The Superhero Challenge Part II: Backstory!

I got to say, I was impressed with the response my “Superhero Challenge” got. I knew that the topic was a fertile one, hence why my wife and I started talking about it. But I wasn’t sure how much thought other people were likely to put it into it. I’m so happy there are plenty of geeks like me out there! For those of you who came in and selected your powers and a name for your character, kudos! Now we just need to get to work on your backstory.

Every superhero and villain has one. They give them depth, motivation, and an origin story that makes their actions and purpose seem relatable. After all, a hero who does heroic things just because is no hero at all! He’s just a cardboard stand in whom no one can relate to. But a hero who helps others because of personal tragedy or to bring meaning to their own life is something we can all get behind.

Heck, the same is true for a super villain isn’t it? No one believes that a bad guy could kill, maim and plot the destruction of the world simply because he’s Evil the Cat. He too needs a history to explain how he became the way he was. It’s simply the way people work. We desire explanations and love a good origin story!

So I’ve prepared the following list of motivation/creation factors. I’d say pick one, but since there are some obvious places where overlap occurs, feel free to pick a second if it’s appropriate. And just to be creative, I’ll include a list of possible factions/forces that could have been involved. Circumstances are one thing, but going from that to the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) is a different matter. Read on and select:

  1. Tragedy – this can be the death of one’s parents, a wife, a husband, a sibling, or even a child. The loss effected you deeply, and led you to resolve that you would never let that happen to anyone else. Or maybe you just want some payback on the bastards who did it! Either way, the tragedy has become your weapon, and those who would harm innocents fear you now!
  2. Vendetta – a slight variation on Tragedy, this involves a purposeful attack on you which left you scarred, angry, and motivated to seek vengeance on the ones who did it. Whereas the loss of family is a tragedy that would have hurt you deeply, this is a wound that has left you pissed and determined to see the people who did it suffer horribly!
  3. Accident – maybe you fell into a vat of chemicals, got bombarded by some high-energy gamma rays, survived an atomic blast, had a brush with near death, or just stumbled onto something you weren’t supposed to. However it happened, the experience left you scarred and forever changed. Fighting crime or doing evil is now your outlet over the pain of the life you lost, and a means to put your freaky new abilities to work!
  4. Mutation – similar to option two, this could be your mother having been bitten by a vampire (a la Blade), the result of evolution (a la X-Men), or again exposure to some process that isn’t exactly scientifically possible. But it’s left you with powers and there must be a reason for it, or at least a positive (or selfish) way to use them.
  5. Alien Influence – alien technology came to Earth and picked you as its beneficiary. Or maybe you just accidentally found it and decided it was mighty cool and useful. Hell, maybe you ARE an alien who fell to Earth (i.e. Superman), and being one gives you strange and awesome powers that no one else has access to. How will you use it though is up to you. Will you be a savior, or a terrible force to be reckoned with?

Who hurt /changed and/or effected you? In short, what was the motivation behind the thing that made you what you are today? The list of possible candidates is potentially long, so I’ll try to break it down to as few possibilities as I can. And off the top of my head, and calling to mind all the examples that I can think of, I have come up with a list of seven different kinds of people/organizations who usually have a hand in the creation of superheroes and villains. Select one and proceed to the end:

  1. Crime Kingpin – every city has its share of crooks and criminal masterminds. Did you, your family, or someone else you care about run afoul of these villains? Did you, they, owe them some money, protection fees, a debt of blood which they exacted, thus leaving you hurt, bitter and angry?
  2. Negligent Superhero – let’s face it. Sometimes superheroes do bad things. Whether its collateral damage from their crime-fighting antics, the result of too much force, or maybe they were just having an off day, sometimes they hurt people without intending to. This is sure to leave some people angry, scarred, and looking for payback. After all, the Joker was either a hapless victim or a petty thug (depending on which back story you believe) before Batman sent him into that vat of toxic chemicals. And you got to figure a lot of victims get caught in the crossfire whenever there’s a big showdown between the good guys and bad. And in some cases, the victims blame the heroes…
  3. The Government – yeah, we all know they’re up to some clandestine stuff, or at least they used to be! And whether they decided to quietly bury the outcomes of their ugly projects and black ops, or simply don’t know about them anymore, you were the end result and now the truth must be brought to light. Expose their crimes, and if the ones who did are still around, make them pay! Otherwise, they might do it to someone else!
  4. The Corporation  – and when it’s not the government doing dirty, crooked things and then trying to cover it up, it’s usually the private sector! We all know there are plenty of corporate magnates out there who love to experiment with weapons, chemicals, radiation, and risky ventures that will leave people dead, mutated, or just plain altered. And you know they won’t be held accountable for it. No sir, not by the courts and not by the law! It’s up to you to bring these bastards to justice, or perhaps they are after you because you are now in possession of something they want. Doesn’t matter, as far as you’re concerned, the initials CEO stand for Chief Enemy Officer!
  5. Aliens – sure, there are plenty of nice aliens out there. ET, Alf, and the Predator people can be pretty stand up if you know how to stay on their good side. But alas, there are plenty of aliens out there that are just like us humans. Cruel, manipulative, and irresponsible when it comes to how they treat other people and dispose of their technology. Maybe you came into something powerful by accident, or maybe it was the result of something they purposefully did to you. Either way, you gotta follow this up and figure out who they are. And while you’re at it, show off whatever it is they gave you!
  6. Vampires/Paranormals far be it from me to discriminate against folks on a count of their background or supernatural affiliations. But when Vampires, Werewolves and other paranormal creatures start hurting people, it’s on! Was it you they hurt, your family, your friends, or do they just have it in their heads that “your kind” needs to be destroyed or pushed out of the way? Doesn’t much matter, because the end result is the same. Death to (fill in the blank)!
  7. International Villains sometimes, its not our own governments or their secretive agents that we need fear. Sometimes, the threat comes from aboard, either in the form of renowned terrorists, spies, or assorted Bond-like villains. And when they crossed you, your family, your friends, etc, they went too far! Now it’s up to you to make them pay for their crimes. This may be a fight you pursue alone, or as part of a team or a government agency. But in the end, you will bring the fight to their doorstep!

Okay! That’s it, that’s all on my end. Once again, the challenge is to make your selection and combine them with your characters powers and name to come up with a profile that is all your own! And please feel free to comment and include a small bio blurb which I will then include in a list of superheroes in my third and final installment. I plan to call it, “The New New Justice League”! Okay, that name is negotiable, but the intent is pretty clear right? Let’s make some new and interesting comic book icons!

21 thoughts on “The Superhero Challenge Part II: Backstory!

  1. First off, I’m changing my name from “Destroyer” to “Judgement”. Second, I am a mutation, a boy born with power beyond belief. When I absorb energy–particularly energy caused by negative emotions–my form changes, and i am able to use energy blasts and telekinesis (though i can do both in my unchanged form).
    One day, I fell in love with a girl whose father was an investigator. Her father got to close to something that involved an unknown corporation working with a terrorist group, and was punished by being murdered and his daughter being disabled. I took her in, and as Judgement, I fight corruption in the corporations, gov’ts, and anywhere else I see it going unchecked.
    Am I a villain? A little. But not as much as others. And when I absorb energy, I lose any kindness and mercy I might have. Watch yourself.

  2. I was on vacation in India. When a terrorist attack blew up a chemical factory. I wasn’t close enough to be killed, but I was close enough to breath in the fumes and be doused by chemicals. I fled for my life.
    I leapt over obstacles, climbed up walls, and ran across rooftops.
    It first, I thought my abilities came from years of yoga and marathon races.
    But I was running faster than I’d ever moved before. My body was more agile than anything I’d ever done in class.
    I thought to stop, but when I turned back, a plume of killing gas was right behind me. I leapt into the air. I’d planned to land to the next building. I missed it; I was flying.
    After everything had settled, I returned to see the horror of the wounded and dying.
    I was furious at what the terrorist had done. But instead of retaliating, I decided to undo their hate. I loved the wounded and healed them.

    1. Hmm, I think I can sense a name emerging out of this. Something to do with healing. “Regenerus”, “Medicamus”, or how about “Asclepius”, the Greek God of healing? There are others in the pantheon too, like “Iaso” and “Panacea”. That last one is especially good!

      1. Oh, and I shall be presenting the Superhero lineup forthwith. So which name was best for you. Panacea cuz it’s like “panacea for the pain”? Or did any of the others work for you?

  3. Atrum Auditor the product of a corporate warlord’s mistress and genetic manipulation. I was raised in secret to be a master at corporate espionage, but defied my father, went rogue and now seek the world’s secrets and sell/release the information to manipulate public perceptions. To what ends, no one really knows for sure… Is he the next wikileaks? or just an information mercenary looking for the highest bidder?

