Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We know Who Wants to be a SuperHero but What Should a Superhero be made of?

Last week,the two hour season finale of Who Wants to be a Superhero crowned The Defuser as Stan Lee's next promising comic book sensation(at the very least,the guy gets a action figure and a spot in a Sci Fi Channel movie out of the deal). I have to admit that this go round wasn't as exciting as the first time out-Mr. Mitzvah was no Major Victory,that's for sure!-but it was watchable,nonetheless.

It does make you wonder,tho,what is it that makes for a successful superhero;is it the look,the concept,the special powers or the alter ego? Let's go over some of the ingredients and see if we can really replicate the recipe:


They say clothes make the man(which applies to woman as well)and it is a key component in creating the right vibe for any superhero. However,the line between incredibly cool and incredibly lame is rather thin at times. Also,while sex appeal is not something a hero has to shy away from,it can be used to undermine a hero's authority and reduce him or her to a mere object of fetish fantasy.

So,what style elements are best for a well attired superhero? Well,primary colors are always a good choice and you can't go wrong with using a national flag motif. Dark colors are usually associated with villians,but can be used if you're going for that gruff antihero/tormented by the past kind of good guy. Belts,particularly if you need to carry some special weapons,are the accessory of choice. You should also be able to easily conceal your supersuit under your civillian clothes,the better to blend in with the regular folk:


Who wouldn't want some kind of extraordinary ability that could make your life easier in big ways and small? I know that whenever I have to cross a busy street with zooming cars that it would be great if Hiro Nakamura was around to bend time and space for a moment there. Not to mention being able to turn invisiable would make leaving a bad date or boring business meeting so much simpler and that the power of flight would save you some money on cabs and/or gasoline.

However,many heroes are not fortunate to be born with superhuman powers embedded in their DNA or to be at the right place at the wrong time to have some sort of radiation instantly grant them amazing abilities. Some,like Batman or Ironman,use their mental skills(they don't call Batman "the Dark Night Detective" for nothing)and specially designed suits and weapons to bring the bad guys down for the count.

Whatever your superability is,make sure you know how to use it well. Especially if it's a power that could cause major league damage if not whielded with a sure and steady hand there:

Mystery Men - The Spleen. - Click here for this week’s top video clips


So,you have the look and the skills,but what kind of a person lurks under that caped and costumed persona? The true compelling element that makes any hero relatable is their alter ego.

I could cite numerous examples but a really good way to cut right to the bone is by looking at a key scene in the Alex Ross/Paul Dini collaboration,Spirit of Truth. In this story,Wonder Woman is going around kicking some major league terrorist butt and yet finds herself being rejected for her efforts. She takes lunch with Superman,who explains to her that his real strength lies in being Clark Kent. To be able to share the everyday cares and woes of humanity is what makes him be a better hero. He sums up his viewpoint by telling her"I think the best way to effect meaningful change is to work alongside people,rather than above them. At least,it's always worked for me."

She takes his advice and achieves more results for it. A more perfect example of what it means to be human,despite whatever fate has given you that makes you stand out from the rest, is not easily found. That balance of man and Superman is what makes the Last Son of Krypton earn the respect that he does from his fellow crime fighters:


One of the big stumbling blocks for most of the Superhero contestants on WWTBAS this season was the actual concept behind their characters. Coming up with a well thought out back story is just as crucial as selecting the right color scheme for your costume. Of course,it does help to have a cool sounding name like Centaur Man and a super power that is easily understandable to the casual viewer:

What does all of this add up to? Hopefully,a good blend of power,poise and humility that will be of use to those budding champions of justice out there. Or,a handy guide for folks planning to audition for Season Three of Who Wants to be a Superhero. As Stan Lee would say,Excelsior!

No comments: