Superpowers Ideas For A Essay

In a new television show, members of a family find that they have miraculously developed superhuman abilities — and that the shared experience brings them closer together. What superpower would you like to have?

In reviewing the new show “No Ordinary Family,” Alessandra Stanley writes about the show’s first episode, in which a plane crash results in a surprise discovery for a family of four — that the crash left each of them with a paranormal ability:

Each superpower compensates for its owner’s sense of inadequacy. That’s not the same as wish fulfillment, however; otherwise Jim would have his own art gallery, and Stephanie would have a housekeeper.

Jim, who feels weak and powerless, discovers that he can catch bullets with his bare hands and leap tall buildings in a single bound. Stephanie, who can’t keep up with the stress of career and family obligations, can suddenly move at the speed of light, or faster, and is close to being able to be in two places at the same time. Daphne, who is immersed in the nightmarish puzzle that is high school, develops the ability to know what people are thinking. And J J, who struggles in school and is considered to have learning disabilities, is suddenly a near genius.

Students: Tell us about what superpower you would like to have, if you could. How would you use it? What abilities or talents do you think your family members would want to have? Does the power you wish for somehow make up for something lacking in your life, as on “No Ordinary Family”?


Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.

Author's Note
Burnt Bread

Damn it's hard following Solemn, but I'll try.

I'd say that the belief in superpowers is rooted into the very core of the human being. Believing that seemingly unaccomplishable feats can and have be accomplished gives us hope that someday we might also be a part of something great. And though our destiny may never include super physical strength, impressive psychic abilities or gates into other dimensions, never forget the fact that as you are, you are potentially a human torch.

At the heart of ability is the drive of determination. So often, it is the sheer want for a better world that allows us all to push forward against adversity.

As a writer, you hold humanity in your hands. Every word that you write and ever story that you tell reflects a crucial interpretation of the world in which you live. Writing is proof of a distance between where the world is now, and where you would like it to be. Through the power of fiction, all writers and creators are as equally blessed with the gift of saving the world. As with all other superpowers, having the gift of the written language is not important, it's what you choose to do with that counts.

It's been half a year, and the purpose of Stop The Press has always been to present writers with new ideas, or remind them of old but valid paths to writing. The interpretation of topics have never failed to surprise me at least once, and again (as always) this issue is filled with strange people doing what they do best.

Please enjoy this issue, and despite what Felicia will have you believe, I do actually have superpowers, and I am indeed a member in the League of Super-duper-pooer Power-ers.


"Lookin' Good in Tights"
Solemn Coyote

So, you're going out for a night on the town. Literally, in your case. You've got your cape. You've got your incredible powers of flight. You've got a form-fitting spandex suit that leaves nothing to the imagination. Why? Tradition.

You come from a long line of men in tights. It's just how things have always been done. Someone on your side of the family wants to stand up for the common man, he has to undergo a certain amount of indignity. It's like being a frat pledge, only it never ends.

One night, you're off subduing evil, and you run into another costumed crusader. Only she's a bit less costumed. She's wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Comfortable sneakers. There's not a stitch of clinging, artificial material on her. Suddenly your Adam's apple is lodged in your throat, and your world is turned upside down. You realize that you don't have to do things the old way. You realize that there are people casually fighting crime. You go back home and ditch the old suit.

So, now what? Well, changing your traditional uniform for cozy sweatpants seems a little extreme. It's tempting, but you decide against it. You do, however, rip off your emblem, trade the cape for a trench coat, and switch the tights for slacks. The mask stays, but it gets downsized to a black domino instead of a full-face masterpiece. Now you look less like a cirque de sole renegade and more like a melodramatic, slightly eccentric detective. Much better.

