The Hanson patriarch, Simon comes from a past steeped in pain and loneliness; led by dark habits to the alcoholic wreck he is today. Even before this, though, he had a natural streak of anger and aggression that alienated him from the rest of the world. Now, he is the very incarnation of bitterness and resent, channelling his drunken rage against those closest to him.
Simon Hanson, boy what a story!
Out of all the characters, Simon’s story was perhaps the most difficult and convoluted to write. While Ryan’s story is one that’s being created as the series progresses, Simon’s was one I wanted to make mysterious – the facts of his youth being unclear and often speculated. Simon’s history has already happened when the comic begins, but how to convey his past in such a way that it wasn’t distracting from the main plot is one that took a lot of rewrites, his entire origin being one I’d rewritten up to five times before getting a tale that matched his character.
While the finer details of his parentage and early life would only come to be shown later in the series, his association with Jinny and his misspent youth is one that can be easily tracked thanks to there being more than one witness to them.
It could have been easy to make Simon a clueless thug, and though he often comes across as this, he is, like everyone else extremely flawed and very fragile. Although he’d never show it to anyone except a select few, he knows that he’d been dealt a bum deal when it came to life, and he knows also that he’s done a lot of bad things to others, far beyond just the simple games and pranks he and Jinny used to play on others.
Simon is, overall, a man with no moral compass, being the lonely orphan of a children’s home run by nuns. This lack of personal connection he has with anyone not only makes him vulnerable to less-desirable characters, such as the upperclassmen who ended up getting him in trouble with the law, but also means he can never truly express himself to those around him. Other people are, more or less, aliens to Simon, seeing no reason in the world why he should try and strike a chord with those around him as he himself is so unknown.
Regarding the violence he inflicts upon Ryan, this reason is made clear later in the story, and while I won’t spoil it here, the reality is that, given the manner in which Simon had been treated, it’s clear to see why he holds such bitterness towards his son. This later revelation is also one that truly shows the tragedy of his life, that even in birth his existence was scarred forever, and from the very start he had blood on his hands.
For his design, I essentially wanted someone rather plain, but at the same time a large and bombastic figure who would strike fear into those around him. As a youth, Simon looks like any other teenager, but as an adult, his years of binge drinking and bad habits have left him obese and unhealthy, the living embodiment of resentment and self-loathing. In his form, I wanted to show that he simply had stopped caring, and in so doing holds the world responsible for the way in which he has become.
To summarise, Simon is essentially what happens when society forsakes one of their own. Down at the very bottom of the ladder, he is a man who has been used and abused more than once, first left to languish in jail by the upperclassmen who led him down a dark path, then shackled to the one human he believed truly cared for him in a loveless, meaningless marriage because he simply didn’t know any better. To me, Simon is the true tragedy of the series. Indeed his actions against Ryan are beyond reprehensible and could never be forgiven, but at the same time for all his physical strength and violent disposition, he is the punching bag of those around him – a disposable human who simply holds the place in life as a means to an end.