Everybody should have their own superhero story whether it’s for Halloween or not. But it’s complicated. Where to start?
Here’s a scheme that will give you a few prompts for laying out the basics of your individualized superhero story. The idea is that you use information about your birth to look up corresponding aspects of your superhero identity. The information you’ll need is: date of birth, day of birth, zodiac sign, number of siblings, time of birth, and distance from your birthplace to where you now live. (The last two pieces of information don’t have to be exact.)
The Superhero Scheme
In this scheme, your superhero story consists of nine attributes:
- POWER, based on the calendar day of the month you were born. There are 31 choices.
- WEAKNESS, based on the month of your birth. There are 12 choices.
- ORIGIN, based on day of the week that you were born. There are 7 choices.
- USE OF POWER, based on your Zodiac elements. There are 12 choices in 4 groups.
- ALTER IDENTITY, based on your time of birth. There are 4 choices.
- COSTUME, based on your number of siblings. There are 5 choices.
- ACCESSORIES, based on the distance you now live from your birthplace. There are 5 choices.
- BASE OF OPERATIONS, based on the last digit of your birth year. There are 10 choices.
- COMPANION, based on the last letter of your surname. There are 26 choices in 7 groups.
Together, there are 72,912,000 possible superhero stories. Here are the parts of your superhero story and how you can look them up.
Power is what makes a superhero a super hero. There are 31 possibilities based on the number of the day you were born. Imagine what you could with one of these powers:
- Elemental control. You can control a force of nature, like wind, lightning, or rain. You would be in great demand from farmers and event planners who would want you to bring the rain or keep it away. The kids would love it when you took them to fly kites.
- Lie detection. You can tell when someone is lying. You could be a judge or just know which political ads are false. You would never be fooled by spam or clickbait. Your problem would be that some people might not believe you.
- Magic. This power comes from fantasy but is featured in many works of popular culture from Merlin to Harry Potter. Maybe you can only do simple spells or maybe you could evolve into a powerful sorcerer like Dr. Strange or Willow Rosenberg.
- Invisibility. People couldn’t see you. Maybe you have natural camouflage like a chameleon or can bend light like Sue Storm. You might even be able to make other objects invisible too. Hopefully, your clothes could become invisible with you.
- Enhanced hearing. Being to hear even the slightest sound would make you a great hunter. Nobody would be able to talk behind your back. It would be a problem, though, if you couldn’t control it well enough to cancel out all the ambient noise in the world, like the sounds coming out of restrooms.
- Size. Being able to change your size at will would allow you to escape or take-on any attacker. You could shrink small enough to sneak under a door or grow big enough to knock it down. Your clothes would present a problem if they didn’t change size with you. Hank Pym figured out how to do it.
- Intelligence. Everyone wants to be smarter than the next guy but it could get you in trouble if your ego isn’t under control. For some reason, geniuses always seem to be evil. Games based on intelligence, like chess and crossword puzzles, would quickly becoming boring. You couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with anyone.
- Elasticity. Imagine if you could stretch your limbs to reach the top shelves in stores or just retrieve the remote control without getting off the couch. You could stretch just enough to make your doctor think your BMI was perfect. But be careful, you could destroy your whole wardrobe with this power.
- Energy projection. No need to throw a punch if you could just emit a blast of energy, like Captain Marvel. Your power might be more subtle, though, like being to recharge everyone’s cell phones or EVs.
- Telekinesis. Being able to move objects with your mind would be a useful superpower. You wouldn’t have to get off the couch to get a snack from the kitchen. You could lift your car into a tight parking space or clean your gutters without climbing a ladder. You would be banned from roulette tables.
- Mind control. Reading other people’s thoughts and even inducing them to perform certain actions would be an incredible power, perhaps too susceptible to misuse. Look at what all the cult leaders in history have done. One nice thing about the power of mind control is that people wouldn’t know when you were using it so your secret identity would be safe.
- Enhanced taste. With enhanced taste, you could become a fabulous chef. If you didn’t mind tasting bodily fluids, you could be a great medical diagnostician. You would probably have to stop eating at fast-food restaurants, though.
- Magnetism. The exploits of Magneto have been well explored. Still, consider some more mundane applications of controlling magnetism, like wreaking havoc with vending machines.
- Mimicry. With mimicry, you could possess all the abilities of those around you. You could be accomplished in any occupation, like flying an airliner, so long as you were near someone who did possess the skill. In sports, you would be better than any other player because you would have the skills of ALL the players near to you. You might, however, end up having no skills of your own.