So, what's the point of this story? Well, mostly, it's to dispel any ideas that there's just one way to costume a superhero. There isn't. Every hero, ideally, should have a costume tailored to his personality. If he wears a costume at all. The tights aren't mandatory. Just expected. While a more conservative superhero may opt for make-up, a full-body suit, a cowl and cloak, a member of the younger generation might skip the whole rigmarole. Unless he wants to emulate dear old dad.


Quote
Contributed by Mobman

You can't relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle.
Timothy Dalton


Inpracticalties of Fire and Lighting
Dice Darwin

You know, I like super powers as much as the next person, but you know what I'm even more a fan of? Common sense. And you know what powers make the least sense? Elemental powers. Or most of them anyway. In specific, I'm talking lightning and fire.

Throwing lightning isn't a brilliant idea. Seriously. Now while Mr. and Mrs. M. Character see electricity as a great way to fry that pesky bad guy, those of us who aren't blindly optimistic see it as a quick way to make your heart go on strike. That'll put a dent in your super hero career, right? Let's just say that you're not gonna achieve legend status by putting yourself in the intensive care unit after every battle. For that reason alone, I give lightning two sparking middle fingers down.

And if lightning techniques are bad, fire attacks are just plain insane. Yeah, I said it. They're crazy. Now don't get me wrong, I think flame attacks are pretty cool at times. The way it bursts from your palm, roasts some random henchmen's saliva-filled mouth, and delivers one of those extra-crispy mandibles we all crave is more than enough to get my heart racing past the speed limit. But you know, there's one little thing that's kinda off about that. How can you hurl flames from your body without turning yourself into a walking torch? Answer: you can't. You'd have to be fantastic to survive that, and most of you heroes are mediocre at best. So unless you're looking to spend some vacation time in an urn, you might wanna avoid that super power.

Now just because those elemental powers are hell on the human body, doesn't mean they all are. As long as it isn't broken, wind actually gets the Dice Darwin seal of approval. It's a powerful way to silence villains. Tired of their monologues? Put a little more air in their throat; that'll close those lips. Wanna embarrass that mean old super villainess? Blow her skirt up and watch her flee in a hurry. Then you can turn around and completely body your enemies by dropping tornadoes on their bases.

So be smart and do the right thing: avoid fire and lightning. Not just for yourself, but for your friends, family, and groupies. Whether you're plain or elegant, vote yes for the wind element.


By The Way...
WyrdWolf

Super powers. Everybody wants one. The number one power everyone wants: flight. Definitely. Who doesn't ever want to lose a balloon again? Who doesn't wanna hunt down that bitch of a mosquito and smash him between their palms? And who, I ask, who wouldn't kill to moon a blimp pilot?

Don't ask, don't tell.

If I had to choose a super power…well…hm. I'd like to be able to conjure up really shitty pens. The really crappy ones. So if anyone ever asked me for a pen, I'd bring one of 'em into existence, then they'd use it. Or NOT! And I'd be like…

"Gotcha, bitch! Ha-HA-ha-HA!"

Then I would bury them in a pile of crappy pens. Just a personal fantasy of mine. Maybe do that but chew all the pen caps, so when I gave them the pen they'd just be disgusted. And I'd be like…

"Gotcha, bitch! Ha-HA-ha-HA!"

Then I would bury them in a pile of crappy pens. Or maybe I would rig it so that when they took off the cap, the ink would explode in their face and render them Smurf-like and also gay in appearance. And I'd be like…

"Gotcha, bitch! Ha-HA-ha-HA!"

Then I would bury them in a pile of crappy pens.

It's a grind.

Don't ever be a superhero.


Bane of Heroes and Villains: The Mary Sue
Kindly proffered by Striped Feather

Well, in this issue I'd like to say how much we all hate her and her evil twin brothers Gary Stue and Marty Stue, but it seems to me that many authors haven't the faintest of just who they are and how unwelcome they should be. As a self-proclaimed Sue-slayer, I think you probably should know about this before you try any major epic story.

