Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More notes on super soap operas

I especially like that 52 and Heroes use lots of minor super heroes.

It's often hard to sympathize with paragon characters like Batman (a mortal dude who can outwit the Man of Steel), Superman (the very definition of uber), the Flash, or Wonder Woman. Minor super heroes have the benefit of being familiar (they've been in the comics for years) yet more vulnerable. You can feel the tension of their interactions more.

Heroes, I think, handles the familiarity issue not only by being an ongoing show (you meet the same characters week after week), but by giving most of the characters broad powers: everybody knows what telepathy and invisibility are about. The weird powers, like absorbing other people's powers, super hearing, and turning metal to liquid, were either given to characters with lots of screen time, allowing viewers to familiarize themselves with the characters over time, or very little screen time, making it a non-issue.

I'm sure somebody has commented about this before, but Clark Kent, in the context of having lost his powers in 52, if a much more interesting character than Superman.

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