Back in the day (like 2003), I had a blog on Xanga, with the user-name “hawk_iris.” I’ve just had the site shut down, but as I was archiving the posts on my computer, I came across some items that have been lost or forgotten. Poetry, doodles, small snippets of wisdom or snapshots of my life… I was amazed.
Here’s part of a story I was making up as I was growing ever more addicted to superhero comics. It was imaginatively called “Superhero,” and many roots of “Cathy Queen of Evil” can probably be traced to this origin. It was abandoned, as you could probably figure out – I knew I wanted to do some story about superheroes, but couldn’t yet figure out a good plot for one. And now that I’ve read so many comics, I know that the world I outlined in this fragment is too similar to a lot of superhero premises.
Click below to see the story…
In the old days, superheroes wore bright gaudy costumes. They pranced around in public. They let their identities – their real ones – be known. Inevitably, they died out.
Some survived long enough to become celebrities. Some are still around today. For example, Ombudsman now works for the same corrupt politicians he used to fight. Señor Futuro runs a psychic hotline that’s made him millions. Damsel has her own TV show, not to mention several best-selling books. Quark was awarded an honorary doctorate, Captain Hell became poster boy for the U.S. Army, the Snake Man created a fad exercise diet…
These “original” superheroes left an idea that was theoretically sound, but it became the source of today’s problems. They felt that the world’s heroes should come together and work for the greater good on a large scale.
The Council of Superhuman Activities was a success – at first. Teams were dispatched at a second’s notice to deal with any problem. The teams were matched up by a computer, using a count of heroes available, what range of powers or specialties was needed, and who could handle things best.
When I was a little kid, I often waited on my porch, open-mouthed at seeing Theta speeding through the sky with Rope Guy and Blue Gunner on her heels. It was what led me to this profession. But by the time I had established myself as the Tiger, the glory days of the superheroes had ended.
The age of the public superheroes began its decline when the government of the United States established its superhuman register and started tagging. In secret at first… then publicly. And with force. Citizens all over the globe began to call for our names, our addresses, and our motives. The government complied – almost eagerly, in fact. The heroes who refused tagging disappeared. Most were probably murdered.
Finally the Council struck a deal. The government would only entrust the information to Council-approved officials under maximum security. The tracer taggings would continue.
I became the Tiger a year after the deal. I was immediately asked to join the Council. I proudly accepted.
As the Tiger I dressed much like my gaudy predecessors. I wore orange stripes on an outfit that showed off my muscles. I fought crime with the intensity of my namesake. But I was naïve. I failed to pay attention to the growing tension in the Council.
At my first day in the council, I was tagged. A small microchip was placed in my arm. I thought nothing of it once the others assured me that it didn’t impede my ability to fight crime. I gave up my name, address… all the information to a balding man in a grey business suit. He asked the questions in a clipped, brisk voice, but didn’t say anything else. He simply nodded and glared. When he was through, he left without another word.
But the Council! I was dazzled. It was on a private island in Oceania, bought by rich benefactors and serviced by robots. The main building itself was a mixture of the elegant and modern. There were marble columns here and bricks there, glass (bulletproof) windows all around. The inside was nice too. Computers and robots whirred everywhere while costumed crusaders chatted in state-of-the-art lounge rooms. Everything was clean and tidy and efficient. To me, it was the most beautiful place in the world.
I made some friends, none of which I will mention should this fall into the wrong hands. I went on a couple of missions with the big names of the day. I discussed politics and philosophy with them. We joked and strategized; some shared their secret identities with me. We were a society of the good-hearted, the believers in justice; the freaks of nature, the mutants, the well-trained. There were even a few aliens.
It happened on my eleventh mission. Dr. Nuclear was threatening to trigger the bombs in his worldwide robo-clones. The Screener, Atropa, Hemlock and SuperFreak were to hunt down the clones. The Big Names – Blue Gunner II, Damsel, the Merry Marquis, the Revolutionary, and Captain Hell – were to go after Dr. Nuclear himself. I was invited to serve as back up for the Big Name team.
The mission started out as missions usually did. Without warning, Dr. Nuclear blew up a few of his clones. More superhero teams were assigned to the clean up. Meanwhile, the Merry Marquis and Captain Hell tracked down Nuclear’s hideout. They found it in a small cave in England. We transported there in fifteen minutes. Damsel and Captain Hell immediately knocked out the guards. The Revolutionary, Blue Gunner and I snuck in, avoiding guards, lasers and trip beams. Then we were there.