An idea. Feedback, please.

iamspenagain

Cymro's Bitch
Jan 1, 1970
538
3
0
32
The Nast 'Nati, Ohio
#1
My day at work today was long and tedious, so I came up with a basic plot outline for a comic I'd like to do. I shot the idea at my girlfriend, and she thought it would work better as a novel. So I'll pitch the idea to you guys, tell me what you think. I'm looking for criticism of my ideas as well as what medium you think this would best translate into.

The main character is a superhero , though not the typical overpowering type. He's got heightened strength, speed, agility, etc., but nothing like what we see from Spiderman or Superman, and he can't fly. As the story opens, we see the hero perched on a stone cross atop a church steeple, overlooking a quaint city. A monologue tells us who the superhero is and explains his role in society. He is the Protector of Munich, the latest in a long line of heroes to hold that title. The titles I'm considering are Der Herd von München or Der Baron von München (The Hero or The Baron of Munich, respectively), though he's not popularly known, so that title is seldom used. The monologue continues, and we learn that the year is 1936. The hero tells of his frustrations with the Nazi regime ("I'm supposed to be a super hero, yet I'm utterly powerless against the current onslaught of corruption, malice, and evil."). The next line reads, "They even got to me." The next panel or paragraph or what have you reveals that, though he's a costumed superhero (albeit a simply costumed one), his costume sports a yellow badge, complete with the word, "Juden." So, though the public knows little of the hero, the government apparently knows of him and his alter-ego.

I'm thinking of opening the story with the hero catching wind of a Nazi plot to assassinate Jesse Owens before the 1936 Olympics, traveling to Berlin, and quietly putting a stop to it. This would primarily be to introduce the hero's powers and style; he stays in the shadows, preferring to avoid public attention. I haven't fleshed out the whole story yet, but he'll eventually be captured and thrown in a concentration camp ("When I exited the train, they treated me as if I were a common Jew. There must have been an issue with the paperwork. Imagine, a super hero saved by a simple clerical error."). By that time, his morale has dropped to the point where he feels his super hero identity is useless, and so he has no thoughts of escape. As he toils as little more than slave labor, he recedes into himself. The guards and the other inmates, however, are confounded; here's a man that does the same work as the other prisoners, is fed the same rations, yet he remains in peak physical conditions as the others turn frail and fall ill. Before the Nazis have a chance to act, however, a fellow inmate realizes who he is and convinced him to escape ("I know who you are. You're the Hero of Munich, aren't you? Germany needs a hero now more than ever.")

After a daring escape from the concentration camp, the Hero does everything in his power to fight Hitler and the Nazis while remaining in the shadows, out of the vision of the public. I haven't really fleshed this part out, either, but perhaps he does intelligence-gathering for the Allies or intercepts trains full of Jewish and Allied prisoners. Still, despite his efforts, he eventually becomes frustrated once again, and, by 1944, his alter-ego escapes Europe and flees to America, where he lives with a friend, awaiting the end of the war. Though his time in America will be short in terms of pages, I'll probably bring him to Cincinnati, both because I live here and so can make the setting historically accurate, and because Cincinnati has/had a large German population, so he'd be able to blend in. Immediately following the war, the hero returns to Munich, where he begins to help rebuild the crumbling infrastructure (Friend: "You're going back to Germany, knowing what they did to our people?" Hero: "Yes. I can think of no other time Germany needed a hero more than now.").

The story ends with an aging Hero, perched atop the same steeple as when the story opened. His hair is graying, his costume has changed a bit, and he's visibly worn. It's now the late 1950s or early 1960s, and the hero is looking for his replacement, which will be chosen not by him, but by some unknown force (The closing monologue will include references to increasingly frequent and debilitating injuries, just to drive home the point). In the final few panels (paragraphs?), we see the the hero has been watching teenagers play football. One teen, over all the rest, is utterly dominating the game, by far faster and stronger than the rest of the team ("I think I've found my replacement."). The closing monologue will also include references and to communism, comparing it to Nazism, leaving open the possibility of a sequel, starring the next hero in the line.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#2
I could see it in a number of formats, though my first impression is 'graphic novel' - and black and white, at that. Maybe "Sin City"/"Schindler's List" style, with a few flourishes of color to denote important things.
 

iamspenagain

Cymro's Bitch
Jan 1, 1970
538
3
0
32
The Nast 'Nati, Ohio
#3
I was thinking the same thing. There's a lot of work to be done before it can even get to that point, but I found myself getting fairly excited about turning this into a long-term project. I don't recall ever seeing anything like this before, where the superhero loses not only his ability to protect the people, but his will to do so in the first place. And the backdrop of Nazi Germany really adds a dramatic element to that, I think.

