Friday, April 04, 2008

Superheroes Are Fun, Dammit!

Since rehearsals don't start until next week, I have little more news to report on Colorful World, aside from reminding you tickets are available now. In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to this excellent entry by Mr. Matthew Freeman and this brilliant op-ed by Ms. Jamie G (in case you haven’t already checked them out).

It's funny, although I grew up on superhero comics and I still enjoy seeing well-made superhero movies and plays, I never seem to be able to write a conventional pulpy-fun superhero story of my own. I mean, I know the basics of the convention and know why I find them fun, but whenever I start writing one of my own, I end up going down these weird dark tangents.

This has been the case with the two plays I've written that tackle the superhero genre: Captain Moonbeam and Lynchpin (a one-act that was staged at Vampire Cowboys' second REVAMPED show) and Colorful World.

Instead of the characters having fun dressing up in colorful costumes and fighting crime, I end up thinking that there’s something fundamentally wrong with their psyches to do such a thing (even though I don't think while watching Spider-Man 2: "Peter Parker needs psychiatric evaluation if he’s going out in public dressed like that.").

Just as I'm starting the story, I have the costumed hero addicted to painkillers and suffering from some sort of mental imbalance and I have to tell myself, "Okay, James. This isn't how you do it. Right out of the bat your hero is an emotional cripple and pill junkie. If you really need to see how it's done, go reread Men of Steel."

So of course I reread Men of Steel and say to myself, "See? See! That's how you do it! There are the offbeat origins and fun characters and fun Lego interlude and all of it has the slight undercurrent of sadness but now here’s the kickass fight! C'mon, this is how you do it. Give it a try."

So I do:

The scene opens with our hero in full costume finishing off a fifth of bourbon and blowing his brains out—

"—Okay, James. Fuck are you doing here?"

Yeah, I don't know what my problem is. I guess it's no fun bein' a superhero in a Little Jimmy Comtois play.

The supervillain of the indie theatre scene,

James "Lex Luthor" Comtois

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