I'm sure a lot of you who are reading this right now do know, but for those that don't: Mary Sues (or Gary/Marty Stues) are the perfect characters that either every other character hates or loves. They may have super powers and kick rear anytime any day, or they may be so helpless that their significant other must rescue them all the time and yet still finds her (usually a she) endearing. Point is, they are usually the most likeable and faultless characters for no good reason.

The massive problem with that is that they have very little substance most of the time. A perfect character isn't that fun to write for most people; if someone has no faults, what the hell are you going to do for a plot or character development? The core of many plots is the problems of the character or how they react to situations they are in. It's no fun if your character doesn't ever screw up when they try to do something. Really though, perfect characters don't exist in real life and, even if you write fantasy, they shouldn't exist in your universes either. Plus, they don't help with developing or exploring a character's psyche and your readers won't be very inclined to read your work.

"How does this tie in with superheroes?" You ask. Well, hate to break it to comic lovers, but superheroes are often considered Uber Sues. Only one weakness, such as kryptonite, does not exempt them from this category!
If you want to have a character that can have super powers such as telekinesis or shape shifting without making them look like plastic characters there are certain steps you can take.

1. Give them emotion. If they are going through a particularly gruelling time, the key is to write about their thoughts or feelings. Tell us what they think of what's going on, not just what they're doing!

2. Be sparing when handing out abilities. A character probably should not be able to bring him/her self back from the grave, shape shift, call on the power of the gods, or wield the Sword of Super Awesome Death ™ without a bloody good reason. Even superheroes have their limits, folks. You need to be realistic in what they can or cannot do. As much as we'd all like to be able to do all of these things and get out of any situation with barely a scratch, it just doesn't happen. Having a character like a tank doesn't allow them to mess up and fix their mistakes. Seriously, it's better and more interesting to have the character work out a problem with their head on how to get up a cliff rather than having them just solve it by flying.

3. If they have an angsty past, be careful with having them angst over it. Remember, tragedy is not something you want to mess around with lightly. Take it seriously when you work with it and don't just throw it in to get sympathy. Plus, having a morbidly depressed character that suddenly realizes the value of life is a bit creepy. There is no such thing as a miracle pill for problems like that. Stuff like that usually happens slowly over time.

4. Be realistic with learning. Nobody, even if they are a superhero, is going to learn how to use a sword in a week. Swordplay, like most other professions in life, can take years to learn just the basics. No one cares if your protagonist is 'the chosen one', you cannot use that as an excuse if they've never so much as touched a sword before.
As you probably noticed, I focused mostly on how you would deal with their powers, not so much the character.

Be sure to keep the character in mind while you're writing them! It is possible to write a Mary Sue and have them well liked by anyone, if you can spin the story and prose right but this doesn't happen often. Some people can pull it off, others just can't; don't expect yourself to be one of them. Try your hand with faults. Just remember, no one is perfect and our faults don't define who we are, but it is good to realize what one can and cannot do.

Other than that, have fun! It can be interesting to see what problems you can come up with while creating a character.


Random Factness
Canilla Stylo

The average number of hummingbirds it takes to weigh one ounce is 18.


Acquiring Powers vs. the Powers Within
Keba Si Rota

So, you're writing out a story where your character gets super powers. You know exactly what those powers are, but you have no clue how the character discovers them. The way I see it, there are three possibilities as to how a character can discover super powers.

1. He can be born with super powers.

2. He can achieve super powers.

3. He can have super powers thrust upon him.

Please forgive me for ripping off a classic Shakespearian quote, but let me elaborate. Think about the possibilities of super powers that a character could have within him from the day of his birth. A character can be born with a rare mutation giving him those powers. Or he could be the reincarnation of a mythic being and discover his powers at some key point. Maybe he belongs to a race of people whose powers are genetic and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Perhaps your character is not born with superpowers, but teaches himself how to use them. He could have some kind of special device (a wand or some advanced technology, for example) that he learns how to use. He could learn to transform himself into a superhero by saying a magic word. He could also discover some document such as an ancient scroll that gives instructions on how to perform an unusual ability.

