Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio

  Now before anyone gets all heated up and start screaming things like “It’s a comic book!   What do you expect!?”   I’ll say this, I agree completely on the fact that I shouldn’t expect any sort of realism in any comic book ever but that doesn’t excuse the writers on their lack of desire to learn a little more on the subject that their character falls under.

Before we continue let me explain a little on the inconsistencies in many stories now-a-days on the subject of identical twins.   A lot of the time when I read a story, people most of the time include identical twin characters because you wouldn’t see them often in your life.   Just by that one thought alone the writer of said story tends to neglect the idea of background knowledge of the characters he’s about to write and guess what happens?   The identical twins end up being different genders.

Now it’s not completely impossible for this to happen but the chance of such an even happening is so low that half the time it shouldn’t even be considered a possibility.   In fact, let me take even a step further:

Identical Twins are monozygotic.   Monozygotic twins are formed from a single fertilized egg that splits to two.   When it splits, it is either male or female.   Subsequently after the splitting, there are either two males or two females.

Fraternal twins on the other hand are dizygotic, which equals two eggs.   In this result you can get two male twins, two female, or one female and one male.  

Now in the world every 1 in 90 births are twins and an estimated 10 million twins and triplets are in the world, while at the same time the world’s population is 6,862,872,177 people.    That means that twins make up less that 1% of the world’s population.  

Now 99.9% of all opposite gender twin births are fraternal and in the case of that .1% that isn’t fraternal the female twin counterpart is afflicted by Turner syndrome, which occurs in 1 out of every 2,000 births.

Now all of this are proven scientific facts, and just going by this, many of the female male identical twin characters that exist in comic books today.   Characters like: 

 Mary Batson

 Billy Batson

  Go against everything that has been proven by science and decades of restless research itself.  Now don't get me wrong because Billy Batson and Mary Batson are two of my favorite super powered heroes ever.   But that doesn't excuse the inherent lack of research done on the part of the writers to make the characters as realistic as possible.
 
  But since it's 3 in the Morning this entire might just be the culmination of my ranting come to life, but I just had the need to get this off my chest.  Truthfully, I really just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions with identical twin characters, and because apparently my life is extremely dull at the moment I went and did all the research.
 
  I guess what I'm trying to say is that in even some of our favorite characters weren't really thought out well by their creators.  Now the thing is though, I've always found it weird how easily so many characters in the comic book universe are just twins and that I haven't ever real seen same gendered twins but every twin set of characters seem to always be male/female.  Now, when you're like me, once you get that nagging thought in your head it won't go away until you fill whatever it is that needs to be filled.  Now I agree that writing twins can be an easy way to write relationship issues but to me, a lot of the time, male/female twins are just thrown out there without much thought put into them.  I can't say that for every writer because some writers do their research and some don't it just seems redundant.  Twins themselves in real life are, in a way, exotic.  But when so many writers like to throw the idea of twins out there it's hard to get that exotic feel that twins give off.  I mean, I've only met one set of twins in my life and that was when I was very little.
 
   Now I really wanted to post this blog to get rid of some misconceptions about twins, not so much say that twins in comic books are wrong because then my two favorite super-powered heroes would be on the top of the list, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel.  I just thought it would be good for some people (specifically whoever actually felt like reading my essential scientific research) to know the truth about real life twins in the world and then their inherent differences with their comic book counterparts.  It's common for people who think of twins to see two people who have similar likes, can complete each other's sentences and things of that nature.  But a good amount of the time twins have very little in common.  Some monozygotic twin sets are separated by their weight.  One could be 150, and the other would be 165, and sometimes their not even the same height.  
 
  What I think I'm trying to say, as a writer myself and as someone who always tries to know about what he's writing about, I just feel it’s weird to read about all these comic book twins and have this inkling that there may or may not have been much thought put into them other than:  "Twins are different, lets make some!" 

