Thursday, October 26, 2017

Best Character Ever Redux: Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci has been on my mind a lot lately. His legacy plays a part in my current project in development and with that, I decided it was high time to share my old Best Character Ever post about the mythical figure around the man. 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s impact on history is legendary. The quintessential Renaissance Man, Da Vinci did things hundreds of years ahead of his time. But as great as he was as a historical figure, I often think he offers many more possibilities as a figure in literature and pop culture. He’s certainly one I am always fascinated to see in fictional endeavors.

I think I first came across fictional Da Vinci in the film Hudson Hawk. I would have been about twelve when I first saw the legendary box office bomb starring Bruce Willis. But its backstory focused on Da Vinci and the quest to unlock the three pieces of the Philosopher’s Stone the legendary engineer inadvertently made. While Hudson Hawk certainly isn’t a masterpiece of cinematic history, it did instill me with a love for the fictional Da Vinci that has survived for over two decades.

Of course, the influence of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on my young life at the same time probably didn’t hurt. While Da Vinci never really played a role outside lending his name to the Turtles’ leader, he did get a great role on an episode of The Tick. “Leonardo Da Vinci and his Fightin’ Genius Time Commandos!” is a classic episode of an already great show where Da Vinci forms a team out of a bunch of time-lost inventors.

Image by Dustin Weaver.
More recently Da Vinci came back into the public eye in a major way thanks to some novel by some guy named Dan Brown. While The Da Vinci Code is a lackluster piece of fiction, it has done much to bring the esoteric view of Leonardo Da Vinci to light. This has played out with great pieces for him in the Assassin’s Creed novels and games as well as Marvel’s most recent SHIELD series. Though that book is sadly unfinished, it presented Da Vinci as a time traveling superhero fighting a secret battle behind the scenes of the Marvel Universe.

But most prominently, it leads to his appearance in the Starz television series Da Vinci’s Demons. The David Goyer-created drama focuses on a young Da Vinci (played by Tom Riley) as he seeks to uncover the secrets of the universe while also protecting the city of Florence. It creates a fascinating Renaissance world both compelling and entertaining, albeit one not for young or squeamish viewers.

Da Vinci will play a role in future Quadrant Universe stories as I start to unravel the history of the setting in upcoming books and stories. The universe has a long and storied history that might never all be revealed, but Da Vinci is one of many vastly important characters to that story. While I doubt I will ever make him a central character of any piece of fiction, his place in history and in fiction makes him a key figure I wouldn’t want to ignore even if I didn’t find him absolutely fascinating.

Da Vinci is a massively influential figure in history. Why not share your thoughts on the genius, esoteric icon and genre fiction superstar? 

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