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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The Baron said:

Philip Portelli said:

I know that the later cartoons had Shaggy and Velma as a couple but was there any hint of that in the original series?  I know that they danced together when warranted.'

Not that I ever saw.

Then again, in the Scooby Doo movie, I thought that Linda Cardellini's Velma was a lot sexier than Sarah Michelle Gellar's Daphne. 


Also agreed.

The Baron said:

Real Name: The United States of America

Aliases/Other Names: America, Alfred F. Jones*

First Appearance:  Hetalia: Axis Powers "Prologue", by Hidekaz Himaruya.

Base of Operations: The USA.

Just noticed that I never included an "Occupation" for this character.  I suppose "national avatar" would fit.

Real Name: Uncle Sam

Other Names/Aliases: None

First Appearance: National Comics #1 (July 1940)

Occupation: National avatar

Base of Operations: The USA

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliation: The Freedom Fighters,  the All-Star Squadron

Friends/Allies: The Freedom Fighter, on good terms with most other super-heroes

Enemies: The Silver Ghost, others

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 210 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: White

Strength: Super-human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: Sam saeems to have some sort of powers that might be called "magic".  At least, I assumed that was how the original Freedom Fighters stayed as youthful as they did.

Special Abilities: Sam is effectively immortal (or will presumably exist at least as long as the United States does), is a tenacious fighter, and an inspirational leader.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History:   (Sam's history is kind of convoluted. This is, quite frankly, the bits of it that I accept. In other words, there will be no mention of "The Patriot" here.) Uncle Sam's origins are shrouded in mystery, although he is almost certainly as old as the United States itself.  Sam as we know him first appeared in 1940, battling a fascist group known as the Purple Shirts.  At some point, Sam led a group of heroes known as the Freedom Fighters to an alternate world known as Earth-X. They battled that world's more successful Axis powers for decades until they were able to overthrow them with the help of the Justice League and Justice Society. In time, the Freedom Fighters came to Earth-One. However, the Crisis on Infinite Earths removed Earth-X from history, and in the revised timeline, the Freedom Fighters were merely a sub-division of the All-Star Squadron.  Sam continued to fight for America over the years, leading additional teams of Freedom Fighters.

Why He's a Favorite: I've always liked the idea of characters that are living embodiments of groups or concepts. I've always liked stories where mythical characters turned out to be real. If America from Hetalia is an embodiment of how other countries see us, Sam is (for me, at least) the embodiment of how we see ourselves - or at least, how we would like to see ourselves.*  I always thought DC should have done more with the character than they dis, instead of just shoehorning him in with the other Quality characters, or variations on them. I did enjoy many of the Freedom Fighters books that DC did over the years.  To my mind, Sam could have been a much bigger part of the DC Universe than he was. They might have had him meet other national avatars, maybe shown him palling around with John Bull, or something. (This was touched on a little in the Uncle Sam graphic novel.)  What DC did with him, I enjoyed, but I felt like they could have done more.

*A meeting between Sam and America could be interesting, if well-written.

Real Name: Oscar the Grouch

Aliases/Other Names: None

First Appearance: Sesame Street (November 10th, 1969)

Occupation: Grouch

Base of Operations: A trashcan outside 123 Sesame Street

Place of Birth: Minto, New Brunswick

Group Affiliation: None

Friends/Allies: Maria, Grundgetta, Slimey

Enemies: None (At least none that I'm aware of.)

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Black

Hair (Fur?) Color: Green (Originally orange)

Strength:  Average grouch-ian

Speed: Average grouch-ian

Intelligence: Average grouch-ian

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Knowledgeable about trash.

Special Equipment/Weapons: Oscar lives in a trashcan that appears to be dimensionally transcendental.

History: Little is known about Oscar's background or how he came to live on Sesame Street, although he does have an extended family of grouches.

Why He's a Favorite: Oscar always was a favorite of mine, ever since I was a little kid. I guess it's because  of being a bit of a Grouch myself. I could always relate to him  I've never heard why the creators of Sesame Street put such a character on their show.   Maybe they wanted to show kids that sometimes there are "difficult" people in life - but that they can be dealt with and even befriended - or maybe they just thought he would be funny.  I don't know.  What I learned from Oscar was that you don't have to be like everyone else. You could value different things (even if other people thought they were "trash"), have different ways of doing things, different ways of living, and it was OK.  I also came to understand that it was OK not to pretend to be happy when you really aren't. (I've always hated artificial, enforced "happiness".)  There's few things I hate worse than when someone says "smile" to me when I don't feel like smiling. It's not the end of the world if you're a little unhappy once in a while. (It's when you're unhappy for months at a stretch that the problems arise.)  Another thing I learned was the amusement value of "cutting through the treacle". Some people need a little "salt" put in their "sugar", if you ask me, and I'm the Grouch to do it!

