Saturday, 19 February 2022

MBTI: Doctor Who in the Thatcher Years 1979 to 1983

 




I. This timelord, this timeline


Why the focus on Thatcher and this period of Doctor Who


Thatcher, who defined Britain in the eighties, wrought great changes upon the British culture and institutions, and Doctor Who, being one of the institutions, was not immune to her influence. After Thatcher's election in 1979, Who quickly evolved from being a TV show of the seventies to one of the eighties, and I argue that it was Thatcher who dragged the show into the new decade. And in that connection, the episodes broadcast from 1979 to 1980 - the first two years of the Thatcher government - reflect the changes taking place in British society and culture at the time; they belong to a peculiar transitional period of Who.


Thatcher's first term encompassed the years 1979 to 1983. I find the stories from these years unusually good, and their quality keeps improving so much so that the show in my opinion reaches a peak. But after the peak came the decline. By the mid to late eighties, the quality had tailed off; and so had the ratings. For various reasons, the British public - and the British Broadcasting Corporation - had lost interest in the show, hence its cancellation in 1989. But in the first half of the eighties, as opposed to the second, we see a Doctor Who which maintains a rapport with the audience and performs consistently. Even the workmanlike stories, such as the much maligned Time-Flight (1982), hold up well; stories such as these are rescued by a good supporting cast - British TV is blessed with plenty of talented character actors. The only Davison story that does miss the mark is Warriors of the Deep (1984), a lackluster effort; for Warriors, the Doctor Who team displays a distinct lack of enthusiasm and from all appearances regard it as a chore.


II.  How to type Doctor Who characters


This essay types two of the Doctors (Tom Baker and Peter Davison) and companions Nyssa, Tegan, Adric and Romana (Lalla Ward) plus ten other characters.


For the sake of convenience, I have here grouped the personality types into what Socionics calls Quadras, which you can read about here


I have detailed several times some of the methods I use for typing characters; any reader who wants a lengthy exposition can read a previous article. For the purposes of this essay, I will do a quick run-through: let us type the Doctor (Peter Davison) and Tegan Jovanka.




Introvert or Extravert, I or E? Obviously Tegan is the Extravert, the Doctor the Introvert; Tegan calls attention to herself, the Doctor does not, etc. As a general rule, extraversion or introversion in a character can be determined by how loud or quiet he is. 


Sensor or Intuitive, S or I? How does the type get the information which determines their character? A Sensor obtains his information from what he sees in front of him (Jung says: from the contents of his conscious mind); the Intuitive, on the other hand, obtains his from intuitions - ideas which (like visitors) can drop in unexpectedly. Intuitions come from a mysterious place which is not accessible to consciousness: according to Jung, they emanate from the unconscious mind. 


In the case of the Doctor and Tegan, the Doctor gets his information - the information that makes him what he is - from intuition; Tegan gets hers from the senses. The Doctor's being an Intuitive fits in with his character as he is an archetypal mad scientist (well, almost mad) and mad scientists are nearly always Intuitives.


Thinker or Feeler, T or F? This dichotomy can be reduced to: left-brain versus right-brain. The Thinking type displays more often than not left-brain characteristics, the Feeling type, right-brain characteristics. 


Clearly, the Doctor is a Thinker, Tegan a Feeler. One incident that illustrates Tegan's being a Feeler can be found in Logopolis. Tegan is horrified by the sight of the mathematicians working like slaves in rows and rows of tiny cubicles; she announces indignantly that Logopolis is a 'sweat shop'. The Feeling function involves value judgments and Tegan is making one here, whereas a Thinking type such as the Doctor would not; the Doctor would be more interested in the mathematical work being done. Thinking, as a function, concerns itself only with systems of organisation and it excludes the Feeling function or at least demotes it to second place.


Judger or Perceiver, J or P? Which functions dominate a character's life: is it his Judging function (Thinking or Feeling) or his Perceiving (Intuition or Sensing)? 


A Judging character lives by a scheme which has been thoroughly worked out before he encounters reality; that scheme is founded on either value judgments (Feeling) or a system of organisation (Thinking). It is reason which has produced this fixed order which the Judger scrupulously abides by, even if reason is disdained by the Judger (he may be vociferously anti-intellectual). 


In contrast, the Perceiving character does not live by a fixed order; he acts in response to information - information of what there is. Take Marvel's Hulk, who is a Perceiver. He is a Extraverted Sensing (Se) dominant and his Extraverted Sensing is to be defined as will-power, volition, directed at the world like a laser that eliminates all obstacles - anything that stands in its way, any resistance, must be overcome. The degree of resistance the Extraverted Sensor meets with provides him with a sort of feedback, and it is this feedback which gives him information. He rides the wave of this data and works constantly at keeping himself upright upon it; to the Se-dominant, life is a struggle for self-assertion. 


I think, from the above and our knowledge of Who, we must say that a Judging function dominates the Doctor's life and a Perceiving function Tegan's. In the case of Tegan, she shares with the Hulk the leading function of Extraverted Sensing; in the case of the Doctor, he shares with the Hulk's alter ego Bruce Banner the leading function of Introverted Thinking.  


So putting it altogether, we have, in Tegan E + S + F + P, which makes her an ESFP in MBTI and an ESFp in Socionics; we have, in the Doctor, I + N + T + J, which makes him an INTP in MBTI and an INTj in Socionics. (I will stick to MBTI lettering here throughout as MBTI is the system of typology that most of my readers are familiar with). 


Interestingly, Socionics tells us that the relationship between the Doctor's and Tegan's types is one of Conflict: the Doctor is deeply unsettled by Extraverted Sensing, Tegan by Introverted Thinking. This lends weight to the charge, leveled in many discussions of the MBTI types, that the Doctor's type is weak and Tegan's is stupid; this brusque assessment does not take the complexity of both types into account, but nevertheless, we can see - from watching all the Doctor Who episodes with the Doctor (Peter Davison) and Tegan - how such assessments may come about. One must recognise that personality types lack balance and proportion: each type is biased towards some functions over others, not all functions are present in equal proportion. The Hulk's type, the ESFP, is super-strong, Bruce Banner's type, the INTP, is super-smart: a type cannot be both. 


III.  The Types


**** WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead ****


Alpha Quadra


The Doctor (Tom Baker) - ENTP


This quirky, eccentric, annoying, and inventive incarnation of the Doctor embodies what Jung calls Extraverted Intuition (Ne). Others may perceive Ne as random and chaotic, eccentric and unpredictable, an impression which is reinforced by the behaviour of the typical Ne-dominant character, who in his conversation will often jump from one subject to another and speak in non-sequiturs. But to the Ne-dominant, the randomness is not so random: he sees underlying connections underneath - he sees the order underlying chaos. It is this quality that in part makes the typical ENTP character an explorer, inventor, discoverer, scientist. 


