Created By: Luc on October 5, 2009
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The Gimmick

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There are two parallel definitions of a gimmick:

  • A cheat; either a method of doing something that appears impossible, or some device used for cheating.
  • A feature that distinguishes something (in this case, a character or series) from the competition (with strong connotations of not adding any functionality or value).

This is about that second, as applied to characters.

The power of sheer gimmickry, when properly used, cannot be underestimated; a properly executed gimmick can make a character truly memorable.

Most common in Comic Books, but can show up elsewhere.

Some notable Gimmicks:
  • Batman's gimmick in The Justice League is either his detective skills, or his sheer intellect and what might be called "Xanatosity".
  • The Joker, outside of the Silver Age, defines the human version of the Monster Clown.
  • The Riddler, in some versions, is actually an interesting case, in that his gimmick is also explicitly his motivation and downfall: His superiority and inferiority complexes are such that he has to leave clues, to prove that he's smarter then everybody else.
  • Toyman is an excellent example of a character whose only real continuity between versions is his Gimmick.

Possible alternate title: The Schtick?
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • October 5, 2009
    Luc
    An example of a poorly implemented gimmick: Paste Pot Pete. (Pete later changed his name, because it was too silly, even for the Silver Age.)
  • October 5, 2009
    Cat22
    Just throwing it out there that "Gimmick" is deeply ingrained in the professional wrestling lingo. It basically describes a wrestler's schtick. So The Schtick might be a better name in terms of it's generality.
  • October 5, 2009
    Luc
    I'm willing to take a professional wrestling term and generalize it out to other settings. After all, we have Heel Face Turn and Face Heel Turn, don't we?
  • October 5, 2009
    Cat22
    True, I'll buy that. Trying to bump here so you can get some examples, I don't have any.
  • October 6, 2009
    Luc
    I'll launch Friday, if there are no objections.
  • October 6, 2009
    Luc
    Bump?
  • October 6, 2009
    alliterator
    We already have Idiosyncrazy for villains who have a single gimmick that they obsessively use.
  • October 7, 2009
    Luc
    Idiosyncrazy only covers villains. This covers all characters, and has out of series implications (mainly on popularity and possible recurrence if this is his first appearance), rather than being purely in series.

    Another example: Spider-Man's gimmick, in universe, is his spider theme (less important) and sharp wit (more important); but out of series, his gimmick is One Of Us: he's an average person who got hit with the superpower stick, and now has an extra set of responsibilities.
  • October 7, 2009
    Idler 2.0
    Most Batman villains are like this to either to a small extent (Catwoman is fond of going after Cat related valuables) or a huge extent (the Riddler as previously mentioned).
  • October 8, 2009
    Luc
    Last bump before launch.

    Obligatory mention of Captain America's Patriot and American Fighting Spirit gimmick.
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