Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Character Profile: Charlie Richter-Thomas (to be revised soon)

(Note 8/15/2010: This profile will soon be updated to include Charlie's appearances in the Dictel Saga [Bad Company, Black Science, etc.] and Spanner as well as Dirty Pop and its upcoming sequel Bigger Better Faster MORE!)

Dirty Pop revolves around Charlie. She's the main character, and the narrator who tells the tale of her own adventures. So who is Charlie Richter-Thomas, really? She is the star of two of the four novels I've written for NaNoWriMo, so I'm giving Charlie her first public character profile since I created her.

In Bad Company (NaNoWriMo 2007), she is the very first character to appear in the main story, and with her sister Desiree one of the two narrators. She is the fallen pop star who uncovers a monstrous conspiracy surrounding the murder of her reporter fiancé by the giant military conglomerate Dictel Corporation in the novel's opening scene, and must overcome her bad reputation in order to get the news out to an indifferent and seemingly doomed world. In Dirty Pop (NaNoWriMo 2009), she tries to build a singing career of her own, independent of her tyrannical cult-leader stage mother, only for it to be threatened with destruction by the record industry.

Here I should mention some of the history of the character of Charlie. I originally created her as a supporting character for Shira Thomas, main character of Spanner, my manga project that I've been working on, on and off, since 1992. Charlie is one Shira's older sisters on her father's side. I created her back in the mid-'90s, though I'd have to make a long search of my many project notebooks to figure out exactly when. Originally she wasn't a singer, even though I'd been exposed to the "idol singer" phenomenon in Japanese anime for years by the time I created her. She really only came into her own when I made her one of the pivotal characters in Bad Company.

Charlotte Emily Richter-Thomas is the daughter of Cedric Anthony (Ric) Thomas III, a rock guitarist, and Drusilla Becket, a Dictel heiress turned right-wing New Age cult leader. She is Shira's older half-sister, and she has one full sibling, her younger sister Desiree Blythe. It is during the period covered by both Dirty Pop and Black Science (basically, 2009) that the Charlie and Desiree take the double surname used by the aunt, Dr. Willa Richter-Thomas, the main character of Black Science (along with narrator Desiree). Nearly everybody assumes the name "Charlotte Emily" was taken from two Bronte sisters (and this is at least partly true), but she has always been called "Charlie", which just happens to be the name of every single member of the Sour Grapes Bunch on The Banana Splits. The name her band picks, "The Sour Grapes" or "Charlie and the Sour Grapes", is a geeky reference to the "secret origin" of Charlie's name.

Physical facts:
  • Born February 14, 1988
  • Auburn hair (not red; Desiree is the true redhead)
  • Blue-green or turquoise eyes
  • Pale skin with a tendency to freckle (a trait from her father)
  • 5'4" (short like her mother, not tall like her father)
  • Around 120-130 pounds, depending on her physical condition (she is less than 100lb at the beginning of Bad Company)
  • Tight, lean dancer's body which reveals a near-fanatical devotion to physical conditioning since her teen pop idol days
  • Voice: clear, bell-like, with a tendency to speak in musical fashion in conversation (the latter is a family trait)

Psychological facts:
  • Extroverted; friendly, charming, highly social — but...
  • Has a strong temper and a tendency to lose it when confronted with some kind of injustice
  • After her desperate fight against Dictel in Bad Company, and her prolonged exposure to it earlier, she has an extreme suspicion of large corporations, sometimes bordering on phobia
  • Sexually open and openly bisexual, with strong polyamorous tendencies
  • Passionately in love with music, and loves dancing, physical movement, sex, and tweaking society almost as much
  • Once suffered from borderline personality disorder, inflicted by her narcissistic mother and sexually abusive stepfather; after being kicked out of her mother's mansion at 17, she underwent intensive therapy so that she feels she no longer suffers from BPD, though (as she says) "the scars will remain forever"
  • A tendency to be overly affectionate with family and friends (another family trait)

Rumor has it that Charlie and her sister Desiree are actually lovers. At first they deny it vehemently (especially when Drusilla and her husband, Dictel chief lawyer Clayton Starr, try to get them thrown in jail over it), but later they do nothing to dispel the rumor. But suggest that she may be "more than friendly" with her kid sister Shira, and she'll punch you out; Starr is destroyed in Bad Company when he tries to railroad Charlie for just that and ends up hanging himself to escape being jailed for his long and savage abuse of Charlie and Desiree.

This is not a comprehensive profile like you'll see in, say, the encyclopedias of the DC and Marvel superhero comics universes, but an introduction (and, for me, a way to understand the character more). I've probably omitted a few important things about Charlie.

Some of you probably fear that I've created one of the dreaded "Mary Sue" characters here. This is actually a running gag with some of my characters (in Black Science, Desiree actually goes to a science fiction convention dressed as the notorious Star Trek fan fiction character who gave the character type its name). The real joke is that Charlie's mother, Drusilla Becket, is the evil Mary Sue.

Charlie is a recurring character who pops up in some role in many or most of my stories. Osamu Tezuka, Japan's greatest cartoonist, has a well-known cast of recurring characters. I too have my own. Charlie is but one of them. (Speaking of which: not only will I have to start writing character entries like this, I'll also have to update the one on Shira.)

(Note: The picture of Charlie in this entry is the colorized version of the only drawing I've made of her, from 2004.)

Copyright © 2009, 2010 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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