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sunandshadow

Superheroes and Supervillains, yea or nay?

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I'm working on a concept for a world in which several related stories would be set. The world has some people who have magic, shapeshifting, and other powers. I'm trying to decide whether to call these superheros/supervillains/superneutrals and have people be born to one of these three alignments, or whether to just call them mages and shifters and whatever. The target audience is adults (18+) because the collective genre of the stories is fantasy adventure erotic romance. They aren't really your classic 'super' stories, but might make an interesting twist on the subject. So - is seeing superwhatever in a story's summary something that would discourage you from reading/buying it, something that would encourage you to read/buy it, or something you would be neutral toward? Would the art being anime style rather than western comic style have any impact on your opinion? Here's the project's blurb, if you're curious: The World of Threes In the World Of Threes people with special powers are born to one of three factions: Superhero, Supervillain, or Superneutral. The human-like race of this world happens to have three genders: Layer, Seeder, and Bearer. * There is racial tension between the big golden Robusts, the petite gothic Graciles, and the mixed-blood Fractions both types of purebloods are prejudiced against. * There is religious tension between the conservative Triadists, who believe in orderly progress toward a manifest evolutionary destiny, and the Cults of Inward and Outward Breeding – the first of which fetishizes incest and the resultant Cursewhite children, and the second of which fetishizes bestiality and the magically-assisted conception of Beast children. * And there is social tension between the established noble clan-lines, the ambitious loners and gangs who want to found new clans, and the magically-summoned familiars whose power determines the possession of clan territories, and who everyone else wants to possess. Welcome to a deeply-developed, larger-than-life world of fantasy adventure and erotic romance: The World Of Threes!

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When I hear the word "superhero", I think of Western comic characters in spandex. It's the reason why DC and Marvel have a trademark on the word "superhero" (you can still use it, just not in titles or for promotion). I'm not sure if it fits the manga styled possibly Masquerade-like romance/erotic fuelled story world you've described.

What's the superhero link that makes you want to use the term? Why not use some other three-way combo like Good/Neutral/Evil, Law/Neutral/Chaos, Light/Shade/Dark, Day/Twilight/Night, etc. etc.

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What appeals to me about the 'super' concept... well, it's a strong stereotype, and those call up vivid impressions in the audience's minds so they make good building blocks for basic worldbuilding elements, provided one remembers to reinvent them in original ways and explore their logical consequences more thoroughly then the pulpy originals.

Supervillains are flashy, larger-than-life characters and thus they appeal to my taste as a writer and are quite compatible with romance. Superheros are like paladins without the religious aspect, and I have a specific story idea where one of those is the antagonist. And I think the idea of being born to a heroic or villainous alignment is an interesting one, especially when I add a class of superneutrals, which I haven't seen much done with in classic comics.

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Conservative Darwinians, inbreed mutants and were-furries. I like it! :D

I wouldn't call them superheroes. If only because of popular association of what the 4 big comic publishers use the term commonly for.

If your objective is to highlight the romantic and erotic nature of these set of stories then you should put some research into buzzwords that are associated with the activities your worlds heroes will engage in and fit a term that would best describe what they do.

If it's a world filled with both common, powerless people and also strong, powerful heroes, then find a term that the common people in your world would associate with these people. How would the average man in your world view these heroes?

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I think the biggest effect on whether calling the characters "superheroes" worked for or against me wanting to play would be what sort of feeling of technology level you're trying to evoke.

To me, superheroes have the additional connotations of the typical "close to modern day" setting of the big name western superhero stories. Everything from Superman, X-Men, etc are generally set within a modern timeframe, or enough so that I expect themes and motifs related to modern politics and technology. If your setting is modern, then superhero is a great way to easily evoke those things, for me.

On the other hand, with a typical fantasy RPG swords-and-armour "middle-ages" technology era, classifying them as superheroes seems much clumsier. The themes are generally different and, while I can still get a good idea of what sort of character to expect, being presented with an awkward analogy taken from a different style of story would give me concerns about what other areas of the game might be awkward.

And a middle ground like steampunk I think could probably work if done well.


On western vs anime: The art style in general I dont see as a problem. Although animated western superhero cartoons do often have distinctive animation in the way things move, etc. Anime would probably not bother me, and anime with nods to certain western animation conventions seems like it would be even better.

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Original post by sunandshadow
So - is seeing superwhatever in a story's summary something that would discourage you from reading/buying it, something that would encourage you to read/buy it, or something you would be neutral toward? Would the art being anime style rather than western comic style have any impact on your opinion?