- Agility and fighting skills. No need to study and practice fighting skills, they would come naturally. You could spar with the best boxers or martial-arts fighters, and overcome any criminal so long as they didn’t have a gun.
- Strength. With super-human strength, you could do more than just open pickle jars. You would have to learn to control the power though, or else you could do a lot of damage to your living space, not to mention living beings.
- Time pause. Wouldn’t it be great if you could pause time for a few moments to get something done or avoid something or someone you didn’t want to encounter? That’s what time-pause is about. Just remember, while the world is stopped, you continue aging.
- Precognition. Knowing the future sounds great but it might get boring after a while. How many times can you pick the winning lottery numbers before someone gets suspicious?
- Enhanced touch. Besides being a masseuse/masseur or a safecracker, enhanced touch would allow you to detect subtle vibrations in humans, machines, and the Earth. You might be able to predict earthquakes, weather events, or infrastructure failures. You would be able to find the-little-man-in-the-boat.
- Invulnerability. “Sticks and stones won’t break your bones” nor will bullets or fists or anything else thrown at you. And, you would have a real excuse for not getting a vaccine. Shaving would be a challenge.
- Illusion casting. You could have a lot of fun pranking your friends and avoiding authorities. After a while, though, you might have a hard time distinguishing what is real from what is an illusion.
- Self healing. Who wouldn’t want to have the power of self-healing. No more having to wear corrective lenses or hearing aids. No more having to go to the doctor. But self-healing wouldn’t help you with aging.
- Communication. Imagine if you could speak every human language, talk to animals, and even decipher machine communications. You might not know what to say, though, or understand the concepts you were hearing.
- Flight. Everybody likes the idea of being able to fly but there would be challenges—birds, airplanes, bad weather and so on. A fall from a height would kill you.
- Healing others. If you could heal others, you could be the greatest doctor ever without having to go to school. And therein lies the problem. Without a medical certification, you would be a target of the medical profession and other skeptics.
- Speed. Super speed would have a lot of benefits just be careful of friction. Dust and rain would be pretty abrasive. And don’t trip, you wouldn’t be invulnerable.
- Density control. You could be “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” intangible enough to pass through walls, or dense enough to be virtually invulnerable. Airlines wouldn’t charge you for being overweight. Just be careful not to blow away in the wind.
- Shapeshifting. Shapeshifting would seem to be a cool superpower. You wouldn’t have to worry about what to wear because you could change at a moment’s notice. But, there might be certain things that you couldn’t transform into convincingly. Odo had problems with faces. Changing your size from a human to a fly or an elephant might not be possible.
- Enhanced vision. Superman had every kind of enhanced vision possible—telescopic and microscopic in the visible spectrum and all of the higher and lower spectra. Still, he couldn’t watch Netflix without paying the subscription fee.
- Teleportation. Teleportation would be a great superpower for no other reason than saving time on your commute to work. You could avoid crowded public transportation not to mention airplanes and elevators. Just be sure you don’t transport into anything solid. And, don’t get caught teleporting “under the influence.”
- Replication. Say you could create identical versions of yourself. You could have a duplicate go to work, another mow the lawn, and a third help the kids with their homework, all the while you were sitting on the couch playing video games. You could always arrange to have a duplicate establish an alibi while you did other things. After a while, it might become confusing who was who.
It would be boring if you had a superpower without any weakness or limitation to add conflict to your story. A weakness may be a condition that limits your use of your power or is actually caused by using your power. Here are twelve weaknesses that you could face, based on the month of your birth.
- Depression. Many of us suffer from depression. It’s not just feeling sad and hopeless, there’s constant fatigue and insomnia too. Anxiety is another challenge you may face that can render your super power useless.
- Addiction. There are many kinds of addiction that can derail a superhero. Perhaps drug addictions are the worst but other addictions — like gambling social media. and gaming—can also interfere with a superhero’s attention.
- Constant pain. Some medical conditions like arthritis, lupus, MS, and neuropathy can cause intense pain. It would be hard to use a mental super power if it always gave you a migraine.
- Forgetfulness. Even without suffering from dementia, a person can have bouts of forgetfulness attributable to medications, stress, lack of sleep, and other issues. You might find yourself holding s pickle jar and wondering what you were going to use your super strength for.
