The Terrific Dazzler?

Here is a vague idea of how my character, The Terrific Dazzler would look like.  It was rather difficult to come up with a costume design since that’s never really been my forte.  I’m a simple girl, I like simple costumes.  She works most nights with a black, light-canceling suit.  If I could, I would have her wearing an overcoat as a sort of disguise.  I think I would have added more to her if the website wasn’t so annoying.  Eventually I got the hang of it but by that time I was so frustrated that I finished with this simple design.  I found it frustrating that the templates were categorized into standard then female standard.  It was also weird that when designing a female superhero, one could add boobs to the torso template.

Some Ideas for a Radio Show…

Currently I have two ideas for a radio show:

-a broadcast in the same vein as War of the Worlds but it has a group of supervillains attack a city and there’s a group of superheroes that must come and fight to stop them.  In some research on this, I realized that there was a radio show about Superman sort of like this however I want it to be more devastating, maybe depicting a fight that the heroes lose?

-a weekly talk show with superhero guests where they talk about themselves, their favorite fights, and other superhero gossip

Moon Graffiti and the Power of Storytelling Without Visuals

Image result for flag on the moon

This was such a powerful thing to listen to.  I had fairly low expectations given that my only experience listening to stories was My Prairie Home Companion on NPR.  But this was powerful and evocative–more real than expected.  It’s really amazing how much impact sound and sound design have on the stories we watch or listen to.  In listening to Moon Graffiti, I can imagine the realness of what it would have been like hearing War of the Worlds over the radio.

Even without the use of sound design or actors speaking their dialogue, directors have almost always used sound in the form of music to set the mood.  Sound evokes meaning and emotion, sometimes subtle, sometimes terribly overt but its ability to affect us as audience members is a feat in it of itself.

What was most striking listening to Moon Graffiti was the silence shared between the astronauts as they grappled with the reality of their situation.  The creators of this piece took an event in history seen as one of man’s greatest accomplishments and made it into a great tragedy.  It wasn’t hokey or predictable but very human.  We didn’t need to hear the actors tell us what was going on really or describe the setting or have to see the faces of the actors to understand what was going on or what emotions we should feel.  They followed the simple rule to storytelling where they showed us but didn’t tell us which is a bit ironic given the means of how the story was conveyed.  But it was really fantastic and devastating.

What makes a superhero and a superhero story

I’ve been made familiar with the Hero’s Journey prevalent throughout many different stories from different times and cultures.  However, I didn’t realize until Vonnegut’s explanation how incredibly common the type of stories we grow up with are.  Some of my favorite superhero stories are of heroes that have been beat down, broken by the weight of their past sins, only to rise later, stronger.  I think the stories we have to see depict people in worst situations than us so we can watch them overcome obstacles to find success as reminders that we cannot give up.

I watched the first episode of the Superman cartoon and could not believe that it was made in the 1940’s.  A couple months ago I had watched a video essay on the golden age of cartoon Superman where the narrator spoke specifically about this show.  From the video I learned that one of its creators created the machine that used for rotoscoping, an animation technique that animates over live action film to make the movement of the characters more realistic and natural.  The show so well-made and well directed, with the lighting on point, that it is such a pity that many people only remember the 1960s’ Superfriends as the first time Superman or any of his Justice League companions.  It was so bad–just so so bad.  And as a quick aside, the fact that they have Lois being an aviator is awesome and should be brought up more.

Your friendly neighborhood Cheerleader

My character’s superhero name is Cheerleader, real name Katelyn Smith.   She used to live as your average high school student who only cared about her friends, her grades, and her cheering.  But all that quickly changed.   When she was 15 she was attacked by an evil alien princess, Katie accidentally killed her in defense.  Per the princess’s tradition, the person who kills you earns the powers and abilities that you possessed in life (she came a very violent planet).  Katie didn’t know what to do with her new powers of  energy conversion.  The kinetic energy generated from her movement instantly converted itself to electrical energy.  She had difficulty at first controlling it, accidentally electrocuting those around her.  But with time she managed to get a hang of them.  Her other power was super strength which she hadn’t discovered until months later during a kickboxing class.  She has not hit anything yet with the maximum amount of force for fear of the potential damage it could cause but that doesn’t mean she her hits are soft.  With her incredible powers, quick reflexes and easy flexibility, Katie decided to become a superhero, taking on the moniker Cheerleader.  Initially she just wore her high school cheering uniform but after getting it ruined a couple of times, Cheerleader decided to make her own costume specific to her extracurricular activity.  In the first couple of months of really working as a superhero, Cheerleader was vying for a position as a member of one of the professional hero groups but no call came.  She grew more frustrated until at 18, established her own hero squad.  The original group was composed of only five members but over time, it grew into an organization rivaling the size and status of the more established hero organizations.  Katie had to take some time away from being a superhero to attend college but she realized going to school and not working at what she did best only left her empty and unfulfilled so she quit to reclaim her position as founder and leader of her group.  She still wears her original uniform though she gets angry at anyone who assumes she’s in high school, the irony of which is not lost on her.

 

SUPERHEROES

I’ve always loved superheroes.  They had powers, secret identities, and the ability to vanquish foes and save the world.  My sister and I grew up pretending to have powers, playing out silly melodramas in the park across our house (our neighbors loved us).  Unfortunately, I didn’t develop any mutant powers nor did my parents tragically die, leaving me with a vast wealth and multi-billion dollar company to run (thank god on that last one).  Instead, I watched Teen Titans, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond, Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Young Justice (gone too soon) and…many more.  The story lines are compelling, the characters fun, and I really loved the art and animation behind it.  The art that goes into comics are really what keeps me invested in the characters.  My favorite comic book heroes often directly correlate to how my favorite artist portrays them.  My favorite superheroes: X-23, Magik, Kate Bishop, and Catwoman, have really amazing, beautiful art done by some of (in my opinion) best comic book artists working today: Phil Noto, Kevin Wada, and Dave Seguin.

There are so many different things we can do utilizing the superhero universe.  The look and feel of a comic book has changed in the decades since it was established, from standard to more experimental.  The comic book format doesn’t have to even be regulated to print, there are so many webcomics on the internet now in distinct styles and genres.  On television, old cartoon and television shows from the 1950s to 1990s have given the public memorable tunes that have become pop culture cornerstones.  We can critique both art style and writing in comics: its initial campiness, apparent homosexual undertones, how artists depicted women as literal sex objects, and the rise of diversity in recent times.  So I’m excited and ready for whichever direction we take, whether it be none or all of the above.

Btw, here are some examples of my favorite artists.  Phil Noto has this really cool drawing series on the classic Marvel characters placed in their original time periods, pulling historical context into fiction.

 Kate Bishop aka Hawkeye by Kevin Wada                         Kitty Pryde and X-23 by Dave Seguin

Squirrel Girl by Phil Noto