Apr 04 2009

Common Superhero Day Jobs, Part 2


  • +: Like journalists, lawyers can be drawn into a wide range of plots pretty easily.  Even if there isn’t a legal angle to pursue, a lawyer can also be called in as a consultant, advisor or investigator.
  • +: It takes less research to capture a lawyer’s voice than it does to write a scientist or soldier.  In most situations, such as speaking with witnesses or clients or juries, lawyers use less jargon and speak in a way that’s pretty clear for readers without legal training.
  • -:  You really need to have some basic familiarity with the law and what lawyers do.  It’s much easier to just make up stuff with a scientist or journalist.
  • -:  Cliche.  Between Daredevil, the Huntress, She-Hulk, and Manhunter, there’s plenty of competition.  Still, lawyers aren’t as cliche as journalists or scientists.
  • -:  I think lawyers have a bit less international appeal.  Journalists and soldiers and teachers do pretty much the same thing anywhere in the world.   In contrast, lawyers are more limited to their countries because national laws are different everywhere.
  • -:  Usually unaccountable.  Give him a boss, ideally one he doesn’t get along with.
  • Tip: focus on unusual jobs.  Editors have already read many comic books where a wrongfully accused suspect begs someone like Matt Murdock to clear his name.  If you try something that cliche, you REALLY need to execute it well.


  • +: Built-in audience.  Military action is a fairly well-established subgenre, so that will make it easier to pitch your story and find an audience.
  • +:  Some editors and publishers (particularly Devil’s Due) are very comfortable working with military characters.
  • -:  Military characters tend to be two-dimensional.  Spend some time developing the personality.
  • -:  Military stories are prone to ideological ranting.  Do you think that servicemen tend to enlist because they’re honorable patriots or because they had no other opportunities?  How would you describe  the typical relationship between a soldier and his commanding officers?  It’s hard to hide your preconceptions from the audience.
  • -:  When it comes to military characters, it’s hard to strike the right balance between research/authenticity and readability.  Because the military sphere is alien to most civilians, you have to make more adjustments for readability than you would if you were writing a story about a cop or a teacher.  It would surprise you how many readers don’t know the difference between a commissioned officer and a noncom.


  • +:  Sort of unexpected, particularly if the hero is undercover.
  • +:  Very wide plot range.  You can pursue a lot of angles that are mostly off-limits to other types of heroes.
  • -:  Too much overlap with lawyers and politicians.
  • -:  Will readers want him to succeed?
  • Tip: I’d recommend either having the hero go undercover, gradually turn away from his life of crime or have some compelling reason to become a criminal.  If he’s a bona fide criminal, he will be hard to root for.  (See The Hood, etc).


  • +:  Extremely relatable, particularly to young readers. Aside from police officers and firefighters, teachers have pretty much the only job you don’t need to explain to kids.
  • +:  You already know what a teacher does and sounds like.  It won’t take you much (if any) research to write a teacher.
  • -:  Really hard to work into the average story.  Unless your character is a science professor, how could his work as a teacher tie into his work as a superhero?  Maybe  he’s teaching someone really important (like the child of a VIP or someone with superpowers).  Maybe he’s an undercover cop investigating a crime ring at a local high school.  Maybe he teaches at a very unusual school, like the Xavier Institute, etc.
  • -:  Not particularly plausible.  Teachers can’t just run off whenever they want to fight crime or investigate something.  Unless your hero is willing to let supervillains run amok during school hours, he’ll have a lot of absences to explain.
  • -:  Vulnerable to life-lessons and preaching.
  • -:  It sort of forces you to use the teacher’s students.
  • Tip: It’s difficult, but I really recommend tying the hero’s day-job to his work as a hero.  If there’s no connection, the story probably won’t feel coherent.


  • +:  A bit fresher than soldiers.
  • +: Sort of like criminals, mercenaries may have more story flexibility than soldiers.
  • +/-: Typically less regulated than soldiers.  On the plus side, this gives you more room to experiment with unusual teams doing atypical things.  But they’d probably be less accountable to a chain of command than a soldier would be.  Still, you can get around that by challenging him in other ways (like, ahem, in the battlefield).
  • -: I think mercenary antiheroes are pretty cliche.  You’d have to execute it really well.
  • -:  The profit motive usually makes mercenaries less heroic than soldiers. It may raise likability issues.


  • +: I think there’s a considerable market for assassination plots.
  • +: I think assassination plots tend to be both interesting and easy to distinguish.  Adjusting the skill-set of the assassin will lead to a dramatically different story.
  • -: It’d be hard to explain how a bodyguard has enough off-time to be a superhero on the side.  Usually, when a superhero serves as somebody’s bodyguard, they’re doing it in costume (as in the Batman episode Laughing Fish) and not as a day job.
  • -:  Bodyguards are really limited by plot-type and where they can go when they’re on assignment.  If they have to be next to their charge at all times, the story’s probably going to stall because the character can’t do much but react.  On the other hand, if they’re roving investigators like a Secret Service agent trying to avert an assassination plot, that could work quite nicely.  Day of the Jackal is probably the premiere story in that mold, so I’d recommend checking it out.
  • Tip: I recommend focusing on the investigation angle more than the protection angle.

Bounty Hunter

  • +: It complements a superhero’s work very nicely.  If a major criminal breaks out of prison (which happens rather often in superhero stories), maybe the police turn to a bounty hunter to capture the fugitive more quickly.
  • -: The profit motive may raise likability issues, but I think less than it would for a mercenary.  A bounty hunter’s job may entail violence, but a mercenary’s job is violence.

Did you like this article? Please see part 1 here.

97 responses so far

97 Responses to “Common Superhero Day Jobs, Part 2”

  1. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:00 am

    What do you think about the superhero being a model?

  2. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:03 am

    I’d say it’s a pretty good cover. There would be some leeway, but it would probably look suspicious if they were late to really important shoots or fashion shows on a regular basis.

  3. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 8:12 am

    Mmm. On one hand, I think it’s glitzy, which is probably a plus. On the other hand, I think the story would probably suffer from coherence issues. If the character has a day job, I’d really recommend bringing it into the story somehow. That’s not that easy for a model.

    I can only think of two superhero stories that used models as superheroes. One of them (the Catwoman movie) was a total flop*. The other, Justice League, used Vixen as a minor character. So that example doesn’t suggest to me whether it’d be possible for a model to drive the story as a main character (let alone the main character).

    *Personally, I didn’t think that Catwoman was that bad, but I’m pretty much alone on that front.

  4. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 10:46 am

    Finally, someone else that thought Catwoman was okay. I liked it, but it was a sub-par performance.

  5. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 11:41 am

    The action was ok. If the movie had cut the leather and the whips, it would have been at least 2.5 stars out of 4. If you had given a real writer 5-10 hours with the script, that could have gotten it to 3.

  6. scribblaron 04 Apr 2009 at 1:45 pm

    You missed the best superhero-model movie of all time… Zoolander.

