Originally Posted by hopefulsuicide
I'm not saying that you don't relate more to some characters than others. Obviously, I can relate in an obvious way to a character of my gender and age, in similar situations to my life.
I'm just saying that there is no such thing as an 'unrelatable' character.
Even those people in the audience who might find Superman LESS relatable than Spiderman, can relate to him on some level.
He's got desires, emotions, friends, family, a childhood, issues of being an orphan and an outsider.
And he's a hero, on the inside AND in his actions - which I think makes him relatable to everyone who has ever WANTED to be a better person.
James T Kirk isn't unrelatable because of the sci-fi elements of the Star Trek story. Just the same as Luke Skywalker isn't unrelatable because he can 'use the force' and fights with lightsabers.
Relatability is dependant on characterisation and an emotional connection with the audience. Not on how 'far out' the world of the character is.
Well I agree that there's no such thing as a totally unrelatable character. What I'm trying to illustrate is that some characters require a mental step that the audience isn't willing to take. That will cause them to be perceived as 'unrelatable' by that audience. I think we're totally agreeing, but the way I would put it, it's more than just characterization, there is a skill in introducing 'far out' concepts in a way that is anchored in the characterization.
Funny enough, it's superman's morality that is often perceived as not being born out of his characterization... typically by a throng of cynics who simply don't believe in being a better person, even if they wanted to be at one time. The other complaint I hear a lot is that Superman's powers solve the vast majority of personal problems.