Sunday, August 31, 2014

Character change: Black or White?

I've decided to make a character changing decision with one of my villains. Considering that he's not an established character with 50 years under the belt, I doubt this will be a controversial change. I'm certainly not aiming at controversy, but we'll see what happens.

The character is Professor Zombie, a brilliant scientist who became evil when struck down by a flesh eating virus in Africa. He had to rebuild himself as a cyborg and decided he would rather rule the world than save it.

Now I admit, it's because I'm a white guy that I have so many white characters. Not because I'm racist, rather I just don't think about it that much. But times have changed and good stories need characters from all walks of life. I think the Professor is a good place to start. He's from Africa in the first place and he's kind of a play on black zombie legends. Granted some of those legends are Jamaican in origin, but it still works to make him a unique villain.

In the blog fiction, GZ Legends, I portrayed him as you see above, a white man. Now look at this:

What do you think? I think this adds a depth to his character that wasn't present before. It just makes more sense to make him a black man for the cultural and origin possibilities. This makes him a man who was trying to save people in his own nation before the disease got him. That's what this is about, enrichment of the character. As he appears in my next novel, Chaos Rising, I don't make a big deal about his skin color. I let his attitude and activities do the talking. I just think, he makes more sense as a black man.

Go ahead and let me know what you think in comments. Does he look better black than white? You tell me.
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