    Okay, he wasn’t a superhero, but come on – his magnum stare stopped those throwing stars!


  7. Ragged Boyon 04 Apr 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I didn’t really like Zoolander. It was funny, but I found it boring. And male modeling is nothing like that! 🙁

  8. scribblaron 04 Apr 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I thought it was funny. But as model superheroes go, it’s probably the best example.

  9. B. Macon 05 Apr 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I’m also very fond of Zoolander. I don’t think it was meant to seem like a realistic depiction of male models. 😉 “OBEY MY DOG.”

  10. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 08 Apr 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I will prove your point about audiences for supersoldiers. What the heck is a CO and an NCO? Haha. I really do have no idea.

  11. Mia.xoxoon 08 Apr 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Oh, can I take a guess? CO – commanding officer and NCO – non-commissioned officer? I haven’t needed to know this since high school.

  12. Davidon 08 Apr 2009 at 8:37 pm

    How about a milkman? Or a priest. Or, better yet, a comic publisher. They would be good jobs for a superhero. What do you think?

  13. B. Macon 09 Apr 2009 at 3:10 am

    Hmm. I’m not sure. Here are some of my observations about the three jobs, David.

    –not very interesting.
    –hard to tie into the plot, unless the villain is somehow contaminating the milk supply. Very limited plot range.
    –kind of dated. Using a milkman may make your story feel like it was written 30+ years ago. (This may be a US vs. UK thing, but Americans gave up on milkmen a long time ago).

    COMIC PUBLISHER (or a writer, an illustrator, editor, etc).
    –Too much of an in-joke. This will probably place a barrier to your readers that screams “this story is by comic book professionals, for comic book professionals.”
    –Unusually vulnerable to Mary Sue tendencies.
    –It hasn’t worked particularly well for GL.
    –Not very interesting.
    –It would be difficult to work his day job into the story.
    –Your editor, by virtue of working in the comic book industry for 5+ years, will know the field very well. If you are new to the field, you will probably make mistakes about his day job. No one in the world is better-equipped to pick up on those mistakes than a comic book editor. 🙁

    –Could be drawn into some stories, but I suspect the plot range would be fairly limited.
    –Most comic book readers are not particularly religious and may feel that the religious angle is heavy-handed.
    –Publishers are even more secular than the readers are. It is not an accident that the top four publishers are stationed (in order) in NYC, NYC, Oregon, and Berkeley (yes, that Berkeley). These are not hotbeds of religious sentiment. (To be fair to Image Comics, though… they published American Jesus, so they’re not totally spooked by religious themes).
    –There are a few religiously-themed comics, but they tend to be very niche. Battle Pope, American Jesus, etc. Garth Ennis did Preacher, I suppose.

  14. B. Macon 09 Apr 2009 at 3:23 am

    A commissioned officer always outranks an NCO (noncommissioned officer). However, a low-ranking commissioned officer is probably inexperienced and doesn’t know very much what’s going on. In contrast, NCOs are almost always highly experienced.

    Captains, lieutenants, and majors are commissioned; noncoms are mainly sergeants (and corporals, in the US Army and Marines).

    Speaking of corporal, that reminds me of a funny bit of wordplay. PFCs are privates first class. However, some soldiers refer to them as “praying for corporal.” 😉

  15. Yogion 09 Apr 2009 at 7:16 am

    How about a door-to-door salesman?

  16. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 09 Apr 2009 at 7:29 am

    All I know about military rankings comes from watching NCIS. 😉

  17. Tentelumperon 16 Apr 2009 at 5:05 pm

    How about Priest or religious leader?

  18. Tentelumperon 16 Apr 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Never mind, sorry. 😛

  19. Lunajamniaon 16 Apr 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Well that would work–I certainly wouldn’t expect my pastor to be a superhero. 🙂
    Maybe half the time spent in the office isn’t preparing for sermons and doing bills and stuff but going about catching thieves and all that?

    And if people got the answering machine when calling, they’d think he was just extra busy and think nothing of it? (Though technically he would be really busy, I’d find capturing criminals and all that just as stressful as doing bills and preparing sermons)

  20. Mr. Briton 16 Apr 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Probably more so 😉

  21. Tentelumperon 20 Apr 2009 at 7:59 am

    Super Pastor to the rescue! XD

  22. notsohottopicon 30 May 2009 at 11:46 am


    An actual series…it’s so bad that it’s hilarious to watch.

    Anyways, if you’re going to do a priest dayjob for one of your characters, just watch the Bibleman series to see what goes terribly wrong.

    For example:

    -Scripture-quoting: Especially during the fight scenes. Educational, but annoying as hell. Doesn’t incoroporate well into defeating enemies.

    -Antagonists: Villains in Bibleman are embodiments of human nature. He fights wrath, laziness, gossip, etc. If your character is a priest, he has to fight villains that go against his morals/religion. But in Bibleman, that serves as a major problem, since Bibleman can easily put the blame on the villains for his own wrongdoings. If Bibleman succumbs to greed and selfishness, he can blame the human embodiment of greed, vanquish him, and continue life as if he did no wrong. The hero that can do no wrong, and it’s always someone’s else’s fault if Bibleman does something wrong…Mary Sue, is that you?

    -Identity Issues: What makes Bibleman any stronger if he puts on a costume and wields a lightsaber to fight against human nature? If the only thing you need is faith, the costume and lightsaber are rendered useless.

    Basically, a priest is rather hard to write about, especially when it can be easily confused into ‘religious entertainment’. However, it could be a better idea to make him a priest from a different religion other than the other main religions. Maybe he could be part of a cult, but then again, a hard sell.

  23. B. Macon 30 May 2009 at 11:55 am

    I think that the superhero stories that use religion the most effectively tend to use religious figures as side-characters. That helps insulate the main character from Mary Sue problems and preachiness. Religious side-characters also tend to make the main character’s religious elements more complex and interesting than if he were a priest to begin with.

  24. Chevalieron 15 Jun 2009 at 5:41 pm

    How about an E.M.T or a paramedic, what kind of plots could they be drawn into?

  25. Marissaon 15 Jun 2009 at 8:48 pm

    What’s their world like? Do they have powers? How many others have powers?

    What first comes to mind is that someone with rather obvious powers comes into the E.R. (The first thing to mind is an example from my story: The SENTRY’s leader, Jason, has a highly increased heart rate and healing rate as a result/side effect of his powers. This would be obvious if he were hospitalized, and everyone working there would be pretty surprised)

    They might have to find some way to keep the powers from being discovered, helping said patient stay under the radar and get out of there alright.

  26. Chevalieron 16 Jun 2009 at 10:47 am

    My character Dynamo has electrical powers and super-speed which results in him being aggressive and quick to react. He works as an EMT in his civilian identity, and when he responds to a villain causing devastation he must choose between treating people and getting them to safety, or engaging the bad guy in a fight.

