A Guide to the Baron's Favorite Fictional Characters (SPOILERS)

(Hamlet of Earth-1948)

Real name: Hamlet, son of Hamlet

Aliases/Other Names: None,.

First Appearance: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Occupations: Prince of Denmark, student, avenger

Bases of Operations: Elsinore Castle, the University of Wittenberg

Place of Birth: Elsinore Castle, Denmark

Group Affiliation: Royal House of Denmark

Friends/Allies: Horatio, Marcellus, Barnardo

Enemies: Claudius, Polonius, Laertes

Height: Varies*

Weight: Varies*

Eye Color: Varies*

Hair Color: Varies*

Strength: Above average human

Speed: Above average human

Intelligence: Genius level human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Excellent swordsman, skilled forger, gifted actor

Special Weapons/Equipment: None.


History: Hearing of his father's death, Prince Hamlet of Denmark returns home from Wittenberg, only to find that his uncle Claudius has assumed the throne and married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. Already suspicious, Hamlet is visited by a spirit purporting to be that of his father, which asserts that the elder Hamlet was murdered by Claudius. Feigning madness, Prince Hamlet, with his friend Horatio's help, schemes to trap Claudius into a public admission of guilt, which would allow Hamlet to avenge his father and assume the throne of Denmark. Claudius, aware of the threat that Hamlet poses to him, plots to find a way to eliminate Hamlet. Thus begins a game of trap and counter-trap, resulting in the deaths of almost everyone involved, leaving only Horatio behind to watch as young Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, assumes the throne of Denmark.

Why He's a Favorite: Hamlet is the protagonist of my favorite Shakespeare play. I own eight different versions of the play of on DVD, and I enjoy watching them all.  there's just something that I find enthralling about the play, and it's always interesting to see how various actors interpret the part, and how different directors choose to film the story. I enjoy the cat and mouse between Hamlet and Claudius, and Hamlet's interaction with the not-as-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is Polonius. I find it interesting that the only character who seems to be able to match Hamlet's at wordplay is the First Gravedigger. Anyway, you can find way more of what I think about Hamlet here.



*Depending upon who's playing him

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Given that McBain wrote his own series of novels about a crime solving attorney, I find this quite amusing.

ClarkKent_DC said:


* Ed McBain, writer of the 87th Precinct series of police procedural novels, often held that he wrote about police detectives because nobody else has any business going around solving murders -- not burglars who moonlight as bookstore owners (The Burglar Who ... series), or doctors (Diagnosis: Murder), or little old ladies (Miss Marple), or know-it-all dilletantes (one lives at 221B Baker Street in London, another is from Belgium), or mystery writers (Murder, She Wrote), or housewives (Compromising Positions) or anybody who doesn't have a gun and a badge and isn't a sworn member of a police agency.

By the way, McBain reworked a couple of his 87th Precinct tales into Columbo episodes when the show was revived in the late '80s/early '90s for ABC.

Randy Jackson said:

Given that McBain wrote his own series of novels about a crime solving attorney, I find this quite amusing.

He said that before he launched the Matthew Hope stories. 

I never liked those much; I read only two or three of them, including The Last Best Hope, the series finale, and only because Det. Carella of the 87th made a guest appearance. Somehow, in the Matthew Hope tales, the machinery making the plots move along was too obvious.

Real Name: Unknown

Aliases/Other Names: Superhero Girl

First Appearance: The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks

Occupation: Super-hero

Base of Operations: Unnamed small city, Canada

Place of Birth: Canada

Group Affiliation: None

Friends/Allies: Unnamed roommate, Kevin (brother), Spectacle

Enemies:  Skeptical Guy (Shaun), King Ninja, Hipster with a shrink ray, the Marshmallow Menace, Awesome Guy, Supervillain Girl, the blob Family, the Toy Poodle Mistress, the spirit of Commercialism, others

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Green

Hair Color: Red

Strength: Super-human

Speed: Super-human

Intelligence: Average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Heat vision

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History: Superhero Girl has super-powers form a very early age, as did her older brother Kevin. When they were older, the two fought crime together.  Eventually, she moved across country in order to get out of her brother's shadow. Now she fights relatively low-level super-crime with the occasional help of her roommate.

Why She's a Favorite:  This is a fun little strip, a light-hearted look at a young woman dealing with balancing crime-fighting with keeping her rent paid.  It has a gentle goofiness to it that especially appeals to my sense of humor, and it's a fun parody of super-hero stories in general. The art is nice, too, it suits the tone of the strip well.  The strip is quite imaginative, with amusing characters and situations. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it.

I had never heard of this before, but after reading your post I found the website and read some early strips.  Fun.



The Baron said:

I just found this at my friendly neighborhood library last month. It's a nice little strip.



The Baron said:

Real Name: Lieutenant Frank Columbo*

As much as I enjoy Columbo, some episodes leave me wondering about the ramifications of what he does to catch these crooks. One of the first ones I remember watching begin with some rich, arrogant, elite upper crust bastard murdering his wife (but then, every Columbo antagonist is a rich, arrogant, elite upper crust bastard). But how did he dispose of the body?