 
#1 Posted by cbishop (8219 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm all for more realism, but sometimes, you just don't want to deal with stuff.  I don't know what Turner syndrome is, but would it really be something I want to write about?  More importantly, would it be something people would want to read about?  I will go out on a guessing limb, and say 8 out of 10 people would only want to read about a character with a disease if it's a disease that has affected them or someone they know.  For instance, look at AIDS.  It's a hot button topic, but personally, not knowing anyone with the disease (that I know of) it's not something I care to read about.  Mia having AIDS in Green Arrow just didn't seem right, because I just have a hard time seeing a disease as anything other than a sales gimmick in comics, no matter how true to life it is. 
 
Twins though... twins get your attention immediately - especially in a comic.  They're great for the much used "evil twin" story, awesome for the "mistaken identity" story, and classic for those moments when it seems that Joe has died on panel, but it turns out to really be his twin, Jon.  Oh no! (or Oh thank God, depending on which brother you liked better).  Twins are great for the way they play off of each other too.  Unless you really have them haggle over which one is two minutes older (or whatever amount of time), you pretty much eliminate the older/younger rivalry, and just focus on sibling rivalry.  This seems to really allow for development of the two characters, because when they're identical, the only way you can tell them apart (in fiction) is to get to know their characterizations. 
 
I don't doubt your research, but I have a hard time thinking of male/female twins as uncommon, because the first twins I ever met were my male/female twin cousins.  I grew up a couple doors down from a female/female twin set, went to high school with them and another fem/fem twin set, and a fraternal male/male twin set (did you know male/fem twins are still called "fraternal?"  Weird.) - they would have been identical, but one was shorter than the other, and his fingers weren't fully formed on one hand.  Okay, putting aside this aside... (yeah, I just said that to be confusing). 
 
I've been creating my own characters for... twenty years, give or take two, and I've found that it's really easy to wind up with them for fiction.  Especially if there are super powers involved.  I develop my characters with generational continuity in mind, meaning they grow old, fall in love, make babies, die, and the next generation takes over.  I've found several times that I put Super A with Super B, and get Super C&C twins - often male/female twins - because I'd like a male to get one power, and a female to get the other power.  This could be for any number of reasons.  Maybe one power seems to me to be more masculine and the other feminine.  Maybe I've come up with two super-names for the children, and one of those seems more masculine and the other feminine.  Maybe I need two children at a point, because I have them marry down the line, and need something in that line to happen at the same time.  Sometimes, it's just so one can die.  I have a set of twin girls - one accidentally kills the other, when her powers first manifest.  The guilt she carries from that gives her the drive to become a hero.  There's any number of reasons to create twins in fiction. 
 
Boy/girl twins work well for a number of reasons.  I think one of the biggest reasons is (again) it takes away the older/younger issues.  Once that's out of the way, everything else becomes more complicated for the readers.  When they are boy/girl twins, you have to come to grips with some things in yourself, when issues come up for the characters.  They're the same age, from the same DNA, and for the sake of argument, let's say they have the same powers (if any).  Twins often dress the same and do the same things, up to a certain age.  Then they start trying to establish their own identities after awhile.  Which one is right, then?  Assuming neither twin is doing something morally reprehensible, how do you decide who's right?  Can you look at the argument or difference from both characters' perspectives?  Do you find yourself leaning more to the view of the twin who is your sex?  Can you admit to yourself when the other-sex twin is right?  I think with boy/girl twin characters, it is so much easier to get to the reader.  They'll reveal to you your own social prejudices, because it will almost always boil down to which personality you like better.  If the story doesn't go your favorite's way, especially if they are proved wrong about the issue at hand, you are forced to ask yourself why did you side with the character in the wrong?  Were you right or wrong to do so, since they turned out to be wrong? 
 
As I write this, I'm starting to think that twins are a way to write couples' issues, without having a couple.  Siblings - especially twins - probably spend more time with each other than anyone else does, outside of romantic couples.  In the early days of comics, I can see that being a very valuable writing tool, because you can go through all kinds of relationship issues, and totally avoid having to play down sexual issues, because there are none.  In a time when comics had to skirt that issue, that had to be really appealing. 
 
Sorry this got so long.  Just so you know, I'm going to post this as a blog as well.  I'll link back to this.

