History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Strange Paths to Super Heroes

I did not come into writing about super heroes in the usual way.

The first comic books I ever read were Archie and Richie Rich. These were comics that had belonged to the children of a friend of the family, and I was reading them in the 80s. The comics themselves were probably from the 70s or earlier. And while there may have been an occasional crossover with super heroes, that really wasn’t what I was reading them for.

In the mid-90s, while in my last year of my undergrad degree, I was BORED. Like “had to take 12 credit hours to live in the dorms but was taking mostly blow-off classes” bored. So one of my friends handed me the first graphic novel of the Sandman series. I devoured it. I asked for more. He provided, occasionally having to resort to giving me individual issues when he didn’t have the collections. And the run wasn’t complete, yet, either, so I had to wait for the day when the final issue would finally be available. And again, though there were some issues with some super heroes now and then, that’s not what the story was about.

There were films, sure. Batman in 1989, followed by Batman Returns and Batman Forever in the 90s, and then I stopped watching those. And Batman is a rich guy with fancy toys, not a super-powered individual. The X-Men movies in the 2000s might have been the first time I really liked a comic book movie that involved powered people. In recent years, I’ve been voraciously devouring the MCU movies, and I’ve even started reading some of the super hero comics, too. But it doesn’t compare to having a childhood steeped in super heroes.

My lack of super hero knowledge is somewhat apparent in what I write. The two super heroes I’ve written most in Cobalt City, Kara Sparx and Huntsman, are normal people with gear and training that lets them do extraordinary things. The stories I’ve written outside of Cobalt City also aren’t heavily powered characters–one can amplify/diminish soundĀ and one can run fast. Some others don’t even have that–one works with a magical app on her phone to perform heroic deeds, while another drinks an elixir to gain her powers (which are weird ones). And when I do give my heroes powers, they’re strange powers–a supernaturally compelling voice, plant control, or weather control. I prefer to write the marginally powered (at best) people, not the unstoppable ones.

So today, I’m releasingĀ Heroes of Necessity, a collection of super hero short stories that aren’t about the super heroes who have all of the power. They’re about the super heroes who get by with the few and strange powers they do have, so that they can be the good they want to see in the world. And that’s my kind of super hero!


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