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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I've always loathed that purple and yellow outfit.

Real Name: Jason Voorhees

Aliases/Other Names: None

First Appearance: Friday the 13th (1980)

Occupation: None

Base of Operations: Crystal Lake

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliation: None

Friends/Allies: Pamela Voorhees (mother)

Enemies: Tommy Jarvis, Tina Shepard

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 250 lbs.

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Red

Strength: Super-human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Below average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: Able to be reborn magically though the death of a member of his family.

Special Abilities:  Cannot be killed. Able to survive any amount of physical injury.

Special Equipment/Weapons: Will use whatever is to hand. weapon of choice is a machete.

History: As a boy, Jason Voorhees apparently drowned in Crystal Lake. His mother Pamela went insane and killed the camp counsellors who were supposed to be watching him.  Many years later, she was killed after going on another murder spree.Jason somehow returned, and began a new murder spree. Many times, Jason was believed killed, but he always returned. He battled the telekinetic mutant Tina Shepard and ventured as far afield as Manhattan, before returning to Crystal Lake.  Jason was destroyed by the FBI, but was mystically reborn, but was eventually dragged down into, apparently with the connivance of Freddy Krueger, a malignant revenant.  Krueger eventually revived Jason for his own purposes, but the two came into conflict, and battled inconclusively.  Jason was eventually captured by the authorities, and was frozen in suspended animation.  Jason awoke in the 25th Century aboard a starship. slaughtering the crew, Jason caused the ship to explode. Jason himself crashed to the surface of Earth Two, a human colony.

Why He's a Favorite:  I won't pretend that these are great pictures, and a convincing argument can be made that Jason is simply a knock-off of Michael Myers from the Halloween movies, but I've always enjoyed these films.I particularly like Jason as played by Kane Hodder. He had a real feeling for how the character should  move, somehow.  The hockey mask was a nice touch. It's interesting how  a simple visual thing like that can make or break a character. These films aren't great art, and probably of questionable morality, but there is a certain savage amusement to them.

Real Name: Susano Orbatos

Aliases/Other Names: None

First Appearance: Senjutsu Chōkōkaku Orion, by Masamune Shirow

Occupation: Storm god

Base of Operations: Unknown

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliation: None

Friends/Allies: Maître Fuzen, Princess Kushinata

Enemies: Seska, Doctor Hebime, Hanuman

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: White

Strength: Immeasurable

Speed: Immeasurable

Intelligence: Immeasurable

Energy-Manipulation Ability: (See "Special Abilities")

Magic-Manipulation Ability: (See "Special Abilities")

Special Abilities: Susano possesses vast powers, and is capable of manipulating vast amounts of energy.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History: 200,000,000 years ago, on the planet that would later be known as "Earth", the psychoscientists of the Great Yamata People's Empire built a Nāga Generator, hoping to destroy all of the galaxy's negative karma.  The head of the Fuze Clan, fearing that the Generator would destroy the world, summoned Susano.  The psychoscientists opposed Susano, summoning the monkey god Hanuman to suppress him. However, Susano defeated Hanuman. The Generator was activated, and a Nāga monster was created. With the help of Princess Kushinata, Susano destroyed the monster, but much of Yamata was destroyed.  Susano then wished the survivors luck and left.

Why He's a Favorite: This was one of the first manga, and it's still a favorite.  Susano is loosely based on Susano'o, the Shinto god of the sea and storms, who was well-known for his rivalry with his sister Amaterasu, the sun goddess. In the myths, he is brash and obnoxious, and ended up getting banished from Shinto Heaven.  In the story. he's pretty much the same, with an additional element of exasperation. He just can't believe that he has to deal with this stuff!  The things a god has to put up with! He's a fun - and oddly sympathetic -character.  The story itself is well-written, with good art. The setting is interesting. "Psychoscience" is an interesting mixture of technology and mysticism. (From what I've read, the Japanese are less likely to draw a sharp line between science and magic than Westerners are. They would see no incongruity in having a shaman come in to placate the kami before breaking ground to build a new particle accelerator, for example.) Overall, it's a fun read, and book that bears repeated reading.

This is an odd thing, and probably specific to me, so it may not be useful for discussion. But I throw it out there.

I didn't see The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis when it originally ran; I saw it in reruns and old enough to be aware that some people were "different," i.e., gay. Now, please, be aware that I thought nothing BAD about these people, whoever they were. In fact, if anything I felt a little sympathy, as they were clearly underdogs. And it being the 1960s, they were certainly considered at the very least "different." (I certainly heard worse words.) So please don't hold my terminology against me.