#2 Edited by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop:  Lol, no problem.  Long is good as long as it makes sense and your post made sense.  Turner syndrome is a genetic affliction that can only occur in females.  Girls are normally born with two X chromosomes in their genetic code but a girl afflicted with Turner syndrome either have one X chromosome or is missing part of their X chromosomes.  Turner Syndrome has many physical features in the female body.  Features like short stature, average height 4 foot 7 inches if left untreated.  There is a lot more but I agree that it is overly complicated and that no one would probably want to read about it, it would seem to forced.  
 
  I do say this though, Male and Female twins aren't uncommon, but Male and Female monozygotic (identical) twins are uncommon.  Now dizygotic one's aren't uncommon, but those aren't identical twins by scientific standpoints.

  Now the thing is though, I've always found it weird how easily so many characters in the comic book universe are just twins and that I haven't ever real seen same gendered twins but every twin set of characters seem to always be male/female.  Now, when you're like me, once you get that nagging thought in your head it won't go away until you fill whatever it is that needs to be filled.  Now I agree that writing twins can be an easy way to write relationship issues but to me, a lot of the time, male/female twins are just thrown out there without much thought put into them.  I can't say that for every writer because some writers do their research and some don't it just seems redundant.  Twins themselves in real life are, in a way, exzotic.  But when so many writers like to throw the idea of twins out there it's hard to get that exzotic feel that twins give off.  I mean, I've only met one set of twins in my life and that was when I was very little.
 
   Now I really wanted to post this blog to get rid of some misconceptions about twins, not so much say that twins in comic books are wrong because then my two favorite super-powered heroes would be on the top of the list, Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel.  I just thought it would be good for some people (specifically whoever actually felt like reading my essential scientific research) to know the truth about real life twins in the world and then their inherent differences with their comic book counterparts.  It's common for people who think of twins to see two people who have similar likes, can complete each other's sentences and things of that nature.  But a good amount of the time twins have very little in common.  Some monozygotic twin sets are separated by their weight.  One could be 150, and the other would be 165, and sometimes their not even the same height.  
 
  What I think I'm trying to say, as a writer myself and as someone who always trys to know about what he's writing about, I just feel its weird to read about all these comic book twins and have this inkling that there may or may not have been much thought put into them other than:  "Twins are different, lets make some!"
 
  I should probably add this to the blog, it goes well with it.  Lol. Also, thanks for being the first person to reply to my first blog =], I didn't even think anybody would read it.
#3 Posted by Gylan Thomas (2727 posts) - - Show Bio
@Amegashita: 
Your second bit has more good points than the first I think.
Using twins in fiction can be kinda weak. A cop out at times. Real kinda B movie/ soap opera stuff. 
It'd lose my interest quickly to be honest.
#4 Edited by cbishop (8219 posts) - - Show Bio
@Amegashita: Lol, I see what you're saying, but you are coming from the perspective of only having met one set of twins in your life.  I've had three in mine for a long period of time, mentioned in the previous comment.  Besides them though, I'm pretty sure there was at least one other set in my high school, if not two.  Also, besides the fem/fem twins, two doors down from me, two doors down the other direction, one of the guys I grew up with got his girlfriend pregnant, and dang if she didn't have fem/fem twins! lol  So they don't seem that uncommon to me.  Still, I didn't know about the Turner Syndrome thing.  Kudos for teaching me something. lol 
 
The one that really gets me is cojoined twins (commonly known as Siamese twins).  They are such a unique visual, it can be easy to create them too.  They're often portrayed as monsters in fiction, because their look is so odd, but they can have odd character traits too, like finishing each others' sentences, or one hating the other, or one being really smart and the other dumb.  Maybe one has extremely different interests from the other.  There's so much potential in conflict stories for cojoined twins, because no matter what the conflict is between them, they can't get away from each other.  They have to work it out, or live through hell. 
 
