Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guest Post: Roan McKichan is an Action Hero Nerd by Andrea Speed

My character, Roan McKichan, is an action hero nerd.

Now there could be an argument that a nerd, by nature, can’t be an action hero. But Roan is a special case, being that he is a virus child, born infected with the werecat virus, and he’s had some unusual side effects that probably propel him beyond the usual nerd. He’s probably also better looking by a damn sight. But he wasn’t always this way.

Roan’s back story is a pretty tragic one. His father is unknown, and his mother died not too long after he was born. If she had family, they never came forward, leaving Roan a ward of the state. He grew up passed between foster homes and hospitals, and since he was a virus child (never expected to live long or well), his existence was quite isolated, lonely, and troubled. Roan therefore loves books. He’s said they saved his life, and they may very well have. They were his constant companions when he had little else, and since he was immediately ostracized wherever he went, they offered a refuge from the pain of the real world. This is a common enough story for most social misfits, and Roan’s love of books continued into adulthood. Although not yet specified in the books, Roan was a total science fiction nerd, and for most of his adolescence, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy was his Bible.

An incident in an abusive foster home ultimately flipped the switched for Roan. While he was still a nerd, and still relentlessly bullied and ostracized, he decided to embrace it, and began fighting back. (If I wanted to piss Roan off, I’d say he started expressing his inner lion, but I’d never do that.) Punk rock helped him a lot in this regard by the teen years, because it encouraged letting your freak flag fly, and he had the freakiest one of all. Of course, it’s hard to see how this rebellious nature led him to become a cop, however briefly, but it makes sense if you realize he was told he could never be one. Telling Roan there’s something he can’t do is a pretty good way of getting him to do it, which his boyfriends figured out almost right away.

Roan may have become a fighter, but he’s still a nerd. Not only does he still love books, but he still really enjoys nerdy things. He watches a lot of Cartoon Network, and both Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Venture Brothers have been name-checked (he has the latter series among his DVD collection). He also enjoys Doctor Who, loves Monty Python, and has an animation cel of Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons in his office. He’s admitted to Dylan that he used to have a bit of a crush on Commander/Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He can drop obscure references at the drop of a hat, and I’ve hidden a Mystery Science Theater 3000 joke reference in Infected: Undertow (coming out this summer), that few people will probably get. (Certainly the man Roan tells it to has no idea what he’s on about.) I’ll give a hint to those who might be curious: Skydivers. That’s all you get.

The cops he works with in a consultation capacity have taken to calling him, somewhat sarcastically, Batman, and while he hates it, Roan has also noted how wrong a nickname that is, mainly because he’s not a rich guy with a lot of tech. Thanks to the movies, that’s not nearly as nerdy a reference as it could be, but you just know Roan was a comic reader at some point in his life. (Which I can verify. He was an X-Men fan, and has the whole run of Transmetropolitan in his library.)

Circumstances he has no control over have made him something like a superhero, which you’d think would be a nerd’s dream. But there’s always a downside you don’t consider, and Roan would be happy to tell you all about it … if he acknowledged being a superhero at all. But he will happily call himself a nerd, as that’s a badge he’d wear with pride.

The Lisa Simpson Memorial Standing: Everybody knows Lisa is the top nerd. But it's not fair to others, so let's just say she's the nerd in metirtum just to free up some space for lesser nerds? 'Cause I'm going to do that anyways.

Speaking of which ….

Here’s Roan’s top five TV nerds:

5. Felicity Smoak, Arrow (TV) – We all watch Arrow for the quality manmeat (come for Amell’s bare torso, stay for Manu Bennett … I mean seriously, holy shit…), but Felicity is one classy nerd. The tech geek that all superheroes need, she can hack anything, and look good in a pair of nerdy glasses, as well as make a dry quip or two. She doesn’t get distracted by being surrounded by handsome men in the batcave (arrowcave?) either, which puts her way ahead of me.

4. Seymour Birkoff, La Femme Nikita (original series) – The new one isn’t bad, but he has more social skills and natural aggression than the awkward, socially inept tech expert for Division. He was smart, but if anyone didn’t belong in a group of secret assassins, it was him. Also, unlike most of the nerds on this list (except for #2), he’s not really handsome. Which is a nice bit of verisimilitude. (Hey, most of us aren’t conventionally handsome. It’s just the luck of the draw.)

3. Abed Nadir, Community – Perhaps a more stereotypical nerd, but done in a way that’s endearing. Also, it’s kind of nice to see a nerd of color, as they’re not all white guys, damn it. He hasn’t displayed much in the way of computer skills, although you assume he has them. He’s a pop culture focused nerd, which I have a fondness for, no matter how socially maladjusted they can be. His close friendship with ex-jock Troy is also very sweet.

2. Arthur, The Tick (cartoon, but you can also count the live action sitcom if you want) – Here’s a pudgy accountant who buys a kind of working moth suit at a garage sale and decides to be a superhero. Except, he really doesn’t have any powers, except the limited, clumsy flight the suit gives him. So no talent, but a lot of enthusiasm, which makes him the Ed Wood of superheroes. Did I also mention that physically, he’s kind of a coward? This is why it’s a good thing The Tick, a nigh invulnerable superhero type (possibly alien, also possibly crazy) literally falls into his life. While Arthur’s inner hero does peek out at times, he remains his nerdy, somewhat timid self at all times, a sidekick barely worthy of the name, and there’s something quite beautiful about that.

1. Willow Rosenberg, Buffy The Vampire Slayer – How do you not love this girl? Even when she went evil, you wanted to give her a big old hug. There’s just something endearing and sweet about her, and she has so many weird hyphens – as in nerd-lesbian-Jewish-witch – how can I not love that? I mean, I know a gay-hooker-vigilante and a straight-dominatrix-investigative assistant, so I’m down with the hyphenated people. Possibly because I am one. Anyways, if you could only have one nerd in a lifeboat with you, she’s totally the one  you would want.

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1 comment:

  1. Love the Infected series.Can't say enough about Roan,to watch his heartaches,find love again and accept his lion.The books are great reads,thank you.


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