At any rate, when watching Dobie Gillis, it seemed obvious to me that Zelda Gilroy (played by actress Sheila James) was homosexual. Yes, she was greatly enamored of Dobie, and conspired to wed him. But I didn't find it convincing. Every time I watched that show, I just assumed Zelda was gay, her love of Dobie was a beard, and she would grow up to date women. That didn't detract from the show at all; I could take it at face value and laugh. But I always felt a bit sorry for Zelda -- because I was utterly convinced she way gay and deep, deep, deep in the closet.

As it turns out, actress Sheila James was gay, came out a few decades later and became a champion for gay rights. Maybe some of that leaked through her performance. It certainly did for me.

When Scooby Doo came along, it was pretty clear the characters were based on Dobie Gillis. (I later found out that it was, in fact, an effort to translate Dobie to cartoons, but the producer insisted that he wouldn't greenlight it unless they added a dog. And history was made.)

So, since Velma is based on Zelda, I've always been convinced that VELMA is gay. I can't explain it, but that's how my brain interprets the character. And I imagine the whole reason she is there, although she is clearly smart enough to do other things, is because she has a huge crush on Penny.

So there you go, folks, a window into the weird mind of Captain Comics.

The Baron said:

Real Name: Velma Dinkley

Aliases/Other Names: None

First Appearance: Scooby-Doo, Where are You!

Occupation: Amateur detective (See "Note)

Base of Operations: The Mystery Machine

Place of Birth: Unknown, presumably the U.S.

Group Affiliation: None (See "Note")

Friends/Allies: Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Scooby-Doo

Enemies: Numerous*

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Green

Hair Color: Auburn

Strength: Average human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Above average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Keen, inquisitive mind. Very observant.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

Note: I'm really only familiar with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies. (I have the original series and a selection of the Movies on disk, and have watched them within the last few years.)  They're basically my "canon" for the program.  The information I post here is almost entirely based on what I gleaned from them. I'm aware that there were other Scooby-Doo shows and movies, but I am not going to draw on them here, especially since - from what I've heard of them - their continuities contradict one another. About the only hing I've included from later programs is the surname "Dinkley", which I'm reasonably certain was never mentioned in the original series. I mention all this in you're wondering why I left out certain things you may remember.  

I agonized a bit whether or not to list Velma's occupation as "student". I'd always assumed the main characters were high schoolers, but I don't recall ever actually seeing them in school at all. I suppose they might have been just out of school. Their exact age was never given that I recall.

You may also note that I do not list "Mysteries, Inc." as their group name. To the best of my recollection, I don't recall them using that name in the episodes that I am familiar with.

History: Very little is known about Velma's background, except that at some point - presumably at school - she became friends with  Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, and they began solving mysteries together.

Why She's a Favorite: Scooby-Doo was another favorite of mine when I was a little kid, and one that I can still watch as an adult without wanting to punch either myself or the animators in the head, which is something that is not true of everything that I watched back then, not by a long shot.  Yes, the show was formulaic, but it was reasonably imaginative, and not written with the presumption that the viewers were morons. The characters, though broadly drawn, still had more depth than most cartoon characters, and the show was reasonably well-animated. Also, it tried, in its way, to teach kids to think through problems, rather than to react fearfully.  Velma I liked because she was smart, and I could identify with her on account of being extremely near-sighted myself. Fred and Daphne were too pretty for me to identify with, and Shaggy too goofy.   Velma was the character that I found the most likable.  I liked her style.

*It occurs to me that there might well have been an interesting story drawn from the premise of all the people they got locked up over the years comparing notes and coming after them.  Sort of the converse of the castaways from Gilligan's Island tracking down all of the people who left them on the island over the years, once they got back to civilization.

Captain Comics said:

At any rate, when watching Dobie Gillis, it seemed obvious to me that Zelda Gilroy (played by actress Sheila James) was homosexual. Yes, she was greatly enamored of Dobie, and conspired to wed him. But I didn't find it convincing. Every time I watched that show, I just assumed Zelda was gay, her love of Dobie was a beard, and she would grow up to date women. That didn't detract from the show at all; I could take it at face value and laugh. But I always felt a bit sorry for Zelda -- because I was utterly convinced she way gay and deep, deep, deep in the closet.

Since we came in after the Warren Beatty and most of the Tuesday Weld episodes, my family and I must have started watching the show in 1961. I was only thirteen and in those days no one talked about homosexuals, let alone lesbians. It never occurred to me until after Sheila James came out many years later. Even if you were the same age as me when you first watched the show it was a different era.

As it turns out, actress Sheila James was gay, came out a few decades later and became a champion for gay rights. Maybe some of that leaked through her performance. It certainly did for me.

