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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DIAL D FOR DEMIHERO PT. 2

I want to draw a connecting line of sorts between the concept of the demihero as thus far outlined here, and some of my earlier examples of how the viewpoint characters of a given story might not always be the *focal presences* of the story.  I might latterly define the *focal presence* as the "imaginative center" of that story, without which one cannot imagine the story taking the same basic shape.

Here are some demiheroes in the "occult crusader" category.  First, from the teleseries FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES, we have viewpoint characters Micki, Ryan and Jack:



Then from the telemovie and the series it spawned, we have Carl Kolchak of THE NIGHT STALKER:



Now, none of these characters possessed great *dynamicity.*  They perservered against the forces of the occult largely by using either dogged persistence, trickery, or a limited amount of knowledge about how to find occult countercharms.  All of them skew toward the "fair" end of the mesophenomenal category.  They are subcombative figures in that none are capable of manifesting any great degree of *might.*

I also assign both teleseries to the realm of the drama in its melodramatic form.  While there are occult crusaders who fall more properly into the mythos of adventure, the general tone of both teleseries emphasizes the *pathos* of how various types of monsters or occult forces are unleashed upon innocent humanity, only to be banished at the last moment by a demihero, or team of demiheroes, who can just barely manage the task.

Both Kolchak and the FRIDAY THE 13TH team are the characters with whom the audience identifies.  However, Kolchak is the imaginative center, the focal presence of all the NIGHT STALKER stories; the audience tunes in to see how the intrepid reporter gets the better of whatever fiend happens to be preying on the innocent.

In contrast, the FRIDAY team is not the focal presence of the series.  Rather, the imaginative center of the series is the antiques shop "Curious Goods" from which the late relative of Ryan and Micki, one "Uncle Louis," dispensed an infinite number of cursed objects designed to cause havoc amid mankind.  Uncle Louis only rarely appears in the series (as a shade living in hell), but his shop is the imaginative center of the show, not only because it is the source of the antagonistic forces opposed by the protagonists, but also because the antagonistic forces are the ones whose nature the audience must primarily understand.  The three demiheroes take a decided back seat to the cursed objects they are morally obliged to corral.




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