The initial idea for this project came when I wondered why no iconic superheroes existed outside of the United States, and in a real-world setting that wasn't the present. Not that I want to imply I think this character could become an icon, because I don't expect that at all, but, after thinking about it for a while, I thought my idea was worthy of merit and, if I successfully completed a story and dove headfirst into hours upon hours of artwork, perhaps even publication. Which is exactly why I'm asking for some serious feedback rather than the usual bullshit we throw at each other. ;)
 

Closet Racist

Senior Member
Aug 2, 2004
1,221
3
0
Vortex 4.
#4
Develope it as literature first (to work the details out), then as a graphic novel.

Ever read a novel called "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" by Michael Chabon?
 
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#5
Sounds cool. This line kinda struck me tho...

"He's got heightened strength, speed, agility, etc., but nothing like what we see from Spiderman or Superman, and he can't fly."

That pretty much describes Superman in the year he was created. And nothing short of a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. He couldn't fly, but he could jump an eighth of a mile (hence the phrase "able to LEAP tall buildings in a single bound....as opposed to just flying over it)

I'd definately read it and I hope you can make something out of it. I, unfortunately, suffer from a condition that Matt Wagner once described thusly:

I can think of and come up with concepts all day. Making an actual story out of it, with dialogue and so on......well that's not so easy.

I've created any number of characters, concepts, worlds, timelines, etc, but trying to nail down the actual story always seems to be a bitch. So I hope you fare better than I in that regard.

Looking forward to more on this project. Have you designed an outfit yet?
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
5,243
3
0
39
Canada eh!
cheese.com
#6
That sounds like a fantastic idea. I'm not sure I like the idea of the Nazi's knowing about the hero though. It seems to me that were the Nazi's to have actually discovered someone like that they would have studied and experimented on him as opposed to making him wear the badge.

But I'm sure it could work. Love the idea.
 

iamspenagain

Cymro's Bitch
Jan 1, 1970
538
3
0
32
The Nast 'Nati, Ohio
#7
I'm trying to work that into the story. Thus far, I've not had the energy to put in any preliminary work, which is fine, because I'm still hammering out ideas. Since the story opens before the Nazis really began their death campaigns in earnest, I think I can keep that from being an issue. And I think it's really important to the idea that the Nazis are a more insidious and evil entity than even the most nefarious comic book supervillain (that's one of the reasons I've not given him a direct adversary, I think that would overshadow his struggles with the Nazi party, which is the true focus of the story).

I thought today maybe I'd give his alter-ego a family, and really flesh out his character as a layman, as well. Then maybe the Nazis will blackmail him into joining the Wehrmacht at some point.
 

Space Goat

"It's a faaaake!"
Jan 1, 1970
432
0
0
34
Washington, D.C.
www.hypersyl.com
#9
To help you capture the twisted and gangsterish world that was the Nazi government, I'd highly recommend you pick up William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Shirer was an American journalist working in Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc.) from when the Nazis took power until the early stages of World War II. A couple decades after the war ended, Shirer used his first-hand experiences, his contacts, and the voluminous records the Nazis left behind to craft the 1000+ page opus that is Rise and Fall.

(Hell, I'd recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand Nazi Germany.)

The book sheds light on the major resistance groups within the intelligensia and the military, whom you might want to incorporate into your plot at some point. Maybe after the hero is conscripted into the Wehrmacht, Admiral Canaris of military intelligence sinks the claws of the anti-Nazi officers into him. :) (Normally, we'd think of shadowy intelligence types as being pro-dictator, but Canaris and his deputy, Colonel Oster, sought to topple the Reich.)

For even more insight into the German resisters in the officer corps, you might want to nab Plotting Hitler's Death by Joachim Fest.

I know you're not writing a history book, but knowing the history well would help you craft more believable settings and characters. :cool: