19th May 2021, 8:52 PM

More of THIS please!

This is not my art. I really feel I shouldn't have to say it given I've said it already, but it did strike a chord (gee, why might that be, Mr. cuddle pictures lover? *sarcasm*) and start a train of thought in me.


Let's first introduce you to the gentleman who drew it and the comic it's from.
Ray Fox is the flagship comic series produced single-handedly by the artist BoScotty (known primarily as ScottyArtz on Twitter). In the grand scheme of things, he's not that big online (though 10 times bigger than I, the really small artist) and his comic doesn't do much new- Not an indictment against him, of course- I appreciate familiar ideas executed excellently over new ideas done poorly, and this is definitely the former.
It features a young fox named Ray who was born with fire powers. Nobody in his life who knew he had them knew where they came from, even less that people in his universe generally are
given powers through a serum/genetic experimentation- the author has carefully left the details out of how exactly they're given. Ray, being of noble character, believes he needs to use them to help his community and starts the setting as a masked vigilante everyone hates because he's unfortunately not very good at it.
More to the point, and the focus of this essay, Ray has an adoptive older sister named Liz, who for the past 5 
years has been raising/housing him by herself due to their father's sudden passing. Before her adoption, she was also his babysitter and these two are very close because of it.

... And I have seen so few healthy, good, non-romantic relationships like that in fiction that it's not even funny!

That idea didn't come to me unbidden upon reading the series, but it has stuck in my mind since Scotty posted a particular tweet through the comic's account about them featuring the picture I showed...




...And I was at a loss. What can I think of? Besides the few examples given in the replies, what others *are* there? Why aren't there *more*!?
Think about it- at least in American media, siblings hate each other, friends barely act like friends, and any male-female friendship allowed to get particularly close becomes a "will they or won't they", if that wasn't the plan from the start.
Shoot, let's go further- Any pre-established romantic pairing is also fraught.
Parents? Either they want a divorce or one of them is dead early on in the story.
Boyfriend or girlfriend? Even worse- Depending on how adult the setting is, you can expect cheating, fights, anger and disgust.

Now obviously this is using universals where exceptions may be found and indeed you can probably think of *some*. SOME, though. Not a lot, which is exactly my point.
About the only relationship you can expect to reliably be good is one in which the characters are just starting to fall in love, and then they live happily ever after- Conveniently avoiding all the above until the sequel.

We too often think only conflict or romantic love can be at all interesting- I blame it on decades of only the same in media and a lack of appreciation for more mundane things like love of family or love of friends-
And because of it I think there are a lot of untapped character dynamics so many ignore in favor of budding romance or animosity.

As I say again and again and again, most writers pick the easier options. Tragically, because most audiences want to engage with the story there are basically two easy choices- romance and conflict. Why? Guys in general like conflict stories- Action, some drama, good guys, bad guys, and even on a low level, the jock who gets his comeuppance or the rival who treats the hero like dirt- and girls in general like interpersonal stories, and especially emotional drama, most and easiest shown in romance.

This really begins to irk me when people ship my characters together (Yes, it's happened), and when others think my cast in general is “too nice”. I shan't name names, however.

Anyway, the crux of the matter is that I really feel like everyone's missing out on a whole avenue of good storytelling, especially when romance and butting heads are not things that happen all that often from day to day.
Good, healthy relationships are hardly ever explored outside a few, select methods and kinds, and I just feel people can be wonderfully complex and it is almost a crime to never explore it in any depth.

So yes, please sir. I'd like some more.


4th Oct 2021, 8:38 PM

I personally am rather tired of drama because it usually feels forced and unpleasant.

Wasteland and Sky has a lot of good pieces on various story types and what's good and bad; I highly recommend the blog. While it's got tons of articles, if you search for interesting topics you're sure to find something. It has some of the more insightful reviews I've found. https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com

N.B. the real problem isn't that stories are stale because they follow a particular formula such as conflict; the real problem is that the authors are not seeking first of all to entertain but to push a certain view at their audience. (This is one of the main points repeatedly emphasized on Wasteland and Sky; there are hundreds of lost books and movies and cartoons with a "simple formula" that are nonetheless great to see. https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2019/04/saturday-morning-sundown.html )

Bondwine is an incredible blog; its author has been referred to by another as perhaps the greatest living essayist, and I would have to agree. It has plenty of hilarious articles, also insightful ones. http://bondwine.com/2012/09/21/tragedy-comedy-and-agon/