  27. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Jun 2009 at 7:14 pm

    “…has a highly increased heart rate and healing rate as a result/side effect of his powers. This would be obvious if he were hospitalized, and everyone working there would be pretty surprised”.

    I’ve been thinking about that sort of thing, too. If Isaac were to be injured in a fight in his civilian identity and had X rays at the hospital, what about his internal structure would be different?

    I guess Isaac’s lungs might be a bit bigger, because he does fly and he’d need the extra oxygen. I’ve already decided that his DNA is different (doctors would only notice if they actually looked for his special gene) but there needs to be something even more strange. Maybe he’d have more muscle density? The Yinyusi appear to be weaker than they are, so that’d make sense. I’m just pulling random stuff out of my hat. Haha.

  28. Chevalieron 16 Jun 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Larger lungs and muscle density sound good, you could also add an enlarged heart and have his red blood cell count be higher than a human’s. If you wanted to add something more radical you could make his blood a different color, or have his bones hollow like a bird’s.

  29. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Jun 2009 at 1:08 am

    Thanks! I’ve been struggling to think of more stuff.

  30. Tomon 17 Jun 2009 at 3:59 am

    RW, maybe he has two hearts?

    How did you not think of that? XD

  31. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Jun 2009 at 4:54 am

    “Two hearts! Binary vascular system. Oh, I am so going to patent this”. Haha.

    I think the Tenth Doctor is my favourite. He gibbers on like an idiot while processing a plan and somehow finds the right, most powerful words to say. I’ve only seen the reboot series, but I want to see the earlier ones with Ace, Sarah Jane, Romana and Peri in them.

  32. Tomon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:58 am

    I sure don’t. I saw a couple of episodes and let’s just say your belief would need to be pretty thoroughly suspended before any of the monsters will look threatening.

    I’ll just stick to my awesome 2005 series with clever scriptwriting, complicated and enthralling series arcs and interesting characters, thankyou.

    I assume you’ve seen the 11th Doctor, but have you seen the new assistant?

    One word: Hot.

  33. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Jun 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I have an encyclopedia about the old episodes, and I’ve seen some pictures of the monsters. I agree that they’re not that well-constructed, but I think they have the potential to be threatening.

    I love the series and all the characters. I was sat stock still when I watched Doomsday, because all the things that happened in the episode were so exciting and depressing.

    I’ve seen Matt Smith, but I just looked his assistant up on google. She is pretty, isn’t she?

  34. mrs marvelon 26 Jul 2009 at 9:07 pm

    How about an apprentice superhero? Like Batman and Robin.

  35. B. Macon 26 Jul 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Well, I was thinking more like day jobs, like something an alternate identity would have.

  36. Blazeon 26 Aug 2009 at 9:48 pm

    What about a teen hero– what kind of job can I give him? Also, what about a younger hero?

  37. B. Macon 27 Aug 2009 at 6:21 am

    I think if the hero is younger than 16, I’d lean towards using some sort of schooling rather than a day-job. First, most day-jobs aren’t plausible for a character that young. (Aside from a few exotic ones like thieves). Second, the readers for a character younger than 16 are themselves probably 13 or younger, so they probably can’t relate to a day-job as well as they can to school.

    If the character is 16+, you have more options. If relatability is the main goal, you can try something a teen might actually do in real-life, like Peter Parker’s job delivering pizzas. Alternately, you can try an assistant-level position even if that’s not plausible. For example, various versions of Peter Parker have done internships at a leading newspaper and with a top biologist. That’s a pretty smooth way to develop the character and give him access to resources (like scientific equipment) he wouldn’t otherwise have.

  38. Moondragon007on 27 Sep 2009 at 4:13 am

    I’ve got a comment about the soldier job – if you’re gonna do a military character, look beyond the obvious job (eg. army = soldier, air force = pilot, navy = sailor, marine = commando). My brother is in the Air Force, but he’s not a pilot – he’s a heavy equipment operator. His job is building and maintaining the base, including the runways. This particularly includes keeping the runways clear of debris kicked up by the planes’ engines as they take off and land.

  39. B. Macon 27 Sep 2009 at 9:48 am

    Yeah, I think there’s definitely a misconception that everyone in the Air Force flies planes. It’s really just like 5%. Airmen get really annoyed when people ask them what plane they fly. However, if a kid asks an airman what plane he flies, he’s entitled to say that he’s “thinking about flying fighter-jets” even if he’s trapped in Comms for the rest of his career.

    I think that servicemen in fiction are always combat-troops (rather than logistical support) because the combat-troops tend to be more interesting. Okay, you could do a book about a military investigator (like AFOSI) or a military lawyer (ADC) or a JAG or perhaps a military scientist or medic or whatever. However, I’m not sure about something like a heavy equipment operator. What sort of plots could you come up with for a job like that?

  40. Moondragon007on 27 Sep 2009 at 3:03 pm

    “However, I’m not sure about something like a heavy equipment operator.What sort of plots could you come up with for a job like that?”

    Hehe, not many, especially now that he’s made Staff Sergeant and spends most of his time in the office doing paperwork! 😛 That’s why I would make him the model for only the physical description for a superhero: he’s 6′ 7″, and been told he’d be a good fashion model if he wasn’t so tall.

    “Okay, you could do a book about a military investigator (like AFOSI) or a military lawyer (ADC) or a JAG or perhaps a military scientist or medic or whatever. ”

    Or a tv show about the Naval Criminal Investigation Service? 😀

  41. B. Macon 27 Sep 2009 at 4:24 pm

    “Or a tv show about the Naval Criminal Investigation Service?” You could, but all available evidence indicates it would suck.

  42. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 27 Sep 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Haha, I love NCIS. It’s my sister’s fault. She always watched it while I was around, so I started to like it too. Haha.

    I think it would be pretty cool to have a subversion on the whole day job thing. Like, you’d expect a military pilot to have flight related powers. Nope, he’s the Moleman.

    Or Captain Dangerous of the Black Ops spends his days executing people, but by night he is taking his daughter to Girl Guide meetings, baking cookies and saving kittens from trees. In the latter case, his day job would also be part of his superheroic identity. No one knows the names of the Black Ops troops, and he could actually be a hero under his codename or whatever while using telekinesis to kill people.

    I guess whether he was a hero or anti hero would depend on the mission, though. Like if it’s destroying a village that was used to test a virus (like in L: Change the WorLd, except in that case is was terrorists that did it) he would be an anti hero, even a villain. If it was a mass rescue operation of people held hostage by terrorists, that would be heroic.

    Hmm, that’s actually a good idea. I may use it. Haha, it’d take a lot of research though, and of course I’m not gonna get a look at any actual Black Ops files.

  43. Jackon 20 Oct 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Hey, I have a question– for a good job, how about a paramedic? If you were a paramedic, would you need a costume? No, you could go to crime scenes and save lives more easily.