In 1962 they were going to do a spin-off show called "Zelda" because of her popularity. It was abandoned when word spread that she was a lesbian. Under her birth name of Sheila James Kuehl, she served in the California State Assembly and later State Senate as the first openly gay member. She was recently elected to the five-person Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors where she represents one-fifth of the almost ten million residents of the county.

So, since Velma is based on Zelda, I've always been convinced that VELMA is gay. I can't explain it, but that's how my brain interprets the character. And I imagine the whole reason she is there, although she is clearly smart enough to do other things, is because she has a huge crush on Penny.

I just figured that because Velma didn't dress "girly" people were jumping to the conclusion that Velma was gay. My wife has never dressed girly and she definitely isn't gay. I've only seen a handful of Scooby Doo cartoons. Did they ever show any of the characters showing romantic attraction to one another or to guest characters?



Captain Comics said:

So, since Velma is based on Zelda, I've always been convinced that VELMA is gay. I can't explain it, but that's how my brain interprets the character. And I imagine the whole reason she is there, although she is clearly smart enough to do other things, is because she has a huge crush on Penny.

"Penny"?   Do you mean "Daphne", by any chance?




Richard Willis said:

I just figured that because Velma didn't dress "girly" people were jumping to the conclusion that Velma was gay. My wife has never dressed girly and she definitely isn't gay. I've only seen a handful of Scooby Doo cartoons. Did they ever show any of the characters showing romantic attraction to one another or to guest characters?

No, to the best of my recollection, no one in Scooby-Doo, Where are You! ever showed any romantic attraction to one another. I can't speak for later iterations of the program.  I never saw Dobie Gillis, and until Andrew mentioned it above, I'd never heard that Scooby-Doo was based on it. As for Velma, it never seemed obvious to me that she must be a lesbian, although I'm aware that many people think that, and if they want to think that, there's no harm in it. It just was never how I saw the character.

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.

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



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. 

Agreed.

-In the first spin-off, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, they're depicted as being out of high school and it is indicated that Velma graduated from a different school than the other three. All later incarnations contradict this idea, and the most recent series refers to them as Mystery, Inc. and shows them attending high school, even though the previous shows are referenced as having taken place in their past.

-The "origin" live-action TV movies from a couple of years ago have them officially take on the name Mystery, Inc. after their first adventure together.

-Velma has always been sexier. It's the brains.

-I met someone with a cowardly Great Dane this weekend. Go figure.

JD DeLuzio said:

-I met someone with a cowardly Great Dane this weekend. Go figure.

One time while waiting at a veterinarian's office we saw this Great Dane coming in. The owner had the dog on a leash and was trying to bring him/her through the front door. The Dane put all four paws on the door frame and fought hard not to enter. Naturally we didn't have a camera with us.

Real Name: Unabara Takako

Aliases/Other Names: Octopus Girl

First Appearance: Senritsu!! Tako Shōjo, by Toru Yamazaki

Occupations: Student, housekeeper, nurse, waitress, elevator girl

Base of Operations: None

Place of Birth: None

Group Affiliation: None

Friends/Allies: Eel Girl (Sakae Utsubo)

Enemies: Granny Vamp

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Black

Strength: Average human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Below average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Takako has the ability to transform into a being who is essentially a  human head with octopus tentacles. In her octopus form she can breathe underwater, shoot ink, withstand the pressure at great depths, and re-grow a tentacle if it's cut off.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History:  Takako was frequently bullied by her classmates. In once such incident, they forced her to eat an octopus even though she was allergic to it.  That night, she found that she had transformed into a half-octopus creature.  Enraged, the took bloody vengeance on her tormentors. Soon afterwards, she learned to transform from human to octopus form and back at will. She then met and befriended Sakae Utsubo, the similarly-powered Eel Girl. the two had several adventures together, frequently battling their arch-nemesis, Granny Vamp.

Why She's a Favorite: Takako's an amusing character, cheerfully immoral, and slightly dimwitted. I find her exploits fun to follow. Her adventures tend to various paths. Often a story will revolve around Takako trying a new profession, and having various misadventures.  Other times, she and Sakae get caught up in adventures that are parodies of various horror genres. Occasionally, she's even a sort of "observer" character in somewhat more serious horror stories.  If there's anything that I would criticize the stories for is that Yamazaki will go for the gross-out from time to time. In particular, there's certain amount of scatological humor, which I don't go for, personally.  It does seem that "Oh, look, a turd!" is a popular form of humor in Japan. A cultural thing, perhaps.  That aside, I find Takako's adventures entertaining.

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