Web fiction Community Collab. Superhero Story! Thread 2

8 years ago | Alexander.Hollins (Member)

So, it seems pretty unanimous that a superhero story set is a great way to start. So now on to setting. Shout out, give opinions. WW1 and 2 era, victorian england, modern day? Do we want to build a new world from scratch. Maybe a crashed colony ship on a planet where the colonists get super powers? Fantasy setting where an artifact has empowered a lot of people? Speak up.

Also, this is intended to be as wide open as we can make it. Please feel free to link to the project in as many places as you see fit, and draw other authors in!

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Page: 12


  1. Rick (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    This thread brought up something that I was wondering about after I made my post in the other thread. Are these heroes going to share a common origin, or will a different series of events (independent or conspiracy-like coincidental) give them abilities and they unite against a common threat? We can decide this later if need be, but it was just something that came to my mind.

    After seeing Captain America, I am a bit partial to a war-like setting, but my history isn't what it used to be (unless we go Civil War), so I may make a few mistakes there trying to remember if such and such were invented at that time. Due to that, I have to vote for something relatively modern (but I won't object to a fantasy world where we have a lot more flexible rules).

    The other thing I was wondering about is tone (which can be decided later), such as serious, humorous, tragic, alternating between them. Sorry if I kind of derailed your thread.

  2. Robert Rodgers (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    How about this: Go wide, go broad, go loose.

    Create an interweaving narrative that involves all time-periods--from the 1800s up to present-day. A story about Sherlock Holmes working together with Spring-Heeled Jack as the archetypical 'superhero team-up'? Sure. World War II heroes punching Nazis? Okay. Up until the modern incarnation of the superhero. With just a smidge of forethought, you can make all of these narratives interwoven--part of the same fabric and the same whole. Create a collective history, and have the stories that come after play on it.

    As for 'event X gave everyone superpowers', I'd resist it, because it's a little cliche and more or less creates a limitation on *when* you can start the story (since all stories would have to begin after event X). I have less problem with it, of course, if event X happened sufficiently in the past (say, 1890s?). Basically, superheroes are akin to mutants, or novas in Aberrant (excellent game-play system by White Wolf for superheroes); they've got something weird going on in their DNA, and their 'eruption' is where their powerset is defined (electrocuted? maybe you'll erupt to have electricity-based powers).

    Since superheroes with superpowers is a pretty modern trope (Superman was the first that I know of, and he didn't show up into after the 1930s), an idea I've liked that parallels the evolution of comic books--back when people didn't understand where these powers were coming from, governments and scientists would think up all sorts of ridiculous explanations. Peter Parker gets bit by a 'radioactive spider'--well, actually, his powers 'erupted' as a result of the pain and surprise involved with the spider bite, but it had nothing to do with the spider being radioactive, or the spider itself. But that's the explanation, because people wanted answers, and as the understanding of how powers worked and where they came from became more refined, so did the explanations.

    One thing I love about allowing people to tell stories in any time period is that it allows writers to focus on what they do and love best. Want to tell a simple story about Captain America punching Nazis? Go to World War II. Want to tell a complex story concerning the application of superhero morality in the modern world? Go to the 90s and up.

  3. Rick (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    I have to admit, some kind of conspiracy or something stretching through time could be really interesting. It might require more planning on our parts, but the end result could be that much better as a result.

  4. Robert Rodgers (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    It doesn't require a *lot* of planning, just a lot of vagueties and a notably subtle touch--we have to read each other's stories and remember what's been created and set in place (create a Story Bible, perhaps, with the names of important characters and events, and brief descriptions, and links to the stories). I'd recommend putting one or two people to the task of editing (one for formatting/grammar/general story quality, the other for making sure all the details of the story link up with previous details, and there are no significant plot holes created by the story).

  5. G.S. Williams (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    I'm kind of following on threads of what Roger is saying and realized as much as it's fun to tie things together by one event, I'd prefer a really loose universe where magic can inspire some characters' powers while other rely on science and technology or mutation (though honestly as much as I loved the X-men, mutants is a lame origin story).

    Yes, Batman Begins and Dark Knight are cool because Batman seems almost plausible and realistic -- but where would Green Lantern or Superman fit in that universe? If people want to write about the action adventures of Hercules who was an early superhero chosen by Zeus, go for it. If we want a World War 1 supersoldier, cool, and if we want sci fi future stuff that's great.

    Otherwise we're going to have like a time travel gone wrong thing that the future causes the first heroes in the past, or aliens, and I'm sick of aliens. Have you seen the Battleship movie trailer? Gah!

  6. Robert Rodgers (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    Honestly, the greatest thing Nolan accomplished with The Dark Knight was to use enough cleverness to distract us all from the fact that Batman is an incredibly rich fursuiter who spends his nights wrecking the city in a tank, only stopping to assault the poor, mentally ill, and homeless.

    (PS: I still love you, Batman.)

  7. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    Awesome thoughts so far. Denizen, again, you are ahead of me! Heh, exactly the same things I was mulling over, but they are very dependent on the when, imo.

    My own thoughts, I'd like a modern world setting. And I'd really like a, superpowers just started appearing, type scenario. Like, maybe a few people have had superpowers through the ages, but it was really rare, until something starting causing it to happen. Again, super event happening IS cliche (wild card virus, anyone?) But I really like the stories that can be told of the sudden appearance of powers, everyone working to control their powers and get on the same page.

