Hannelore is fast becoming my favorite character in Questionable Content.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of most of the cast and crew. But I tend to have my ups and downs with QC – sometimes I can appreciate the witty dialogue and slightly surreal hijinks, and sometimes it all feels a little bit forced.
Except with Hannelore.
The first arc that introduces her reveals that she has been sorta stalking Marten and co. for several weeks. The rest of the cast have quite a few issues of their own, but Hannelore is quite definitively crazy. And Jeph Jacques manages to write her as realistically crazy, and that’s what impresses me so much.
It’s hard to write characters who act crazy, and more often than not, the result is simply to have characters who behave erratically and spout random gibberish. It is an altogether frustrating thing to witness, and certainly not my cup of tea.
Intershadows has at least one character who has severe mental problems, and demonstrates it well – but to the point that it is almost horrifying to see what she is experiencing. Hannelore isn’t at that level – she is crazy, but managing to function relatively normally in society despite her disorder. That’s not just interesting, it’s impressive, and means that every scene she is in has an underlying level of conflict intensifying the moment.
In her very first appearance, she comes off as a decidedly different individual than she appeared to be thereafter. She’s smoking – in more than one sense of the word – and positively exudes an aura of confidence and control. This may have been due to her opponent in the conversation being extremely drunk, or the fact that she had several weeks of stalking him helping her plan what to say, but for that one page, she is totally in control. But… her confidence slips as she worries over her ruse being found out, and nervousness takes control, and shortly she moves from sexy, smoldering temptress to… cute, slightly maniacal friend.
Which makes it easy to forget that first appearance, and how in control she was. It makes it easy to forget that it must take an awfully solid will to operate relatively normally in society, and an awfully clever mind to make her OCD actively work for her.
Right now she is joining up with Marten’s rock band and plans to teach herself to play the drums. This might be an entirely bad idea – but that right there is reason enough for her. To prove she can do it, regardless of what others think. And she just might have a gift for it.
QC is, by and large, about two things. One is the interactions between characters – both the clever bouts of dialogue and the deeper developing relationships. The other is the characters themselves – both their unique natures and views at the world, and how they themselves are changing and growing.
Hannelore’s developments might have less to do with crushes and makeouts, and more to do with friendship and finding her place in the world – but somehow, I’m perfectly ok with that.