Whether you're writing comic books
, or find yourself relaxing inside a lunatic asylum
, one thing is certain: there are a number of things to consider when organizing a team of superheroes.
Follow the Money
Where's the money coming from? If you're writing comic books, do whatever the guy who signs the checks tells you to do. If you're dreaming, pretend you're rich and have carte blanche
. If you're in a lunatic asylum, wait for the bat signal
. When it comes to the team of superheroes though, the most realistic approach is to figure out where the money is coming from for the group before you decide anything else, because it's the cashflow
that will decide a lot of things about the team. Oh, and if you haven't already done so, get a lawyer for yourself, and tell him that officially he's working for the team but really he's working for you. Get the moneybags
to pay his retainer
, and keep him very happy. You'll need the leech.
You gotta find some people. They have to be a certain type of people. They don't necessarily have to have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men
. That's too tall of an order, and the more they can do the more expensive they will be to keep on the payroll. Better to recruit people with a good work ethic, who will take orders. You don't want a whole bunch of Superman
s because then no one will know who's in charge. Make sure they know who's in charge.
Make sure you know who's in charge or they'll eat you alive.
The press and the public will turn their attention toward you eventually. You might as well give them what they want. When news reporters start dogging your people for accidently
blowing up a couple city blocks in uptown Manhattan
while you were trying to apprehend The Buckwheat Zydecoes
, you'll need a charmer
who has a way with words and a way with women. You'll need a tall dark brooding
type who looks good with his shirt off and appears to be eternally troubled. Women eat this crap up, and that means popularity which means money - and a lot of reporters and government officials happen to be women. You also need at least one brainiac
type who can think fast and come up with far-fetched but totally plausible explanations for why things happened the way they did and why all the clues pointed to a warehouse that you knew wouldn't withstand your team laying siege on it so you're gonna get sued and trust me your insurance won't cover that -- did I mention you should have a lawyer by now?
You're gonna need someone who's kinda slow
, so you have someone to talk into doing the really stupid crazy things when no one else will do it. Fellow E2 participant Ashley Pomeroy
pointed out that it is "essential to have a passive woman with tight lyrca and implausible breasts which should, by rights, prevent her from performing the gymnastic stunts she does."
You will also need a wisecracker
because on those times when you get stuck taking long trips with them, one of them needs to entertain you or you'll go nuts. Ever been stuck on a flight for eighteen hours with a half dozen spoiled mutants
? It's not fun lemme tell ya. Oh, and one more thing: these people are gonna clash. You can take all the psych exams you want with them. You can try to match them all up. You can work out their astrology
charts and only get air and water signs... They're gonna argue and they're gonna argue a lot. Just accept it
now because there ain't nothing you could do about it.
You could create a super team with a radioactive spider, a bucket of water, a wad of bubble gum you found under a movie theater seat, a book of matches and a rock -- they'd argue. It's what superhero teams do. That and beat up on things. They yell a lot and break stuff. That's their job. Let's move on.
If it's gonna be a team of superheroes, they have to be super. Otherwise it'll be just a team of average people who want to be heroes and you'll spend a lot of time climbing up in trees rescuing cats
The Captain Marvel approach
Try to have at least six people. One of them should be as wise as Solomon
. One of them should be very strong like Hercules
. One should be able to withstand anything you throw at him and still be standing, or be able to hold a great weight indefinitely without flinching, like Atlas
(not that you should want to but just knowing he could would be helpful). One should have some weird-ass big ability like lasers coming out of his eyes or force blasts from his fists or every thirty minutes he just explodes for no reason and then pops back into reality or something like that. Zeus
had lightning bolts that he threw at people, and he also would turn himself into different animals so he could have kinky sex
with women. So you need one person like that. Achilles
was very courageous and also pretty stupid. You want someone like that. Brave and dumb. And finally you need a speedster
. All good superhero teams have a speedster: someone who can at least run the speed of sound without breaking a sweat.
They don't all need the wisdom of Solomon
or the strength of Hercules
, but it can't hurt. If you have six people each with the above abilities, than at least you know that six against one, you could take out Captain Marvel
if you got the drop on him.