If those options don't appeal to you, you could have him develop super powers that he cannot attain by himself, alone. Let's say your character was given an injection of some ghastly, experimental concoction against his will, turning him into something not quite human. Perhaps, a powerful being casts a spell on your character resulting in him getting super powers. Or maybe he could just be bitten by something like, oh, say, a super-spider (but please, when you write your story, stay away from this example because it will get you sued by a giant comic book company).

If you think about it, almost any superhero can discover his powers through one of the three categories that I mentioned above. So if you're stuck, just think about the three options, choose the one you think is most fitting, and go from there. Soon enough you will discover how your character discovers his powers.


Question for the mind
Canilla Stylo

What would have happened if God said "Let there be light." and moments later there had been a power failure?


The Difference Between Superman and Burnt Bread (aka, superheroes and the average person)
felicia13

If you've gotten this far, I'm sure you know the drill.

superhero, a hero, especially in children's comic books and television cartoons, possessing extraordinary, often magical powers

Now that the messy definitions are over, we can move onto the good stuff, aka, the difference between Superman and Burnt Bread. Obviously, one is from a distant and destroyed planet, allergic to little green rocks that just look pretty to you and me, and saves people for a living. The other is from your decrepit toaster, is slightly moldy, and sometimes draws comic slides for fun. Get my point?

Usually, superheroes have special powers. Some are explained by them being aliens (Superman) and others by having a sort of toxin introduced to their system (Spiderman). Even others are born with it (I'm talking the X-Men, now). Most times, these superheroes use their powers to help people (hence the title 'superhero'). However, there are times these powers are misused and the superhero's archenemy is introduced to keep the story interesting. I'm talking the Green Goblin from the second Spiderman movie. Yeah.

Normal people vary depending on your definition of 'normal.' Let's define it by dictionary, shall we?

normal, conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; natural
or
serving to establish a standard
or
approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment
or
free from any mental disorder; sane

Now that Bread's been taken off the 'normal' list by that last definition, we can move on.

Those that are 'normal' often don't have any features, physical or mental, that make them difference from Joe Schmoe. Except he's a little bit hickish and probably a truck driver. In any case, it's almost like 'normal' and 'superhero' are opposites. (gasp!) That would make this comparison ridiculously easy, so I'll make it a little better, 'k?

Way back when, in the days of dinosaurs and your mom, superheroes were portrayed as perfect in every way and without any sort of human attachment. They were above the rest of us because of their status as superheroes (a bit like celebrities, you know) and everyone could look up to them (like we do celebrities... see the pattern?)

Now, in the modern era of special effects and psychological insight, we don't want to see almighty superheroes that always save the day and always get the girl at the end. No! We want to see the superheroes as real people with real problems. All the sudden, Lois Lane is married and Clark Kent can't be with her because she's in love with Superman, even though she's married and Peter Parker can't be with Mary Jane because he neglected her and she turned to his best friend for comfort, who's father he conveniently murdered, putting an even greater distance between them.

See my point? Out of nowhere, it all becomes very much like a soap opera. I'm of the opinion that the classic superheroes should stay perfect idols and they can make new Heroes (like the TV show) who are just people, too. Don't mess with a good thing.


A quote from Superman, the movie
Contributed by Canilla Stylo

Lux Luthor: It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home.


If you could have a superpower…
Multiples of Six

"If you could have a superpower, which would you have?"

This question has been asked and re-asked by schoolchildren and bored rednecks since the dawn of time, so I'm not going to go over it. What I am going to go over is how the superpower you choose for your character will fit into the story you are writing.

For example, you can have a character with X-ray vision. If you are anything like the typical red-blooded male, your thoughts will immediately go to, "BOOBS!" However, there are problems with this assumption. If the character can see through clothes, can he also see through skin? It wouldn't be a lot of fun to go around watching people's hearts beat and esophagi contract. Can he also see through walls? The earth? Into space? And if his X-ray vision is limited to seeing through clothes, you will still have to deal with the fact that along with boobs, he can see a lot of penis. (Ewww.)

Another superpower a character could have is flight. Your character can fly! Apart from deciding where he is going to go, you have to decide how this is going to work. Will he grow wings when he wishes to take flight? Will he have wings all the time, so that he'll have to take his shirt off to fly? If he is not a he but an attractive she, will crowds gather to watch her taking off? Or will he (or she) simply spread his arms and jump?

There are many more superpowers that your characters can have. Don't believe me? Check out the Wikipedia article! But remember, if more than one of your characters has a superpower, you will have to consider how their powers will interact and complement each other.

Anyway, this article may not have helped you to write, but I know that I've discovered some great ideas for new stories by writing it! Until next time, I'm multiples of six.


The Flaw of Superpowers
Sakka Fenikkusu

Now, after thinking for a very long time on this provocative topic (less than five minutes - and I'll never get them back!) I have a possibly dramatic, revolutionary, extraordinary idea that will confound you all.

Most super powers stink.

What? Yeah, you're shaking your head and going, "She's crazy", right? Well, let me explain my line of reasoning.

For the most part, super powers aren't even super at all. Almost every superhero novel or movie has someone with super strength, super speed, flying, mind-reading... Everyone's got them. Which, since superpowers are by definition supposed to be out of the ordinary, raises a few eyebrows.

My second point, I think, is a lot more pressing. Even if a power isn't that original, it doesn't mean it can't be done well. In most cases, it ISN'T done well. Why? The truth is, powers aren't convincing unless they have drawbacks. They're too easy.

A recently made TV show called Heroes has a super-power themed plot (by the time you read this, it'll be wrapping up its first season). One of the characters, Isaac, can paint the future, but only when he's high on heroin. This creates extra conflicts: he's constantly trying to quit but people pressure him into getting high again so that they can tell what's coming next. THIS is the kind of character you can strive for, because he feels believeable and real, and it makes his power both a drawback and an asset.

Let's look at another character from the show, Peter. His power is to temporarily inherit the powers of people around him - if he were nearby Isaac, he could paint the future, without even having to be high. Also, he can occasionally do it when he's not around someone. WRONG! This makes his power too easy. It doesn't have definable limits, and it doesn't feel real to us. Sure, it might make the screenwriters have someone to get them out of trouble when they've written themselves into a corner, but it doesn't have the same kind of interest. Really, which would you rather read about?

Think about it: Superman was boring, until he had Kryptonite. You need to find the Kryptonite for your characters. As a matter of fact, this works even for things like magic - most people describe magic as an element to be controlled, something people can draw from whenever they please with an incantation or a few fancy hand symbols. Unless the power has very definable limits, it won't be an interesting read, no matter how technically good the author is.

There are other ways to make limits, however. Think about Spiderman. His toll isn't in his powers - they usually work... He just loses everyone he loves. This also makes for a powerful story. And, besides, whenever he meets a new villain, they beat the crap out of him once or twice before he can defeat them. It's tough, gritty, and thrilling.

Apply these strategies to your superhero fiction and I guarantee that your story will be a much better read. If you can't put a limit on it, you may as well not write fantasy at all.


Relevant Fact
WyrdWolf

Look at this. Ever noticed? Superman; AKA, 'Man of Steel'. Spider-man; AKA, Webslinger. Batman; AKA, Dark Knight. Superheroes names are their nicknames. Why in Christ's name do their nicknames need nicknames? This is bullshit. I demand a taco.


"Quirks and Curses"
Solemn Coyote

In fantasy, one of the most direct ways to change a character from bland to interesting is to strike him with a curse. A well-timed enchantment can trigger chapters of character development. Since superhero literature is basically fantasy with tights on, the same rule applies here.

