Why everyone love superheroes?
As of this writing, Disney just released the first few episodes of WandaVision, Wonder Woman 84 premiered over Christmas at a time it was desperately needed, and a slew of other titles are set to be released by both Marvel and DC in the coming months.
So what is the deal with superheroes anyway? Why did I choose to write 4 full books about them and how have superheroes remained so popular through so many generations? I believe the answer to that last question lays in each individual experience.
When you read a comic book or graphic novel for the first time, it's the way in which you relate to the characters that keeps you invested in their stories. This is true of any great character, but superheroes hold a special appeal.
I think people are drawn to superheroes because they are a source of encouragement. The biggest names in comics are heroic using their special abilities to fight evil and save the day. The reader seeks to find themselves in the pages and relates to their chosen hero, especially because most of the superheroes aren't without flaws.
Someone like Spiderman is especially appealing because when he takes off his mask he's just an average guy. There's a sense of "if Spiderman can take on Green Goblin then I can go out for that job, or ask that girl out, etc."
Whether you liked the movie or not, the anticipation for Wonder Woman 84 was so heightened because it came at a time when we really needed a hero to look up to. Wonder Woman is brave even to face down, not only epic dangers, but tough choices and come out okay in the end. As viewers, it leaves us with a bit of hope.
In an interview with USA Today, Kristen Wiig who played the iconic villain Cheetah in the film, described how the character empowered her.
"I was actually physically getting stronger as the movie was being shot. I was feeling different as Barbara was feeling different, which was kind of a cool thing that I wasn't expecting."
The journey of writing my series Silke’s Strike Force started back in 2016, maybe even further back. Initially, I didn’t have any characters with superpowers. It was meant to be a story about managing motherhood while being a private investigator. Only parts of that original story remained but I shifted to superheroes because I’ve been a fan myself for a very long time.
My first comic was The Punisher. He’s still my favorite comic book character to this day. Even though he doesn’t have superpowers, I enjoyed the storytelling in the comic book and graphic novels so much, it kept me invested every issue.
That was my hope when writing Silke’s Strike Force. I wanted to depict realistic people who have extraordinary powers thrust upon them. Silke herself was written as an ordinary character operating in a largely recognizable world, but she just happens to be navigating that world with a superpower.
In Book 1, KARMA, I wrote her a little naïve and a little tongue-in-cheek. I wanted a lightheartedness to the character that was a contrast to the rest of the group who held their powers a lot longer. As time went on, I needed Silke to change. The things she went through during the four books would take their toll on anyone, but especially a young woman not used to being in such extreme life-or-death circumstances. It was important to make Silke grow, not only by developing her powers, but becoming more confidant as a leader as well.
In a way, the characters tell their own truths. So, the story changed a lot from my initial expectations. I added a lot more military influence than I expected but that’s what happens when you’re inspired by G.I. Joe!
It’s been really fun writing this series and these characters. If somehow my heroes and villains wound up in the zeitgeist of the comic book world it would blow my mind. But that’s not why I wrote this, I wrote it to tell a story of what it’s like to be overlooked and then overcome the challenge of your own uncertainty. That more than anything is why superheroes resonate with so many people.
But then again, I've always related to the villains! Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
I had a chance to stop by the Behind the Mask podcast to discuss what inspired my superhero, Karma, as well as the world that she lives in. We also discussed how to stay motivated when working on a long project.
Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy stories about outcasts and anti-heroes saving the day.
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