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Who, me? [userpic]

More mundane supers

July 19th, 2007 (02:02 pm)

I was thinking about this last week, but metahacker's post on "The superhero question" reminded me. In superhero books, nearly everybody who gains superpowers becomes either a hero or a villain. In reality, most people would probably fall somewhere in between. Of course, such people probably just don't get books written about them; but it's interesting to consider. The DC and Marvel universes must be full of superpowered people doing ordinary jobs, such as:

  • Mort Snergle, Super CPA! Bitten by a radioactive weasel, mild-mannered accountant Mort gained the ability to detect lies with superhuman accuracy. Rather than join his brother-in-law's superhero team, The Mighty Shoes, he resolved to remain an accountant—but now specializes in auditing.
  • Süzi Jones, The Perfect Hairdresser! When packing for a trip, Süzi made the mistake of topping up her travel bottle of shampoo with her roommate's supply of Absurdium (hey, she was tired). By the time she got her luggage back from US Airways, the resulting mixture had undergone a nucleochemical reaction; when she washed her hair, the resulting surge of ΔΔΔ-rays burnt out the neural shields on her pineal gland, giving her amazing powers of empathy. Now she always knows what you want your hair to look like.
  • Ward Snipes. Seemingly just an everyday busboy at the grocery store, he has the astounding power to convert ordinary pocket lint into a valuable parsley substitute.
  • Joe Josephson. Stronger than Superman, faster than the Flash, but afflicted with terminal shyness. So he never goes out in public; he just stays in his mansion all the time. (He pays for his mansion by squeezing coal into diamonds. He's shy, not stupid.)

Comments

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)

So: what super-power do you have, which you do not display? :-)

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC)

Cheese.

Posted by: metahacker (metahacker)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
ice

You're another one who needs to read Wild Cards. ;) There is a class of supers, between "Aces" (Super Heroes) and "Jokers" (misshapen freaks), called Deuces...with the lame powers.

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)

Yeah, but that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about the people with Ace-level powers who just use them to improve their lives in non-crime-related ways. Which, admittedly, Wild Cards does have a fair chunk of as well.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)

Right. Arm-Fall-Off Boy need not apply.

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)

"Can't you see that I'm INVINCIBLE!" Hee.

Sorry, I have to quote that every time he comes up in conversation. Blame hungrytiger :-)

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)

he DC and Marvel universes must be full of superpowered people doing ordinary jobs,

You'd think so, but the evidence is against it. You see them occasionally, but they're definitely the exception, not the rule. (One of my favorite such stories was from The Flash during (IIRC) the early 90s: a competing group of super-speedsters from Russia defected to the U.S. Rather than stay in the super-villain/hero mold, they set themselves up as "Kapitalist Kouriers", a small, but *very fast* delivery service :-)

For that matter, on the Marvel side, they recently enacted legislation that essentially *forces* all super-powered folks to join superhero teams, under government supervision.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
Absence of evidence

The DC and Marvel universes must be full of superpowered people doing ordinary jobs,

You'd think so, but the evidence is against it. You see them occasionally, but they're definitely the exception, not the rule.

Yeah, but that's just what you'd expect; Super CPA is just not interesting enough to show up in the comic books.

For that matter, on the Marvel side, they recently enacted legislation that essentially *forces* all super-powered folks to join superhero teams, under government supervision.

That does argue against the existence of mundane supers. Maybe most of them just keep their heads down, so the government doesn't realize how many are out there?

Of course, I'm not particularly interested in whether or not these guys really do exist in the comic universes; I just liked the idea. :-)

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