Example: Park Peters is sleep-walking through his normal daily routine, when suddenly he gets bitten by a radioactive insect. After a painfully long transformation sequence, he becomes The Inedible Pillbug.

As the Pillbug, Park suddenly finds himself with a whole new host of abilities and responsibilities. His back grows hard and chitinous. He discovers that he can curl up into an impenetrable ball. He also becomes a target for the zealous schemes of The Praying Mantis.

After undergoing all these changes, Park decides that he can no longer fit into his old, mundane life. There isn't any room for a growing man-bug at his adoptive aunt's house, so he strikes out on his own. It might be that Park wants to be rid of his powers. Or maybe he's too busy fighting the Mantis to even think about the way things used to be. He could even be reveling in the awesome power of his exoskeleton, and turning into something dark. These are all traditional responses to curses in fantasy, so they should work equally well with superheroes.

My point here is this: superhero fiction isn't so different from its sister genres as you might think. A lot of the rules that apply in sci-fi or fantasy still apply when grown men start dressing up and vaulting buildings. If you're new to the field of superhero fiction, don't just try to reproduce a comic in your story. Write from what you know.


Back to Reality
Mobman

Invincibility, Invisibility, Flight. Superheroes and super powers always seem to go hand in hand. Let's face it, Spiderman shoots webs, Superman can fly. In a child's fantasy, you are nothing unless you can do something incredible. Superheroes and supervillans, name one that couldn't do something superhuman. Even Batman had enough gadgets to be considered some sort of hero. But my question this time is, where is the power that we all need? Where are the vibrant tights of the listener? Name one time that a superpower healed the world, saved a soul, or even touched anyone on a deeper than physical level. Where is the superpower to make daddy stop beating mommy? Faster than a speeding bullet, yes. But where is the power to stop the bullet from hitting the priest, the mother, the child? As strong as these "heroes" are, give me the comic where they check up on the addict to see if he's still using. Because the invisible man sits in the Playboy Mansion showers when he should be out fighting crime. Where is the power to stop a killer, rapist, or pedophile as they creep in the bushes outside your home? You read all the time how Aquaman saves full ships of people from drowning, but when did you read about the friend that talked with you over a bottle of Jack Daniels last night? Where is the power to stop the jumper from leaping off the skyscraper? Yes, Spidey would save him, but no one can stop the urge he gets from the cold urban air. Where is the power to stop the murderer from craving blood, craving the life of another innocent victim? While Superman is jumping buildings and flying at the speed of light stopping asteroids from crashing into the planet, the mangled body of a man lays twenty feet from the mangled wreck of what was, five seconds ago, his car. He lets out a silent scream too faint for anyone, even a superhero, to hear, then he bleeds to death.

You see, superpowers are too good to be true. When people are suffering to keep food on the table, selling their bodies to pimps and their souls to drug runners, when the X-men are playing poker… its then that you realize that the comics were worthless. Let's face it, Spiderman shoots webs, Superman can fly, but tonight a little girl cries in the gutter. Tonight in the gutter she cries next to her limp mother, and nobody hears a thing.


Classroom of the Desperately Jaded
Canilla Stylo

For once, the sun was shining in Wazitcaled, but now Mrs. Dullen claimed that heatstroke would be the end of her. She said this with good reason, the thermometer read a steady 98 degrees with high humidity. And so, Slash, Susan, Annie, Ned, Chad, Brad, Sally, Bailey, Brock, and their remaining eleven classmates were stuck alone, with nothing to guide their minds, not even a stray lesson plan or a rent-a-teacher. All were dressed for the weather except Slash, who had stuck with his all-black, all the time ensemble. Brad, who just couldn't keep his mouth shut any longer, blurted out,

"Dude, how can you stand the heat? You're wearing a sweater for God's sake!" He immediately clamped his hand over his mouth and waited for the impending smack, but Slash remained silent and motionless. Brock plucked up the courage to pull Slash's cap off his head, only to find that Slash was fast asleep.