I think this Ne was evident in the Baker's Doctor from the outset - right from his first appearance in Robot (1974). 


Baker in real life is, I think, an ENTP, and so you could say that for his tenure as the Doctor he was playing himself. 


Romana (Lalla Ward) - ISFJ





A fellow Time Lord, Romana is assigned to the Doctor by the Gallifreyan High Council when it entrusts him with a dangerous mission in the Key to Time arc. Originally played by Mary Tamm, she is recast for the first story of the Thatcher era, Destiny of the Daleks (1979) and played by Lalla Ward, Tom Baker's real-life spouse. And as usual when a character is recast, the character's personality type is changed. Unlike Mary Tamm's Romana, Lalla Ward's is introverted, nondescript, somewhat mousy, and a warm and nurturing individual - and a complete contrast to Baker's at times overbearing Doctor. Typically, a character whose dominant function is Introverted Sensing (Si) will be calm and passive who forms part of the background - often if you blink, you miss them. 


Reading between the lines, the Doctor and Romana do live as husband and wife in the Tardis in what was the only instance of the Doctor shown as being in a romantic relationship. 


I believe that as was the case with Baker, Ward was playing herself. I type her as an ISFJ.


The Doctor (Peter Davison) - INTP



After Baker's Doctor dies, he is regenerated as - and here was another first for Who - a handsome young man. Davison is distinguished from his predecessors by his youth and his penchant for Edwardian-era clothing. (The reason for giving the character the latter is that the success of Chariots of Fire (1981) and Brideshead Revisited (1981) led to a revival of interest in early 20th century British fashion and culture, something that Who at the time wanted to cash in on).


Unlike Baker's Doctor, Davison's is introverted, nervy and confused. I found this description of what Socionics calls an INTP sub-type here


The intuitive subtype appears soft even a bit diffident in communication. In conversation, he is restrained, attentive, attempts to come into good favor of his partner by giving advice and impressing him or her with his knowledge and conclusions. In such cases, his serious demeanor and gaze soften, goodwill permeates his voice... His usually imperceptible emotions become visible during moments of extreme nervous pressure within intonations of his voice and impulsive gestures. Gait is calm and synchronous. Pose appears a bit restrained, especially in the shoulders which may be stooped. His movements are somewhat unsure and dilatory. Gestures are stingy and constrained, occasionally unconsciously impulsive and poorly coordinated.


The last few sentences sum up the body language of Davison's Doctor perfectly. 


Tanha  - ESFJ (appears in Snakedance (1983))



The story Snakedance follows on from Kinda (1982): a sequel to Kinda, it takes place 500 years later. Both stories concern the Mara, a snake-like demon (drawn from Buddhist mythology) that dwells in people's minds and possesses them. Its presence can be detected by looking to the possessed person's arm, which is graven with a snake tattoo.


Snakedance is set on the planet of Manussa which is a member of a space federation and is run by Lon, the son of the federation's ruler. Played by a young Martin Clunes - who would become famous in other roles - the sulky and pouty Lon (who is bored with his job) becomes intrigued by the legend the Mara at the same time as the Doctor Who and his companions are visiting the planet. Inevitably, Lon becomes taken over by the Mara, and in a grisly sequence, the Mara crawls from one of the Doctor's companions (Tegan, who was possessed by the Mara in Kinda) into him. 


In Snakedance, Lon's mother Lady Tanha (played by Collette O'Neil) steals the show. Warm and effusive, grounded and down to earth, ESFJ characters are instantly recognisable as a personality type we all have in our lives. In American TV shows, movies and comic books, the ESFJ type does service as the stock American Mom or American Dad. In Snakedance, filmed across the Atlantic, we find the British equivalent: the archetypal British Mum. 


Beta Quadra


Organon - ENFJ (appears in The Creature of the Pit (1979))



The plot of Creature from the Pit follows the same path as those of a good many other Doctor Who stories. The Tardis, which has haphazard flight and navigation, crash-lands on a strange planet which is ruled by tyrannical ruler; the Doctor is taken prisoner by the authorities because he has been framed for a crime he did not commit; he escapes capture and teams up with rebels; he foments a revolution, which is successful, and the populace overthrows its tyrannical ruler, thus returning power to the people. 


Creature from the Pit takes us to the planet Chloris, which is ruled by the icy and haughty Lady Adastra. After the Doctor is taken captive by Adastra and thrown into a dungeon, the Doctor meets a political prisoner: an astrologer called Organon, a humorous and extraverted man who possesses a deep mystical insight. The ENFJ personality type can be found in many stock characters and one of its archetypes is what I call the Sly Conjurer. This archetype possesses as much mystical power as other archetypes the Evil Wizard or Wicked Priest, if not more so, but he almost never serves as the villain; usually he plays the part of friend or mentor to the hero. Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series gives us the most famous example of the Sly Conjurer (and Palpatine the Evil Wizard). Taylor types Obi-Wan as an ENFJ and Organon looks, talks and dresses like him. 


Stott - ISTP (appears in Nightmare of Eden (1979))



One of my favourite stories, Nightmare concerns drug-smuggling on a luxury liner spaceship: you could say it is French Connection (1971) meets Doctor Who. For a number of reasons, Nightmare feels European and it reminds me of a European graphic novel, and perhaps if it were transposed to the 20th century, it could work as a story involving drug-smuggling out of Marseilles. 


Stott is a zoologist and passenger on the luxury liner who is in reality a secret agent, which is appropriate, given that the typical ISTP character takes on the job role of spy, private investigator, bounty hunter, mercenary, etc. 


The stock ISTP character prides himself on his professionalism, efficiency, competence. Stott, a slippery fellow, is skilled at disguise and evasion and evidently takes pride in it, as indicated by his smug grin as he flees the Doctor and escapes into a crowd.


The ISTP can lead a spartan and ascetic life and Stott's house - in the other-dimensional jungle of 'Eden' - looks neat but threadbare; in it, Stott lives like a monk. 


The Keeper - INFJ (appears in The Keeper of Traken (1981))



The elderly Keeper rules the empire of the Traken Union and serves as the custodian of the Source, an otherworldly mystical energy which (according to Wiki) is 'The centre of Traken's technological advancement'. I suspect that: the writers modeled the Keeper on Izaya, the bearded prophet-ruler of New Genesis in Jack Kirby's Fourth World - and Yoda from Star Wars, and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, as well. And as for the Traken Union's Source, the writers obviously took that from the Fourth World's Source.


I type (along with Taylor) Yoda and Gandalf as INFJs and the Keeper as an INFJ. Introverted Intuition Ni occupies the primary function slot in the INFJ personality type and when Ni is the leading function in a character, it gives him the appearance of being strange and unworldly. The Ni-dominant is not synchronised with this reality, he is vibrating at a different rate, he exists in a different dimension. This explains why so many INFJ characters appear to be strange - and off-putting to some. 


