Friday, May 31, 2013

Consortium of Chaos superhero romance novel character bio #6: Poacher

Let’s do another long-time supporting character, Poacher.

Sydney Bestiarius Voldar AKA “The Poacher” is head of the Consortium’s Animals and Monsters Department.  It’s his job to oversee (and presumably train) the large number of mutated and no doubt evil creatures which any organization dedicated to destroying the world is likely to accumulate.  Since the Consortium’s switch to being Capes, he mainly seems to concern himself with complaining about receiving calls from the citizenry about rats and other vermin, a fact which he feels is an insult to his department’s honor.

I don’t think his height has ever been mentioned, but I’d put him somewhere around Kasos’ height, but below Hazard, and built like a bear.  6’5” or so I should think.  He has black hair and green eyes.  He is covered in scars, including a large one on his stomach, which Marian hypothesizes, is the result of a shotgun blast.  He wears the stereotypical garb of a big game hunter: kakis, boots and a pith (safari) helmet.  Emily contends like he dresses like one of the skippers on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride.  He carries an antique elephant gun, a machete and an Australian stock whip.
In addition to enhanced strength and senses, Poacher has the ability to assume the powers and abilities of any animal whose skin, fur or blood he is in contact with.  The power appears to work on people as well, and he can take on the capabilities of any super-person whose blood he touches.  The ability only works for as long as he remains in contact with it though, and if he loses the fur/skin/feather/blood, he loses the abilities.  Although it’s never really been dealt with in the series, I assume that he can only use one power at a time, and there’s probably some kind of rule about how many times he can use it on the same object before he needs to find a replacement.  I’m honestly not sure, as he doesn’t really use the power a great deal, instead relying on his elephant gun in fights, which is loaded with a variety of different kinds of shells made for him by the Weapons Department of the C of C.

Poacher is the result of deliberately setting out to write the worst human being possible.  I’ve done that a few times now, and every time I do it, I end up coming up with someone different.  The other occasions that I can think of off the top of my head were Tyrant and Cynic, and it’s hard to think of three more different characters.  …They’re all still pretty terrible though, I don’t know why I like them so much. 

I remember going for a Blaine (Jesse Ventura) from “Predator” mixed with Johner from “Alien Resurrection” and Muldoon from “Jurassic Park” sort of vibe originally, but he’s gone off and done his own thing over the course of the books.  He describes himself as not being “a thinker,” and Stacy describes him as a “junkyard dog.”  If I had to describe him, I would say that if someone was mean to you on the playground, and you were friends with Poacher, he would be the guy who would kick the bully’s door down and beat up the kid’s dad in front of him/her to send the kid a message not to mess with you anymore.  He has a tendency to take things to unhealthy extremes, but I think he’s softer than he lets on.

I’ve always gotten the sense that Poacher’s blinders about the work he does have been taken off.  Like, he’s lived a much harder life than some of the other villains, and that he’s under no delusions about what they do.  He used to be a mercenary for hire, and I think he sort of fell into super-villainy, rather than making it a calling from childhood like the others, and as such, I think he’s probably seen a different side of the world.  I don’t know how much he lets this bother him (he doesn’t seem to be too bothered, saying simply that all jobs have their downsides), but I definitely think he’s done worse things than most of the other people in the Consortium. 

Of course, he’s actually arguably the most devoted to the group though, so I’d imagine that these two things are related.  I think he did a lot of bad things and is happy to have found a place to call home, where he doesn’t have to worry about not being accepted.  He also has his own distorted and strange rules and sense of honor though.  He prides himself on his loyalty, and his willingness to risk his life for the other members borders on death wish.  He seems to view himself as a protector of sorts, always willing to lend them a hand.  Stacy contends that his function is to be the first man through the door in a fight, serving as a counterpoint to Miles, whose function is to make sure that no one kicks down the Consortium’s door.

Random facts about him:
- His favorite book is Little Women, and his favorite character is Beth.
- His favorite music is Connie Francis
- He collects Hummel-like figurines.
- He seems to reference Dr. Seuss a lot
- His favorite My Little Pony is Flutter Shy.
- His personal motto is: “Kill lest you be killed.”
- He claims to have once been buried alive.
- He has his own fanclub, the “Poacher Pals,” although he only achieved this feat by appropriating the membership of The Honey Badger’s club.
- He excels at football, and is very popular on the GSU campus.

Poacher springs from a fairly common character type in comic books and popular culture, the “Big Game Hunter.”  Traditionally, this kind of character loves to hunt down the hero as a display of his/her animal prowess and uses “primitive” weapons to accomplish this goal.  I’ve personally never liked the idea of spears and blow darts though, so I gave him an elephant gun instead.  To me, it better fit the type of character I was trying to create.  I also replaced the traditional character type’s personality (honorable and concerned only with the challenge of the hunt) with a more primal and sort of savage nature.  He’s very in touch with his desires, much to the chagrin of those around him.
His name comes from the fact that I tried to find the least macho and “uncoolest” name I could think of (no offense to the male Sydneys of the world), preferably something that was unisex, and settled on “Sydney.”  I seem to recall almost naming him “Eugene,” but thought it was a little too “Tangled.”  “Bestiarius” is the name for the Roman gladiators who fought wild animals.  “Voldar” comes from the movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.”  There’s no story there, I’m afraid.  He has no deeper connection to Holly or her father, the movie just happened to be on while I was writing his introductory chapter (which ended up being deleted anyway) and I thought it was a cool name.  Incidentally, it happens to be the name of the movie’s bad guy though, so I guess you could argue that both characters serve as foils for the more pleasant people in the story.

Poacher’s one of those guys that I just have a hard time getting to take things seriously.  If the chapter is told from his point of view, half the time it’s random profane complaints about the world around him, and the other half it’s a quasi-philosophical poetic treatise on the nature of life.  It’s hard for me to imagine when or how he’d focus enough to try for his HEA, but I’m sure he will eventually.  He seems dedicated to the idea that he’s going to “die bloody” though, so I guess we’ll have to see which of us is right in the end.  Personally, I’m hoping it’s me.  I find him funny in an aggravating sort of way, but he means well.


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