    Using powers of telepathy and teleportation I cna infiltrate any secret meeting, and any covert op. to gether incriminating evidence. Using my precognitive skills I can always find an exit.

    1. Not bad. One thing, which member of the 8bitbeer team am I speaking to? I ask because when I produce the list of superheroes, I need to put in our alter egos. Aka. who we are in real life. Shall I just say 8bitbeerblogger?

  4. Styka was browsing in a fine jewelry store when a robbery went down. And it was a robbery that went wrong. Half of the crew was blown up. So was the store. Taken as a hostage by the part of the crew that managed to escape, they took our their anger and frustration on her. Left for dead, she was found by some kids and taken to the hospital. When she finally woke up, she realized she could read minds and make herself unobserved. Not truly invisible so much as people simpoly didn’t notice her if she didn’t want them too. She could also levetate and fly about. But that wasn’t terribly practical. Bugs in your teeth and eyes are not fun. Something all those comics she grew up on seemed to leave out.

    In her search for the the people who nearly killed her, Styka discovered that one of the city’s crime bosses had been responsible for the robbery. His orderes were to kill the hostages but the robbers were as incompetent at that as they were at following the plan he had ordered. Her vendetta against her attackesrs became a vendetta against his as well.

  5. The Veiled Tsunami grew up in New Haven Connecticut two blocks from Yale University. She never knew her mother, but her father was a university professor and scientist named Dr. Eesa Ben Ali. His work in human mutagenics was known world wide. He was on the cusp of creating a substance using an unknown and patented ingredient that would successfully, and without adverse effects, create the first human with super capabilities.
    Dr. Eesa Ben Ali’s work was quite controversial, even more so because someone with the exact same name had recently been added to the terror watch list that was also publicized on the news.
    Late to return home from the lab one night, his daughter Hawa brought dinner to him so that he could keep up his strength. Neither was aware that his lab was being surveilled by a man named Calvin Cur. Calvin Cur was a previous student of Dr. Ali and was determined to get revenge for the failing grade that made him ineligible for medical school and to get the recognition for having been responsible for helping to catch an infamous terrorist.
    As Dr. Ali explained his work to his daughter Hawa Calvin Cur burst into the lab. He held a gun to Dr. Ali and demanded he come with him down to police headquarters. Hawa, afraid for her father’s life made the stupid move of trying to take the gun from Cur, who ended up shooting her. When she fell, she stumbled across the table upon which the container holding the unknown and patented ingredient stood. It spilled onto her and into her wound. Afraid of the debacle he’d created and hoping to save himself, Cur shot and killed Dr. Ali as well and then her ran from the scene…
    The ingredient was a substance derived from blood from the alien remains kept at Area 54. Hawa came perilously close to death, but managed to survive, although she was very very changed from that point forward.
    Since then, she has become The Veiled Tsunami…

  6. Sorry, I’m late. You posted when I wasn’t looking (and when I wasn’t around). I’ll catch up as quickly as I can.

    This is fun! 🙂

    I was given a formula by a Crime Kingpin. Before becoming a Crime Kingpin, this dude was just a regular Joe that worked in a lab for a company that developed organic weapons for the government. But his lab partner caused an accident that almost left Mr. Kingpin for dead. He had a vendetta against his former lab partner and developed a formula to change his lab partner’s girlfriend (me) into a super villain.

    Since she was super hot and erotic, like me (LOL! Wait! I need to stop laughing before I can finish typing), he gave her the name Erotica Girl

    1. But, but, if you’re a villain, you can’t be a Revenger. Can’t we make just a dark hero who turned to doing good once she avenged Mr. Kingpin? Or destroyed him? However that story works out…

  7. For this I’ve decided to go with the Anti-Hero: Bonfire

    My powers our a genetic mutation.

    As far as motivation, as a teenager I was identified by a Corporation as a Level 5 mutant. They sent men to my home to abduct me from my family. During the abduction a Superhero came to interrupt their plan and a fight broke-out. In the ensuing battle my home was destroyed and brother paralyzed.

    The Superhero’s code of conduct prevented him from killing the principle leader of the group before he injured my brother, and then as the police were taking him away he was able to escape and killed my mother.

    From that moment on I vowed revenge against that man and the Corporation, but knew I could never be entirely on the side of the angels. Because in the end, I planned to murder the man who destroyed my family.

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