Crossposted from http://brookeblogs.com/?p=7075
While movies like Spiderman and X-Men certainly helped inspire my novel, Wonder Guy, my interest in superheroes arose long before either film was a spark in some studio executive’s eye.
I first admired the heroes, Mighty Mouse and Rocky the Flying Squirrel. In fact, my very first girly crush was on the valiant squirrel who fought evil with his loyal sidekick, Bullwinkle J Moose. They taught me the most basic lesson of heroism: that it must go hand in hand with a sense of humor.
I also loved several television series that aired in the sixties and seventies. The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, originally aired in the fifties but was in syndication when I was in grade school and I was a fan. Later they came out with a Batman TV series, starring Adam West. The show had a campy style often referring back to its comic book roots, accompanying fight scenes with visuals of balloons saying things like, ‘Biff!,’ ‘Pow!,’ and ‘Bam!’ Every week a villain would put Batman in deadly peril and his wits and utility belt would somehow get him out of the fix — with a little help from the boy wonder, Robin and the wise butler, Alfred.
At that time I was a little older and not content to merely have a crush on a hero. I wanted to be part of the action. I daydreamed about being Robin’s twin sister, Blue Jay and wearing a costume in shiny sapphire and black satin to match his, and taking part in all their adventures. (To be honest, romantically, I was more drawn at that point in my life to one of the bad boys – The Riddler, as played by Frank Gorshin.)
I watched The Green Hornet in its day, and Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Heroes in their days. I also watched I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched, as well as the shows specifically about superheroes. In the sixties and seventies it was something to have shows about women with any kind of power, even if the men with power were superheroes and the witch and the genie were treated more like dangerous natural forces that had to be kept in check by their men-folk.
It was a big step to finally get heroes like Xena and Buffy. In my first novel, Spirited, I went back to the idea of a genie as a romantic figure, but in this case the genie is a guy, gorgeous as well as powerful. The heroine, Amelia is concerned less with keeping his power in check than with helping him win back his freedom and autonomy from the wizard’s spell that enslaved him. She must learn to resist her temptation to take advantage of the power she has over him.
Wonder Guy is probably most closely inspired by the first Spiderman movie. It’s hero, Greg Roberts is a nerd, someone more likely to read comic books than attempt to emulate their heroic. But he’s in love with Gloria, the girl next door and she plans to marry someone else. Someone all wrong for her.
This is where Wonder Guy strays far from the usual comic book formula. Wonder Guy is the first full-length novel in my series of Fairy Godmothers’ Union stories. There’s no faux scientific explanation for his superpowers. They are magic — a gift from his fairy godmother, granted specifically to help him impress Gloria.
Greg doesn’t want to accept this apparently selfish goal at first, but the fairy godmothers know that a world with more happy relationships is a worthy goal in itself — and it’s not like super-powered Greg doesn’t help out a few other causes in the course of his adventures. In fact, the Fairy Godmothers’ Union has an agenda of its own and Greg and Gloria’s personal happiness are intertwined with events that affect their whole community.