It is the secondary function of the INFJ, Extraverted Feeling Fe, that grounds the INFJ character; Fe serves as a bridge from the inner world to the external. Putting the two leading functions of the INFJ together gives us a character who uses his strange prophetic gifts (Ni) to serve his community (Fe). That is what distinguishes the INFJ from the other Ni dominant type, the INTJ: as we see in The Keeper of Traken, the INFJ character the Keeper cares for those around him, the INTJ character the Master does not. 


Captain Wrack - ESTP (appears in Enlightenment (1983))



The Tardis lands below the deck of an Edwardian sailing ship in what is another Who call back to the Edwardian era; but all is not as it seems. The lower-ranking crew members are 'ensorcelled' (hypnotised) and the ship's officers are behaving in an odd and mechanical way. The Doctor and his companions come to realise that the ship is not at sea but in space; it is being propelled by solar winds. Not Earthmen, the ship's officers belong to a race of immortals called the 'Eternals' (another nod to Jack Kirby) who refer to humans condescendingly as 'Ephemerals'. The Eternals have kidnapped humans and appropriated sailing ships from past eras of Earth's history and these ships are being used for a yacht race in outer space. The Eternal who wins gets what the Eternals call Enlightenment - all-encompassing wisdom. 


Captain Wrack is a boisterous Eternal who commands a 17th-century pirate ship and is the villain of the story. Determined to win the race at any cost, she cheats: she murders some of her Eternal competitors (Eternal here does not mean indestructible). Her character corresponds to the Girl Gang Boss archetype, much like the Catwoman's, Catwoman being another ESTP


The Gammas


Scaroth - ENTJ (appears in City of Death (1979))



City of Death is shot in Paris - some gorgeous location work is used - and it revolves around art thefts, reproduction and forgery. An alien named Scaroth (of a race called the Jagaroth) stranded on Earth is using stolen art to finance his time-travel experiments. He intends to travel back to the past of Earth 400 million years; this is the only time period in which his spaceship rockets can attain power sufficient to escape Earth's gravitational pull. 


Even though his face underneath his mask looks like minced meat, Scaroth intrigues, charms, beguiles, reminding me of another charming scoundrel ENTJ: Gul Dukat from Star Trek Deep Space Nine


The theme of time-travel in this case does relate to Scaroth's personality type; the secondary function of the ENTJ, Introverted Intuition Ni, perceives across time and anticipates the future, and the dominant function, Extraverted Thinking Te, organises for that future. (The ENTJ character does not live in the present but the future). Alas, that Te often makes the typical ENTJ character a villain who is ruthless and treats people like pawns. 


Olvir - ISFP (appears in Terminus (1983))



This much-maligned story is regarded as one of the gloomiest in all of Doctor Who. It concerns a plague ship in outer space which is traversing to a destination - 'Terminus' - where the plague-carriers who are imprisoned on the ship will receive treatment. The carriers are dying of their disease and their jailers are dying of radiation poisoning. To give Terminus an extra morbid touch, each of the jailers is outfitted with a costume which makes him look like a grim reaper. 


Olvir and his partner in crime Kari are two pirates who board the plague ship by mistake, and his sleek and dashing qualities give Olvir a swashbuckler appearance, and these call to mind Legolas from Lord of the Rings, Legolas being another ISFP


Soldeed - INTJ (appears in The Horns of Nimon (1979))



The plot of Horns is taken from the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Nimon, a horned creature who possesses advanced science, lives in a labyrinth on the planet Skonnos; in exchange for the technology he gives them, the Skonnans, who are eager to use it to revive their declining empire, regularly pay him a tribute of young people from the planet Aneth and a supply of crystals. 


The Nimon communicates to the Skonnans through the priest and leader Soldeed. Like many an INTJ on Doctor Who, Soldeed is a villain; and like many an INTJ villain, he wears all black - a black which matches the blackness of his black heart. 


In Soldeed we find an instance of the archetype of the Evil Wizard, Wicked Priest, Mad Monk. His leading function of Introverted Intuition Ni makes him a strange person (and if you read Jung's description of the Ni-dominant type, you will see that the Ni-dominant is a strange person indeed, the strangest of all of Jung's types); his secondary function of Extraverted Thinking Te makes him a character who possesses considerable organisational acumen. 


INTJ and ENTJ characters appear plenty of times in Doctor Who and usually are the villain; as Taylor writes, NTJs are always villains.


Tegan Jovanka - ESFP



Tegan is a series regular who is one of the Doctor's companions; she works as air stewardess before blundering into the Tardis after a series of mishaps and winds up staying with the Doctor. The Wiki entry for the diminutive but pugnacious Tegan says: 


Tegan is stubborn, loud, and direct, with a no-nonsense manner and not afraid to speak her mind (in Earthshock she describes herself as "just a mouth on legs"). Her time in the TARDIS coincides with that of Adric, Nyssa, Turlough and Kamelion. While she often bickers with them (particularly with Adric) as well as with the Doctor, her strength of character keeps them together and her loyalty and affection to her crewmates is unquestionable. 


That trait of loyalty reveals itself in the first Peter Davison story Castrovalva. She shows much strength of character and physical endurance when carrying and nursing the ailing Doctor. You find her willingness to make sacrifices for the Doctor all the more remarkable when you consider that she hardly knows him.


On the flip side, Tegan does complain and whine a lot; the combination of Introverted Feeling Fi and Extraverted Se can make the ESFP character something of a prima donna. Some MBTI systems call the ESFP 'The Performer': scratch the surface of Tegan and you will find one such performer.


The Deltas


Adric - ENFP 



A child prodigy from the planet Alzarius, Adric is another series regular and companion. The teenager Adric excels at mathematics and wears a special medal - shaped like a star - which is a prize given to him for this, but we see little in the way of mathematical and intellectual ability  throughout Adric's tenure. Adric, as the British say, comes across as being somewhat dim. What is more, he is annoying and Doctor Who fans really do not like him; they see him in the same way as Star Trek fans saw Wesley Crusher (another ENFP): that is, they think of him as a glib, flippant, arrogant know-it-all and a tag-along who makes life difficult for the leading characters and is constantly getting them into trouble. I agree with this assessment. Adric reminds me of another notorious ENFP pest: the Impossible Man from Marvel's Fantastic Four


The article 'Adric: The Boy We Love To Hate' notes Adric's chameleon quality and I think this is significant; the standard ENFP character shape-shifts, he changes his form. This is true of at least two ENFP characters - Fantastic Four's Impossible Man and Superman's Jimmy Olsen. The dominant function of the ENFP, Extraverted Ne, works together with the secondary function, Introverted Feeling Fi, to give us the peculiar ENFP, who is always perceiving possibilities for change and transformation (Ne) and empathising with others and to a certain extent adapting to them (Fi). 


