Archive for December 30th, 2007

Dec 30 2007

Conversation of the Day: Mike-Catastrophe Part Three

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Catastrophe: When I said that I was a cartoon character and not an alien, I meant it.
Mike: A cartoon character?

Catastrophe: Well, a facsimile of a cartoon character. The mutagen is presumably influenced by subconscious mental states like memories and impulses. It was the day of the goddamned Hegemon parade and the effing balloon had come loose and trashed my car. So it was on my mind.

Mike: You expect me to believe—

Catastrophe: —not really, nor do I care. What you believe is completely besides the point. The only thing that matters—the only positive thing, anyway— is that at least it wasn’t Peaceachu.

This is part 3 of a four-part series. You can see part 1 here or part 4 here (after 6 PM US Central on Dec. 31).

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Dec 30 2007

List of Superpowers

Generic Physical Superpowers

  1. Superstrength
  2. Speed
  3. Durability
  4. Agility/reflexes
  5. Healing/regeneration
  6. Supersenses
    1. Sight/hearing/smell/taste/touch
    2. Sensing danger (spider-sense)
    3. Sensing other types of events (dishonesty, murder, etc.)
  7. The ability to remove senses (like inflicting blindness, etc.)
  8. Longevity/immortality


Forms of Transportation

  1. Climbing/wall-crawling
  2. Swimming/water-breathing
  3. Flight
  4. Teleportation
  5. Exceptional leaping (e.g. the Hulk)
  6. Phasing/intangibility


Time-Based Abilities

  1. Temporal manipulation (like The Matrix)
  2. Time travel
  3. Prophecy


Elemental Control/Manipulation

  1. Basic elements (fire, water and/or ice, earth, wind)
  2. Electricity
  3. Light
  4. Darkness and/or shadows
  5. Gravity
  6. Magnetic forces
  7. Radiation
  8. Energy
  9. Sound
  10. Nature


Generic Mental Abilities

  1. Skills and/or knowledge
    1. Popular categories: science, mechanical, computer/electronics, weapons-handling/military, driving, occult/magical.
  2. Super-intelligence
  3. Resourcefulness (“I’m never more than a carton of baking soda away from a doomsday device”)


Psychic Superpowers

  1. Telekinesis (moving objects mentally). Can be restricted to a particular type of material (e.g. metal for Magneto, paper in Read or Die, deadlines for B. Mac, sand, etc).
  2. Telepathy (reading minds)
  3. Mind-to-mind communication
  4. Mind-control
  5. Possession (total mental control)
  6. Memory manipulation (may include creation/alteration/deletion)
  7. Mentally generated weaponry/objects
  8. Mindblast
  9. Ability to locate someone mentally
  10. Forcefields
  11. “Psychometry”–the ability to learn things about the past or future of an object by touching it


Biological Control

  1. Acid/poison
  2. Controlling plants and/or animals
  3. Shapeshifting (animals).
  4. Shapeshifting (people)–mainly useful for disguises/stealth. In some executions (e.g. Clayface), the user’s body can create weapons or otherwise modify itself for combat.


Miscellaneous Talents

  1. Elasticity
  2. Self-destruction
  3. Self-liquification
  4. Gaseous form
  5. Growth/shrinking
  6. Self-duplication
  7. Invisibility
  8. Absorbing someone else’s powers
  9. Negating someone else’s powers
  10. Luck manipulation (good luck for hero and/or bad luck for enemies)
  11. Illusions
  12. Pocket space–the ability to hold and remove objects so that only the user can retrieve them. It could be used for carrying really heavy equipment, hiding valuable and/or stolen and/or highly explosive goods, concealing weapons, smuggling candy into movie theaters, removing a hostile explosive, etc.
  13. Ability to control density



I’m working on a guidebook about how to write superhero stories. If you’re interested in superhero writing advice, please sign up for the email list so that I can let you know when it comes out. Thanks—it’ll be easier for me to get published if I can show that many people are interested.




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