MBTI: Yes, You Can Type Comic Book Characters
Often times I get complaints that “You can’t type comic book characters” due to the medium being never-ending and different writers giving characters different personalities over time.
Well, it’s a bunch of crap.
When it comes to typing in the first place, be they real or fictitious, what do you do? Is it something they said? Something they did? Their general attitude toward people and life in general? Trick question- it’s all of these things!
So when it comes to characters, especially in comics, to say that their personalities are changing so much over time that they have no personality isn’t entirely false, but it’s not entirely true.
What’s the reason you like the character in the first place? Is it because they’re stoic and resolute like the Punisher? A gruff loner that doesn’t follow the rules like Wolverine? Or a know-it-all nerd that happens to be actually to know it all like Spider-Man?
Yes, over the years, writers change so it’s only natural the story telling changes. Dialogue can improve and degrade in quality. Some stories really challenge your way of thinking while others are like the Clone Saga of Spider-Man. Ugh.
But aside from the art, aside from the interesting set of abilities or actions the characters are imbued with, you do have common core characteristics of each one, similar to people. No matter what environment they’re exposed to, they’re first instinct is to handle it in a manner fitting to their type.
You’re telling me Cyclops of the X-Men has no personality? Sure, he’s rigid and has that “leadership” attitude going on but that is his personality. He doesn’t really tell jokes and hardly even smiles. He’s a steadfast leader because he needs to be but he’s hardly even likable. ISTJ, sucka!
Certain traits are consistent, no matter how long the character has been around. It’s how we choose what’s to like and what we don’t like.
Take Loki for example. OMG, Loki. He’s been a trickster. He was a trickster before Marvel got ahold of him. But the difference between the mythological version and the Marvel counterpart is control. The original tricks, deceives, lies, and if you look at the stories, he’s willing to go to bizarre lengths to achieve goals the other gods don’t care about. ENTP, right?
Yet the Marvel version (regardless of universe) is ENTJ. Why? He tricks and deceives, yet his ultimate goal isn’t to just “win” as it is with an ENTP but to rule. He wants to control those around them and have himself worshiped like the king he thinks himself. But the actor that portrays him in the films tends to want to say everything with a tear in his eye and many fans like the idea of a guy that uh, likes the hammer if you know what I mean so this confuses people.
I’m not going to post any pictures of fan art but the ones that aren’t incestuous or generally pornographic feature “bid bwudduh” Thor helping a wide-eyed naive Loki cross the street as Iron Man and Captain America “Awe” at how great a brother Thor is. Mind you, they all look like Cabbage Patch dolls.
Once fans get a hold of a character, there’s no telling how they’ll interpret the actions of said character. If a villain allows a hero to live, some say “They didn’t want to go that far, then the fun would be over” while others say “He didn’t kill him because really, they like each other.”
Point being, there’s how people perceive the character and what the character is actually meant to be. The Joker is pretty much annoyed by Harley Quinn and uses her at his convenience. Yet many fans love the idea of a Natural Born Killers-esque, violent love-type couple.
I use characters as a metaphor for real people because, out here in the real world, people are confused by the same things. Instead of seeing the person as they are, they hear what the person says or maybe even what they want to hear. Look past that, people will say anything about themselves. You’ve heard it before.
“What type am I? Well, I really identified with INTJ I think. Either that or ENFJ. But definitely one of those.”
I had a coworker tell me this at one point. Needless to say, she didn’t know what she was talking about, she just liked the way those two types sounded.
Overall, you can take this away: when other people are unsure, they’ll abandon all reason to say that you can’t do it. And while typing (especially comic book characters) isn’t the most important aspect of life (That would be money. C’mon), if you’re going to do it, do it right.