A long, long time ago, I saw a poster that was a blueprint of what's below ground under Oscar's trashcan. Fascinating; it goes on for miles, and stores, among other things, living quarters and earthmoving equipment.

Sesame Street came along when I was an adult, but I appreciate the concept. A lot of the stuff they put on TV today is mind-numbingly sweet. Of course, your children are too stupid to understand that Bugs, Daffy and company aren't real and they might drop anvils on each other's heads.

I get chided for not smiling, too. My face "in repose" doesn't naturally go to a frown or a smile.

Did they really establish that Oscar came from New Brunswick?

I remember Oscar as being a breath of fresh air on the show. I never saw him as difficult: just as having a different perspective. I think he was added to the show to bring balance, to be that one dissenting voice that you need sometimes.

 Ernie was difficult. Oscar was just not an optimist.

Richard Willis said:

Sesame Street came along when I was an adult, but I appreciate the concept. A lot of the stuff they put on TV today is mind-numbingly sweet. Of course, your children are too stupid to understand that Bugs, Daffy and company aren't real and they might drop anvils on each other's heads.

I get chided for not smiling, too. My face "in repose" doesn't naturally go to a frown or a smile.

Did they really establish that Oscar came from New Brunswick?

I gather it's a joke. Caroll Spinney's dad was from New Brunswick, so when he once did a radio interview in character as Oscar, he claimed to be from there.

Captain Obvious chiming in:

Sesame Street features a number of characters who are (in part) aspects of the typical viewer: sometimes you're a Cookie Monster, and sometimes you're a Grouch.

But why, on a street inhabited by a garbage-can-dwelling creature and a numerically-obsessed vampire, did they (at first) find the giant bird's story about a furry elephant far-fetched?

Ah, yes, Big Bird and Mister Stephanopoulos...

Real name: Gwendolyn Maxine "Gwen" Stacy

Aliases/Other Names: Spider-Woman

First Appearance: Edge of Spider-Verse #2 (November 2014)

Occupations: Student, musician, super-hero

Base of Operations: New York City

Place of Birth: New York City

Group Affiliation: The Mary Janes

Friends/Allies: Captain George Stacy, the Mary Janes, Spider-Ham (Peter Porker), Ben Parker, May Parker

Enemies: J.Jonah Jameson, the Vulture (Adrian Toomes), the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk). Matt Murdock, Captain Frank Castle, le Chat Noir (Felicia Hardy)

Height: 5'7"

Weight: 130 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Blonde

Strength: Super-human

Speed: Super-human

Intelligence: Above average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability:  None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Has a "spider-sense" that warns her of danger, can adhere to walls and ceilings.

Special Equipment/Weapons: Has web-shooters that enable her to shoot webs for various purposes.*

History: In the alternate universe that is home to Earth-65, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, which gave her various "spider-powers". She then became an entertainer, calling herself "Spider-Woman".  When her neighbor, Peter Parker, died trying to imitate her, she began using her powers more responsibly, fighting crime.

Why She's a Favorite:  As I've mentioned elsewhere,  I didn't start reading Spider-Man comics until after the original Gwen Stacy had been killed off, and I've never read any of the old stories with her in, so I never had the attachment to the character that some of the geriatrics Silver Agers around here perhaps had. (I wonder if this version of the character is actually all that much like the original. I suspect not, but can't say for sure.) Nevertheless, I've always loved alternate history stories, so I picked up the character's initial Spider-Verse appearance, and enjoyed the story so much that I picked up the Spider-Gwen book.  I've really enjoyed the book. Not just for the fun of seeing skewed versions of familiar characters (Ben Grimm works quite well as a NYC cop), but for the character of Gwen herself.  This is the kind of character that Marvel does best - a young person with a heavy load of responsibility thrust on them, trying to do her best in trying circumstances.  Funnily enough, I never was that much of a Spider-Man fan (I didn't hate the character, but neither was he a favorite), but this new iteration of the same type of character really appeals. I had all but stopped reading Marvel's books, and when the DC Universe effectively destroyed itself, I thought I might be done with US super-hero books for good. But with this character, Ms.Marvel, and a certain unbeatable sciurine who I'll be getting to eventually, Marvel's really started to interest me again in a big way.

*Actually, I'm not 100% sure whether she has artificial or "organic" web-shooters.

The alternate history thing appeals to this geriatric a lot. I haven't been following Spider Gwen but now plan to get the TPB.

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