

Oooh, I just checked him out on Wikipedia. Apparently the illustrations in the books were by Heath Robinson. I hadn't realised that but it's kind of interesting (to me!) because, whenever I had a new gadget to be designed, my brief to Harsho was very often that it should be: “a little amateurish, not too high-tech, slightly Heath Robinson …”

It's a small world!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
scifiwim at 4:41AM, March 6, 2008
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Hmm, that lady Godiva… (why does she get all the comments, I wonder…)

I'll say, that's the most unheard of superpower I ever came by. Where do you get that stuff? Shame she was cut out.
Seriously though, I think you are right that she wouldn't quite fit in shades. Still, thumbs up for originality!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
DAJB at 7:38AM, March 6, 2008
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Heh - I can see I'm going to have to do a little spin-off story featuring Godiva, one day!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
Genejoke at 12:48PM, May 4, 2010
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Dreadnought, I used to have a mutants and masterminds character with that name, he was like war machine from the ironman comics. A military man in a high tech suit, loved playing him dumb.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
DAJB at 2:46AM, May 5, 2010
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Genejoke
Dreadnought, I used to have a mutants and masterminds character with that name, he was like war machine from the ironman comics. A military man in a high tech suit, loved playing him dumb.
I'm not surprised! Finding an entirely original name can be far more difficult than you might expect.

The name of another of my rejected heroes (Godiva) has now cropped up as the name of a character in another comic at DD (Vanguard), while “Thrawn” (a name I chose by searching for unusual words in a dictionary) is, I've since been told, also the name of a character in Star Wars!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
Genejoke at 6:53AM, May 6, 2010
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Yep Grand Admiral Thrawn fro one of the few decent starwars books.

Also Thraun, is the name of a character from the Raven novels by James Barclay. Naming can be tough, super heroes especially, guess that is why it is getting pretty random.

I considered doing a super hero comic, have a few characters and thing but keeps being too similar to various other things.

At least with malefic I do not have any super characters so I just need names, and that is easy.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
DAJB at 4:08AM, May 8, 2010
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Genejoke
I considered doing a super hero comic, have a few characters and thing but keeps being too similar to various other things.
Yup. Finding a new take on such a well-established genre is pretty tough. When I started planning Shades, I was very aware that - even though I was going to set it in the UK and the characters were all going to be British - I needed to it to differentiate itself in other ways too. A lot of fairly big name writers had already tried to do the whole “Super-Brit” thing and the results, in my opinion, hadn't been especially impressive.

I don't think the problem is unique to super heroes, though. Working in any genre which is riddled with so many cliches and conventions inevitably means you have to try extra hard to find something new to say. And, ideally, a new way to say it!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM

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