    Another good job is a detective or private detective like L from Death Note (an awesome anime). A private detective doesn’t need a costume and can simply hunt down crime and things.

    A cop is pretty cool, you go to crime and no costume needed.

  44. Kosineon 22 Nov 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Re: Jack and the Private Detective -> Superhero


  45. B. Macon 22 Nov 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Yeah, but paramedics and detectives tend to work very closely with partners. I think it’d be a challenge for him to stop much crime before his coworkers started noticing that something really weird was going on. It’d definitely take some creativity on his/your part. 🙂

    If you’re into superheroes-as-cops, I’d recommend Powers.

  46. Dforceon 06 Feb 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Not quite sure where to post this question so here’ll do for now:

    Say I’m looking for a barely-sustaining-a-family-of-two-job for a parent of a superhero and I need him (the father) to be able to pick up and relocate with a similar job in another town.

    Does anything come to mind to anybody?

  47. B. Macon 06 Feb 2010 at 3:01 pm

    For blue collar jobs, you could do something like a police officer, a plumber, a low-ranking car mechanic, etc.

    For more white collar jobs, you could try something like a manager or assistant manager of a retail outlet or restaurant. (He may have gotten relocated because the firm is not doing well and is consolidating its locations, which will also explain why he can’t ask his boss for more money when the going gets tough). Hell, pretty much any service firm has branches with modestly-paid managers. I bet the guys running the typical Kinko’s or Home Depot make somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000. And then the assistant managers would make less than that.

  48. Dforceon 06 Feb 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Ah. Thank you.

    I thought about mechanic, but I don’t know a whole lot about cars, so I’d have trouble with researching and depicting it in a relevant way at the same time and it being accurate—I imagine a few of the prospective readers might catch something if it’s not accurate. (Not to mention, the topic doesn’t strike me as that exciting, though I’m sure it is a fine and exciting profession, just not for me).

    Officer: too predictable for me to wanna use.

    I might actually go with plumber. Think a plumber might be able to put a kid through college with help from a spouse?

  49. B. Macon 06 Feb 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I think a plumber could plausibly put a kid through college– especially if the wife works as well and/or the school helps them out.

    I figured that an officer would be cliche (even Twilight used a cop father!), but I think it’s cliche because it can be useful to have a character like that lying around. If you’re planning on bringing the father’s job into the forward plot, some jobs are usually easier to mix in than others (cops, journalists, doctors and scientists are perennial favorites depending on the plot). If you’d like to work the dad into the plot, it might help if he were a handyman as well as a plumber, so the dad might get called in to repair the damage caused by various superpowered activity. (Alternately, the father’s job doesn’t have to tie into the plot at all–Pa Kent’s farm was more of a backdrop to set a mood than it was a plot device).

    How much detail are you planning on going into?

  50. Dforceon 06 Feb 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Not a whole lot. Especially at first (if at all).

    But if the series-under-construction gets far enough along to where some character development and such, outside the key players, were to be acceptable I think I might then expand on the parents’ personal lives. After that, then maybe some tie-in plots that involve the parents’ job with the superheroing.

    I was just trying to get the story straight, sort to speak, as to what the parents could and could not afford.

    Thank you.

  51. B. Macon 06 Feb 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I think you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what they can afford. According to Payscale.com, a master plumber usually starts out between $40,000-$60,000. A plumber starting out is probably looking at around $30,000, maybe less in a poor area. (For a brief description of the differences between a master plumber and a regular plumber, you might like to read this).

  52. Dforceon 07 Feb 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Interesting. Thank you.

    That article helped to show me that no business is simple. Plumber it is—but more reading is needed…

    Wonder if Mario had to deal with the license hassles of the business… in the Mushroom Kingdom…

  53. Lighting Manon 07 Feb 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Here’s a suggestion, but have you considered making the father’s job be as the super of a building? I’ve had an idea rattling around, for a few years for a graphic novel focusing on the family aspect of superheroes, following a teenager into adulthood, into fatherhood and beyond, where it is his father’s profession, and it lends itself to him helping his son as a superhero, since he can maintain and help the son build his headquarters, but it’s on the third row of the mental burners and isn’t in any rush.

    If he worked for a reliable landlord, possibly a friend, or relative, it would make sense if he could arrange to take over another building in another city. If your cities are very large, he could manage a two dozen or so apartment building, and make enough to cover the necessities (if his rent is free, or discounted by living in the basement, perhaps.) and work a second job, possibly part time job to cover tuition.

  54. Dforceon 07 Feb 2010 at 1:37 pm

    That sounds interesting LM, but what do you mean by “super of a building?”

    As in assitant manager or a manager himself (the parent)?

  55. Lighting Manon 07 Feb 2010 at 2:24 pm

    The superintendent of an apartment building is what I was referring to, he’d be in charge of repairing minor electrical, plumbing or mechanical problems and organizing and overseeing major repairs by sub-contractors.

  56. Dforceon 07 Feb 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Ah! Excelent—sorry, when I heard “super” my mind was set in “superhero.” lol

  57. Anonymouson 18 May 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I disagree with you on these points regarding a teacher as a day job.

    ”-: Not particularly plausible. Teachers can’t just run off whenever they want to investigate something. Unless your hero is willing to let supervillains run amok during school hours, he’ll have a lot of absences to explain.”

    Being a doctor, lawyer, solider, fire-fighter and even a politician are not part time jobs. Some doctors work beyond the typical 9-5 for example. When Clark Kent is sitting at his desk chatting to Lois at the daily planet, people are dying all around the world. I argue being a teacher could easily work and as a day job is a very noble endeavour.

    Plus lecturers and professors at University have plenty of hours free during the day and night. Plus they are off on weekend.

    “-: Vulnerable to life-lessons and preaching.”

    Maybe but it depends. You don’t have to focus having the teacher speaking to his students in class. Teachers/professors/lecturers do more than just give life lessons. A science teacher wouldn’t preach no more than a lawyer or Solider.

    “-: It sort of forces you to use the teacher’s students.”

    Again maybe so but not necessarily. A lecturer/professor at University hardly has any contact hours with their students. They are often out of the lecture rooms doing research, socialising with other teachers, going on trips or preparing work.

    Even high school teachers have breaks during the days. Go out in the evening and weekends.

    A lot of drama happens with teachers in general.

  58. B. Macon 19 May 2010 at 7:20 am

    “Being a doctor, lawyer, solider, fire-fighter and even a politician are not part time jobs.” I think most of those jobs could be made part-time, if the author wanted to. The fire-fighter might be part-time if he’s a volunteer instead of a professional. (I think professional fire-fighters typically work 24-hour shifts and then get two days off, so a superhero/fire-fighter would still be able to disappear for two days at a time without anybody noticing). The soldier might be National Guard (i.e., only actually on duty a few weekends a month, until he gets called up to active duty). If the lawyer works for his own law firm or is a partner, he probably has a lot of control over his schedule. A part-time politician… there are some part-time positions of significant political influence, e.g. maybe the character’s on a major planning board that meets every few weeks).