What's often ignored with cojoined twins is the serious health issues they face.  Shared organs can be a problem, with two brains involved.  If one gets ill, it effects the other, and of course, if one dies, the other usually follows, if they can't be disconnected.  But again, it's often a case of wanting to play with the visual, rather than the health issues.  I have one set of cojoined twins, and I've given them several issues, but they're more emotional/mental issues - I still haven't addressed health issues.  For one, I don't know enough about the health issues, so I'd just as soon stay away from that area.  For another, I've given them enough mental/emotional issues to compensate. lol 
 
P.S. How can you have male/female identical twins?  Just being different genders keeps them from being identical, doesn't it?
#5 Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gylan Thomas:  I think its seen that way because a lot of the time there isn't much thought put into the characters.  Sometimes a character is made, not because the writer wanted said character but because the situation may have called for it.  Most of the time when a person puts a lot of thought into a character he does what I just did, he does research and he uses that research well.  Well as in not looking up specific things just so his story could makes since, *Cough* Sins Past *Cough* but using it so his character can be better than any two bit character out there.
#6 Edited by cbishop (8219 posts) - - Show Bio
@Amegashita: see the "P.S." in my last comment. 

@Gylan Thomas

said:

" @Amegashita:  Using twins in fiction can be kinda weak. A cop out at times. Real kinda B movie/ soap opera stuff.  It'd lose my interest quickly to be honest. "


They often can be, but they don't have to be.  I can see why you'd become disinterested though.  It can be frustrating to read twin characters, because with identical twins, it's too easy to have a "mistaken identity" or "evil twin" story come up - it's almost unavoidable.  Maybe that's why there are more boy/girl twins in comics - you still get the other "twin" issues, but cut yourself off from copping out to those two types of stories.  
 
EDIT: Amegashita and I were apparently writing at the same time, Gylan. lol
#7 Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop:  That reminds me of an episode of Family Guy, the Toad episode.  During the episode their was the Double Mint gum commercial with the conjoined twins and at the end there was the two conjoined twins on the operating table.  Get my picture?  With twins in stories, not just comic books, they're there for looks not for a real purpose or any sense of realism.
 
  There are male/female identical twins, because scientifically they're completely identical except the girl has Turner syndrome.  I don't read a lot of books, because I find their length a little dispiriting but I read a lot of stories on websites and a lot of the time in some of the more horribly written stories there is a set of identical twins who are male/female, which shows me right then and there how much thought was actually put into those characters.  And, at least to me, when I get the feeling that not very much thought was put into one of my favorite characters it really angers me.
#8 Posted by Gylan Thomas (2727 posts) - - Show Bio

After a certain ages even identical twins wouldn't be itentical anymore. Then any kind of mistaken identity or evil twin shenanigans would feel contirved.
Once mummy stops dressing them in those little sailor suits the whole story would fall apart for me.

#9 Posted by cbishop (8219 posts) - - Show Bio

@Amegashita: Oh, I completely agree that they're most often there for looks.  They're not often well developed.  I think there's a wealth of potential there though.
 
@Gylan Thomas:
All of the twins I know eventually found a point where they intentionally started dressing different, having different hairstyles, etc.  However, there's still potential for mistaken identity stories.  There's a show on ABC, called Scoundrels, about a family that has always been about crime (not a mafia crime family thing - more con artists and thieves) but is now trying to go straight.  There are twin brothers in the family.  One's a grungy idiot that wants to stick to crime, but has the good quality of caring about his family.  The other's a well kempt, college educated lawyer - the only one in the family who's always been straight laced - who has the bad quality of caring mostly about himself.  Still, the lawyer disguised himself as the grungy bro, to help him out of a jam, and the "mistaken identity" ensued. 
 
Looking at that episode (which you can see on the ABC website [ep.5, I believe]) I could see how it could happen and be believable.  Lawyer, as grungy, slept with a girl that knew grungy.  She didn't know lawyer existed, and assumed his lack of facial hair to simply mean he'd shaved.  It wasn't until later, when she met lawyer as his true self, that she realized she'd been duped.  I could see that happening.

#10 Posted by Liberty (9192 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop:   Great post.
 
@Amegashita: Can you give some examples of what twin sets are written pooly and how you would suggest to solve the problem?  Good blog by the way.
#11 Posted by Amegashita (3601 posts) - - Show Bio
@Liberty:  Well for one, executives and senior editors should take a time to read over the genetic stories of the characters that are being made.  So many writers now-a-days are always wanting to make things more realistic, well if they want to add realism.  Then simple research or a effort to try and understand what they are writing could help.  I can't do much since I'm not a part of the companies in the mix but I can still make my ideas.