    I do dig the idea of a war setting. I could totally see, for example, placing it in the near future, wwIII has broken out, and someone tries creating superheroes as weapons, and it gets out of control. Actually, I could totally see it being a recessive genetic thing, and some mad supervillian trying to activate hidden genes to evolve the human race. If we do it that way, then we have an accepted existing past to work with, our own, although theres nothing saying certain people weren't actually superheroes/villains, we just didn't know it.

    Agreed though. Aliens may happen, but not as the cause I hope. I really want superpowers to be something inherent to humanity, just latent. If you haven't read Alexandra Erin's Star Harbor Nights, you really should, her Darkwell genetics is PERFECT.

  8. G.S. Williams (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    I really enjoy Star Harbour, more than anything else AE writes honestly, but that's why I think random causes and origins is more fun than a linked component, whether it's aliens or genetics. I'm not saying don't go that way, I just think that it's been done a lot so why not give ourselves permissions to have fun individual origins instead of a big interlink?

  9. G.S. Williams (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    Ignore what I just said because (un?)fortunately I came up with a fun "tie it all together" origin story out of nowhere.

    There is an old Hebrew legend that Lilith was the first woman and equal of Adam, but rebelled in the Garden of Eden so God made Eve. Well, Lilith would have immortality and power because she didn't have the whole problem with the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and so her offspring all carry super-powers on their X-chromosome.

    Men with mothers from that lineage get powers, but don't pass it on to their sons. Women can carry it as a recessive or minor-expressed power, but if a woman happens to get two X-chromosomes from the lineage (paternal grandmother and mother) then she would be even more powerful than males because she's doubled up.

    This would explain witches in history, powerful figures like Cleopatra and Helen of Troy, the Amazons, etc. The powers can express themselves in different ways (for fun and creativity sake) but could all really be a form of telekinesis expressed through personalities. "Magic" and "spells" were witches' ways of focusing their ability, whereas people who could sit on a bed of nails had meditated control of their concentration for feats. So some people are strong or fast or pyrokinetic based on experiences / personality traits / interests...

    The population (like witches) would have remained small, hidden, underground in superstitious ages but now there are too many to keep secret, the modern (or slightly futuristic) society is technologically advanced and multicultural enough that super-powereds start revealing themselves. But there were always some through history -- Greek and Norse "gods", Robin Hood, Paul Bunyan, Nefertiti, what-have- you.

    Oh and Lilith is still alive and manipulating things from behind the scenes to take over the world -- collecting her own team of bad supers and trying to manipulapte others. She could have started some kind of breeding program /adoptions / orphans / messing with sperm donors / to grow the population over a few generations to cause greater numbers.

    And if people want a sudden age for powers to come into affect, it could be puberty because it's linked to sex chromosomes and activated by hormonal changes. Or, if we want to be really twisted, after the character loses their virginity. Given that in previous generations sexual mores were more controlled, there would be more superheroes and villains after the promiscuity of the 1960s and the social revolution of that time. THAT would be awkward -- how did you set the house on FIRE? Um, I'm a superhero now? Plus, maybe pregnant.

    Boy do I hate random ideas that come out of nowhere that totally refute my original position.

  10. Rick (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    If only genetics were that simple (I'd have my degree already). About women being twice as strong, if you weren't aware, one of the X chromosomes will turn itself off (google Barr bodies for more info). Then you also have the problem that multiple X chromosomes are the only mutation that people can survive with with little detrimental effect (super female and klinefelter's syndrome; super female would make long term pedigrees a nightmare), but those extra X chromosomes will shut off just like they do a normal woman. Chromosomes can also exchange information, so you could have an event where the gene for this could move onto any one of the autosomes, or even the Y. The chances of this happening would increase with time, but it could be used to explain some of the tall tales in the past. If it moves onto the other chromosomes, you could have the variable expression that you mentioned where the people with more copies of this mutant gene would express greater levels of power, and this would make selective breeding all the more necessary to create an unrivaled super army. As the number of alternate locations for the gene increases, you could come up with all kinds of twisted stories for how they awaken (the child that was just conceived in Gavin's post could already have it, imagine carrying a pyro around for 9 months!)

    This just depends on how serious you want to be with actual genetics though. If you actually wanted to make the gene a transposon, then the sky is really the limit there. You could have stories about how someone rises up and continually to grow stronger before their DNA destroys itself. Genetics leaves a lot of options, even if you do try to make it as real as possible.

  11. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    The wonder of a story like this is, that can be one groups explanations for the sudden emergence of the powers, but that doesn't make them perfectly RIGHT.

  12. G.S. Williams (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    Dude, it's a superhero story. Does a genetic mutation really give an explanation for why Wolfsbane can shapeshift or why Magneto can control metal? It's an idea that hit my brain while I was walking to my car, and just because normal X chromosomes turn off doesn't have anything to do with a FICTIONAL suggestion of chromosomes as the genetic source of superpowers. It's make-believe and suspension of disbelief.

    If you want a linked source of powers' origins and a villain behind history, I haven't heard a better possible scenario suggested. Otherwise go random like Robert suggested.

  13. Robert Rodgers (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    Multiple contradictory explanations are feasible; reality is messy, not neat. There doesn't need to be a conclusive answer, but plenty of people can think there is one, and they know it (and even have a little evidence to back it up).

  14. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 8 years ago

    exactly. and that would be something that, in my mind, shouldnt be set in stone, (the cause of powers).

    The main thrust here is type of world and time frame.

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