    I think superhero/politicians are rare. One problem for a full-time superhero/politician would be that his schedule would probably be really tight and his staffers would notice if he disappeared for hours at a time. (Hell, it made the headlines when South Carolina’s governor went off the radar for a day). I think you’d have more flexibility if he’s something like a small-town mayor. But, unless he has some freakishly clever tricks up his sleeve, I think it would strain plausibility if a high-profile politician was able to put tens or hundreds of hours into a secret life without at least one or two close confidantes finding out. (He’d probably have more trouble with nosy journalists than other professions would, though–the press will be on him even before anybody suspects something is amiss). On the plus side, being a politician, he might be able to convince his chief of staff that he needs sneaky scheduling help because he’s just having an affair and isn’t doing anything really weird like being a superhero. Welcome to DC. 😉

    Unless you have something unusual in mind, like a medical disaster as a major plot point, I would probably recommend against giving a superhero a day job as a doctor. (Most superheroes have at least one doctor friend, though). Most doctors are on call all the time and at least a few people will notice if he misses his appointments. (This doesn’t necessarily mean that these people know his secret–maybe he asks trusted co-workers to fill in for his appointments so that he can “go golfing” or whatever else he uses as his excuse). Or maybe he works in a field of medicine where doctors deal with fewer FIX ME NOW emergencies, so he’s not on call as much.

  59. Herojockon 03 Jun 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hey B.Mac I’ve decided to give my superhero a job I think might be rather unique. His essentially a film maker but more particularly a documentary film maker. He works with his graduate friends and family from University who know his secret identity. Using the power of the TV medium he unearths the ‘untold stories’. He also has a close relationship with a talk show host. Strengthened by the fact that they share the same agent.

    The first time he properly reveals himself publicly as Superhero. He appears on her show and effectively launches both of their careers into global stardom. She becomes a Oprah Winfrey type I am thinking. Obviously with her own traits, origin and stuff. I see his film career kind of like Alan more. Again with his her characteristics of course. They are just the nearest real life examples.


  60. Herojockon 03 Jun 2010 at 11:15 am

    Also I thought her being a talk show host and supporter of certain stars, some politicans and of course the Superhero. Would place her in a lot of danger from unwanted evil. Her rescues from the Superhero will sustain her stardom and foster a relationship between them and the world.

    I have an idea in my head of having the Superhero humanise himself on her talk show. A lot like how M Jackson and Tom cruise do in real life.

    Also I had an idea for a future plot where ‘experimented victims’ talk on her show.

    Thoughts on such a job?

  61. B. Macon 03 Jun 2010 at 1:39 pm

    “I see his film career kind of like Alan more.” In what way(s)? I have a mental picture of Alan Moore and his work, but I’m interested to know what your picture of him is. (Alan Moore strikes me as an unusual inspiration for a documentary filmmaker, which could be really interesting if it makes sense).

    I think trying something sort of like Oprah to put a human face on him would probably be heavy-handed. I think that’s because the characters will probably be doing very little besides talking and I don’t think self-narration is a very interesting way to develop a character*.

    One slightly different alternative would be making her an investigative TV journalist or blogger or whatever who decides to get to the bottom of who this guy is and what makes him tick. The main differences would be that 1) she’d get more chances to do stuff besides ask him questions and 2) her relationship with him would probably be a bit more adversarial and would raise more opportunities for conflict and 3) her goal would probably be more interesting than just helping him express who he is. Also, a talk show is purely voluntary, which I think reduces the possibility for dramatic tension. (IE: an investigative journalist or tabloid reporter can shove her camera in somebody’s face and demand answers, but a talk show host doesn’t have much opportunity to interact with an uncooperative witness).

    Also, if you’re interested in a more drastic departure from what you have already, other options include making her a psychiatrist or biographer. Some potential conflicts for the psychiatrist include her professional obligation to tell the police if he poses a threat to others, which most superheroes do, and her professional obligation not to get romantically involved with her clients (I get the impression that their relationship might become something more than purely professional). The biographer might be under orders from her publisher to do whatever it takes to gin up a scandal to sell copies. In fact, the biographer herself might start the book dishonest and willing to trick him to get the goods and gradually grow morally queasy about the idea of publishing the book.

    *I feel that Rorschach from Watchmen was an exception. Yes, it was heavy-handed. But his perspective was so unusual and unpredictable that I found it quite stylish.

    PS: I like the idea about the experiment victims–I bet there are a ton more examples of mostly-regular people you could come up with that have been affected in some way by the superheroic/villainous events in your story. Maybe the guys that have to clean up and do building repairs after a hero and villain go at it. Maybe cops that are sick of heroes messing up their investigations and taking or messing up evidence. A white high school science geek is annoyed that the cops keep stopping him because he fits the profile. 😉 One thing I would recommend, though–if you bring characters onto the show, or into the articles or whatever, I would recommend not having them disappear from the story after their episode. For example, maybe one of the cops that’s annoyed about the superheroes runs for Mayor and is a recurring obstacle for the protagonists. Maybe the clean-up crews go on strike and the public blames the superheroes. Maybe the science geek is so annoyed that he decides to become a hero/villain/whatever.

  62. i88on 03 Jul 2010 at 9:30 am

    My story is in the point of view of a villain (though he’s more of a sarcastic thief than an evil doer) and I was wondering if a detective “side career” would be a good idea for him.

  63. B. Macon 03 Jul 2010 at 11:27 am

    If he’s a sarcastic thief, why make him a detective rather than, say, a criminal? Is the job as a detective some sort of front?

    Another possibility that comes to mind would be a job that would help him pull off thieving activities: a locksmith, an electrician (easy access to homes and may be able to disable security systems easily), a home security specialist, a repair-guy that could plausibly explain to a suspicious neighbor why he was carrying a flatscreen TV into his Acme Repair van (because it’s “broken,” of course!), or a politician*, etc.

    Or, if he’s more of a pick-pocket kind of thief, maybe something that gives him a plausible reason to hang around bustling areas without attracting attention. I think a ballpark vendor could rob quite a few wallets from drunken fans wealthy enough to spend $50-300 on a ticket. And, of course, they’d be distracted by the game.

    *Kidding, but only a bit. 😉

  64. Kenchion 24 Sep 2011 at 7:17 am

    Well what if you’re character is a Student at a High School, and what if it’s something in the future?

  65. Scarletton 07 Nov 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I had an odd idea just now. What if a Hero is friends with a talk show host, and The Hero has to stop an evil scientist from, say, building a weather machine. The villain would also maintain a public identity as a philantropist to cover up his evil side. But what if the hero found that out, so he gets his talk show host friend to interview the bad guy in his civillian identity to see if she can get the scientist to accidentally admit he is a villain on the air.

