Welcome to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

This week’s question comes from Michael Deeley and is as follows:-

“Since superhero comics almost always depend on a physical conflict to create suspense and excitement, heroes who have been all-powerful rarely last long in a monthly series. I’m thinking of Captain Atom and Solar here, but the same argument can be made for Superman. When the hero can do anything, there’s no doubt as to the outcome of the fight. In the past, writers have focused on the hero’s personal life and how his power isolates him from people. With Superman, his stories often entered the realm of sci-fi/fantasy.

This long introduction is set-up for my question: How would you address the problem of writing a character who was all-powerful? How would you write the Adventures of God-Man – and bring something new to the table, something to make it interesting?”

Alonzo Washington:

To be honest all super heroes can do anything. Comic fans would not read about a hero that failed all the time. When Batman was beaten by Bane he returned to defeat him. The same thing happen with Doomsday & Superman. If you watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer this happens on all the season finales. We love to see heroes overcome. The only difference is with characters like Superman, Neo & Goku is that it seems like no one or thing can defeat them at all so why bother. God Man would be a great character because he could deal with why humans fall short of his greatness and why he loves humanity so much.

My flagship character Omega Man is in the class of Super Man, Neo & Goku. He is easy to write for and he is rare. How often can you find a Black character on a God like level? Think about it most Black characters have no powers or they are very limited. Compare John Stewart (Green Lantern) to the White Green Lanterns. John Stewart can only make force fields and laser blast with his ring. However, the White ones can make anything imaginable with their power rings. Storm should be the most powerful X-man but she is not written that way.

A large amount of White people have a problem with Black people having any power. That’s why the Falcon, The Black Panther, Power Man, Steel, Black Lighting and all the others are underneath the White Heroes in the Marvel & DC comic book universes. If comic fans really loved under powered super heroes they would buy the Black titles that Marvel & DC publishes and we all know that they don’t. When I say Omega Man can do anything I am breaking a Comic Book mold. I am putting a Black Character on a level where only White Super Heroes exist. I have no problem writing for this type of Character.

Alonzo Washington is the creator of Omega Man and a noted black rights campaigner.

Fiona Avery:

Well, first off I think God’s made a lot of mistakes so I can’t really answer this question as it is because my God-Man would have goof ups. I mean look at the armadillo — trees are crooked, mountains are lumpy — God is out there having fun! The Great Creator is creating without worrying about how things turn out. The Great Creator ignores his/her internal critic and I am damn jealous. Okay, I should say at this point, I’m actually an atheist, but I’m running with this God idea here, so come with me. So if I were writing God-man, I would actually factor in for error and correction in my storyline. Can you imagine being responsible for the creation of the universe and there *not* being some OOPSES? God-man: “Black hole — OOPS so that’s what happens when I make a star that’s too … Ohhhh, well Hell. Oops, again!”

Which leads me to my second and more important point. If you have a character who is flawless, then there’s no reason to read about her or him. Flaws are much more interesting and really flaws are what are so perfect about us.

Fiona Avery created No Honor at Top Cow, and currently writes Amazing Fantasy for Marvel, issue #1 available this week.

Stephen Holland:

I’d probably write about the world’s other individual inhabitants, and how they live their ordinary lives under those extraordinary circumstances – rather like Neil Gaiman did in “Miracleman”.

Ah, bollocks, we can’t sell you that right now.

Wait for Todd McFarlane to lose his legal case — or retrieve some vague vestige of personal honour, the disappointing little shit.

Stephen L. Holland runs Page 45, Nottingham, now officially the best comic shop in the UK, with Mark Simpson and Tom Rosin. He also appears monthly in Comics International.

Donna Barr:

Why do you assume that, because we read and/or create drawn books, we read spandex?

Or even have a history that’s concerned with the form, anyway?

Maybe some of us have come into this art form completely independently?

And know histories that are WORTH knowing?

(Like how countries get taken over by sociopathic corporate constructs, but oh, no, I don’t get points for knowing THAT in detail — I get ground on for not knowing how low which testicle hung on Batman. I guess I’d have to ask Robin).

Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once…including writing a column for SBC at this link!.

Jesse Leon McCann:

It would probably have something to do with a loved-one out of control, because no matter how much you think you’ve got it on the ball, it doesn’t mean you can save everyone, or get your loved ones to do the right thing.

That said, I really don’t like answering these kinds of questions too specifically, since I might get a chance to write this story someday. I don’t want to give anything away!

Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently editing the fourth Simpsons TV Episode Guide for Bongo Comics/Harper Perennial, and writing stories for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Cartoon Cartoons.

Kwanza Osajyefo:

Three words: up the stakes. Oh, and when DC cops this, remember you read it here first.

Superman fighting a gang of thugs makes for really borlng comic. No one cares about that kind of tripe cuz Supes is bulletproof. He needs to be battling Superman-level villains and the planet should be at stake. Basically, if Superman has to fight, the shit has hit the fan. Stories like Doomsday or the film’s General Zod made us worry that Supes was ’bout to get his ass kicked.

For a character like that, I would write long story arcs in which the end would always be a long drawn out battle between Superman and Villainous Badass Babyeater. Blow up Mars, flood the Grand Canyon, just make it huge.

You can toss in all the character development crap as well, but the overall theme should be “world heading towards crapper, send Superman.”

Kwanza Osajyefo is the founder of funkyComics, home to Jim’s Ninja and a number of other forthcoming comic book properties.

Vito Delsante:

By creating Devil-Man. Not to be as simple as a 2 year old, but think about it. What makes anyone interesting? It’s the challenges that we face in life. In any situation, different people react differently, and the same is true for fictional characters. I think what makes the current Austen/Reis run on Action Comics is that Chuck is really tapping into what makes Superman “super” and it’s not his alien origin or his powers…it’s Clark Kent. Another good example of this can be seen in the new Majestic mini by DnA. The point is, if given the opportunity to write an “all-powerful” hero/character, I would go out of my way to show that he is just like everyone else…

…just different.

Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Jim Muniz, is now in development with Image Comics and will hit stands late this year. “Batman Adventures Vol 2: Shadows and Masks” (DC Comics) is out now! He will next be seen in Reflux Comics #3 (August) and in X-Men Unlimited #5 (October).

Brandon Thomas:

Weakness. Weakness. Weakness.

Even the most indestructible badass has some type of weakness, and even if that word proves too strong, then he/she has something they care about, or matters most to them. If that still isn’t working, find something they fear. A character or personality that’s completely lacking in any of those categories isn’t worth writing about, and most likely, will have a book that only lasts a few months anyway.

Emotionally, there has to be something for the writer to grab onto, because if they can’t, you can be damn sure the audience won’t.

Brandon Thomas is one of the writers of Spider-Man Unlimited #3, scripter of Youngblood, creator of Cross and long-time Ambidextrous columnist.

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