- Defiance. Defiance is a reaction that is not uncommon in teenagers and some political and homegrown paramilitary groups. Having this condition would make it difficult for a superhero to work well with companions and perhaps law enforcement.
- Poor control of power. Powers have learning curves. Whether your power is innate, like mind control, or an external appendage, like a gadget, you have to train and practice. Some powers may never be completely controllable. Magic might present some unexpected results.
- Intermittent power. What if your power only worked on occasion? Like an old car, sometimes it just won’t start up. You can’t open that pickle jar because your super strength just isn’t working today. Invulnerability would not be a good power to fail periodically.
- Allergies. Some of us dread the pollen-filled days of summer when our allergies kick in making for watery eyes and difficulty breathing. Imagine having that happen whenever you used your superpower. Shapeshifting into a boulder wouldn’t provide much of a disguise if you were sneezing all the time.
- Narcolepsy. Intermittent power, when your superpower doesn’t always work, is bad but narcolepsy is worse. With narcolepsy, your power starts and everything is going along fine until you suddenly fall asleep. That’s a big weakness for some powers, like flight.
- Phobias. There are hundreds of phobias, ranging from fear of loud noises (ligyrophobia) to the fear of strangers (xenophobia), both of which my cat has. Pick a common phobia and consider how it might affect your super power.
- Lack of confidence. Most of us suffer from a lack of confidence at some point in our lives. Imagine having to deal with insecurity every time you use your super power. That would be a big problem if your power were intelligence.
- OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder leads affected people to perform repetitive actions or arranging objects a precise way. If you have ever seen the TV show Monk, you’ll recognize the problem. OCD could be paralyzing to someone with many of the super powers, like fighting skills and replication.
Everybody’s story has to start somewhere. Maybe it’s at birth and maybe it’s later in life. In this scheme, your origin is based on the day of week of your birth:
- Sunday. A rare plant. It worked for the Black Panther, why not with other super powers as well. I’m betting mushrooms will be involved.
- Monday. An extraterrestrial encounter. You were abducted by a UFO where the occupants gave you a special power. We all know where they inserted the device to give you the power. You don’t just get to wear a ring or a costume.
- Tuesday. A fortuitous accident. You might have been struck by lightning, exposed to toxic waste, bitten by a radioactive animal, or suffered a head injury in a car crash. Next thing you know, you’re levitating objects or telling the future.
- Wednesday. A unique scientific experiment. You may have run into a mad scientist who had unexpected results from an experiment. It wasn’t what the Hulk or Captain America expected but it was what they got.
- Thursday. Ancient Egyptian writings. If they could build the pyramids with arcane methods, what else might they have been able to do? They worshipped cats so they must have had intelligence, agility, and enhanced senses.
- Friday. Wealthy parents. Your parents arranged for special training or acquired technology giving you a power, or they left you enough money so you could do it. Maybe it was some other wealthy benefactors rather than your parents. In any case, you bought your power.
- Saturday. A genetic mutation. What could be easier to explain? Genetics is such a complicated field that just about anything could happen.
Use of Power
Just as everybody has their own talents (powers), they use them in different ways. Here are four ways you might use your superpowers, based on the Element (water, air, earth, and fire) represented by your Zodiac sign:
- Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Only in secret. You use your power only when you’re sure nobody can see you using it. This is easier with some super powers (mental powers) than with others (replication).
- Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius). Whenever needed. You use your super power whenever you need (or want) to regardless of who might see you.
- Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn). Only in emergencies. You normally don’t use your power when someone may see you, except in the case of an emergency. If lives are at stake, you do what you need to and deal with protecting your identity later.
- Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). For-hire. You use your power whenever somebody pays you … up front, like Luke Cage.
Some super humans in the comics and the movies have secret identities and some don’t. How you treat your identity is based on the time of day that you were born:
- Morning (6AM-12PM). Known to everyone. Everybody knows about your having a super power, like Iron Man.
- Afternoon (12PM-6PM). Protected by a disguise. You always wear a mask or some other disguise so no one can see your face, like Daredevil, Deadpool, and Batman.
- Evening (6PM-12AM). Protected by being reclusive. You don’t appear often, and when you do, it is under conditions that obscure your identity, like fog or darkness. You would be like the Punisher, Prince Namor, and Rorschach.
- Night (12AM-6AM). Protected by being inconspicuous. You dress and behave in ways that don’t draw attention to you. You are just another face in the crowd, like Jessica Jones and Clark Kent.
