Every Scar Has A Story
Character disfigurement always has a backstory...


(permanent link) added: 2011-04-22 00:19:36 sponsor: TheMayorofNorthfield (last reply: 2011-04-29 11:49:38)

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"Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You wanna know how I got them?"
-- Joker, The Dark Knight

Many times, when an author wishes to identify a certain character as a Badass, said character will be given some sort of horrific permanent disfigurement. Most of the time, the disfigurement will stay unnoticed, possibly out of respect for he that is marked, or because the story behind it is too horrible for the others to imagine. But there always exists the chance that some bystander will ask about the scar, in which case the Badass is contractually obliged to explain it. When he is, expect the story to be long-winded, fantastical, and involving at least one Crowning Moment Of Awesome.

Can be a variant of Scars Are Forever and Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?.

Examples

Anime and Manga

  • In Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex, the character of Gouda Kazunto gets a chance to explain the particular disfigurement of his head, which includes a somewhat iconic pointy shape.
  • Naruto has Ibiki Morino, whose scars are the result of being tortured and interrogated by enemy shinobi.
  • Naruto: Gaara's "love" scar on his forehead happened when he attacked himself with his sand after an assassination attempt by his uncle.

Comic Books
  • Jonah Hex is horribly scared. Typically, people tend to avoid asking how it happened but sometimes, there is the occasional person who is just too curious for his or her own good.
    Bystander: Don't mean to pry, fella but how'd you get that scar?

Film

  • The page quote, taken from The Dark Knight, is one of several examples from the film.
  • Inverted in the live-action 101 Dalmatians, in which Jasper is insistent that Horace not ask about the scar on Skinner's neck.
  • In Jaws, Quint explains his scars with the story of the USS Indianapolis.
  • Pay It Forward: Mr. Simonetti explains that his face was disfigured by his father freaking lighting him on fire.
  • In the Indiana Jones films, Indy has a small scar on his chin. At the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we see a young Indy accidentally giving himself the scar the first time he uses a whip.
  • In the live-action Jonah Hex film, when asked about his disfigurement, Jonah explains: "Cut myself shavin'."

Literature

  • Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick, who lost his leg while grappling with the Great White Whale.

Live-Action TV

  • A joke version occurs in Get Smart:
    Hans Hunter: (re: his scar) Mr. Smart, have you ever heard of the Great White Rhino?
    Maxwell Smart: That was done by the Great White Rhino?
    Hunter: No, that was done by a small blue convertible.
  • In an episode of Blackadder, Redbeard Rum explains how he lost his legs.
    Redbeard Rum: (to Edmund) I'll wager those legs have never been sliced clean off by a falling sail, and swept into the sea before your very eyes!
    Edmund Blackadder: Well, neither have yours.
    Rum: That's where you're wrong!
  • In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Buys a Boat," Mac decides to ask a sailor about his hook, thinking it will be a cool or interesting story.
    Mac: So, how'd you loose that hand?
    Sailor: Diabetes.
  • 30 Rock: Liz Lemon questions her ex-boyfriend how he got his hooks. He explains that he got one of them when he was in Africa working for Doctors Without Borders, by waving at his old high school football coach from a helicopter ("It looked just like a black version of him!"). The second story is unexplained, but involves explosives.
  • The Jeffersons: Jenny is working as a reporter and has become friendly with a gang. They call their scars "medals" and are proud to show them off, telling how they got them

Newspaper Comics

  • In one Far Side strip, one sailor is telling another of how he got his peg leg. The other sailor, however, has a peg head.

Theatre

  • Henry V
    This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'

Western Animation
  • Zuko's scar in Avatar The Last Airbender came from when he spoke out of turn in a war council, protesting a plan involving sending a green regiment to their deaths for some tactical advantage, and his father the Firelord challenged him to a duel over it.
    Firelord Ozai: You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher!

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