October 24, 2006

Native superheroes made easy

You too can create a Super-Chief, American Eagle, or Red Wolf. Just follow these 12 easy steps:

Create Your Own Native American Superhero!!!In honor of DC's "Relaunch Native American Superheroes" Month, we present a handy guide so you, too, can create an original Native American Superhero just like REAL comic book writers!


Not a Sioux said...

How about the rule that the Native American superhero always has powers that are intended to be Native American-related? Be it from a magic "medicine bag" (Shaman of Alpha Flight), powers endowed by a spirit or "manitou", or the Native American's natural ability to commune with the animals (Eagle Free)?

I know not all fit these rules (Danielle Moonstar comes to mind).

Rob said...

Hale of Angelthorne kind of covered that when he wrote that all Native superheroes have "inherent super powers." But he could've been more specific.

I must admit that my PEACE PARTY heroes have nature-based powers too. It seems natural that when a people emphasize their oneness with nature, their powers should reflect that. But if it's done too often, it becomes stereotypical. That's why my next group of Native superheroes will have a broader range of powers.

Not a Sioux said...

I wasn't going to mention our "Peace Party" heroes as not to seem like I was digging at them, but their abilities and how they were bestowed count as examples of "specifically Native American powers" that I was thinking of.

Billy and Drew, as you well know, come out very good at skirting around 11 of the 12 given "Create Your Own Native American Superhero!!!" rules. The one I leave out is #11 (their hero names, which to me almost fit what goes in this rule: i.e. "Rain Falling" sounds more "Indian" than a name such as "Lightning Lad" or Hulk" or ..... "Manhandler").

In my view, it's OK to violate one or two of some of these rules anyway, as long as it is done for a good purpose. A LOT of superheroes of many ethnicities have triggered the "3) All Native Americans are magical and good-looking, kind of like elves! rule. See Arisia from "Green Lantern."

Rob said...

Well, Drew lives in a pueblo, which conforms to rule 2. But I don't think rule 2 is valid these days, if it ever was. Indian superheroes are more likely to be angry or alienated city dwellers, a la Super-Chief, than reservation-based traditionalists.

Billy and Drew's powers are arguably magical, or at least supernatural, which conforms to rule 3.

Actually, I don't think their names sound that "Indian." If I told you the names in isolation, especially if I didn't pair them, I don't think you'd think they were Indian. Maybe Rain Falling, because of the association with rain dances, but Snake Standing? Indian superheroes are usually named after wolves, eagles, bears, or hawks, not rabbits, snakes, thrushes, or mosquitoes.

I should add that as the stories unfold, their powers will evolve somewhat. In other words, they'll seem less clichéd as time goes by.

Not a Sioux said...

The only names I'm familiar with that have elements of nature (animals, weather, etc) and might have verbs as part of them in two or three English words have been Native names (including fictional names). Yes, I'd QUICKLY identify "Rain Falling" and "Snake Standing" as sounding "Indian", but not "Indian superhero". I can't imagine fitting them to Anglos, rap stars, Africans, or anyone else.

Here are some examples that established the precedent that gave me the association, with the "ing" words in the names: (real) Sitting Bull, good ol (fake) Dances with Wolves, (real) Sitting Bear, (fake) Kicking Bird...and finally Dawson WalkingBear.

There might be some non-Native names that have "-ing" words like this, but I can't think of any other than names like "Cunningham" which are another matter altogether.