Jan 26 2009

“Ma’am, your son’s been murdered.”

Published by at 3:03 pm under Heroes,News,Writing Superhero Stories

CNN just did a piece on how cops break the news that someone’s loved one has been murdered.  I think the article is an especially useful resource for the authors of superhero stories because a lot of superheroes get so caught up in their superhero identities that regular people are essentially cut from the story.  For example, on Heroes normal people are sometimes used as props or plot devices, but they never get any important lines.   (Also, the characters haven’t had real jobs since season 1, and all of the recurring characters have superpowers now. Even Suresh and Ando!)

Although breaking tragic news to a spouse might get too angsty, I suspect that an author could play it quietly to add emotional depth to the superhero.  One of the things that annoyed me about Bruce Wayne/Batman is that he’s so socially retarded that it seems like he doesn’t care about anyone else.  Beating the hell out of bad guys is fine, but that’s just revenge for Batman.  If your hero is supposed to be likable, you might want to show that he’s at least trying to empathize with regular people.  I’d recommend having him stumble awkwardly in the conversation, though.  I think the scene depends on the awkwardness of the hero being thrust into a new role that’s hard even for professional chaplains.

What do you think?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to ““Ma’am, your son’s been murdered.””

  1. Bradon 27 Jan 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I agree. This has always been my biggest point of contention with Batman in the comics; there’s no way to relate to him. We don’t get to see him as a person all that often. Green Arrow brought this up in a comic once actually, where he had the unfortunate task of informing a dead officer’s wife and young children what had happened. I forget what he told Batman, but it was something along the lines of him being an emotionally detached jack ass.

  2. B. Macon 28 Jan 2009 at 6:03 am

    I’m the goddamn Batman!

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