META: Three Metaphors for Superhero Teams

EDMLite robrogers72 at
Wed May 2 14:23:23 PDT 2012

On May 2, 8:31 am, Tom Russell <joltc... at> wrote:
> It would have helped, I think, if I had picked a metaphor for my
> teams, or, for that matter, realized the obvious: good superhero teams
> function as metaphors for social groups.

I think it's much, much easier for a writer to build a team
using already-established characters, whose powers and
personalities are well-known to the reader.

When writers introduce a team of entirely new characters
all at once, they often -- in my opinion -- fall into the
trap of creating stock characters, whose personalities
are defined by their powers.

One way around this is to tell the story from the point
of view of a character new to the team, who learns
about his/her new teammates as we do.  Austin
Grossman used this technique well in "Soon I
Will Be Invincible," and Bryan Singer did the same
with Rogue for the first "X-Men" movie.

(And if I'm not mistaken, Tom used the technique
in his re-vamp of "Teenfactor" from a few years ago,
which I really enjoyed).

>These fall into three broad
> categories by my reckoning...

I think the LNH falls into its own category:
team as multinational corporation.
(Or, if you prefer, team as very large
non-profit organization).

All of the members of the LNH subscribe
to its acting principles, and participate in
its brand.  But (with the possible exceptions
of Master Roster Man and perhaps Anal-
Retentive Archive Kid), they don't all know
one another, any more than all of the
co-workers at a large company do.

And there are definite hierarchies within
the company -- senior staff, who make
decisions; average workers, who carry
out assignments; and low-level
functionaries, who man the reception
desk and process paperwork...

It's a framework that allows for a lot of
interaction, even if it doesn't generate the
natural conflicts that a family or
friend dynamic might...

--Easily-Discovered Man Lite
--Basically collects a paycheck
for wandering from room to room

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