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The Insidious Soliloquy of CGB Spender

3 February 2011

Ah, the Man in Black. No, not Johnny Cash. The other one — the character type who shows up, speaks in unintelligible code, imparts some sort of completely secret information or gives the characters some kind of dubious help, then leaves.

How easy a job is that? You wear a black suit (though not always), some shades (though not always), appear, make yourself generally confusing and marginally helpful, then fuck off somewhere down to the pub? Who do I talk to about getting hired on by whatever shadow agency employs these guys?

Man In Black characters, when used badly, can kind of feel like the above, or like the Old Guy With A Beard Who Explains The Plot to Everyone (another favorite bad character type). But when used well, the Man in Black can be an integral character in your story, no matter how short his or her appearance in the work itself.

I think my favorite Man In Black of all time (apart from Johnny Cash, of course) is the one I mentioned in the title of the post — that’s the MIB character done perfectly, for me. What about you guys? Who’s your favorite plot-advancing mystery man or woman? And what’s the worst example you’ve seen?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nate permalink
    3 February 2011 0752

    Spender was one of the best characters, ever.

    As a big “Lost” fan, some of my favorite episodes from the early seasons were the ones that featured Dr. Pierre Chang (aka Marvin Candle aka Mark Wickmund aka Edgar Halliwax), the guy from the DHARMA film strips. He wasn’t exactly your prototypical MIB, but you knew that his appearance in an episode meant that the plot was going to take a pretty major twist.

    • 3 February 2011 0823

      Oh, yeah — he’s a good one. Though I did like him more when he just appeared in the filmstrips and not when he was an actual character back in the 70s. He was still awesome, but not quite as awesome.

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