A comic that has great artists, and even better writers will show the industry that your putting out effort; but for a comic to stand out from the crowd it has to have deep characters that stir the interest of the comic. Many times writers that are involved with brand new titles tend to forget that. Instead of developing characters they develope the "tag along losers" that follow the main characters and tend to take away from the storyline.
When one thinks of the great shows on television, they don't like them because of they stars or attractive characters; they primarily like them because of the aura and uniqueness of the characters. Whether or not one believes that this is true, just think about it. There are attractive people on literally every show these days, and most actors are experienced enough to seem entertaining; but the fact of the matter is that you like shows with characters that have adventures to some degree - people who can relate with the characters also find much interest into them and thus the comic.
Hopefully the need for character development is easy to see now after that arguement, it can't be stressed enough. But now let's continue, if you are trying to develope a character in order to create a storyline that sticks out from the crowd; then you must first decide what type of character you have.
For example: Batman, he is a tough, mean and mysterious hero. His aura and developed characteristics shine through because he says little, dresses in complete black with a cape, looks like a bat, is usually considered as a punk to villians as well as heroes. To write a realistic character, the attitude of him/her must be that as the person he/she is meant to play. Don't go overboard and don't underrate the usefulness of the common characteristics.
A good step to keep a character the same throughout different comics, write a page (at least) of notes on the character. Start out with information like current age, type of person, family stature, job, life, powers, abilities and main function in the story. Whenever you write a new issue, read up on this sheet to get the character embedded in your head as if he was actually someone you knew. Write notes on how the character is now, and what kind of a person you want him to become in the future.
As you develope the character and reveal more and more that is on the sheet, he should start to develope characteristics with the other characters in the series, and the readers. Know what the age group is that your trying to reach, and know what kind of relationships you want the characters to get into before you start any writing. Notes should be extensive and work well, after a month or two of using; you won't even need them anymore.
Once characters are developed and integrated, (that is, once you know that Spider-Man loves cracking jokes, and has talked to Mary Jane frequently and found common grounds with her), then you are ready to spice the storyline up even more and not only attract new readers but also make current subscribers want to come back for more. Spiced up characters are where a character might be portrayed as a villian with a mask he/she is hated but without it they are loved by the public. This type of a character is looked at as one with a duel aura. Take a character like this along with others and add conflict which in turn adds interest to the readers. Conflict is something that anybody can relate with, its easy to be entertaining as well as just a plain good story to read.
When interdependency is the role of the character, is the character going to be loved by some and hated by others; or is he/she going to be adored by all because of his great humorous personality? Ask these questions before any book is published, and answer them with alot of thought. If a certain character seems to be loved by some, hated by others and adored by even more; then he must have good reason for this. A character is not realistic if their characters doesn't fit their part in the story.
The last thing you need to worry about is the smaller information like the name of the character or his birthdate. This information is small and incomparable to the actual character personality. That's enough for this tutorial, hopefully it helped any people who held misconceptions of character development priorities.
- Joseph Lookabaugh