Fictional characters mean a lot to us—otherwise, we probably wouldn’t all be on this website right now. Personally, I’d be probably working at a cat cafe, but that’s beside the point. We grew up reading, watching, and listening to amazing pieces of media that helped shape our worldview in some way. io9 wants to know: Which fictional character did you first relate to?

We’re not going to leave you hanging, though. To get the ball rolling, here’s what io9 staff had to say about the question of the day.

Jill Pantozzi (yours truly): “I waffled on this a bit since there was a lot of media in my formative years with characters that left an impression but I think I’ll go with Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros. 2. She’s basically a non-entity in the first game but when I found out I could fight in the sequel as a female character I was over the moon. I almost never played as any other character.”

James Whitbrook: “If I try to think about, it’s probably Ben Reilly. Ben became Spider-Man just as I was starting to get into comics, when I was around five or so. So for a bit, at least to me, he was Spider-Man and Peter Parker was some guy who went away to go be a father. It was a whole weird mess of a time. But even that young, I latched on to him being this guy trying—and struggling—to live up to this legacy that hung over him, how he was trying to make ends meet while still having to be a superhero and continue this mantle on, finding his place in it all. You know, the whole great power, great responsibility thing! I just learned it through a slightly different lens than most Spidey fans do. So even though, looking back from a critical perspective, that period of Spider-Man stories is a complete batshit mess, those were ‘my’ Spider-Men tales, and how I first encountered a character I still admire and love today.”

Evan Narcisse: “I think it was Superman. Christopher Reeve made Clark feel awkward and lonely in the 1978 movie in a way that really resonated with me.”

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Beth Elderkin: “Josie from the Josie and the Pussycats movie. Between the ages of 11 and 22, I was in a rock band with my two sisters. I loved it, but it was also hard. Music was a total boys club—I was mistaken for a ‘groupie’ more times than I could count. Josie and the Pussycats was tailor-made for me. It was a fun movie about three best friends who played music and kicked ass. I would say I was more of a Valerie, mostly because my older sister had Josie’s hair. And yes, we performed ‘Three Small Words’ during some of our shows, with cat ears. Because how could you not?”

Charles Pulliam-Moore: “Jean Grey.”

Rob Bricken: “I can’t remember how young I was when I read The Girl With the Silver Eyes, this 1980 book by Willo Davis Roberts, but it was certainly the first time I read about a kid (named Katie) who was nerdy and preferred to read books than deal with the stress of hanging out with other kids. Of course, I was neither a girl nor had telekinesis, but it’s the first time I saw myself in a fictional character.”

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Germain Lussier: “The character I first related to was Keith from Voltron. I was probably six years old and already a fan of Star Wars, the Dukes of Hazzard, and a few other things. But those were exactly that—‘things.’ Then one day I opened a loaf of Wonder Bread and pulled out a baseball card. It was for New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez. And I got excited because, he had the same name as the leader of Voltron. I don’t know why or how I made the connection but, in a way, it just sort of cemented identity and humanity for me. Plus, it started my obsession with baseball. Whatever my mom paid for that Wonder Bread was certainly not enough.”

Cheryl Eddy: “Probably the Wicked Witch of the West. So evil and with so many flying monkeys to back her up, and the best laugh ever.”

Now that I’m officially concerned about working with Cheryl, let us know, which character did you first relate to? The answer doesn’t have to be scifi or fantasy specific!

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