The ENFP looks at life as something that blossoms and then explodes with delightful possibilities - possibilities which must always be pursued. 


The ENFP can charm and inveigle, which explains why he can so readily adapt to new environments and mix with new sets of people. But this may give him the appearance of treachery and inconstancy - hence Adric's being singled out by commentators as a traitor for his fraternising with the villains in a few of the stories. The slippery and discombobulating quality of the ENFP unsettles and annoys; like the Greek deity Proteus, how can you catch him if he is always changing? 


Nyssa - ISTJ





Another Doctor Who companion, Nyssa is the daughter of Tremas, an important politician and leading scientist of the Traken Union (see Keeper of Traken above). After the Keeper of Traken story concludes, Nyssa stows away aboard the Tardis and learns in the next story (Logopolis) that Traken has blown up as a result of the Master's machinations. She stays on with the Doctor until Terminus; at its end, she leaves the Doctor so as to help the Lazars - the plague-carriers - overcome their affliction. 


The quiet and mousy Nyssa works as a foil to the loud and attention-seeking Adric, and as the daughter of scientists, she exhibits all the scientific (and mathematical) ability that we are meant to find in Adric but alas rarely do. Because of their braininess and technical aptitude, the ISTJ (Nyssa's type) can be easily mistaken for the INTP (the Doctor's (Peter Davison's) type). But the INTP differs from the ISTJ insofar as the INTP behaves in a more arrogant manner, and what is more, seeks to mark himself out as an individual. We see those INTP characteristics at work in the conflict between Bruce Banner, who is meek and introverted, and General Ross, who is bullying and extraverted. In spite of his INTP mildness, Banner does assert himself against Ross. Banner looks down upon him: he clearly regards himself as being on a level above the General. (But the best example of an arrogant and disdainful INTP remains the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)). 


In contrast to the typical INTP character, the typical ISTJ character does not distinguish himself and he seeks to blend into his background; the ISTJ character wants his life to be smooth and harmonious. This desire fits in neatly with the ISTJ's secondary function Extraverted Thinking Te; here the ISTJ wants his life to run on track - Te is organisational or business logic. 


Captain Rorvik - ESTJ (appears in Warrior's Gate (1981))



Warrior's Gate has earned the reputation of being the most confusing of all the Who stories, and I think the reputation is deserved. After watching Warrior's Gate twice, I could still not quite understand it. In order reveal its secrets, I needed recourse to Wiki. 


The Doctor and his companions for the previous two stories have been trapped in another dimension called E-Space. While seeking to escape it, they become trapped in a dimension (called null-space) which exists between our universe and the E-Space universe. Almost everything in null space is nulled out; the characters appear against what is a blank backdrop. In this void, trapped along with the Tardis and its crew, is a slave ship and its crew. The ship's crew are humans and the ship's cargo are the Tharils, a leonine species who are prized for their psychic ability which allows ships to navigate through space. 


The ship's captain, Rorvik, is a down to earth and hard-headed business man who wants to escape the void, deliver his cargo and fulfill his contract; we could say that the stressed Rorvik is a type-A personality who probably suffers from high blood pressure or ulcers. He bullies his crew, who he views (rightly so) as apathetic and lazy. In the explosive finale of Warrior's Gate, he berates his crew, calls them cowards, and exults to them, 'I'm finally getting something done!'. 


If you read Jung's description of the Extraverted Thinking (Te) dominant type, you will find in it the classic 'Organization Man'. The Te-dominant occupies a leadership position in any organisation - it need necessarily be a business or an army, it could be a charity, a church, even a newspaper (I type Spiderman's employer J. Jonah Jameson as an ESTJ). 


The ESTJ is to be differentiated from that other Te-dominant type the ENTJ by his prosaic qualities; he is not prone to flights of fancy like the ENTJ. The ESTJ's secondary function Introverted Sensing (Si) keeps him grounded. 


The ESTJ character is also more inclined to self-assertion and bullying, two traits which are plenty in evidence in Rorvik, and this inclination is one of the reasons why the stock ESTJ character is often an archetype I call the Drill Sergeant.


Plantagenet - INFP (appears in Frontios (1984))



Frontios takes place on a planet which is an Earth colony in the far future, and when the Doctor and his entourage arrives, the colony comes under attack by meteor showers which are being directed at the planet by a mysterious being. 


After the colony's leader Captain Revere disappears - he is swallowed up by a fissure which opens up beneath him - his son Plantagenet is appointed the new leader. In Plantagenet, we are presented with the archetype of the Young King - of which Shakespeare's Hamlet is the most famous example.


The typical INFP character can summed up as: ethics and ideals intertwined. This is what Plantagenet (and Hamlet) give us. Plantagenet is unsuited for the role of leader and cannot meet its requirements; he lacks firmness and decisiveness, much like Hamlet. We see here a deficit in Extraverted Sensing (Se), a function which is so much in evidence in Tegan Jovanka and Captain Wrack. 


The astute reader will notice that Frontios was broadcast in Thatcher's second term, not her first, and in that regard, I have cheated by going outside the bounds of season seventeen (which begins in 1979) to twenty (which ends in 1983). But I was forced to do so because Who in this period did not favour Introverted Feeling (Fi) dominant characters (ISFPs and INFPs) at all: I had to search high and low to find an ISFP character (Olvir, who has only a tiny part) and I was unable to find an INFP. 


IV.  Who's next?


I would have liked to have written an essay typing Who characters from the rest of the 1980s, but I do not think I can find an instance of each of the 16 types in this era. Besides which, while some of the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy stories are quite good (and in my view criminally underrated), most are not all that interesting. Despite having watched the Baker and McCoy seasons at least twice, I find it hard to remember anything from the Dalek and Cybermen stories, for instance,  despite the fact that Dalek and Cybermen stories are usually among the most memorable. 


So my next Who article will be comprised of stories from the 1970s: the seasons from that decade belong to my second favourite period of Who and feature all 16 personality types. 



Sunday, 23 May 2021

MBTI / Socionics: Justice League of America in the Bronze Age - from the seventies to the eighties





I. The late great Bronze Age


Here I want to use DC superheroes from the Bronze Age to give instances of the 16 types. I want to do this because of all the eras of comics, I like the Bronze Age (which spans the years 1970 to 1990) the best, and this is mainly because the Bronze is the one that I grew up with. 


