Monday, October 24, 2011

Questionable Content's Questionable Characterizations

First World Problems

Something dawned on me recently about Questionable Content. The female characters are all essentially defined by their issues. The male characters mostly seem to be 'bros' without major issues. Let's begin with the ladies.
  1. Faye Whitaker - she witnessed her dad commit suicide and has severe relationship and drinking problems likely because of it.
  2. Dora Bianci - anxiety and trust issues ended her relationship with Marten
  3. Hannelore Ellicott - Chatham: Has OCD. Although, this doesn't actually seem to affect her much, other than making her a neat freak, good at math, and out of touch. I don't feel that she has truly had a serious problem because of her OCD and it mainly seems to get trotted so she can be quirky and lonely internet boys can develop moe-esque feelings for her. 
  4. Raven Pritchard - Ditzy
  5. Penelope Gaines - She and her boyfriend Wil are both lit/artsy people. However, she's the one who comes off snobby about it.
  6. Tai - Has lesbian issues
  7. Marigold Louise Farmer - has weight, nerdiness and social anxiety issues.
  8. Cossette - is clumsy
  9. Padma - has a kid, a sick grandmother, and must move away
  10. Momo - Marigold's Anthro PC who just got a human-like body and is dealing with those issues
Now for the boys.
  1. Marten Reed - former indie music snob and current dubstep snob whose only issue would have been that his mother was (is?) a dominatrix but he seems to have dealt with it remarkably well. He seems to be a somewhat empty shell, somewhat Bella Swan-esque in his lack of characterization. Seems to serve almost as a foil for the other characters.
  2. Steve - a bro through and through. 
  3. Sven Bianci - he does have promiscuity issues that ruined a relationship he had with Faye. Sven is, however, a tertiary character at best.
  4. Angus - Faye's current boyfriend who doesn't seem to have any issues.
  5. Wil - similar to Penelope, just not snobby about it
  6. Eliot - in really into Padma
This really came to light recently. Jeph Jacques (the creator) was coming up with a new character. He wanted to know what gender the people would like. The overwhelming response was to make it a male character (being sick of female characters, since the dudes are almost never around). He made the character male, he appeared in a handful of strips (less than 10) and has disappeared. In the interim we have been introduced to Padma and Momo got her human-like body.

Is it because, as a man, he views men and women in different lights? Does he break down women by their issues and men by their bro-ness? It's hard to tell. Is this a problem for male writers in general? I don't know, but it was something interesting that I noticed and has really affected my ability to enjoy the comic.