When I told my husband that my current Work in Progress (WIP) was going to feature a outlaw character, he laughed. Why? Because he is very much aware of my weakness for bad boy/outlaw characters (I make exceptions fior Captain America and Lee “Apollo” Adama). It’s kind of a thing. Characters who are rebellious, flawed, far too good looking for anyone’s good, and in possession of the best one-liners are kind of irresistable. Let me break down some of my favorite bad boys.
The original was quite possibly George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Tortal series. Charming, clever, clearly rebellious. I was Team George before relationship favorites were described as being teams. Why have Prince Jonathan when you could have George? Honestly, I’d love more about his adventures as the King of Thieves.
Now the fanged choices. First, the Buffy offering. I was always a Spike girl rather than an Angel girl. The one-liners, the cheeky snark, the charming when he wanted to be, and let’s not forget the accent. Bonus points for getting to watch James Marsters sing. Spike clearly had his flaws, but I’m still convinced that he stole large sections of season four. Add in the fact he one fought for his soul and had been the Victorian version of a bullied geek and he won a lot of fans. Now, onto the Vampire Diaries bad boy. While I may believe that Elena is wise to stick with Stefan, I am a total Damon girl. Once again, the one-liners, the rebellious streak, add in some killer good looks. Damon steals scenes for a reason. However, he does have feeling for Elena and as my BFF puts in, he too loved Katherine.
The space cowboy edition. Most girls were May Reynolds girls. Nathan Fillion is as charming as good looking and Mal got a dash of power brood and lawbreaking too boot. His bad boy was softened by his brotherly love for Kaylee, angst regarding the loss of the war and his home planet and his always messed up attempts too woo Inara. However, I was a Jayne girl. The one-liners and love for his gun, Vera. Not too mention a very cunning hat. Jayne’s softer spots came through his care about his family (he wore his Mom’s hat after all) and the scene where he begged Mal not to tell the crew what he did when Mal almost threw him out of the airlock – in space.
The modern offerings are last but not least. John Ross Ewing of Dallas, Neal Caffery of White Collar, and Logan Echolls of Veroinca Mars. Good looking John Ross of the daddy issues larger than the size of Texas literally created the phrase “John Ross feels” for my best friend and I this past summer. I enjoyed his character far more than that of Christopher Ewing. Charming and criminally good looking Neal Caffery with his little boy grins made me forgive him for those years he tried to take Sarah Walker from Chuck Bartowski. But Neal’s attempts at reforms and troubled past make him even more lovable. Logan Echolls of the epic one-liners (I can’t say anthropomorphic without thinkong of him) but who clearly loved Veronica and had a horrific homelife won so man hearts that Rob Thomas had Veronica’s other suitor Duncan Kane written off because it was very clear who had won. Speaking of epic, his definition of his and Veronica’s epic romance is still one of my favorite lines ever.
I clearly love those bad boy characters. Some are more bad than others but they all seem to have that redeeming quality, that sympathetic quirk that can win an audience over. Some are more reformed bad boys than others, some attempt their reform during a story. I very much look forward to developing my own outlaw for my story, luckily the Wild West has lots of possibilities for such things.