As to when that Age began and ended, opinions differ. My view is that the beginning can be traced back to Neal Adams' debut on Batman and Green Lantern / Green Arrow; the end, to the publication of three first issues from Marvel: Jim Lee's X-Men #1, Rob Liefeld's X-Force #1 and Todd McFarlane's Spiderman #1. Lee, Liefeld and McFarlane ushered in a new style of comic book art, and after they had left Marvel to found Image, comic books officially entered the Chromium Age (or whatever you want to call it). In addition, the first appearance of Wizard magazine, which became the industry bible of the 1990s, also marks the passing of the age from Bronze to Chromium. 


Some authorities believe that the Bronze Age ended around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns and Killing Joke. I cannot agree, but I do agree that the DC saw a change in tone after Crisis. DC declined in the late eighties, and the decline can be attributed not only to the damage to continuity wrought by Crisis, but also to the departure of old pros and fan favourites such as Curt Swan and Don Newton. 


To me, after 1985 or so, the company no longer felt like my DC any more. DC, to my mind, was better in the first half of the eighties: every DC superhero title published in 1981 I regard as compulsory reading, every title in 1988 not so much. In much the same way, Marvel suffered in the last years of the eighties - in particular, in the years right after Jim Shooter's firing. Bronze Age Marvel and DC in the last few years of the eighties both underwent a Ragnarok, a twilight of the gods. 


Objectively, much of Marvel and DC then seems better now, and I am sure that many of my readers can point out some hidden gems in DC's catalogue in that period; but I am here recording my impressions of DC at that time. My youthful evaluation was confirmed when I recently read some of the Celebration of 75 years DC anthologies (Aquaman: A Celebration of 75 years, Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 years etc.); the stories in these take a turn for the worse after 1985, and by the nineties and 2000s, are truly woeful. It is true that DC ensured that the stories of its flagship characters Superman and Batman were of a high quality and consistency throughout late 1980s and early 1990s, but in that same time period, it neglected its second-stringers (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, the Flash, Green Lantern...). 


II. Are DC heroes boring?


Taylor at Zombies Ruin Everything wrote a piece entitled 'DC Heroes are Hard to Type'. Of the 16 heroes here, five of them have been typed by Taylor, and I will be linking back to his profiles of them, but what is of interest here is why he did not type more: why does he find DC heroes so difficult? He implies that this is because DC heroes, in comparison to Marvel, are dull. Are they? 


In order to type these heroes, you need to wade through their early appearances, and for Justice League members Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman, the Atom, Elongated Man, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter, their first appearances were published in the fifties and sixties - the Silver Age. And you will find these Silver Age stories hard going. They make dull reading, such that I found slogging through them a  real chore. Gardner Fox's and Mike Sekowsky's run on the Justice League offends the most. Denny O'Neil and Mike Friedrich rescued the title, but by that time (1968), the Silver Age was all but over.


In relation to this, after typing the Justice League, I have noticed that most of the characters at the front and center are what Keirsey calls Guardians - stolid and reliable types: that is, ISTJs, ESTJs, ISFJs, ESFJs. The presence of so many Guardians explains why the JLA was such a conservative - but dull - book for so many years. It only became interesting after two Artisan characters (see below) were introduced as series regulars, and this is no coincidence. 


III.  Why these characters?  


Here I have chosen one character for each personality type: I wanted to avoid doubling up on types. But that means I have left out a few important DC superheroes (which I may fit into a future installment). 


Why did I choose these particular characters? 


The first of my criteria is that the character must either be a superhero or an associate of a superhero: DC published many non-superhero titles in the Bronze Age - in the horror, Western, romance, fantasy and war genres - and I wanted to avoid these. That means, then, that DC standbys such as Sergeant Rock, the Unknown Soldier, the Warlord, and Jonah Hex will be excluded. 


The second criterion is that the character must have had their own series, even if it was a back-up or filler. (All the characters I have typed here, including Black Canary, had either their own title or back-up run). Does the character have his own adventures, sub-plots, supporting cast? Can the character stand on his own? If so, this helps me get a grip on him, whereas characters who appear only in team books present me with a great deal of difficulty. The majority of the heroes in the Legion of Superheroes (which has a big roster) cannot be distinguished from another, and as such, I cannot type them. 


I have here grouped the characters into what Socionics calls Quadras, that is, types who share the same four functions in their MBTI stack. The Quadras concept sheds light on values that certain types have in common, and I think it is useful here. 


IV. The Alphas - SFJs and NTPs





Superman - ESFJ 


Typed by Taylor here. The character needs no introduction. 


MBTI explains why Superman is such a down to earth and comfortable character despite having the powers of a god. 


Extraverted Feeling gives a character regard for the others around him - the well-being of the collective - whereas Introverted Sensing means that the character makes a character pay attention to the near at hand and small details. In combination, the two functions Fe and Si add up to a credo of 'Love those closest to you', which is what makes ESFJ male characters great parents and family men. 


Superman's powers do not work against magic, and not coincidentally, Introverted Intuition - the function most commonly associated with the supernatural - occupies the vulnerable function slot in the ESFJ type (see Socionics). 


The Atom / Raymond Palmer - INTP


Ray Palmer, a nuclear physicist, harnesses the power of a dwarf star meteor and uses it to shrink himself - to the atomic and sub-atomic levels. The INTP stock type is the quiet and shy mad scientist - think Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Hank Pym - who is rather squeamish of violence and force. 


The INTP is an Intuitive, and as such, he disregards the sensory. He lives in a world of abstractions and ideas and seeks to go beyond the physical. Hence, he shows a creative flair. 





The Flash / Barry Allen - ISFJ


A shy and humble man with a quirky sense of humour, Barry Allen works as a police scientist and one evening, while in his laboratory, he is struck by lightning which gives him the power of super-speed. 


The ISFJ character feels contented regarding his station in life - he is happy with his lot - and this complacency can be a source of dissatisfaction in those around him. Barry Allen, being disorganised, is frequently impunctual, and is called by his girlfriend Iris West the 'slowest man alive' (this is ironic, as she does not know he is secretly the Flash). Again, the Socionics concept of the vulnerable function plays a role here: the ISFJ's type is Extraverted Thinking (Te), that is, organisational and business logic, and this helps explains why Barry is so impunctual and disordered. 


Iris subtly bullies Barry quite a lot in the Silver Age issues, and this is another trait of ISFJ characters: they are put upon by others (until they explode). 


The Elongated Man / Ralph Dibny - ENTP


As a youth, Ralph Dibny aspired to be a contortionist, and as an adult, he discovers a drink called Gingold which gives one stretching power. Like other stretching heroes Plastic Man and Mr Fantastic, the Elongated Man can assume wild and unpredictable shapes. After becoming super-powered, he sets himself up as a detective. His nose starts twitching uncontrollably whenever a mystery is afoot. 


Clearly, he is an Intuitive, and an Extravert as well. Dibny wears a mask in his first appearances as the Elongated Man, but discards it and makes his identity public because he desires fame. 


