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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Real Name: Gojira

Aliases/Other Names: Godzilla, Gigantis, Monster Zero One

First Appearance: Gojira (1954)

Occupation: King of the Monsters

Bases of Operations: Monsterland (Showa), Birth Island (Heisei), generally found in or near Japan

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliations: None

Friends/Allies*: Anguirus, Jet Jaguar, King Caesar, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, others

Enemies: Destoroyah, Gigan, Hedrah, King Ghidorah, King Kong, Mechagodzilla, Megalon, Space Godzilla, others

Height: (Showa) 50 m., (Heisei) 80- 100 m., (Millennium) 55-100 m., (Legendary) 108.2 m.

Weight: (Showa) 20,000 metric tons, (Heisei) 50,000 - 60,000 metric tons, (Millennium) 25,000 - 55,000 metric tons, (Legendary) 90,000 tons

Eye Color: Black

Hair Color: None

Strength: Super-saurian

Speed: Average

Intelligence: Variable, from near-mindless to near-human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: (Showa) On one occasion demonstrated limited control of magnetism, (Heisei) able to absorb radiation

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: (All) Radioactive heat beam, (Heisei) nuclear pulse, rapid healing

Special Weapons/Equipment: None

History: Awakened and mutated by atomic testing, Godzilla attacked Tokyo, Japan in 1954. Since then, it has regularly battled humanity, other monsters and invading aliens.

Note: I am not counting the the creature from Godzilla (1998) as an "official Godzilla".

Why It's a Favorite: This character is one that I've loved since I was a kid, and the fact that it evokes childhood memories is a big part of what keeps me watching these pictures even now. Like many little kids, I loved dinosaurs, and Godzilla is like a fantasy dinosaur on steroids. Plus, the whole setting was fantastic, so different from American monster movies. When I was little, I knew nothing about Japanese culture, so I didn't realize how the Japanese way of film-making differs from the Western one. Now, I know a little more about it, I get an extra level of enjoyment seeing how stories can be told differently. For much more about how I think about these films, see here, here and here.


*Note that due to Godzilla's changing attitudes over the years, some monsters have been both friends and enemies at different times.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down

Helpless people on subway trains
Scream for God as he looks in on them

He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

Oh, no, they say he's got to go
Go, go, Godzilla, yeah
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go, Godzilla, yeah

Oh, no, they say he's got to go
Go, go, Godzilla, yeah
Oh, no, there goes Tokyo
Go, go, Godzilla, yeah

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of men, Godzilla

Always loved that song.

I was watching the Godzilla films way before I ever saw any of the Universal Monster movies except when they met Abbott & Costello.

I first saw the Toho and Universal pictures around the same time, thanks to the old Creature Feature (later Creature Double Feature) show on channel 56 in Boston, which rotated a wide range of sci-fi and horror films, alternating some great ones with some of the worst films ever made.

I know that I saw King Kong before I did King Kong Vs Godzilla which I saw before I saw Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Mind you, I was reading about the Universal films way before I actually saw them!

I was a huge fan of the Universal films, and didn't think much of the couple of Godzilla movies I had seen, lumping them in with other bad '50s movies about ants and spiders that got real big thanks to radiation. I subscribed to something called The Monster Times and it seemed to the Li'l capn to be obsessed with Godzilla. There wasn't much for a sci-fi fan to love in the 1960s, but even so it seemed to me that Godzilla ranked pretty low on that list.

Then the CBS affiliate started showing kaiju movies on early Saturday afternoons, and I caught a few. Eventually I began to see the charm in them, and now I'm a big booster of the Big G.

 ... lumping them in with other bad '50s movies about ants and spiders that got real big thanks to radiation.

Lumping the James Whitmore/James Arness classic Them! -- unquestionably the finest Big Bug movie ever made -- together with the wretched and risible Earth vs. The Spider???

Heresy!!!

I was thinking Tarantula, but OK, yours works too!

At least I didn't mention Night of the Lepus!

Real Name: Sherlock Holmes 


Aliases/Other Names: Sigerson 


First Appearance: "A Study in Scarlet", by Arthur Conan Doyle, Beeton's Christmas Annual (1887) 

Occupation: Consulting Detective 

Base of Operations: 221B Baker Street, London, UK 

Place of Birth: Unknown 

Group Affiliations: None 

Friends/Allies: Doctor John H. Watson, Mycroft Holmes (brother), Inspector G. Lestrade, Inspector Tobias Gregson, the Baker Street Irregulars 

Enemies: Professor James Moriarty, Colonel Sebastian Moran, others 


Height: Over 6 feet 

Weight: “Lean” 

Eye Color: Unknown *

Hair Color: Unknown *

Strength: Above Average 

Speed: Above Average 

Intelligence: Genius 

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None 

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None 

Special Abilities: Phenomenal observational skill, vast knowledge of crime and criminals, master of the martial art known as “Baritsu” 


Special Weapons/Equipment: None 

History:  Sherlock Holmes was born in 1854. By 1881, he had begun operating as the world's first consulting detective. That same year, he met Doctor John H. Watson, the man who become his greatest friend. The two two took rooms together at 221B Baker Street in London. In 1891, Holmes was apparently killed fighting his arch-nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.  In fact, Holmes faked his death, and spent several years traveling the world incognito. Holmes reappeared publicly in 1894, and retired to the Sussex Downs keep bees sometime around 1904.  He is known to have come out of retirement in the period leading up to the start of the first World War, tracking down German spies.  His final fate is unknown.

Why He’s a Favorite: Alot of my love for this character grew out of watching the Basil Rathbone  movies when I was kid. Whatever one may about the liberties those pictures took with the stories, Rathbone really embodied the character in a way that no other actor has done for me. Other actors have played Holmes over the years - some of them quite well- but for me, Rathbone was Holmes.  

Another big plus for me was that the Old Man bought me a big collection of all of Doyle's Holmes stories, thoroughly annotated.  I still have it to this day, and like to break it out and look at it.  I find the stories to be quite well-written and entertaining, fun to read. As for Holmes himself - well, which of us hasn't wanted to be the smartest guy in the room, able to figure out things no one else can?  Plus, the stories evoke that fantasy Victorian Era (so much nicer than the actual Victorian era) that we all like to read about.

*If any description of Holmes' eye or hair color is given in Doyle's stories, I don't recall it.  Mycroft is described as grey-eyed, but I didn't want to assume  that his brother  had the same eye color.

I'm with you regarding Basil Rathbone, although Benedict Cumberbatch does a bang up job in his modernized take on the character.

Was Sherlock the first fictional hero to be killed off and then brought back to life? Of course for Sir Arthur it wasn't a marketing ploy. He did way with Holmes because he'd grown weary of the character, never intending to bring him back.

Good question, doc. I think of Holmes as a sort of ur-super-hero in many ways.

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