  66. Dr. Vo Spaderon 07 Nov 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Sounds good! The philanthropist piece could be great for comedy, but is an intelligent move for a villain. (My opinion.) As well, I love public/televised conflict. It may be a good idea for you to look into H.A.A.R.P. if you intend on using the evil weather machine.

  67. Proxie#0on 01 Jun 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Would it be very contrived to have a character [that is a teacher] take an extended winter break (i.e. the course of the novel) to her mother’s home town in Port Angeles, WA (character lives in Seattle)?

  68. B. McKenzieon 02 Jun 2013 at 8:59 am

    Contrived, no. “Main character on vacation visiting mother” could raise excitement issues, though. (Are the stakes high enough to interest readers?)

  69. Proxie#0on 02 Jun 2013 at 11:38 am

    I see what you mean there. The whole thing starts as benign, but goes in a downward spiral retry quickly. Especially when her brother is arrested for assault and attempted kidnapping. Not to mention her mother hates her, or, well, sort of does.

  70. JaynaLeronon 12 Jun 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I have 2 characters: Matt and Aaron. They’re brothers who are roomates in a big city. Matt is smarter and has powers of density shifting and flight. Aaron is more street smart and has superhuman reflexes as well as an eidetic memory (can copy what he sees). The story is supposed to be semi-realistic, so to keep up appearances, both brothers are the superhero Savior-Matt in the day, Aaron at night. I’m having trouble selecting jobs with average salaries that function at their needed times. Any suggestions?

  71. Docrannon 12 Jun 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Jayna –
    Night guard at a museum or art gallery or night shift at the hospital or some-such for Aaron? The graveyard shift tends to be better paid in my country because most are unwilling to do it but I don’t know about where your characters are situated.
    As for Matt – well, pretty much everything else. You could do a twist on the old ‘reporter is actually the superhero’ shtick because hey, Matt isn’t Saviour! (at the moment). Maybe a job like photographer or journalist would enable him to quickly help his brother if need be?

  72. Jason Mondayon 25 Jan 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am considering to make my main character a bicycle messenger. What is your opinion of this job? He is turning thirty soon, and one of the side-stories is his coworkers looking down on him for still working as a messenger, when they’re all at least five years younger and planning to move on to ‘real’ careers soon.

    I figured this job would explain him being decently fit as well as agile and have a good sense of direction in the large city. Also, the MC has a personal struggle with feeling worthless and not needed, and some of his mean clients are insulting of his career choice and put him down for fun.

    So what are your honest opinions of this as a job? I’ve got a few plans on how to work in any sudden disappearances for crime-fighting, so that shouldn’t be much of an issue. Thanks for such an awesome and insightful website!

  73. BMon 25 Jan 2014 at 2:42 pm

    “What is your opinion of this job? He is turning thirty soon, and one of the side-stories is his coworkers looking down on him for still working as a messenger, when they’re all at least five years younger and planning to move on to ‘real’ careers soon… some of his mean clients are insulting of his career choice and put him down for fun.” That sounds very workable, though I’d recommend being sparing on clients bending over backwards to insult him.

    If most of the unfriendliness is sort of believable and/or semi-justified (e.g. someone calling his competence into question because he misses so many deadlines for no apparent reason), I think it will make the conflicts feel more believable. Also, if many characters around him are bending over backwards to make fun of him for something besides his actions/decisions, it will make him look less active and probably less likable (i.e. more like a victim than a hero). However, it’s okay if there is some totally irrational unfriendliness, like virtually everything J.J. Jameson does to Peter Parker.

    Why is he still a messenger long after most messengers have moved onto other jobs? (My suggestion would be coming up with something besides making him an underachiever. For example, maybe he’s stayed on in the job because it’s more superhero-friendly than anything in an office).

    “Thanks for such an awesome and insightful website!” Thanks!

  74. Pacmanon 01 Jun 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I like the bounty hunter idea, but wouldn’t it be hard ti keep his identity a secret? I thought you needed a license for that.

  75. B. McKenzieon 01 Jun 2014 at 6:34 pm

    “I like the bounty hunter idea, but wouldn’t it be hard ti keep his identity a secret? I thought you needed a license for that.” Some thoughts here:

    1. Maybe he’s illegally a bounty hunter, or is working in a time/place that doesn’t require a license.

    2. Maybe he doesn’t need to keep his identity a secret. (It’s generally not a huge deal for police superheroes… maybe it doesn’t need to be a big deal for bounty hunters, either).

    3. Maybe he’s set up a separate fake ID under which he works as a BH.

  76. Carloson 14 Nov 2014 at 10:07 am

    Mentioning teachers, you reminded me of Tommy Oliver in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. It’s supposed to be one of the best PR series. B.Mac might want to look into it.

  77. B. McKenzieon 15 Nov 2014 at 2:44 am

    “Mentioning teachers, you reminded me of Tommy Oliver in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. It’s supposed to be one of the best PR series. B.Mac might want to look into it.” I appreciate the thought, but I don’t think I’m in the target audience there.

  78. Carloson 15 Nov 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the reply, B.Mac. I’d still like to see this site talk about power rangers strengths and flaws. Linkara’s History of Power Rangers should help you catch up with the series.

  79. Carloson 16 Nov 2014 at 10:17 am

    Oh well. I just thought the website could give it some acknowledgement. Could I write an article on learning writing tips from power rangers?

  80. B. McKenzieon 17 Nov 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I really appreciate the offer, but I don’t think we have enough PR viewers. But even if we did, I think I’d be too pretentious to go for it. I’m more of a Dostoyevski* guy than Power Rangers.

    *For our Power Rangers fans: Dostoyevski is generally acknowledged to be one of the all-time literary masters, and his feats of badassery include getting sentenced to death by firing squad (and surviving), publishing the first novel set in a Russian prison (and surviving), and doing eight years of hard labor in Siberia (and surviving). I’m guessing he got by selling biker-meth or something.

  81. carloson 26 Aug 2015 at 12:57 am

    I noticed you didn’t mention students (elementary school kids to college age), they’re pretty common. I guess they have mostly the same pros and cons as teachers (Very relatable, don’t have to explain it to kids, a bit implausible, when do they go superheroing? etc.)

    But the one thing I would say is that (ironically) they’re more common than teachers. This is both a pro and con: on the + side, you’ve got a built in audience, but on the other hand, it may come across as cliche, although personally I doubt the kid hero will be cliche for a while.

    Given that animation aimed at kids typically focuses on kid heroes these days (even if they do get older, they start as kid heroes), I wouldn’t sweat having one as a hero in your story.

  82. B. McKenzieon 26 Aug 2015 at 2:44 am

    Ah, it’s very common for characters aged 5-22 to be students (either in a standard school or something more extraordinary like the Xavier Academy), but AFAIK it’s uncommon for superhero stories aimed at readers or viewers 16+ to prominently use a standard school as a setting. E.g. many Spider-Man stories have Peter Parker as a student in the background, but they generally spend more time on him being a photographer or science intern because those are easier to work into the central plot and higher-stakes. If the school is extraordinary, then I think it’d be much easier to incorporate in a memorable way.