If you don’t know the time when you were born, just guess.
Clothes make the person and costumes make the superhero. Here are five types of costumes you might wear, based on the number of siblings you have:
0 Spandex jumpsuit. You might think that most superheroes wear spandex, and maybe they do. It’s convenient and fashionable, although sometimes fragile. Kick-Ass bought his costume off of eBay.
1 Metal Suit/Armor. You may wear a full metal suit like Iron Man or just armor components, like Thor.
2 Ad lib street clothes. If you want to be incognito, this is the way to go. Just wear whatever is in the pile of clean clothes. Jessica Jones looks good in whatever street clothes she puts on.
3 Camo/military uniform. Some heroes prefer the camo/military look. Several superhero groups, like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Incredibles, wear similar uniforms.
4+ A fashionable suit/dress. If the street-clothes look is not for you, you can be more fashionable and still be a superhero. Professor X and Rorschach wear suits but Mystique certainly does it best.
You have accessories to whatever you wear in your real life—jewelry, belts, and even cell phones—your superhero ought to have them too. Here are five categories of accessories your superhero might have, based on how far away from your birthplace that you now live.
- Less than 10 miles. Face cover. Your face cover may be a mask, either full-face or just an eye-cover, a face shield, glasses, or goggles.
- 10 to 50 miles. Head cover. Your head cover may be a hat, helmet, hood, hajib, wig, or even hair plugs.
- 50 to 500 miles. Body cover. Your body cover may be a cape, trench coat, vest, tunic, robe, shawl, or poncho.
- 500 to 1,000 miles. Animal appendages. Your animal appendage may be fur, feathers, fins, tentacles, spikes, wings, a tail, claws, fangs, teeth, scales, armor plates, or antennae.
- More than 1,000 miles. Gadgets or weapons. The gadgets you might carry are unlimited, from something as common as a cell phone to a yet-to-be-created nuclear-powered vehicle. Your weapon might be a wand, saber, knife, axe, hammer, club, or firearm.
Everyone, even a superhero, benefits from having a companion in life. Here are seven types of companions your superhero might have, based on the last letter of your surname:
- A, B, C, D. Significant other. Your companion can be someone you know—a family member, friend, relative, classmate, or co-worker. You can even give them a super power so they can be your sidekick in your exploits.
- E, F, G. Teacher/mentor. Your companion can be someone who teaches you about your power or just guides you through life.
- H, I, J, K. Caretaker. Your companion can be someone who takes care of you, like a parent, nanny, aide, assistant, or butler.
- L, M, N. Technical wizard. If you have a lot of gadgets, you might want a technical wizard as your companion. They could be a computer ace or an expert in another STEM field.
- O, P, Q, R. Robot. Your companion doesn’t have to be a human. It could be a machine, like a robot, android, or computer, like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider.
- S, T, U, V. Pet. Many of us now have companions that are animals, like cats and dogs. Superheroes can have pets too. Krypto and Goose are great companions.
- W, X, Y, Z. Extraterrestrial. Your companion may not be of this earth. Maybe you got your super power from an extraterrestrial and they are watching you. Just ask Green Lantern.
Base of Operations
You have to live somewhere, that’s your base of operation. In this scheme, your base comes from the last digit of your birth year:
- Rural farm house. Situated far from prying eye, you would have plenty of space to practice using your power. It worked for the Kent family.
- Ocean-going vessel. You would definitely be hard to find if you could move your hideout all over the world. It would be expensive and you would need a loyal crew to man the ship. Nick Fury had an airborne vessel.
- Apartment in small town. It would be inexpensive and you would have easy access to conventional supply lines. You could get commercial deliveries from everywhere. You would hide in plain sight.
- Remote Pacific island. You wouldn’t get any unexpected visitors but, being pretty much all on your own, you would have to be self-sufficient. This would be a good option for a hideout if your power were flight or teleportation.
- Abandoned hospital basement. While not a place where you would invite friends, it would provide the benefits of electricity, indoor plumbing, and seclusion. It probably wouldn’t be too far from civilization since it would have been a hospital at one time.
- Secret subterranean cavern. Batman and Superman loved their underground sanctuaries. They were big and well-hidden. But all that moisture must have wrecked all the electronics.
- Big-city skyscraper. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four tried it. Their bases were close to where things were happening, but perhaps too close. This base might be best if your identity were well known.
