The Superhero Blues Part One: The Agony of a Dream
I’ve written before about my desire to write a superhero story. I’ve expressed a desire to write comics, and I’ve explored the possibility of writing a superhero epic in novel form. But I’ve never quite overcome the hurdle that prevents me from actively seeing this agonizing dream of mine to fruition.
I have the hero pretty clear in my mind. I have a rough idea of where I want the story to go. But still, something is holding me back. What is it?
It is the fear that there really isn’t anything new one can say about superheroes. Especially the type of superhero who populates the shared universes of Marvel and DC. Those two companies have been around for decades, each seeing thousands of superhero stories published. With that knowledge in mind, what can I say that hasn’t already been said?
The kind of superheroes I want to write about are built on pastiche. Comics are infamous for playing fast and loose with copyright. And both companies do seem very lax when it comes to enforcement.
But, to be honest, just because I could write an expy of Sider-Man doesn’t mean that I will (or even should).
Are there possible solutions? I think so.
On one level, the superhero story I want to write is a coming of age story. It is about a youth with superpowers who realizes that he can make a difference. But how is that idea any different than any number of superhero origins?
The one thing that annoys me the most about comic books (and opens the door to the accusation that comic book superheroes are reactionary) is the fact that the status quo for the muggles is maintained. Why is the Earth depicted in the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe the same as our Earth? Why hasn’t the super science generated by Mr. Fantastic, von Doom, Beast, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Mr. Terrific, etc. percolated to general, everyday usage?
And, while I’m on this, shouldn’t Earth of both universes be a mix of utopia and apocalyptic wasteland? Of a near breakdown of the social order?
The possibilities offered in taking this approach, of exploring how the existence of superheroes and all that go with them will affect the world is certainly an interesting possibility. And a possibility I will seriously consider. Maybe I have finally jumped the hurdle?
What about writing for the Big Two? Who hasn’t dreamed of writing for Marvel and DC?
I would love to write Teen Titans, a Tim Drake book, Young Avengers, etc. But I am equally aware that writing those comics might not be all fun and games.
I will conclude “The Superhero Blues” with a further discussion of what a superhero epic might look like. But first, I’ll have a few mainstream comic book pitches.
Tomorrow, I take on the Teen Titans.