NTPs such as the Elongated Man and Sherlock Holmes make good detectives because their Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extraverted Intuition (Ne) work in combination, allowing them to scent out possibilities and discover the operating principles behind all things. 


VI. The Betas - NFJs and STPs





Wonder Woman / Diana Prince - ENFJ


Typed by Taylor here. Another character who needs no introduction. In her first appearances in the Golden Age, her creator William Marston Moulton used her series as a vehicle for propaganda. Marston upheld a rather strange philosophy on how the sexes should behave to one another, and it permeates every single Wonder Woman story he wrote. The philosophy is ubiquitous, and so is bondage - Wonder Woman and other female characters are tied up or bound in chains in every story as well. The unique preoccupations of her creator set Wonder Woman apart from other female superheroes. 


Fe-dominant characters can give the impression of being bossy and overbearing, and this is true of Wonder Woman in the Golden Age years. By the time comics entered the Silver Age, she gradually becomes more refined, and at this point, what Keirsey calls the 'Idealist' aspect of the ENFJ type reveals itself. Like the ESFJ, the ENFJ loves those around them, but unlike the ESFJ, the ENFJ loves them in the abstract. The Introverted Intuition in the ENFJ type allows them to perceive beyond the immediate and into the transcendant - the world of ideals and absolutes. Hence Wonder Woman's giving speeches to the UN. 


The Huntress / Helena Wayne - ISTP


The Huntress character comes in two iterations: one of them, the post-Crisis version (Helena Bertinelli) is typed by Taylor here. The first Huntress was created by Joe Staton and Paul Levitz in the seventies and was killed off in the eighties as part of the Crisis- event. 


Helena Wayne, the daughter of the Earth-Two Batman and Catwoman, takes up the superhero mantle after her mother is framed for a crime she did not commit. After Catwoman dies at the hands of a criminal, Bruce Wayne - now retired as Batman - sinks into a depression while his daughter vows revenge. (In a strange development, the Earth-2 Bruce Wayne replaces Jim Gordon as Gotham's police commissioner, and on coming out of retirement as Batman for one last time, is electrocuted by a super-villain). 


A beautiful brunette with long flowing hair and a knack for martial arts and weaponry, the Huntress recalls another ISTP female, Elektra. Like Elektra, Huntress fights male characters and usually endures a beating at their hands - which may make readers of today's sensibilities uncomfortable - but, like the true ISTP 'bad girl' she is, she overcomes whatever is thrown against her. 


Madame Xanadu - INFJ





A minor character who headlines in a few horror / supernatural titles in the late seventies and early eighties and later teams up with superheroes such as Wonder Woman and Superman, Madame Xanadu lives in Greenwich Village, New York. I will reproduce here some evocative passages from her entry in DC's Who's Who #14: 


A sign on the front door of the Christy Street shop reads 'Enter freely - unafraid'. The door always seems locked to those who are just wandering by, giving it a curious glance, but for those troubled by things beyond the ken of this world, the door is always open, no matter what the time, and Madame Xanadu waits within and greets them by name. 


She waits, ready to listen, near a small round table where her Tarot cards lie. The frightened travelers, coming inside, are surrounded by a comforting scent of mint-jasmine, and a curious collection of crystal jars, magical artifacts of all types, and endless rows of books with ancient bindings containing a wealth of esoteric knowledge. 


The INFJ stock type performs the function of prophet or counselor: Madame Xanadu, to quote Who's Who, 'Is only allowed to advise, and hope that the subject can see to the core of his dilemma, and can bring his own determination to bear in resisting its influence'. Introverted Intuition Ni allows the INFJ to see the future and Extraverted Feeling compels the INFJ to share those insights with humanity. 


Interestingly, Madame Xanadu's Ni perceives bad events happening in the future, not good - like Cassandra. Her task then becomes one of using her powers to avert danger to others. Who's Who again: 'Madame Xanadu's parlor is filled with artifacts that can be used as weapons, and books of knowledge that contain even greater power', but 'She can only collect the evils that are left over afterward, and keep them hidden away until the day when they no longer have any power over this world'. 


Lois Lane - ESTP





Typed by Taylor, she needs no introduction. 


Lois Lane appeared in her own book Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, which ran from 1958 to 1974, and then in the anthology series Superman Family, which ran from 1974 to 1982, and of course she turns up in other Superman titles from that period. Like Jimmy Olsen, she is featured a lot in the DC Bronze Age universe, and like Jimmy Olsen, she today gets little credit for her long service as a staple character - too few of her solo stories are reprinted. 


The stock ESTP character is more often than not a bruiser and a brawler: see Thor, Lobo, Conan the Barbarian... When you, as a writer, need to portray an ESTP woman, and moreover, an ESTP woman without super powers or great fighting ability (but Lois is adept in the Kryptonian martial art of Klurkor), you are faced with a challenge: how do you do it? The answer is that you give that character tenacity and vivacity as well as a certain slyness and cunning. You add force, wilfulness, territoriality (Extraverted Sensing Se) to systems analysis (Introverted Thinking Ti). 


Lois Lane has been romantically involved with Superman almost since her first appearance, but Socionics tells us that Lois' type ESTP does not make a good match with Superman's ESFJ. Socionics calls that relationship one of Request, which you can read more about here. Lois, from the point of view of Socionics, would have been better off with an INFJ, but INFJs are in short supply in the DC Bronze Age universe, and so, in order to find one, she would be best advised to cross over into the Marvel universe: there she could meet Professor X or the Silver Surfer or the Vision.  


VII. The Gammas - NTJs and SFPs





Batman - INTJ


Typed by Taylor here


The vast majority of INTJs in Bronze Age Marvel and DC are villains; INTJ heroes do exist, but are rare. 


Something that all INTJ heroes (or anti-heroes) have in common is this: they prefer to use as a base of operations dark and enclosed environments which are cluttered. That is true of Batman, Walter White, Doctor Strange, Jason Blood (of DC's The Demon)... The strangeness of the INTJ's milieu - often the cluttered environments are filled with curious objects - reflects the strangeness of the INTJ's inner world. 


The dark and cluttered Batcave presents a contrast with the bright and spacious Fortress of Solitude. Interestingly, Socionics says that the relationship between an INTJ (Batman) and an ESFJ (Superman) is one of Conflict


Green Arrow / Oliver Queen - ESFP


Green Arrow first appeared in the 1940s as a Batman clone who had his own Arrow Car, etc., and this version of Arrow - who lasted through the Golden Age and Silver - I would probably type as an ESTJ. But, by the late sixties, Denny O'Neill changed the character's look and personality type: Oliver Queen became 'Ollie'. Extraverted, friendly, and given to emotional outbursts - much like his Marvel counterpart Hawkeye - Green Arrow was transformed into an ESFP. A street-level character, he became obsessed with social issues, and this obsession made him a good fit with the times. Some classify his politics as ultra-liberal, but I do not think he subscribes to any particular ideology. Ollie acts like Ollie because of his personality type. Gulenko writes that '[The ESFP's] strong point lies in his ability to rally a large group of people against something', and this is something that Ollie does a lot. Some find this trait of Ollie's overbearing and they regard him as sanctimonious. But the debut of Ollie signified a real change - a sixties change - from the run of the mill DC hero. 