The Theme approach
This one's a little tougher, like trying to special order to get your burger just the way you like it at a fast food
joint, but let's say you want your superteam to have some kind of theme. Like you wanna call it the Flower Children. Well you're gonna have to only pick people who have powers that could somehow remotely have something to do with plantlife. You could have a solar battery kinda character, but most of your characters are gonna be pretty.. weak and stupid. I don't recommend going this route.
If in doubt, go back to the rule that says Follow the Money
. If the guy with the money wants to call it the Flower Children, tell him okay but it's gonna cost him a lot extra. Another alternative would be to get anybody you can get, and then just insist they all wear the same uniform. They're gonna hate that, but if you're paying them well and they got medical and dental and life insurance, what's their problem? Besides unless you're dealing with unions
where they gonna go? Back to The Avengers
? I think not.
The Take Them As You Can Get Them Approach
Hey these are tough times, and it's not like superheroes grow on trees y'know. Well, they do on some planets but not on Earth. Well, not on this Earth
anyway. The point is you can just put an ad
in the paper, saying that you've found some idiot rich person
to fund a team of superheroes and you've got slots to fill. The first five people to show up get the job. Keep the rest of the applicants
on file because when someone burns out or dies, and they will, you can make a couple phone calls and have a replacement ready while the body's still warm.
Take them as they come. Forget the uniform costume cuz that's just more expensive and the dry cleaning
bill's a bitch. If they have their own costume that's great. If they don't, just tell him you'll be in touch and move on to the next applicant. If they got their own motorcycle, that's great. If they think a motorcycle is their special power, think Ghost Rider
and scream out "NEXT!" If they have their own Lear jet and don't mind the team borrowing it indefinitely, they're hired. See? This way you can pick and choose what each applicant can bring to the team and let the team pretty much design itself, leaving more time for you to count the money you're saving.
Although if you're lucky
they won't spend much time here, there's gonna have to be one place where, when things get crazy or boring, they all know where to meet back up. If you think someone might be dead
, you can hang around the headquarters for six months and eventually they'll show up -they always do. You also need some place for them to report to at least weekly so you can give them their checks. Don't agree to mail their checks in - you'll never see them. If you have them check in once a week so you can see their latest bruises and find out who they've killed -- er, I mean brought to justice, then at least you know you (or wherever the money's coming from) is getting your money's worth.
And speaking of money, make sure the headquarters is bought and paid for, or if you're renting or leasing that the lease is paid for at least a year in advance. Y'never know when the team will have to drop everything and fly to the other side of the galaxy all the sudden, and when they get back your headquarters is suddenly turned into a shopping mall
It needs to be some place near a major metropolitan city, but far enough away to keep the tourists
out of your hair. There needs to be a lot of room on the grounds. You don't want a cooped up dinky little place for a team of four or more people. Especially if some of these people can do some damage, or tend to fly a lot. Underground is okay, but only if you have a good cheap deal with construction companies, or one of your guys can clear out another cave of dirt allowing you to expand. It can get costly fast keeping up a cave
off the coast are good ideas too, as it would work as a natural deterrent for bad guys to bug you. However, inevitably the baddies will follow the goodies home, so be sure to install a massive security system that incapacitates in seconds. Buildings inside a city are not a good idea, unless the mayor really likes you. Inevitably the nearest city is going to send you a bill for any and all damage that your people cause. Just accept it.
Oh, and if you haven't already done so yet, get a lawyer.
Make sure the HQ has a sauna, a swimming pool, exercise equipment, all the latest videogames and other fun stuff. Don't worry, each of the people on the team will only use any of this stuff maybe a couple times a week, but you can buy all this stuff for yourself and put it on that other guy's bill, or use the superhero team as a tax writeoff. And make sure the logo for the superhero team is prominently displayed on the building - even if it can't be seen from the road. You can then say the entire building is part of the promotional budget so cost of upkeep doesn't come out of the main account.
More Things to Consider