Friday, June 10, 2011

The joy of minor characters

Yesterday I got to do something I hadn't done in a long while: Introduce a new character to the Precociousverse! Meet Mitzy Bard, the Poppinstock Academy third grade teacher! We may never see her again in the strip, but she's canon now and that means SHE NEEDS A PROFILE!

This is where the fun begins. New characters are full of potential, and I can shape Ms. Bard into anything I want. Let's explore her life, shall we?

What we know of her in-strip is that she's been held captive by the older kids during the school revolution and that she freaked out when her class was invaded during the ice cream social. She didn't seem to be very pleased with Ms. Monster's behavior either.

It's time to start connecting the dots. I see Ms. Bard as younger than Ms. Monster, and probably more naive about the way the smart kid system works. To get where she is at that age, she had to be a real go-getter and little achiever in school - likely getting a nice, pricey education. She probably came from an upper middle class or rich family, which kept her fiscally sound (and a little spoiled) through school.

Personality-wise, I think we can say she's easily flustered when things go wrong. She's probably the type to try planning out every little thing, so she falls apart at the unexpected. Assuming she and Bette Monster aren't on the friendliest of terms, I can see resentment at Bette's wily and unconventional teaching ways - labeling them as lazy and mean. Mitzy probably sees herself as the good and NORMAL person, bristling that the school would hire smartasses like Bette and eccentrics like Dr. Oven. They aren't good role models! Mitzy plays the by the rules, always doing what she feels is the right thing. And I'm not saying Mitzy is delusional about this stuff. She may actually BE a good person in this comic full of insane jerks! She's the type to get victimized - the question is how much of it is exploiting her good nature and how much is it her bringing it upon herself?

Although not mentioned in the strip, my WORD OF GOD statement regarding her name establishes her as single, which must bug her as it means her fantasies of finding a husband at college didn't pan out. She thinks she's been doing everything right, but her boyfriends keep turning out to be lying jerks! Oh well, at least she's not as old as that spinster Bette. Mitzy is at least TRYING!

How was that? Keep in mind that the personality is all speculation for now. I can change her into a biker chick by the time she appears in her next strip, if she ever does appear again. (I have no plans to bring her back any time soon.) It's merely fun to do these thought exercises.

I have to wonder if the readers have their own impressions of Ms. Bard.

1 comment:

DRB_II said...

Why should she have to choose between being little Miss Upper Middle Class Pricey Education and a biker chick? I see no reason why she couldn't be both. The question then becomes: does she fall into the upper middle class pricey education stereotype of owning a bike and knowing next to nothing about it, or does she surprise everyone and spout off facts and figures until everyone else's eyes glaze over?

This, of course, all depends on her ever being seen again, and the biker chick part coming to be true. And possibly your willingness to attempt drawing a motorcycle. Not that it would need to be seen, but it would drive the point home to both readers and characters alike, probably neither of which saw this coming, especially from her.