I like my heroes to gain their powers from a believable situation. Gene mutation and cosmic ray blasts were kind of taken, and I definitely did not want him to come from an alien race. So, I did some dabbling into science and concocted a situation that was remotely feasible to give Malachi the environment in which to enhance his abilities. Falling into a vat of experimental nuclear fuel/coolant sounded cool, and in looking at the science, it worked.
This line of thinking (creating realistic backgrounds) was the basis for creating my other superhero/villains in the series. The neat thing about “creating” is that there is almost no limit in how they are made. The background is one of my favorite things to do since during the writing process I can see the character taking shape.
Appearance is a major part of a hero’s persona. Many times I use downloaded images I keep in a file as inspiration, and use the pics in some fashion to stir my creative juices. Having a goofy looking character takes away from the story; it causes a horrid image of this superhero in the reader’s mind, thus taking away his ability to function in the story.
In my world, I like for superheroes to be powerful, yet not too overwhelming. Despite what powers you grant your hero, there always has to be a weak link or an Achilles heel to your character. Nobody is invulnerable. Having a weakness helps to create conflict which is a key element in driving a story, and conflict can come in a variety of ways: family hardship, lack of love, poor relationships, fear, personality, ego, you name it.
Another topic to use in creating a superhero is a name. I’ve written on names before, so I will keep it simple: a cool name is a must. If you are worried about copyrights, trademarks, etc., the net has many lists of “created characters” to keep you from infringing on others’ property. Most heroes have a birth name and use a fictitious name to hide their identity. Again, this is your prerogative.
Lastly, setting has a part in deciding what your hero will look like, what he can do, and how he will fit. I can’t see Superman dwelling in medieval times, or Green Lantern battling in the 1920’s. Is it possible? Yes. Does it appear believable? Eh, not really.
I hope this little piece influences you to write the next best selling superhero sci-fi novel. Be sure to check out my website on this new novel, hopefully to be contracted soon.
Take care, Nick