This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you good folks about how I became a superhero author, but that’s something of a tough thing to pin down. Yes, I know when I decided to write my main superhero story, Super Powereds. I recall quite well the day inspiration struck. It came, oddly enough, from reading a bad superhero novel. Trite, cliché, and utterly devoid of worthwhile content; it left me feeling hollow. Why was it no one wrote the sort of superhero stories I wanted to read, where the characters came first and their exploits grew from their activities? Bear in mind, this was nearly five years ago, before the current glut of excellent content existed on the web. So, as I tend to with most difficulties I hit in life, I decided to fix the problem myself: writing the sort of series I wanted to read. That is when I began my story.
But it is not when I became a superhero author.
I cannot speak for the rest of the PCS, only myself, however I would wager many would agree with my next statement: From the time I could imagine, I have always been a superhero author. True, I wasn’t writing the tales my youthful brain invented, ninety percent stolen intellectual property from the sources I viewed, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t creating them. From the moment I saw the world of bright capes, cheesy dialogue, and unabashed heroics, such fantasies took root in my creative heart. In much the same way some people read Bradbury and know they now belong to science-fiction; it took only the paltriest of cartoons to snare me in the grasp of superheroes.
This wouldn’t be at all surprising, had you know me in my youth. Clumsily intelligent (the sort that only aids in trivia but not grades), awkwardly proportioned (alternating between gangly and fat), and largely socially ignorant; I was exactly the type of child you’d think would drown himself in those sorts of fictional escapades. And you’re entirely correct, because people often forget who superheroes are for. Though they themselves are incredible powerful, they serve the weak; both in their world and ours. Superheroes inspire, comfort, and offer hope to even the most helpless of downtrodden. Not simply because they snatch falling cars from mid-air or stop bullets with their fists; what they offer is far more tangible and important.
Superheroes are, at their core, a glimpse into a world where the powerful use their gifts for the enrichment of others instead of themselves. They advocate morality, decency, and goodness all while easily having enough power to crush any who oppose them. They are, in short, utterly fictitious in even the basest of concept, yet we love them. We love the hope they provide, not in the belief that meteors will suddenly rain superpowers on us all (though of course I’m holding out for that too) but rather in a belief far more dangerous and potent: that power doesn’t have to corrupt. That it can do quite the contrary. It can inspire us to be better.
I’m sure some of you feel I’ve gone off on a tangent and digressed from the original topic, which was when I became a superhero author. But this all needed to be said, because I was a superhero author long before I understood what the different genres were or what the presence of a cape signified. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, all of my fantasies were superhero shaped. Sure, some took place in space, or Arthurian Camelot, or even modern day, but they wore similar shapes. I dreamed of strong, indomitable people rising up to protect those weaker than themselves, of giving to the greater good often at personal detriment. My play-games were always of warriors, champions, and the unflinchingly determined. I was, simply, always in love with superheroes.
Now it goes without saying that I consumed their various mediums by the barrel full, even fantasies require nutrition. As I grew and time wore on, I began to see the cracks in this cape-wearing facade. For some, I know, the realization of depthlessness and personal politics corroding the various mediums was enough to send them off to brighter fictional pastures. But for me, it just made me hungry; anxious to see the next generation of creators breath fresh life into the world they loved so dearly. What did surprise me was the realization that, inexperienced as I was, I wanted to be a part of that movement when it came. It was my turn to offer hope to an awkward child in a world where the strong dominated instead of supported, and anyone who loves superheroes knows those debts must always be repaid.
So, in summation, I have no real idea when I decided to become a superhero writer. I was an author from as far back as I can remember, but since I wasn’t putting ink to page that might not be writing. One could make a case that it happened the moment I knew such writing was a thing I wanted to do, however there was still a gap between that point and when my confidence grew enough to begin. Certainly it must have been by the moment I started writing Super Powereds, yet that feels akin saying an avalanche began when it struck the ski-lodge at the base of the mountain. And if it seems like I’m being purposely obscure: Congratulations, you hit the nail dead-center on the head. See, origin stories are more than quick snippets in time perfectly framed by a single series of pages. They’re like watching a falling-domino object take shape. Your eyes can only follow one row at a time, but dozens of others are falling in unison, ultimately forming a picture you’ll only recognize when it’s done. Origins are complex, filled with half-done achievements and apparent failures that all fall together to create the picture of something new.
Here’s one last thought, just to really keep you up at night. It’s entirely possible that my origin story hasn’t even concluded yet, this might all be one domino row leading to another, far grander, image. The same can be said for any of my other PCS authors. The same can be said of actors, businessmen, street vagrants, waiters, and even politicians.
And the same can certainly be said of you, dear reader.