Well, this rich, arrogant, elite upper crust bastard is an architect, and he's got a high-rise office building under construction. So we see Lt. Columbo patiently going to various municipal agencies, getting the necessary permissions and authorizations to dig up the foundation of that under-construction office building to search for the body. They do, and it isn't there. (Oops!)

That night, however, the architect races to the construction site with the body to plant it -- after all, didn't Columbo just prove to the whole world it's not there? 

Unfortunately for him, Columbo expected him to do this and was waiting for him to show up, with six police cars as backup.

Cool, but I've always wondered: Who deals with the cost overruns for digging up the foundation of an in-process office building? I would expect the contractors and property owner and possibly any tenants would be screaming to high heaven over that stunt, and suing the city of Los Angeles and the L.A.P.D. to boot. 

 

ClarkKent_DC said:

Cool, but I've always wondered: Who deals with the cost overruns for digging up the foundation of an in-process office building? I would expect the contractors and property owner and possibly any tenants would be screaming to high heaven over that stunt, and suing the city of Los Angeles and the L.A.P.D. to boot.

The City would get the bill, likely without a lawsuit. They would probably have a good shot at recouping the money from the rich murderer.

In this case the murderer was caught in the act of disposing of the body. Some of Columbo's "catches" were so complex and hard to explain that in the real world the juries would probably be unable to agree on a conviction.

I can tell you from experience, and from having watched every episode of Colombo, that many of his cases are more proveable in court than many folks believe.  However, some of them would not hold up at all.  And then, there are a small number that would never have gotten to the point where the good lieutenant could say "Aha!  Gotcha!"

The episode described by CK---"Blueprint for Murder", first airing on 09 February 1972---is one of the last group.

The situation is this:  An impulsive businessman with a hair-trigger temper, portrayed by Forrest Tucker, returns to Los Angeles after an extended European trip, to discover that an architect, played by Patrick O'Neal, has bamboozled the businessman's wife into financing a property development project designed by the architect.  The businessman thinks that the development project is a money pit, poorly designed and contracted out to second-rate construction firms which will provide kickbacks to the architect.  The businessman angrily cuts off the funding to the project.

To protect his project, the architect kills the businessman.  However, there's a problem.  The businessman's will provides his widow with only a minor sum left in trust (with the bulk of his fortune going to various charities); certainly not enough to finance the architect's project.  In order for the architect to continue tapping into the businessman's wealth, via his wife, it has to appear that the businessman is not dead.  Since it is well-known that the businessman often impulsively leave L.A. for long trips to spots all over the world, the architect arranges things to make it appear that the businessman has taken another spur-of-the-moment departure.

The episode progresses as CK described it, with Columbo (and the businessman's first [ex-]wife) being the only ones who believe that the businessman is dead.  And, yes, Columbo does arrange for the excavation of the building's foundation, on the suspicion that the businessman's body is buried there.  And things play out as CK related.  The excavated foundation provides the architect the means and opportunity to dispose of the businessman's body in a manner in which it will never be found.  Unfortunately for him, the intrepid police lieutenant also figured that out.

But here's the thing:  there is no way that a mere detective lieutenant of police would ever have been able to persuade the city to authorise the excavation of the foundation---private property.  In order for the city to be willing to accept the costs---which, as CK and Mr. Willis quite rightly realize, would be staggering---Columbo would have to present, first, his chain-of-command, and then the D.A.'s office, and then the hierarchy of the city management (which would be signing off on the expense) with more than just his suspicions.  All he had was a hunch that the businessman was dead, with very little in the way of empirical evidence to support it.  In order to get a judge to authorise a court order to compel the city to comply with the excavation, Colombo would have had to present the same overwhelming degree of evidence that is required to have someone declared legally dead. 

And LT Columbo didn't have nearly that much evidence.  Ergo, if it had been real life, the city of Los Angeles never would have excavated that foundation.

Interesting stuff, Commander. Not the sort of thing that I would have thought of, watching these when I was ten.

Faith Erin Hicks and Prudence Shen did Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, which I describe elsewhere as like The Breakfast Club, but with more chainsaws and killer robots. It's worth reading for the varied and nuanced depiction of the various high school social groups, and quite entertaining.



The Baron said:

Thanks for straightening out the plot points from that episode, Commander; it's been a long time since I've seen that one, and my hazy memory clearly fuzzed over many of the details.

But the ending is quite vivid to me: The architect, surprised when Columbo confronts him, exclaims, "YOU KNEW! You KNEW it wasn't there!"

"Yes, sir, I did," Columbo says.

"But why?"

"I had to play along, didn't I?"



JD DeLuzio said:

Faith Erin Hicks and Prudence Shen did Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, which I describe elsewhere as like The Breakfast Club, but with more chainsaws and killer robots. It's worth reading for the varied and nuanced depiction of the various high school social groups, and quite entertaining.




I'll have to keep an eye out for that.

 

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