Becoming a superhero is no easy undertaking, which might be why we see so few in the real world. While super-powered beings have entertained us for centuries, what really captivates us is watching normal human-beings put themselves through extraordinary measures to become their best selves and better the world around them. This guide takes a look at a little of what it might take to become a real superhero given you had enough time and motivation.
Find your catalyst
The urge to become a superhero is unlikely to happen without a major life event to serve as a catalyst. While there are plenty of super-powered heroes who see their role as a responsibility of their power (like Superman or Spider-Man) the characters who are mere mortals unfortunately seem to rely on a negative event to serve as that catalyst. In the case of Batman it was the death of his parents as a child that lead to his obsession of compensating for that powerlessness he felt that night. Maybe it’s witnessing a major injustice or receiving help in your darkest hour and passing it forward. Whatever your catalyst may be, it will likely leave you a different person.
Develop your ideology
Basing your superhero quest on raw emotion like vengeance or anger does not make for a solid foundation in your quest to (hopefully) help others. While that drive might lead you to overcome what set you on your quest for justice, what will keep you in the cape for the long run is to help prevent that trauma from happening to others. How you go about that will depend on the moral standards you set in place. Batman for instance will help hapless victims endlessly as long as he doesn’t break his biggest rule: no killing. An anti-hero like Punisher on the other hand will use any means necessary in his war against crime as long it’s only the bad guys he’s hurting. Be it peaceful protest or not, developing your creed and sticking to it will serve as the basis of becoming a superhero.
Start training (and training and training)
Being a superhero of course requires more than becoming a gym rat. However, the smaller the percentage of the population that is stronger and faster than you, the easier your job will be. You’ll need to train for muscle strength and power as well as developing your flexibility and speed. A high level of endurance is a must – catching your breath mid-chase just won’t cut it. There are countless workout routines that can get you there, but for an example of Batman’s day by day workout schedule and diet see here.
Your training should also extend beyond the physical. Building up your mind will prove just as useful as your biceps. Hit the books and begin studying a broad range of subjects – you never know what may prove useful, but a foundation in physics, tactics, local history and geography will be invaluable.
A wide array of knowledge along with instant recall and an excellent memory will ideally let you outsmart the baddies without ever lifting a finger.
Design your costume
Your costume as a crime fighter should ideally serve two purposes: (1) to keep you protected and give you an advantage in most physical situations. (2) to brand yourself and create an identity separate from your own. The first part will require some things not exactly found on-the-shelf. Look into kevlar and nomex materials and surround yourself with as much carbon fiber as possible. Place special attention to your shoes as you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet. If possible incorporate as many wearable electronics and tools as you can carry. You’ll also need to learn basic tailoring and sewing skills to maintain your costume.
The second part will require some creativity. You should be instantly recognizable to the public and put them at ease while at the same time intimidating criminals. The level of stealthiness and/or flamboyancy you wish to have are up to you, but be sure to make suiting up as quick of a process as possible. Consider choosing an animal or creature to serve as your totem. Ants, spiders and bats have all been used, so try something further up the food-chain.
This is often the time new heroes try to develop a name for themselves as a superhero. This should be avoided as it is not something you have control over anyway. Your superhero name will almost always be determined by the media, and once that happens you’re stuck with it. Embrace it and move on.
Use your resources
With superpowers out of the equation your resources will serve a key role in your endeavor. If you happen to be independently wealthy, congrats! Go ahead and build an Iron-Man suit and call it a day. If not, then you should begin developing an even more valuable resource: skills. The options here are nearly limitless, but it’s safe to say the more skills you have, the better of a superhero you’ll make. Only experience can tell you what to focus on specifically, but essentials could include:
- advanced self defense techniques
- advanced computer skills – coding/hacking
- ability to pilot multitude of land and air vehicles
- forensic analisys
- fluency in multiple languages
On top of your own abilities, the connections you have with others will prove crucial. Begin making friends in positions of power and influence and ideally have them in your debt. Calling in favors can get you out of all sorts of jams.
Assuming you plan on protecting a larger area than in walking radius you will need to consider how you’d like to get around. Your choice should be based around your location – an urban crusader will have different requirements than say, a river vigilante. Budget will play a role here, but if possible choose something armored. If you can drive through a wall consider that a plus. An alternative would be a completely inconspicuous “sleeper”. Something with an exterior so plain that it can completely blend in at the mall, but with an interior heavily modified enough to suit your needs. A min-van with a corvette engine might suffice.
Superheroes have secret identities for a reason. If comics have shown us anything it’s that if a villain ever finds out who you are, they will use that to their advantage and either come knocking, or find the people you care about. Unless you plan on going full-time you’re eventually going to need to take a break, pay the bills and feed the cat. Maintaining your privacy as an individual should be one of your top priorities, so you’ll need to be incognito during your escapades. Choosing a disguise is a matter of taste, but beware of full face helmets as your visibility and speech may be affected. If possible, purchase a 3D printer and print multiple copies of your mask. You’ll likely go through a few.
An alternative is to wear your disguise only when you’re not in superhero mode and taking it off when duty calls. That may sound difficult but Clark Kent does it everyday.
Leading a double life comes with many challenges, one being your sudden absences from often key moments in life. Explanations will be expected, so you will need to become proficient in lying constantly. Nearly forgotten dentist appointments and work meetings are easy go-tos, along with sudden food poisoning.
Becoming a superhero isn’t for everyone and would take an enormous amount of dedication, but you might just become a better you along the way.
Could you have what it takes?