The Philosophy of Dr. Mercury
Since I’m taking this character with me to Balticon today, I was thinking a little bit about her motivations, desires, and why exactly, she’s been so fun to write and photograph.
Dr. Mercury is the embodiment of the adult power fantasy of being able to say and do whatever you want without consequences. Being an adult is all about compromise. We must compromise our time to make money to support our families. We must compromise pride to keep peace. We have responsibilities and moral codes, and all kinds of good, worthy things that keep society functioning. Acting selfishly results in serious consequences for adults – mouthing off to the boss can get you fired, blowing off your friends when they need you means you end up alone.
Dr. Mercury doesn’t have these consequences. She can murder, kidnap and destroy without the consequences of those actions. Prisons can’t hold her. Hero’s won’t kill her. If she sees something she wants, she takes it. If she sees someone she wants, she kidnapps them. Having a character that is brilliant, funcionally immortal and not attached to morality is delightful . It gives her the kind of freedom that, when we’re holding our tongues to keep the peace, we all find ourselves wishing for. Dr. Mercury doesn’t have to worry about taxes and family, she is free from those things, and can focus on the joy of creation and the thrill of destruction.
The second aspect of Dr. Mercury’s character is desire – Dr. Mercury is a character of passion, which is why she is so much fun to write. When Dr. Mercury wants someone, she wants them hard. She wants them enough to move mountains to get them. And there is something amazingly sexy about being desired. My friend Filamena hit it on the head when she wrote her piece about Dr. Mercury – part of the fun of the character is imagining yourself being wanted by her – how you might escape, or how you might give in. The idea of being wanted down to the blood in your veins is scary, but also very attractive – we all want to feel desired, even if it’s a villain who desires us. It’s easy to imagine yourself in Dr. Mercury’s gold cage, being wanted, being kept. As long as the fantasy is in the imagination, where we hold the controls, it’s a sexy one.