As an ESFP, Green Arrow belongs in what Keirsey calls the 'Artisan' category. Many Artisan heroes tend to be skilled with melee weapons such as bows, crossbows, staves, swords, daggers. 


Black Canary / Dinah Laurel Lance - ISFP


The original Black Canary appeared as a companion to Johnny Thunder in the 1940s. A thief and an anti-heroine, I would type this iteration of the Canary as an ESTP - like Catwoman, who she much resembled. After reforming, she became a conventional heroine. By the 1960s, she had been shuffled off to Earth-2 - like all of DC's Golden Age characters - but towards the late sixties she made the unusual step of crossing over from Earth-2 to Earth-1. 


At least, that is what we thought. In an elaborate and bizarre retcon, DC made the Earth-2 Canary the daughter of the Earth-1; she had been brainwashed into thinking that she was her own mother (the original Canary was kept, along with her husband Larry Lance, in suspended animation in another dimension). 


Unlike the original Canary, the successor had a super-power - a sonic scream (like Banshee's from the X-Men) - which she gained after travelling to Earth-1 and joining the Justice League. Denny O'Neill was responsible for this change, as well as the change from Oliver Queen to Ollie. 


Canary, by the time of O'Neill and Adams' groundbreaking Green Arrow / Green Lantern run, formed a relationship with the easygoing and cheerful Green Arrow. But she remained - like many an Introverted Feeling-dominant (Fi) female character - an aloof individualist bent on pursuing a path of self-discovery, and this made her relationship with Arrow stormy. As in the case with Green Arrow, her attitudes come less from politics than personality type. In many of her appearances, Black Canary often is shown riding a motorcycle into the sunset, an act that symbolises her type's appetite for freedom. 


Fi-dominant characters can give the impression of being cold, icy, withdrawn, and prone to making categorical value judgments. Black Canary is no exception.


An Artisan character is usually skilled with melee weaponry, but the Bronze Age Canary does not wield any weapons; but she is a skilled martial artist. 


Batgirl / Barbara Gordon - ENTJ





Typed by Taylor here


Barbara Gordon is created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino and makes her first appearance in the Batman title; she goes on to appear in her own solo stories in the late sixties. A number of these were penciled by the great artist Gil Kane. By the seventies and eighties, the artists Don Heck and Jose Delbo become most commonly associated with Batgirl, and it is their stories which helped make Batgirl a distinctive character. 


The ENTJ personality type, like the INTJ, more frequently plays the villain than the hero in Bronze Age comics. I can only think of one major hero character other than Batgirl who is an ENTJ: Namor, the Sub-Mariner. 


Why are ENTJ heroes rare? In comics, the Extraverted-Thinking dominant type more often than not wants to rule the world, or at least his portion of it, and if that Te-dominant has Introverted Intuition as a secondary function (which the ENTJ has), then he has the gift of forward-planning, assessing probabilities. This makes him a mastermind stock type, and the standard superhero is not suited to that role. Why? The ENTJ type is by nature a politician, a ruler of men, who has far-sighted vision, and most superheroes are not politicians; Barbara Gordon, who served as a Congresswoman, is the exception to the rule. 


Like all the members of the Batman family, Batgirl possesses great martial arts ability; but the real focus of her talents lies in her intuition - like Batman and Nightwing, she is an Intuitive, and an Introverted Intuitive at that. To my mind, one area in which her Introverted Intuition (Ni) manifests itself is in her photographic memory, which is one of her unique skills. 


VIII. The Deltas - STJs and NFPs







Green Lantern / Hal Jordan - ESTJ


Writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane created Hal Jordan in 1959 and constructed for him an extremely well-thought and detailed world, which the Green Lantern series has traded off for sixty years. 


As we know, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams revamped the character and took him from the Silver Age into the Bronze. After Adams' departure, Mike Grell and Joe Staton were the artists associated with Bronze Age Hal, and British artist Dave Gibbons did a memorable run in the 1980s. 


Hal Jordan left the series and handed over his power ring to John Stewart after Crisis. Appropriately, the title concluded in 1988 - right towards the end of the Bronze Age - after thirty years. 


The ESTJ type is a Sensor, not an Intuitive. I wrote before that usually the Intuitive character is associated with strange, usually mystical, powers. Given that the power ring gives its wearers these odd powers, cannot the case be made that Hal Jordan is an Intuitive, not a Sensor? 


The answer is no. Jordan uses the ring to make force objects: clubs, hammers, buzzsaws, eggbeaters, propellers... The energy blasts the ring emits are concussive in nature, much like Cyclops' or Starfires' (both Sensors). If you read the adventures of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, you will see that the power ring's effects were much more ethereal for Scott, who was not a Sensor. 


Taylor writes that the ESTJ male character is a college jock. That designation fits Hal Jordan, who is handsome, athletic, two-fisted, occasionally hot-tempered but always likeable and even charismatic. 


Zatanna - INFP


A sorceress character who first appeared in the Silver Age, Zatanna is the daughter of Zatara, a Mandrake the Magician clone. In the early sixties, she teams up with a number of Silver Age heroes in order to find her father, who has gone missing. As it turns out, he is being held captive by an old enemy in another dimension. After rescuing him - with the help of Green Lantern - Zatanna goes on to join the Justice League, and change her costume several times - with controversial results. 


Zatanna reminds me of another sorceress character, Marvel's Scarlet Witch, who is another INFP. One of the distinguishing traits of so many INFP characters is that many of them have a mysterious parentage: they and other characters do not know their true parents are. Usually they are orphaned or adopted, or the person they think is their real father or mother is not. This is the case with Marvel's Nightcrawler, the X Files' Fox Mulder, Star Wars' Luke Skywalker, DC's Mister Miracle... In the late seventies, Zatanna and the Justice League, in a multi-story arc, go on a quest to find her real mother, who supposedly died in an accident when Zatanna was a child, only to discover that her mother is a member of a mutant species (called the 'Magi') and still alive in another dimension. 


Another trait of the INFP is that they are always searching for freedom and self-actualisation: as Mister Miracle declares, 'Let me be Scott Free - and find myself'. The INFP character's introversion makes this a solitary pursuit, and the INFP's being an Intuitive and a Feeler forces the character to ignore the present reality and focus on the bright horizons - much like Luke Skywalker in the first half of Star Wars (1977). 


