[META] Why I Love Legacy Characters

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Sep 15 08:35:04 PDT 2010

So I was checking links I hadn't read recently, and came upon
http://kalinara.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-i-love-legacy-characters.html and
the article it links to.

Now, I thrill to legacy characters - they're one of my favorite parts of an
ongoing universe.  But those articles only cover legacy characters in the
context of the Big Two.  What about the kind of universes we create here,
where the history legacies reflect is often made up out of whole cloth?
Where we don't have a demographic that accepts known characters over new
ones?  Where we can create consequence directly, instead of having to
create proxies for it?  Why do I, personally, like to make legacy

One reason is because they're a simple, interesting way to make universes
richer, deeper.  Being able to toss off references to the 1940s Pattycake
Man's adventures in the middle of an exposition scene in Pattycake Man
Team-Up makes it feel more like it's part of a whole world, whose borders
extend beyond the story you're currently reading.

Another reason is that they're a way to compare and contrast two (or more)
different ways the same concept can be used.  ASH is an especially good
example of this.  Lady Lawful I and II have fairly similar personalities,
but the societies they operate in are very different.  The 2020s-era
Freedom Alliance is made entirely of legacies taken and applied to people
who, perhaps, aren't worthy of them - and who, perhaps, are.  The original
Rechtigkeit had two legacies - his villainous son and his heroic successor.

And yet another is that they provide a source of interpersonal conflict and
characterization.  In Jolt City, Martin Rock inherits a legacy and has to
move from the life of a solitary vigilante and into the four-color world
that his predecessor worked in, and he has to train his own successor in
the ethics of that world.  Back in the Dvandom Force days, Kid Macro got
over the death of his mentor, Macroman, and symbolically took up his mantle
- and then it turned out that he was his own legacy!

There are probably more reasons to cherish and enjoy this storytelling
tactic.  What about you?  Why do you love legacy characters?  Or, for that
matter, is there anyone out there who doesn't?  Who thinks that new
characters should be new characters, and not have to follow on from someone
else?  Whatcha think?

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, not quite HCC13, but related.

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