Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Consortium of Chaos character bio #2: Holly Claus

For our next bio, I choose another character entirely at random.  Let’s do Holly, who first appeared in Yesterday's Heroes, book one of the Consortium of Chaos. 

Holiday Season Claus AKA “Missile-Tow” is head of the Weapons Department for the Consortium.  She claims to be the daughter of Santa Claus, although the other characters have different views on the truth of that assertion.  The series itself has remained silent on whether she actually is Santa’s daughter or not, but I currently have no reason to doubt her word.
Holly has green eyes, and white-blonde hair, with a small streak of red running from her bangs.   She dresses in a little Santa themed outfit, complete with hat and jingle bells.  Her suit has a skirt rather than pants though, which I imagine coming down a little passed her knees, flaring out like a poodle skirt and trimmed in white fur.  She has black leather gloves, and she wears candy cane striped stockings with her patent leather boots.  She travels around in a flying sleigh (which she spells “slay”) driven by her “paindeer.”
Holly is arguably the happiest person in the C of C, and gets a real thrill from doing bad things.  She is one of the loudest proponents of the idea that the team is still evil despite their current work as heroes, and expresses a deep commitment to villainy.  She once put it as having made the “empowered choice to be evil,” and she really had no intention of backing out on that.  I’m not actually sure why she’s evil, or what her father might think about it, but judging from her frequent mentions of him, I would guess that he has come to terms with her choices, to some degree.  She evidentially promises to get all the other villains in the C of C on her father’s “good list,” although she is the only one who ever gets what she asks for.  Every Friday she makes gingerbread cookies for the company meetings, has the habit of giftwrapping anything not nailed down, has a killer hot chocolate recipe because she makes her own marshmallows, and is only two appearances shy of having the all-time record for most appearances ever on the America’s Public Enemies TV show.  She’s also the only member currently wanted in all fifty states. 
Holly does have numerous brothers and sisters, although none of them have appeared on canvas yet.  I get the sense that she spends most (possibly all) of her time with the Consortium crew, so I don’t know how close she is with her siblings.  She’s Harlot’s best friend though, and a frequent part of the other woman’s schemes.  Holly is also one of the most against working with the Capes, mostly due to the fact that she feels that the heroes don’t like her.  She claims to have beaten them so many times that they hold grudges against her, although she doesn’t appear to really care about their anger.  I do think she’s trying to behave though, and tries to hide the occasions where she “falls off the wagon” and goes back into villainy from the other members.  
Holly has magical abilities the precise limits of which haven’t been established.   She can evidentially make ordinary toys into weapons though, and have them do her bidding.  She can also use her magic to do more physical things, such as close doors.  In addition to that, she seems to have an extraordinary ability to create weapons and munitions, usually with a Christmas theme, from just about anything.  She has built several “doomsday devices,” although none of them have worked.  Whether they were incorrectly designed or were simply destroyed by the heroes before being activated has never been clearly answered in the series.      
Holly is probably one of my favorite characters, because I never have to think about what she’s going to do.  In fact, sometimes she even surprises me with some new insane idea or crazy line.  She was among the first characters conceived for the Consortium when I first began writing the series, probably only after Cynic and Librarian.  She’s always been there, and in my mind, has always had the same seat at the Consortium’s meeting room table: third from the head of the table, next to Harlot.  She has one of the clearest “voices” in the series. 
As far as backstory on her creation, I don’t really have much of one.  I would have to say as far as inspiration goes, I probably drew from Santa’s Twin by Dean Koontz.  The book was first released when I was a teenager, but I was struck by the idea of an evil Santa (although, I never actually read the book… Great.  Now I have to go look for it on Amazon…  :- ) ).  I remember thinking at the time that a comic should run with the concept of an evil Santa, but I’m unaware of any Christmas themed villains in a comic book.  The occasional guest spot by some bad guy dressed as Santa, but no one with a real Christmas “theme.”  By the time Futurama had their evil robotic Santa, I had already decided that if I ever did a comic book, I’d have an evil Santa character.  Originally, I recall briefly considering having a gruffer evil Santa; like a big, mad trucker sort of person, with ripped off shirt sleeves and a team of evil elves in sunglasses.  When I sat down to actually write Yesterday’s Heroes though, I changed the character to Santa’s daughter.  I’m not entirely sure why, except that I’ve always thought he should have one, and I liked the idea of her being evil but still really jolly. 
I struggled with her name, both code and real, and went through several different versions.  She was “Holly Ivy Claus” for a while, and then “Holiday Ivy Claus.”  Shortly before release however, I hit upon “Holiday Season Claus” and liked how ridiculous it sounded.  I still wonder if “Holiday Cheer Claus” wouldn’t have been better though… 
As a side note, I ended up liking Holly so much that I briefly considered just switching out her part with Harlot and making her Wyatt’s love interest instead.  I decided against it pretty quickly though, as I didn’t really get any sort of chemistry between them.  She actually hooked up with Troubadour at the end of the first draft of the Yesterday’s Heroes, but I took that part out in the finished book.  I thought they each needed their own books, and I didn’t really get a romantic vibe from them.  It was just something I did because I wanted to have Gabe make a musical pass at someone, and in retrospect, it was a mistake.  Aside from the fact that she likes his music, I don’t think their relationship goes deeper.  But I’m never quite sure what Holly’s going to do, so I don’t know for sure.
In a comic book sense, I think Holly is a silver age character (from the 1960’s).  She’s not entirely B&W as far as morality goes, but she doesn’t have any real excuse or motivation for her crimes.  She’s not after world-domination, she’s just a villain because she likes it.  She enjoys evil, and I don’t think she even has a goal in mind for her schemes.  She’s like a lot of silver age comic book villains in that she has a central theme around which all her crimes revolve (Christmas), but she’s not quite as cut and dry one-dimensional villain as would be found in the golden age (the 30’s and 40’s) or as conflicted and sympathetic as would be found in the bronze age (70’s and 80’s).  Her adherence to her little clichés and her characteristic jolly attitude keeps her from being part of the more moody and dark world of modern comics, although her tendency towards violence would certainly allow her to understand their way of thinking.   
I find her interesting, and she’s one of those characters who I’m always glad to add to a scene.


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