HowTo:Create a Teenaged Superhero
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Superheroes are a well known, well used treasure of pop culture, who still, miraculously have endless possibilities despite countless decades of strenuous milking from idiot publishers and hack writers and artists. However, superpowered adults have been viewed with less and less appeal over time. They're so overpowered, and expirienced, that their so-called "adventures" become unbearable bores, with everything being so easy for them. However, if you only just turn back a few years on a character, fresh new pastures of untapped potential shall make themselves known to you. When done properly, whiney highschool students will fork in far more money than any old billionare playboy, or government super solider. So, shed those old-world preconceptions of adult heroes and prepare to enter a wild wonderful world of young romance, lovable noob mistakes, and acne.
edit Don't concentrate too much on the superpowers
Alien invasions? Mad scientists with their plots of world domination? That is soooo 1960's. Such insipid, mundane fare should serve only as backdrop, while the real spotlight is on the characters realistic human emotions, and heroic resolve. And of course, by "heroic resolve" we mean their ability to endlessly bitch about a certain amount of topics such as:
- Being a nerdy guy in high school who can't get laid, nor use his powers to beat the crap out of school bullies.
- Being an outcast of society, who will never be loved or accepted
- Having some parent or other parental figure die or turn evil
edit If your character is a sidekick or part of an adult group
Sidekickery is the first and oldest occupation for child and teenaged superheroes. Such characters are expected to provide "hilarious" fighting banter, emotional support, and even the occasional booty call. In return, the host adult superhero will save your inept ass whenever it gets beaten or captured by a villain, as well as upstaging or belittling you at every opportunity. But hey, at least you get a sweet ride in the deal.
When in a group of adults, you are expected to provide "youthful energy and zest" to clash with the expirienced professionalism of your older teammates. And by "youthful energy and zest", we of course mean the banter, and booty calls, but in addition, you are never expected to do or say anything intelligent or mature. But as a bonus, you get to irritate the team's resident hot-head or antihero, until the day he snaps and pummels you mercilessly.
When found in such a niche, a list of commonly expected duties include:
- Running up the gas bill of the Batmobile, X-Jet or Fantasticar.
- Taking up hard drive space on the Batcave computer or Cerebro with your PC games.
- Moaning and groaning like a douche whenever your latest bimbo dumps you.
- Casuing deafness among villains or team leaders with your so-called "music".
edit If you are making a teen group
Loner heroes will be easy on a begining artist, but things will quickly become more interesting with a team of teenage characters, as you spin your little webs of friendships and love lifes. And besides, firends and lovers who fight togehter stay together, right? Well unless of course one of them dies in battle. Oops...Oh well, its at least its the ones with the stupidest powers who die first.
But whatever you do with your lovable crew of pimple factories, the one thing you must remeber, is to keep it diverse. This isn't the 1960's where you can get away with a team of all whites with one female, the wrathful forces of Affirmative Action will surely strike you down if you pull that kinda crap these days. So put in a black guy, throw in an Asian, and maybe even a homosexual (but only if it leads to hot lesbian sex). However, it is highly recomended that you only do one of each minority, because having more than one would just be crazy. Don't ask me why, it just is.
edit Cliche must-haves for any teen group
When characters are made in comics, their molds are not broken, unless by federal law. Some popular, time-tested character templates include:
- Insensitive douchebag with the IQ of a turnip- Hey, that public property doesn't deface itself you know. And who's going to break those girl's hearts, and chug down that keg of beer?
Examples: Beast Boy from Teen Tiatns, Chase Stein from Runaways, Grunge from Gen 13, Rex Splode from Invincible
- Super Brainiac- With their high levels of intelligence, they tend to distance themselves from the petty drama of the rest of their teams. Has a 20% chance of turning evil and betraying their obnoxious idiot teammates.
Examples: Alex Wilder from Runaways, Beast from X-men, Fairchild from Gen 13, Robot from Invincible
- Token Spell-caster Chick- They use magic bullshit to do things not covered by the lesser member's powers. And its even better if they are gothic, because then they can build fancy cathederals and raid the Roman Empire, thus making for a memorable European vacation.
Examples: Magick from New Mutants, Nico Minoru from Runaways, Raven from Teen Tiatns
- Wild Wacky Alien Pal- Though they may look freaky, they're actually easily manipulated, and are eager to please. Plus, they make things fun with their comical Culture Shock.
Examples: Ax from Animorphs, Warlock from New Mutants, Xavin from Runaways
- Random Exotic Pet- Because someone has to leave "little presents" on the faces of unconcious villains, and since this is a comic book, no ordinary cat or dog will do.
Examples: Bird Brain from New Mutants, Lockheed from X-men, Old Lace from Runaways, Qeelocke from Gen 13
edit How to make relationships interesting
The sporatic pushes and pulls of fickle Young Love are essential for any franchise with main characters between 12 and 23. But if you are not careful, the relationships of your characters may become stale and unappealing, ecspecailly if you try for that "happily ever after" path. And so, some ways to make releationships interesting are as follows:
- Create an annoying third party- When you have two characters who are slated to be a couple, but aren't officially there yet, take the opportunity to wedge a third person in. This will give the two "true loves" to develop their "deep, complex" feelings for each other. Besides, triangles are everyone's favorite subject in Geometry class.
Examples: Invincible x Atom Eve (third party: Amber), Peter Parker x Mary Jane (third party: Kitty Pryde, Ultimate Spider-man), Cyclops x Jean Grey (third party: Angel, Classic X-men), Wolverine x Jean Grey (third party: Cyclops, Ultimate X-men)
- Have the two constantly bitch and bicker at each other- Ah, nothing says true love than when they're already acting like a married couple.
Examples: Grunge x Freefall, Gertrude Yorks X Chase Stein.
- Insert a random vampire or werewolf- Gotta cash in on that Twilight craze.
- Why just stick with one love?- Variety is the spice of life after all! Plus, it would get boring waking up in the same bed, with the same view all the time. Hey, it works for Nico Minoru from Runaways.
edit The money issue
The issue about money, is that it must never be an issue, with Spider-man being the sole exception to this rule. Sometimes, teenager heroes will get a high-paying government job protecting the world from aliens, monsters, and angry minorities. Even when in hiding from authorities, the commonest teens will get to live in lavish NewYork penthouses, or beautiful, sun-drenched California beach houses. Or, at the very least, a teen group will be magically able to feed its members on just 19 dollars a week. Occasionally, a character may be allowed to briefly work a job flipping burgers, but only so he can quit and shit in the face of his douchebag boss.
edit Parents must be Dead, Absent, or Evil
Parents? Why would you want them in a comic about teenagers? They're such buzzkills, with their old people music, nutricious foods, and embarassingly bad beach bodies. Here's some good ways to get downplay such annoying adults:
edit Dead/Absent parents
Maybe they died "saving the world before bed time", or just from something boring, like a sadistic, drug addicted assassin. But whatever the reason, dead parents are a good way to get a child out in the open, free from restictions, and ready to kick some booty. Sometimes it can also work with a wholesome Aunt or Uncle.
Absent Parents are a good way to make the neglected teen want to seek fun and adventure by running around in a costume like a pervert. The absent parents may claim to be working the late shift at the factory, but they're probably just out on a booty call with some 50 year-old hoe. The parents might come around to pay for the hospital bills when you get your ribcage broken, but don't count on it.
edit Evil Parents
Those darn parents, ruining your already-complicated life with their endless scolding about crap like grades, chores and responsibility. And they won't even give you that new bike for Christmas! Wouldn't it be fitting if your tight-assed parents turned out to be evil murderous supervillains?
Well unfortunatly, it rarely works that way in real life, so thats why we're making these comics to fuel your rebellious fantasies. In a typical situation, the teenage protagonist will live a "normal" life until he one day sees his parent(s) violently murder someone. Shocked by the act, the teenager will swear to use his newfound powers for good and atone for his family's crimes. Shortly thereafter, a confronation ensues between child and adult, in which the stronger, more expirienced villain parent will beat his child within an inch of his life. But then, he gets convieniant feelings of maternal love, and spares his child, thus starting the teenager's quest.
Prime examples of this stereotype include:
- The Pride, a multi-talented motley crew of villain parents who sacrifice young virgins to a trio of freaky mystic giants, who will somehow make the world asplode in 25 years.
- Omni-man, AKA "Not-Superman", is the father of Invincible, AKA "Not-Superboy". For years Omni-man flaunted himself as a champion of truth and justice, yet turned out to be a solider in an evil empire that brutally slaughters everyone who doesn't grow a mustache.
- Belloc, the badass dragon father of Firebreather, who torches down villages and kidnaps pretty princesses.
- Savage Dragon, the father of two super-powered childeren, who one day went beserk and started eating people's brains, and killing Dragon wannabes.
- Darth Vader, at first, he seemed like any other Jedi, working a 9 to 5 office job. Unti the day his son Luke discovered the Death Star he was building in the backyard...
Mentors can be useful, in that they train your young characters to control their powers, thus making mistakes 0.000003% less often. And mentors can often have dark complex pasts, which are good for bringing up revenge seeking villains, and generating more general drama.
However, like parents, mentors will almost always get shoved off to the side whenever any real action happens to the teenage characters. A popular reason for this is lack of power; like Professor X being confined to his wheel chair, or Gen 13's John Lynch who has some telekinetic power that does more damage to himself than anyone else, thus he is limited to making snarly faces and shooting people with guns.
edit Or, if you absolutely want to do a parent
Then they should be reduced to ever-laboring slaves who do laundry and cooking, then get shoved out of the way whenever something interesting happens, like Invincible's mom.
edit How to handle guest appearances
Whenever a hero form another book shows up, his main purpose will be to stand around and ooh and aah at your wonderful awesomeness during appropriate times. The exceptions to this rule, are when there's an even newer teen character who is trying to leech off your fame, in which case it will be you who stands around acting impressed.
Teen characters making guest appearances in the comics of famous adult comics will get the blunt of the spotlight, while they kick the ass of a well- established villain of the adult hero. Or, maybe the adult hero is getting his ass kicked by the unfamiliar foot of one of your villains.