The Supers genre is one of my favorites, for exactly the reason you stated before; the characters are larger than life - they don lavish costumes that are often extensions of their personality, theme, and/or powers, and do things that normal people wouldn't. They are walking talking themes and personalities, ready to explode into action whenever wherever.

Anime and superheroes go hand in hand very well - if you look at things such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, even Naruto, characters often have ridiculous thematic abilities, supermoves (to which they always must announce verbally when executing them - enhances the outrageous-ness of it all), and also do things and experience things that normal people wouldn't.

But I don't know about the targeted audience of 18+; usually these things are more appealing to younger to teen to tween audiences, or to those adults who want to see a campy movie once in a while. What I personally believe is that settings that are fantastical tend to be more appealing to younger audiences in general, than to adults in general, while the majority of adults prefer stories/settings that are more rooted in reality or in realistic circumstances. The anime style (or any cartoon style for that matter) could also be another thing that might not be quite as popular to the adult crowd as you would want.

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Original post by Tangireon
Anime and superheroes go hand in hand very well - if you look at things such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, even Naruto, characters often have ridiculous thematic abilities, supermoves (to which they always must announce verbally when executing them - enhances the outrageous-ness of it all), and also do things and experience things that normal people wouldn't.

I was also thinking this, that supers and anime fantasy characters, and for that matter fantasy characters in general, are all basically interchangeable terms for people with special powers.

Quote:
But I don't know about the targeted audience of 18+; usually these things are more appealing to younger to teen to tween audiences, or to those adults who want to see a campy movie once in a while. What I personally believe is that settings that are fantastical tend to be more appealing to younger audiences in general, than to adults in general, while the majority of adults prefer stories/settings that are more rooted in reality or in realistic circumstances. The anime style (or any cartoon style for that matter) could also be another thing that might not be quite as popular to the adult crowd as you would want.

Hmm, well, maybe it's just me that thinks anime art is pretty much inherently more attractive than realistic or western comic art. And it goes without saying that for erotica you want to use whatever art style audiences find most attractive. The audience I'm aiming for isn't the general adult audience, it's the audience of people who purchase visual erotica, especially fans of anime erotica and furry fans.

Or looking at it from a different perspective, I normally think anime and western comics alike would be great if they could just manage to be mature without trying to be 'darker and edgier' and losing their sense of humor and romance in favor of war and horror.

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Original post by caffiene
I think the biggest effect on whether calling the characters "superheroes" worked for or against me wanting to play would be what sort of feeling of technology level you're trying to evoke.


That's a good point. When I originally came up with my supervillain story idea I was watching old Batman episodes and imagining the story would take place in a modern but slightly pre-internet world. Now I'm trying to make it fit in the same universe with some other story ideas, but those were developed with a much lower-tech setting in mind; they have clans and mercenaries and cults and very little law, government, or sophisticated economy, and what technology they do have is magic-based. Probably it would be easier to rewrite the superheros as mages and shifters than to stick superheros into a semi-modern setting where all technology is magic-based... *headache*

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Sounds like something out of Planescape Torment (Which was an amazing game by the way and made by the original developers of Fallout). Anyhow, I think the game can get somewhere if you work on it well enough. I think the gender thing is kind of interesting as well and is an interesting concept overall. Though I know this is just a simple outline of the game, I wish more detail was given about the gameplay it's self. I mean, I can tell it's an RPG, however, can you go into more detail about how the game is played? Will it be a point and click RPG? Will it be MMO style? Turn based? Otherwise, it seems like a very interesting concept. I suggest you give Planescape Torment a try, it may guide some inspiration on your idea.

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Original post by Siberianhusky89
Sounds like something out of Planescape Torment (Which was an amazing game by the way and made by the original developers of Fallout). Anyhow, I think the game can get somewhere if you work on it well enough. I think the gender thing is kind of interesting as well and is an interesting concept overall. Though I know this is just a simple outline of the game, I wish more detail was given about the gameplay it's self. I mean, I can tell it's an RPG, however, can you go into more detail about how the game is played? Will it be a point and click RPG? Will it be MMO style? Turn based? Otherwise, it seems like a very interesting concept. I suggest you give Planescape Torment a try, it may guide some inspiration on your idea.


Oh, it's not specifically a game, I was trying to develop this world as an IP I could set several stories in, maybe a game later. But now that you ask, if I were going to do it as a game I think it would have to be a single player adventure game/relationship simulator (dating sim) kind of thing.

I'll take a look at planescape torment, although usually I'm not up for anything involving demons or a dark horror-ish feel. I mean I'd love to design an MMO but, I don't think this particular concept is suited to it.

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