Hawkman / Katar Hol - ISTJ





Like Green Lantern and the Flash, the Hawkman of the Silver Age is modeled after a Golden Age character, the first Hawkman, Carter Hall. But whereas the creators of the Golden Age Hawkman took inspiration from the occult for his origin story - he is the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince - the creators of the Silver Age Hawkman took it from science-fiction: Katar Hol, a lawman from the planet Thanager, travels to Earth along with his wife Shayera to study Earth law-enforcement methods. For some reason, he uses medieval Earth weapons such as the mace and the crossbow, and gladiator weapons of ancient Rome such as the cestus (spiked boxing gloves) and the net. All this combines to make Katar (in the words of artist George Perez) a 'great visual' and a joy to draw, but as a character, Katar is one of the dullest in the DC universe. The great Joe Kubert gives the first Hawkman stories some real atmosphere, but after Kubert, the pedestrian Murphy Anderson takes over the reins and makes Hawkman workmanlike and dull - and a perfect fit for Silver Age DC. In the Bronze Age, Hawkman appears as a regular in the Justice League series and as a guest in team-up books such Brave and the Bold; he also appears as the lead in back-up features and his own solo titles (which never caught on). 


The question is why this was so. Part of the reason is that DC never lavished the same attention on world-building for Hawkman as they did on, say, Green Lantern; in the same way, Marvel neglected the X-Men after the first few issues by Lee and Kirby, such that the series was in danger of being canceled by the mid-seventies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

But I think the answer lies in Hawkman's being an ISTJ, a personality type which, in comics, usually is the dull background character who is officious but makes things work. Such a character can succeed in drawing the attention of readers only if the world live in is a crazy and off-kilter one - like Judge Dredd's (Dredd is an ISTJ) - and such a setting only highlights the virtues of the stolid and reliable ISTJ type. As it is, the strait-laced Kater is used as a comic foil to the more unconventional and gregarious members of the Justice League (Green Arrow, then Blue Beetle). 


The creators of the Golden Age Hawkman more or less stole his look from the Flash Gordon characters the Hawkmen of Mongo (who first appeared in the Flash Gordon comic strip in the early 1930s); and they swiped art from another 1930s strip, Prince Valiant. The consequence is that by the seventies the Hawkman character looked and felt old-fashioned, an impression heightened by the fact that his Thanagarian rocket ship looked like a space craft left over from the 1950s. Hawkman, unlike nearly every other DC hero, was never given a makeover to make him more suitable for the 1970s and 1980s. 


To their credit, DC did try. In the 1980s, they re-launched Hawkman in a pair of limited series which ran from 1985 to 1987; Tony Isabella and Richard Howell did most of the writing and pencilling respectively. Many Hawkman fans regard this arc as Hawkman's finest, but it did make a change to the Hawkman mythos in a major way (and not for the better): the Thanagarians became a race of evil manipulators and schemers - much like the Romulans in Star Trek - and Hawkman's antagonists, and this was not what Katar Hol's creators intended. The theme of the outsider superhero locked in struggle against his own evil, world-conquering race could have been a compelling one had it been there from Hawkman's beginning, but it wasn't - in Hawkman's origin story, the Thanarians were as benevolent as the Kryptonians. And once you as a writer have a hero or a heroic race commit evil acts for which there is no redemption, then you have left them with no going back - which is what the writers of Green Lantern in the 1990s discovered. 


I think the Hawkman stories of the first half of the 1980s were much more true to the character. (Some of these admittedly were quite jarring. For instance, in one arc, Katar's wife Shayera (Hawkgirl) becomes bad-tempered and standoffish to Katar, and then leaves him to 'find herself'; Katar sinks into a depression, forgets to shave, starts drinking, neglects to clean up his apartment... As a young reader, I found this to be too much like real life, and now I can only surmise that the writer Bob Rozakis was going through his own trauma - perhaps he had become separated or divorced). The best of the Bronze Age Hawkman stories were pencilled by the eccentric underground artist Ken Landgraf. 


Jimmy Olsen - ENFP





'Boy reporter', 'Superman's Pal' and 'Reporter of a 1000 Faces' Jimmy Olsen first appeared in the Superman comics in 1940, and had his own series, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen which ran from 1954 to 1974 for an astonishing 163 issues before it changed its name to Superman Family; the series came to an end in 1982. You would expect - given the length of the character's tenure - DC to publish all the stories in deluxe Omnibus editions, but alas, they have not, and I suspect that this is partly because DC regards Jimmy as an embarrassment, as do most Superman fans. Why? The answer lies in Jimmy's personality type, the ENFP. Characters of that type tend to be bizarre, whimsical, corny - and annoying. Many ENFP characters such as Mr Mxyzptlk in Superman, Bat-Mite in Batman, and Impossible Man in Fantastic Four exist to get on peoples' nerves: they are pests. On top of that, they are stupid as well; EJ Arendee, who used to do MBTI videos on YouTube, once said that ENFPs were the stupidest of all the personality types. That was mean of him, but all the same, stupid is the right adjective for comic book ENFPs. All this explains Jimmy's peculiar status in the DC canon. During the Silver and Bronze Ages, fans found Jimmy's unique personality traits endearing, but now, in the 21st century, they do not. Indeed, Jimmy fell out of favour long ago: can you imagine a Jimmy in the 1990s revamped to be 'grim and gritty', 'dark' (maybe by Rob Liefeld or Jim Lee)? You cannot, of course, because Jimmy belongs to a more innocent time. 


Superman's Pal enters the Bronze Age with a story published (appropriately enough) in January 1970, in which Jimmy confronts a slum lord; it was about this time that DC tackled subjects of social relevance - you could say that, in the 1970s, comic books entered a 'grim and gritty' phase. As to who brought Jimmy into the Bronze Age, it is Jack Kirby who takes the credit with his famous 16-issue run, but to my mind, it is Kurt Schaffenberger, who drew most of Jimmy's stories in the 1970s, who is more responsible; Schaffenberger ditched Jimmy's trademark bow tie, green blazer and plaid pants, and outfitted him with canvas bell-bottoms and a safari jacket. Jimmy makes the transition from Boy Reporter to Mr Action. 


The late 1970s saw Jimmy's best arc: an ambitious four-parter (!) (well, that was ambitious for the seventies) which crossed over with Lois Lane's title and featured characters from the Teen Titans. In it we saw the return, from Kirby's trailblazing run, of the Golden Guardian clone, the DNA Project, Dubbilex, and the Newsboy Legion. I loved it as a boy, and re-reading it now, it still fascinates; my only regret is that Kurt Schaffenberger did not pencil the final story. 


Mark Hootsen signing off.