"Figures," Annie commented, "I don't know how he manages straight A's; I've never seen him awake for more than seven consecutive seconds! I mean like, Oh my gosh!" the last three words were smooshed together for effect. Brock carefully set the hat back on Slash's head, and all returned to silence.

Because of the perpetual silence, everyone noticed when Slash got up from his desk, walked up to the blackboard, and picked up a piece of chalk. "Yo, Slash? Whatcha doin' bro?" Bailey called out. Slash didn't answer. Bailey got up and tapped Slash on the shoulder. Ditto in the response category. Bailey waved her hands in front of his face, only to be shoved violently to the side. Susan was on immediate alert and ran to her brother. One look at his face explained it all.

"Slash is sleepwalking."

So, he was. Rather, he was sleepdrawing, for he put the piece of chalk he had gotten to good use. He drew a pentagram within a series of geometric shapes and pressed his finger to the center. With minds of their own, the lines of the shapes formed a scene around the pentagram. It was of an abandoned city, burned and far past its prime. Colors swarmed in, and around, changing the classroom into the city. Slash blinked awake.

"It worked?" He brushed his fingers against a wall of an abandoned building. The rest of his classmates looked at him in confusion. He turned and met each of their eyes. "I've been researching the extent to which the human mind can bend reality as it is. Everyone's reality is different; no one lives in the same 'world'. We perceive the world as we see fit. I wanted to see how extreme this bending ability was. We now exist in a world where we possess what you would consider 'superpowers'." He dragged his hand across a chain link fence as Ned recited another dictionary definition.

"Superpower: Power greater in scope or magnitude than that which is considered natural or has previously existed." Ned recited from memory.

"This perspective of the world will be different from what you're used too," Slash commented darkly, easily clawing through the fence as if it were rice paper. "This is the world in my mind's eye. Be warned." He grinned maliciously, bearing what seemed to be vampire fangs. Slash and Susan quickly hopped through the hole he had created and melted into the darkness.

"So… Now what do we do?" Brock asked. Bailey and Brad shrugged their shoulders, while Chad brightened with an idea. "Yo, he said we have superpowers right? Let's try to figure out what they are!"

Ned sprouted wings and started to flap without realizing. "One of the most popular superpowers used in literature is flight. Whether it's with wings, levitation, or power in an inanimate object, it's been used. It's good for a base power. My favorite example of flight is from the book The Midnighters; Jonathan was able to control gravity. Very useful;" The normally klutzy boy took to the skies like an eagle, shouting, "One of man's greatest dreams is flight! That's why it's used so often! Wheeeeeee!"

"Super speed and Super strength are very common as well. Wouldn't it be sweet to be able to bench-press a car?" Brad had realized that he had super strength and was currently admiring himself in a puddle. Chad zipped in with his newly acquired super speed, splashing his cousin in the process. "Superman had super strength, and Dash from The Incredibles had super speed. Both rule!" Chad zipped off, running up one of the walls of a crumbling gray building.

"Empathy is a useful power, but it can have a dark side, just like all powers. Empathy is the ability to feel other people's emotions. While normal mortals like we used to be can detect different emotions, empathy can be used as a power. In the case of Melissa in The Midnighters, she could feel what everyone was feeling, all of the time. Sometimes you want to feel your own emotions, ya know?" Brock was ecstatic, he was practically high on all of the excitement the others were feelings. "You could hurt someone with super strength, to point out one fault.

"Shapeshifting is another uber-awesome power! You can change your form at will. From a cute bunny to a scary tiger, any form is yours. Just don't get stuck in one form!" Sally was preening herself as a beautiful fox, oblivious to anyone else but Brad. She was impressed by his power.