  83. carloson 26 Aug 2015 at 4:27 am

    It is pretty rare for an older audience, I’ll give you that (e.g. Buffy the Vampire slayer is the only example I can think of. It’s rated 15 where I live). I was thinking more in Kid-friendly terms, I still think you should include it, because some of the people might want to write for a younger audience.

    Much like the super-soldier wikipedia article you mentioned, Tv tropes has an article for the student world saviour (actually they have 2): Wake up, Go to School, save the world AND Kid Hero

  84. granolaon 21 Sep 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I think the scope and vision for these day job lists are somewhat limited. Why does a job have to tie into their superhero life? Many of the negatives/positives you listed could be negated in the hands of clever writers. Personally, I’m against the idea of establishing “rules” (such as “don’t make a character have any beliefs”) – it limits the potential for unique characterization.

  85. B. McKenzieon 22 Sep 2015 at 8:57 pm

    “Why does a job have to tie into their superhero life?” You could have a superhero whose day job has absolutely nothing to do with his superhero work and/or the central conflict, but I wouldn’t recommend spending much time on the day job unless it’s really useful for developing the plot and/or characterization in some other way. E.g. in The Incredibles, Bob’s inability to be a heartless insurance adjuster helps develop a major conflict (superheroes having trouble fitting in with society at large), and the stakes on his meaningless job are actually sort of high given that blowing his cover will force his family to all change their identities again. I think it was an effective use of a limited amount of screentime (several minutes on Bob’s job and probably even less on ordinary school stuff for Dash and Violet).

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any adult superhero works that spend more than 10% of their length/time on a job far removed from the central plot*. I think that pacing out those 7,500+ words would be challenging. I feel like the scenario that I’d have the easiest time selling to readers would be if the superheroes are all students at the same school… then the school setting might be useful for developing team dynamics and/or personalities and/or priorities even if their schoolwork is not highly related to their work as superheroes.

    *UPDATE: Well, arguably the most recent Fantastic Four movie… It spends a shocking amount of time focusing on the characters as scientists working towards a low-stakes project rather than as scientists (or explorers or combatants or superheroes or anything else) working towards high-stakes goals. If I were rewriting the work, I probably would have overhauled the project to be much higher stakes (e.g. they NEED to get to the other dimension to cure a plague or something), but if the first half of the movie had to be a low-stakes mission of scientific curiosity, it is imaginable that it could have worked with more interesting dialogue, more interesting/consistent conflicts, and no idiot balls. Instead, Fantastic Four gave us a “superhero” story that was actually a very bad take on a scientific adventure, and I use the term “adventure” in jest. Think “sadventure” or “badventure.”

  86. Yuuki991on 26 Sep 2015 at 9:42 pm

    What if your main character has a day job that directly relates to his or her abilities? For instance, I have a story where the main character is a part of the Bureau of Psyon Affairs(BPA for short).

    A policing organization who apprehend rogue/dangerous Psyons(powered users) in order to better foster relations. Given there’s no secret identity, that obviously throws a bunch of those common themes of most superheroes in the water.

    If that’s the case, what should I focus on? My character was forcefully blackmailed into joining(upon proving himself of course), so maybe he has some apprehension about joining.

    I could also see him having trouble adjusting to the bureaucratic process and maybe coming up against an antagonist within the organization, whose in a position of extreme authority.

    Given the nature of my character’s ability(that is power augmentation of other Psyons,”Supercharging), I can see this individual possibly wanting to exploit it for their own personal agenda.

    And finally, given Psyons in the BPA need to have tracking chips implanted within them(so as track any who go rogue), I can see the character being at odds with the practice. Again, the whole navigating the organization aspect.


  87. B. McKenzieon 28 Sep 2015 at 11:00 pm

    “What if your main character has a day job that directly relates to his or her abilities?” I don’t think you’ll have any problems keeping it relevant to the central plot. 🙂 Uhh, yeah, I did the above list for characters that have separate vocations (usually superheroics + a day-job or superheroics + education), but it wouldn’t be a problem if the character just has a non-mundane job (e.g. something like a supercop in your case).

    “I could also see him having trouble adjusting to the bureaucratic process and maybe coming up against an antagonist within the organization, whose in a position of extreme authority.” I think that some conflict with authority/superiors is probably a given, but I’d also recommend thinking about lateral and/or subordinate conflict as well. For example, I’d guess that many of his peers have also been blackmailed and/or coerced into joining up, and God knows what sort of security and/or morale and/or loyalty problems that could cause. It could be that a lot of his teammates and/or immediate superiors and/or subordinates are just not very excited about being drafted and/or are actively or at least passively assisting the enemy. Also, these sorts of morale and/or internal opposition issues could lead to major obstacles with outside forces. E.g. these guys are probably going to be working with outsiders (e.g. like police might work with victims, witnesses, criminal informants, etc) BUT it’s going to be much harder for an officer to maintain the trust/cooperation of these outside players if they don’t actually care much and/or may actually be working with the criminals. (Personally, I think that’s helpful — as much as possible, I’d strongly prefer if my police characters had to think outside the box rather than just show up and wave a badge to get reliable cooperation out of third parties — I recommend having the police get burned by seemingly helpful sources* and/or having cooperative third parties get burned for counting on too much from the BPA).

    *E.g. falsely implicating someone to throw the police off a friend or loved one, falsely implicating someone because of a grudge, falsely implicating someone out of a general animosity towards the police, coming forward with useful information but chickening out when it matters the most, incorrectly interpreting what someone witnessed, a witness very unclear about what he/she saw and basically agreeing to the version suggested by police, a witness providing incorrect information because of incorrectly remembering a traumatic event possibly compounded by injury and/or supernatural interference, being actively involved in a criminal and/or resistance group, etc.

    “Given the nature of my character’s ability(that is power augmentation of other Psyons,”Supercharging), I can see this individual possibly wanting to exploit it for their own personal agenda.” Hmm, does the character have capabilities he can use independently? (It’d be sort of badass if he were the only guy without superpowers he could use himself, actually, and could play very interestingly if you were interested in using mistrust as a major plot element).

  88. Yuuki991on 29 Sep 2015 at 11:54 am

    @ B Mac.

    First off, thank you very much for responding to my post.

    In regards to your analysis on subordinate thoughts, I can totally see that. An idea I had in place was that my main character(Todd)’s partner has immense distrust over him. The reason being she believes she can do a better job than he can, and that she believes she works better alone(even though in the past, she had a partner). She’s also a Psyon.

    My intentions for the BPA was to point it out as an organization that has a mix of people who joined voluntarily or involuntarily. The involuntary parts are usually given to people whom have some criminal background, but upon proving themselves I.E doing the right thing,

    I also want to show the BPA as having a mixed reputation, namely for other law enforcement. For instance, maybe local police don’t trust the BPA, due to potential bias they may have over other Psyons? Or maybe, a part of the department are prideful and don’t want other feds interfering? But you bring up some excellent points.

