Mark Henson‘s favorite superhero is Batman. The author of Ordinary Superpowers says he’s drawn to the fact that Batman is a “regular” human. He didn’t inherit any unusual power, there’s no mutation; sure he inherited an incredible amount of wealth but when it comes down to it, he’s just a dude in a mask.
We talked to him last year on JKWD:
Lately I’ve been thinking about Henson’s concept of ordinary superpowers. You probably get it pretty quickly when you hear it: there’s something that you do better than a lot of other people. I’m very good at taking lots of complex information and distilling it down to something most people can understand. You might be a great at connecting people. You might be a fantastic networker. You might kill it on the dance floor. You might be great at understanding emotions, calming excited dogs or wrangling toddlers.
The point is, you’re really good at something.
I’ve been thinking about superheroes lately. I don’t know why. I was never into comic books when I was growing up. I didn’t really understand much about the genre until all these movies started hitting Netflix the past few years.
It seems there are a couple of modes superheroes follow.
One is the Batman model — an ordinary-appearing man has a suit that he puts on to keep his normal-world identity secret while he goes out to save the world (or whatever). In Batman’s case, it’s a well-appointed suit with a bunch of fancy stuff on it, like Iron Man’s. In Spider-Man’s case, it’s to disguise his identity; the suit doesn’t actually do anything.
The other model is the not-of-this-world model. X-Men, Hellboy, Thor — these superheroes wield their powers openly.
But then there’s Superman.
Superman’s natural state is one of superpowers, but he puts on a costume to become an everyday guy.
Now that’s how I want to be thought of. When you see me, I’m just a dude walking around, but underneath, I’ve got powers you can’t even imagine.