Wednesday, October 9, 2013

After My Vacation, Superheroes

I didn't really go on vacation. I just haven't posted in a while. I'm neck-deep in the semester and am trying to teach 1 1/3 classes (it makes sense, I promise) and stay on top of my own while finishing my thesis prospectus AND get a move on with my thesis. I hit writer's block with it, and it doesn't help when my fiction workshop takes a short story I wrote and asks that it become a novel.

Okay, that was flattering, I'll admit. But now I'm thinking about this story when I should be thinking about my thesis. And I am, thinking about my thesis, I mean. I'm just not anxious to work on it because I think I've got some serious revision ahead of me. Ah, who am I kidding, it's not going to be that bad. I'm just lazy and impulsive. The new idea involves superheroes, though.

Without giving too much away (my story, my idea, MINE, PRECIOUS!), my story features superheroes. I look at the superhero genre in a new way, one that apparently doesn't come to mind. The short story undermines some expected tropes of superhero-ness, and my class liked that. They also want a novel, which made me think in terms of novel, and now, guess what, the story has metamorphosed into a novel. I'm worried about keeping up the fresh view of superheroes.

I figure that in order to keep undermining and twisting superhero cliches I need to know them. So, today, I am using my blog as prewriting and am going to list superhero cliches so I know them and can undermine them...NOW:

- Colorful costumes and masks
- Love interest is not a superhero and often not all that bright
- Many villains per one hero
- Heroes use brawn, villains use brains, brains lose
- Superheroes are young, fit, and beautiful
- Superheroes are created through accidents, an act of fate
- Superheroes are noble and selfless
- Technology is very advanced and not well understood
- Things fall from space. A lot. With ghastly consequences.
- Scientists are prone to test experiments on themselves
- Lab accidents happen all the time
- People are always falling from buildings
- Heroes live in a big city
- Superheroes always seem to mutate/get powers that are helpful and don't cause medical trouble
- Superheroes work for newspapers, are scientists, or are independently wealthy
- Hero backstory often contains some traumatic event that caused hero to fight for justice (or revenge, or whatever)
- Secret identity remains hidden to the world at all times (not even families know)

That's all I can come up with now. If you have any other superhero cliches I'm not thinking of, I'd be very grateful if you could tell me in the comments.

Also, anyone else watching "Agents of SHIELD"? I greatly enjoy it!


  1. Some stereotypes I came up with:
    Men superheros usually get powers equivalent to strength. Women superheroes get powers related to flexibility or protection (e.g., invisibility, force fields).
    Supervillains don't work together well; superheroes do (sometimes after a time of struggling to get along).
    Supervillains are recluse ego-maniacs who want to rule the world—just a few aren't driving either for revenge or world domination.