Archive for September 27th, 2010

Sep 27 2010

A brief note on disabled superheroes…

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.

While planning out a disabled superhero, Liquid Comics asked a group of disabled Syrian and U.S. kids which superpower they would most want to have.

“I’ve asked that question in many different groups before and the typical answers are always the ones you’d expect — flying, reading minds, or being super strong,” [the CEO] said.

“The fascinating thing about this group was that I don’t think I heard any one of those three,” he said….

[The CEO] said it was noteworthy that none of the young people wanted the hero’s power to be something that cured their disability.

Amen to that. If you’re going to have a disabled hero, I think it sort of defeats the purpose (and makes the character more bland) if the superpower essentially removes the disability. For example, Matt Murdoch/Daredevil is technically blind, but pretty much the only indication of that is that he wears sunglasses all the time. His radar senses are so ridiculously fine-tuned that his blindness is rarely, if ever, actually an obstacle.  (Indeed, I think his superpowered senses present more of a challenge for him than his vision.  He sometimes sleeps with the music turned up to drown out the sounds of Hell’s Kitchen).

This reminds me of the song Save the Last Dance for Me. The guy who wrote the song, Doc Pomus, was disabled by polio and could not dance with his wife (a professional dancer) at their wedding. Instead, he had to watch his brother dance on his behalf. He wrote the lyrics to Last Dance on the back of one of his wedding invitations. (Oof).  I think that’s the sort of dramatic opportunity an author forgoes by using superpowers to essentially cure the character. How does a character deal with being unable to participate in a really special moment?  (Or, at least, unable to participate like most other people do).

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