- College campus. There are a lot of people and activity around a school campus. It would have all the amenities needed and to some extent, some anonymity. It worked for Buffy and her friends.
- Isolated industrial park. This hideout would combine privacy, utilities, and access, with a certain amount of foreboding to keep the curious away. Who knows what useful heavy equipment may be there. This is the kind of place Clarence Boddicker would hang out.
- Fake store in a strip mall. There are strip malls everywhere and it wouldn’t be hard to rent a space to use as a base of operations. This would be a useful location if you needed a certain amount of interaction with the public, like Matt Murdock.
Creating Your Super Persona
When you finish looking up your superhero characteristics, there are four more easy things to do:
- Decide whether you are GOOD (superhero), EVIL (super villain), or MISUNDERSTOOD (somewhere in between).
- Select your personal pronoun (HE/SHE etc.) and possessive pronoun (HIS/HERS etc.).
- Create a name for our super persona. It might have some title (Mr/Ms, Captain, Doctor, Professor, etc.) and a descriptor, or just about any identifier. If you don’t have a name that comes to mind, think of a nickname or title attributed to you at a job or place in society you’ve been in and combine it with an onomatopoeic word you like.
- MOST IMPORTANT. Decide if the superhero characteristics from your birth information really represent who you are. If you are into sports and your assigned power is magic, just change it to strength or speed. If you are a city person and don’t like caves, change your base to a skyscraper. If you want your companion to be a cat instead of a robot, make the change. You get the idea. The scheme is just the starting point. Make your superhero identity about you.
Now you’re done … but it’s only the beginning. Put your imagination to work and create stories about your new super self. If you get stuck, start by using the following template:
[SUPERHERO NAME] is a [GOOD/EVIL/MISUNDERSTOOD] super human who has the power of [POWER] with the weakness of [WEAKNESS]. [PERSONAL PRONOUN] got the power from [ORIGIN] and uses it [USE OF POWER]. [POSESSIVE PRONOUN] real identity is [ALTER IDENTITY]. [PERSONAL PRONOUN] wears [COSTUME] with [ACCESSORY] and operates out of a [BASE OF OPERATIONS] with [POSESSIVE PRONOUN] [COMPANION].
For example, imagine if Joe Biden used this guide to create a superhero persona. He was born on Friday November 20, 1942 at 8:30AM at St. Mary’s Hospital in Scranton, PA. He is a Scorpio (Water sign) with three siblings and now lives in Washington D.C., about 240 miles from his birthplace.
- Power (day 20) Invulnerability
- Weakness (month 11) Lack of confidence
- Origin (Friday) Wealthy parents
- Use of Power (Scorpio) Only in secret
- Costume (3 siblings) Camo/military uniform
- Accessories (240 miles) Body cover
- Base (2, from 1942) Apartment in small town
- Alter Identity (Morning) Known to everyone
- Companion (N) Technical wizard.
His story would be:
Dark Brandon is a good super human who has the power of invulnerability with the weakness of lack of confidence (maybe lack-of-support rather than lack-of-confidence). He got the power from wealthy parents (maybe wealthy doners) and uses it only in secret. His real identity is known to everyone. He wears a military uniform (maybe a political uniform, a suit)with a body cover (trench coat?) and operates out of an apartment in a small town (DC is relatively small, in area at least) with a technical wizard (perhaps Dr. Fauci).
Now imagine if Donald Trump used this guide to create a super-villain nemesis for Dark Brandon. Trump was born on Friday June, 14, 1946 at 10:54AM at Jamaica Hospital in Queens County, New York. He is a Gemini (Air sign) with four siblings and now lives in Florida, 1,000+ miles from his birthplace.
- Power (day 14) Mimicry
- Weakness (month 6) Poor control of power
- Origin (Friday) Wealthy parents
- Use of Power (Gemini) Whenever needed
- Costume (4 siblings) A fashionable suit
- Accessories (1,000 miles) Gadgets or weapons
- Base (6, from 1946) Big-city skyscraper
- Alter Identity (Morning) Known to everyone
- Companion (P) Significant other.
His story would be:
The Donald is an evil super human who has the power of mimicry with the weakness of poor control. He got the power from wealthy parents and uses it whenever needed. His real identity is known to everyone. He wears a fashionable suit with gadgets or weapons (maybe cell phones) and operates out of a big-city skyscraper (Trump Tower) with his significant other (Melania).
No doubt, your superhero story will be even more interesting than these. Have fun!