How to create a superhero from the post-apocalyptic future
Today in Super Haters, I introduced a mysterious new character who wants to take Mind’s Eye and Destruct-O-Tron’s child into the future. This character is an amalgamation of post-apocalyptic superhero tropes.
I put a lot of thought into exactly which tropes I wanted to use to create my character. In the process of synthesizing my ultimate post-apocalyptic superhero from the future, I came up with the following list of rules:
1. The superhero must be missing at least one eye. This means they must have either an eye patch or some kind of weird electric eye implant. EXCEPTION: A missing limb replaced by strange future technology.
2. The superhero must be scarred. The character needs a grizzled appearance to successfully imply that their future is more dangerous than our present.
3. The superhero needs to be mysterious. To create instant suspense it’s a must to have the future hero speak with direct-yet-vague phrases.
When it comes to great time-traveling superheroes from the post-apocalyptic future, the X-Men really have the market cornered. Specifically, nobody represents these tropes better than Cable.
He’s missing an eye (and an arm!), scarred, and super-mysterious. He’s even got some extras that totally seal the deal — big futuristic weapons, questionable motives, and a desire to save the future by affecting the past.
However, Bishop is an equally captivating hero from the decimated future… and he breaks almost all of the rules! While he’s not missing a peeper, he is branded over his right eye. And I mean branded, not scarred. Basically, it’s a tattoo. And while his future is mysterious, Bishop tends to be rather wordy about his goals.
But here’s the rub — a few years ago, Marvel decided that Bishop wasn’t packed full of enough tropes! They got rid of his right arm and gave him plenty direct-yet-vague quips about his new quasi-mysterious mission.
Though I prefer classic Bishop, I can appreciate the desire to transform him into a bigger and better representation of everything that makes grumpy time-traveling post-apocalyptic superheroes great.
Personally, I’m no slouch when it comes to telling stories with heroes that come from the decimated future. In fact, my webcomic Time Log stars FuturePete, a mysterious and magical curmudgeon from the year 2069.
And I’ve even drawn myself as a grizzled time traveler with a vendetta in my short lo-fi story I Hate Comics Forever.
But I think my latest future hero from Super Haters takes the cake. Though I’m not ready to reveal the character’s identity just yet (check back tomorrow!), I made some desktop wallpaper out of the titular moment when she reveals her intent.
Anyway, I hope these rules help you create your own kickass character on a quest to save their era from a disastrous fate. I mean, what could be more horrible than a future devoid of grizzled anti-heroes with missing eyes and mysterious motives?
UPDATE 1: Here’s a perfect example of these rules in action — Future Twilight:
Thx to Angela Capel for telling me about this awesome segment from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic!!