Superhero Switch: Back to the White Whale Idea

Harry Potter Meets Constantine

Well, I know most people are out and about for this weekend, but I’m back to scratching my head on this one.  I have a project(s) that I call my ‘White Whale’ series.  These are my superhero stories that are always giving me a headache.  They began in a place I called Super Earth, moved to another planet, back to Super Earth, then to Windemere, and then I put them back on Super Earth.  Things were starting to come together, but I recently ran into a few small issues:

  1. I’m worried that the superhero trend will be so far beyond beating a dead horse that you’re basically punching bone dust.  Having mine take place on Earth makes it feel very generic.
  2. I would have to do a lot of location research.  This could result in me picking NYC as a hub for these characters since that’s what I live near.  How many superheroes are already running around the Big Apple?
  3. Tackling this one would put Windemere on pause in general.  I could feasibly try to juggle a Super Earth and Windemere series at the same time, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Bad enough that the Sin series (really need a main title for that one) will have to pause at certain points to allow for other series to avoid spoilers.
  4. Did I mention that this is feeling a little generic?

I keep wandering back to the Windemere plan, which I want to pose and see if it’s better than I realized.  Long ago, Myrlix the plane/dimension of magic crashed into the physical plane and made everything a little magical.  Auras became more potent and the entire system of magic changed.  It also led to the rise of beings with magical powers called Mylrixians.  These were powerful mortals who could do amazing things without using spells and relics.  The gods were leery of them, but many were helping to stabilize the world in the aftermath of the crash.  Thing went south when one of the heroic Mylrixians lost his son, went berserk, and declared war on all of Windemere, which he nearly succeeded in winning.  The gods ended up ‘destroying’ all of the Mylrixians out of fear of another rebellion, but the best they could do at this time was make it that all of them were repeatedly reborn without their powers or memories.

This is all backstory because the series is about when an incident causes them to regain their memories and powers.  It has them returning to their old lives while some are in different bodies.  For example, one of the male heroes used to be a woman and another hero used to be a villain.  So there’s a lot of conflicting mentalities that these characters are dealing with as they try to handle the return of everyone.  This includes the one who caused the rebellion too and he’s trying his best to not make the same mistakes.

It sounds like a fun series/group of series, but it does feel weird doing superheroes in a setting that lacks high tech.  I can’t really fit the aliens in without a problem and one of the main heroes was a tech-based character.  She even had a giant robot, which I would have to figure out here since that’s something that could really change Windemere.  This isn’t even considering how I could do this.  Short stories might work best with some collections being a group one and others focusing on a solo hero.  Some are going to unite to be a team while others will be localized or loners, which makes this more of a headache.

I guess the big question here is this: Would superheroes in a fantasy setting have any appeal?  That’s the head scratcher.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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26 Responses to Superhero Switch: Back to the White Whale Idea

  1. I think superheroes in a fantasy setting would be a way to stay fresh on the superhero idea.

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  2. What about the robot being a metal Golem, and the paper placed in its head is magical programming, Charles?
    That way, you can put them into any fantasy world you wished.

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  3. I hate to say it, but superheroes in a fantasy setting might be hard to pull off, you’d have to make them a lot different from casters or plain heroes… maybe what you need to ask yourself is what can they do that another hero in Windmere can’t do.
    As for a setting on Earth, a lot of stories just make of a city without basing it on a real one, so no real research is needed, just a vivid imagination, which you proved you have with Windmere.
    I can easily see why you’re having trouble, unfortunately I can’t really suggest a good option.

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    • Many Earth cities in fiction are based off real ones too. One still has to deal with the real world politics and cultures. Change those and you might as well not do it on Earth anyway. As far as what these heroes can do that others can’t, it differs from one to another. In general, they will each have unique powers that aren’t technically magic and might even ignore most anti-magic defenses. They’re kind of a locked down species too since they can rival gods.

      I doubt I’ll give them colorful costumes though. Didn’t even do that in the originals.

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  4. I agree with those who mentioned above that putting superheroes in a fantasy setting would be a fresh way to approach the superhero thing. I don’t think superheroes are in danger of going out of style any time soon, but a fresh approach is always welcome. If you think you can make it work, go for it. Also, try not to be so tough on yourself. If you have an idea for something you want to write, and can figure out how to make it work, write it. Worrying about whether it’s the right thing to do will only cause you extra stress you could do without.

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    • Thanks. I’m worried mostly because I want people to give these stories a chance. Current audiences seem very quick to cast stories aside if they appear to be part of an old trend. Superheroes won’t be as big as they are now by the time I get to this series.

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      • True. On the other hand, superheroes are a trend that keeps coming back. Also, there are some who would still want those kinds of stories, even after the trend has died down. No matter the subject or genre of your story, some will want it, others won’t. You just have to write what you want to write, do the best job you can with it, and hope for the best.

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      • The issue is timing. There will be a lull between periods of interest. It could last years before enough people are interested to make it a strong genre again. Look at how zombie stories have gone from everywhere to the background again. Even Walking Dead isn’t as strong as it used to be because of saturation. So the trick is to avoid the lull, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

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  5. I think you’d have to go out of your way to set the stage for it. It would be fun seeing Ichabod explore an ancient ruin that was actually the innards of a giant robot. Maybe he has to avoid gnomes who are trying to reproduce the technology. Perhaps a different ruin has pictographs of superheroes and clues to what might be coming. It would be a blast to write, as for commercial success… don’t ask me.

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    • There wouldn’t be anything that big left around, but they might be whispered legends. They get mentioned in passing in ‘Legends of Windemere’ as an extinct species. Considering they were sealed away by the gods, nobody would be trying to revive any of the tech that they created. This way their return is a big social shift that changes a lot. I have a haunted city on one continent that might be used as their former home, which means the ghosts are residual energy from them. Starting to wonder if calling them superheroes is a mistake too because I get the feeling that everyone expects flashy costumes, which wouldn’t be done in Windemere. It’s more that they have powers and abilities that differ from magic.

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      • I think that island needs a visit from Dax and Ichabod. I don’t come right out and call mine superheroes, but several of my characters fit the bill. Lisa has some flashy outfits, but none of them would qualify as cape and cowl types.

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      • It’s actual a ruined city on one of the other continents. I might have Clyde turn up there at one point for a bit. Problem with using Ichabod is that there’s not as much of a chance of readers seeing it. He seems to work better connecting to running series instead of hinting at future ones. I think the series after Nytefall runs around that area more too.

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  6. Pingback: Superhero Switch: Back to the White Whale Idea — Legends of Windemere – SEO

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