"Elementalists provide their own personalities. Ice – inhospitable, Fire – hot tempered, Earth – down-to-Earth, Darkness – Gothic; you get the picture." Annie played building blocks with all of the stone bricks she could find, using her power to have fun on a large scale. "You can make things interesting with a hot-headed Water Elementalist, or a stoic Energy Elementalist."

"Barriers are dead useful for defense. Spiritual, metal, mental, or just magical; they are the arcane form of the tried and true shield. I think I have a spiritual shield, you guys!" Bailey commented. "This rocks! Slash's subconscious is gnarly, man! Oh, speakin' of the dude, where is he?" After a millisecond search provided by Chad, no one had found Slash or his sister. "Oh well. It's not like we want to leave or anything!"

To be continued in the next issue of Stop the Press. Read on, reader. Read on.


"A Call to Arm
Solemn Coyote

Challenges

If anyone actually writes one of these, please let me know. I'd love to read it.

1) Write a story that uses all the appropriate "superhero words" (mighty, incredible, ultimate, pow, ka-blam, etc.) in non-dramatic ways. i.e. "The refrigerator door shut with a soft pow, sealing the unopened beer can inside."

2) Write a story about superheroes in a domestic setting without resorting to the 'superhero family' idea. i.e. Several heroes live in the same apartment building. Occasionally they hang out, or borrow groceries from each other.

3) Give a hero a reasonably useless power, and pit him against an extremely powerful villain. See if you can write the hero to victory without using a Deus Ex Machina. i.e. The Unconquerable Carpenter vs. Agent Voodoo Torch. The carpenter eventually knocks Agent Torch out with a thrown brick.

4) Write about a superhero in a non-modern/non-futuristic setting. i.e. Chastity Frasier in pre-revolution, Puritan America.

5) Write about a superhero who stands up for a non-traditional cause. i.e. Prison reform, instead of fighting Communism.

6) How does the world mourn the passing of a superhero?

7) Write about a superhero whose secret identity gets all the real work done, and the superhero bit is just an unnecessary extra. i.e. Kent Clarks is a photographer, and his incriminating photographs are what actually bring down the villains.

8) Write about a superhero that is syndicated by a newspaper. Said newspaper owns the trademark on his costume, and gets credit for all his adventures.

9) Write about an average bank-robber trying to outwit a superhero.

10) Assemble a cast of angsty, heroic teens tasked with saving the world. Give them interesting and varied powers. Sometimes the traditional stories are the most fun to write.


Rolling Credits…

LEMMINGS

Felicia13
If you've gotten this far, I'm sure you know the drill.

Mobman
Because I could care less what the F.B.I thinks of me

Striped Feather
Part time Sue-slayer and professional procrastinator.

Canilla Stylo
I'm hearing voices in my head... And not the usual ones, either.

Sakka Fenikkusu
The great, powerful and egotistical phoenix who somehow manages to hold a pencil without burning it.

WyrdWolf
Guru of Irrelevance and Irreverence
WyrdWolf is a talking Lupine who occasionally brings back a nice dead rabbit or bird for his best friends.

Multiples of Six
Goddess of being too lazy to write a description of herself

Keba Si Rota
Future Rock Star
A foxy singer who loves performing even though she is still on the hunt for a band

Dice Darwin
Just your average, overrated writer. You know you love me.

Solemn Coyote
Being a trickster God is sorta like being a superhero, only without the awkward moral questions.

Burnt Bread
The Ruler of a Straight Line
Has the super power of not being able to park a car without trashing at least one Mecedes..


On a sidenote, I would like to take this chance to ask you all to go off to some writer you absolutely adore on fictionpress and ask them to consider writing for the newsletter. Convince them that there are attentive readers out there and their talent will be wasted if they don't share it.

Next Issue: Rites of Passage
Submissions due: Preferably at least three days before the end of May (cough felicia, don't kill me by submitting on the day STP is suppose to be posted. only i can do that! cough)

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