When I first got the idea, years ago, for the serial that I’m now writing as Super, it came to me as what a lot of people might think of as more of a “traditional” superhero tale, with supervillains and lots of big, showy fights. After the first few attempts to write it ended up trailing off before completion, however, I really began thinking about the essence of the story itself and where it was headed, which culminated in wondering what it would look like to have superheroes in the real world.
Would people even recognize such a thing, for the most part? I mean, we see people who are bigger and stronger than us every day, for example, who’d know if one of those people could lift and throw a truck without seeing them actually doing it? And if someone were to relay such a tale to friends afterwards, who’d even believe them? In actuality, due to the way that most people are able to rationalize things to themselves, it would be quite possible for many in the world to have super powers and have them go unnoticed in day-to-day life.
Also, since people can be hostile to those who are different from them, that would be another reason to want to keep special abilities like superpowers under wraps. Another thing that would be looked down on, in our current world where corporations seem to run things from behind the scenes, would be the massive amounts of property damage that are typical in superhero fights. In our world today, anyone or any group of people that caused that much property damage would be shut down almost immediately, and arrangements would be made so that such a thing couldn’t happen again. How would that happen, you might ask, that regular people could make those with superpowers do such things? I think about it as the Godzilla problem.
In the Godzilla problem, you have a huge monster, as tall as a skyscraper who can eat a train car or knock down a wall without even thinking about it. Seems like the monster would win over the humans, running around and screaming somewhere in the vicinity of his toes, every time, right? Well, that’s never what happens and the reason why is what’s made people successful since the beginning of time – organization.
Governments, and now corporations, seem to be the pinnacle of organization that human societies have come up with. What started as one or two people building houses in one area has grown into massively sprawling cities and transportation that even reaches off of the planet due to human organization. We have changed the very climate of the planet and threaten the existence of everything on earth due to human organization. We don’t have huge size, big claws, teeth, or even atomic fire breath, but humans call the shots for what goes on in a lot of the planet, leaving only the portions of the world that we don’t care about for all of the other forms of life on the planet to crowd onto to live.
With that as a background, the idea that small groups of people, super powers or not, could challenge the massive organizations that the bulk of humanity has grown up is laughable. Like the rest of us, people with super powers could probably only hope to try to live their own lives without being molested, but unfortunately for them, they have something different about them that would probably make corporations want them.
The intersection of all of these things is where my story takes place, and what makes it interesting, I think. As mentioned, it doesn’t involve a lot of major property damage or heady supervillain battles, because what my heroes need to fight against is much more insidious and doesn’t just have one face. I invite everyone to check out how this struggle resolves itself; I think you’ll find it thought provoking.