    As for my main character having other capabilities, absolutely. He’s skilled at biology, namely the human body. The reason is that Todd is studying to be a doctor in order to treat his older brother, who has a rare medical condition. Thus, he can survey bodies and shows a degree of competency in this field.

    The other skill is that he’s an expert puzzle solver. Since he was little, Todd was adept at solving puzzles, such as rubix cubes and crosswords. This has gifted him with a unique perspective of seeing the world, as he sees individuals as puzzles. They have unique pieces that make up who they are and in turn they can be understood and solved.

    This leads into his belief that any unsolved issues are so, because there has yet to be a solution. (I kind of got inspiration from House). In terms of skillsets, Todd can analyze social surroundings very well and has a good read on individuals general habits, tics, motivations.

    This can be critical when dealing with other Psyons as Todd will attempt to get at the heart of who they are and appeal to it. Also, given he’s dabbled in puzzles and codes, he can solve complex riddles, due to how counterintuitively he thinks.

    For instance, during a murder; he notices a series of numbers. Upon noticing that they are prime numbers. Arranged in a specific order, from ascending Todd discovers a clue.

    I can see those skills, aside from his ability, being quite relevant. As for his powers, Todd can manipulate a type of energy called bio-energy. With it, he can increase a Psyon’s ability tenfold.

    He can also use this energy to shoot energy blasts(got inspiration from Ando from heroes).

  89. EMjoon 14 Feb 2016 at 7:23 pm

    How about a character who works as a taxi driver? He’ll be able to provide his own transportation, meet many people, and have plenty of fights with his boss (“you were out too long and didn’t earn half as much as you usually do. You’re wasting my gas, here!”).
    His father is a high-ranking member of the police department for the city, so he has an in there, and mostly everyone he meets sees him as incompetent and dense, hence his mindless job.
    Will his occupation give me enough to go off of?

  90. B. McKenzieon 15 Feb 2016 at 12:24 am

    “How about a character who works as a taxi driver?” It’s clever, I like it.

    If you’re looking to increase tension between the boss and the driver, you could also have the boss threaten to use (and/or actually use) a GPS tracking system on the car on underperforming drivers. “Wait, why were you driving around the docks at 3 AM last night? What the hell?”

  91. JackAttackon 25 Oct 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I like the idea of my superhero working as a secretary for the police office. He isn’t particularly physically strong and he doesn’t want to be a cop because the police in his city are very corrupt. As a secretary he has access to information and can go more under the radar. He originally worked as a secretary at an elementary school where he meets the love interest. He got fired for not showing up to work enough. He was too busy chasing crimes with a police radio. He has the superpower of music…Yes, it is a musical. He can make people sing and dance. Making robbers dance is a good way to stop them from robbing a bank. I think it very hard to write a superhero for the musical genre because it can be harder to develop the story and the characters when there are fewer words to do so. I’m up for the challenge as superhero fan and a fan of musical theatre. I’m honestly having the most trouble with the villain and the villain’s origin story. He is motivated by money and making sure his family has enough to survive. He has tons of medical bills he cannot pay for his mother with dementia and his wife is expecting. He is in the same hospital the hero was in. The hero was hit in the head by a falling building when he was taking his niece to a musical. He wakes up after a new life-saving surgery with people singing everything. He can only make people sing for a few minutes, though around him a lot of what he hears is people singing. The villain has time travel powers, and I want the thing that happens to him before his surgery to have something to do with time and doing something over and over again. He is a cop and I am thinking that he is in police academy having to do some timed training task over and over again when there is a fire. I don’t know about that. I also am kind of worried that my main character is too nice and perfect and I don’t know how to make him more flawed. I’m thinking it might motivate him if his niece is killed in the bombing and he had an opportunity to save her.

  92. B. McKenzieon 26 Oct 2017 at 12:18 am

    “He has the superpower of music…Yes, it is a musical.” I don’t understand. Do you mean it’s musical theater or a non-theater story about a character with musical powers (e.g. Scott Pilgrim)? If you mean musical theater, that would be REALLY important context, and I’d recommend looking for advice on sites for playwrights because these are radically different media.

    “Making robbers dance is a good way to stop them from robbing a bank.” It doesn’t sound like the most promising opportunity for an action scene — if a character can easily win by flipping his powers on, your options would be limited for dramatic tension and predictability. Also, bank robberies are really generic, and I wouldn’t recommend building a vehicle this exotic for a generic journey. Compare to, say, Scott Pilgrim incorporating music (e.g. battles of bands) much more smoothly and distinctively into a central action/romance plot.

    “I think it’s very hard to write a superhero for the musical genre…” If you’re writing this as a novel/comic/short story, I don’t think there actually is a musical genre. Also, I don’t think there are a lot of publishers with successful comparable works.

  93. JackAttackon 26 Oct 2017 at 9:27 am

    It is an actual musical written with music for the stage. I feel like this can work onstage. This is just as much a musical as it is a superhero story. I can agree with you that bank robbers are really generic. They aren’t the main villains, though there could be more tension in the scene. There are limits to the heroes powers which are that he can’t use them for more than 3 or 4 minutes which makes him harder to beat and adds limitations to his abilities. I’m not as worried about traditional publishers because it is musical theatre. I want to do a good job writing the musical, though I will probably need to persuade staff at theatres to play the show.

  94. JackAttackon 26 Oct 2017 at 9:30 am

    There is also an outline in progress of songs and music. I currently working with a composer. I’m trying to get a basic story and scene by scene and song by song outline down.

  95. B. McKenzieon 28 Oct 2017 at 9:01 pm

    “It is an actual musical written with music for the stage.” It may be more helpful getting musical-writing advice from someone that has worked on a musical before. Or has seen a musical before.

    I’d guess that sites for playwrights (particularly any sites about writing musical theater) would probably be more promising. Best of luck in your writing.

  96. blon 06 Nov 2017 at 8:33 am

    I’ve got one question, is it gonna be a comedy? A play for children? Or a play for YA to A? Because we’ve needed a superhero musical in the last one for so long. I’m personally in a hunchback of notre dame play right now, and I’ve just realized how much I love theatre. Just sorta curious, also input.
    I can kinda can see where you’re going with this music wise, or at least my head has an idea, anyway I would suggest putting a limitation on the time travel ability, because really there’s no way to make him lose without making it dumb, which if it’s a comedy or, you have a truly good way for him to lose I’m down.
    One last thing if you could post here once it’s released I’d be down to watch it.
    Not the the actual play, just to let us know

  97. Omegaon 26 Mar 2019 at 11:37 am

    What if hero join criminal organisation and makes different gangs fight with his manipulative powers until the end when only one and most badass criminal is left who is a psychopathic cannibal ( not sure about villian still But what about the idea)

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