Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Politics & Superheroes: Practical response ideas

In response to my research on various post 9/11 political superhero narratives, I have began writing down ideas for a narrative on my own. I began with possible political themes, and a few key character ideas that I plan to develop further:

Possible Themes: 

Surveillance culture,
Disaster capitalism/ war profiting,
Neoliberalism/ globalisation,
Ambiguity of the superhero (conflicting views and ideologies),
The origin story,
What is right and wrong?
Vigilantism vs. government (outlawed heroes and heroes that work with the law),

Initial character ideas:

Wealthy CEO of major enterprise. His superhero Identity helps endorse his business, as his true identity is known to all. Has the city covered with advanced surveillance equipment meaning he is omniscient. Capitalises on the fear of terror, by investing in surveillance technology (microphones in lampposts, UAVs in the sky). Convinces citizens that these measures are necessary in keeping the city safe. Enforces idea that he is watching over the people through billboard adds and television commercials (using the media to create sympathy toward his capital). Ruthless, handsome, self-centred ‘Yuppie’ type. Seen in the media as a patriot, yet is selfish and greedy in his actions.

Wealthy hero has a nemesis, a left wing ‘Che Guavara’ style revolutionary who opposes surveillance culture. Whereas CEO flaunts his business man/ masked avenger persona, Left-Wing activist must remain anonymous. Constant power struggle between government control and revolution among streets. Perhaps activist could obstruct rich hero’s surveillance network, but in doing so making the city more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In brief window system is down, a large bombing takes place and the media instantly suggests the attack was pre meditated and orchestrated by left-wing hero and religious extremists. Possible twist: the catastrophe was actually orchestrated by rich CEO in order to both create witch hunt for left-wing hero and scare public into believing that had the surveillance equipment been operating, the attack would have been prevented, creating a demand for even more surveillance technology (disaster capitalism at work).

Other thoughts: 

Could be set in the aftermath of a terrorist attack similar to 9/11, in a paranoid and frightened culture. The world could have contained an array of masked crusaders previously, but their failure to prevent the catastrophe made their street level crime fighting seem redundant, when the much bigger threat became relevant. Left Wing activist could have always been slightly out of place within the superhero community, focusing on bringing down the wealthy, existing at the source of street level angst and acts of desperation, whereas other heroes were simply seeking adventure and their motives were more transparent. Most other heroes have retired after the arrival of rich CEO and his surveillance agenda, making them feel powerless and obsolete. 

I am initially focusing on a hopefully rich narrative, along with developed character concepts. It was also discussed in my first tutorial that there is transmedia potential with this direction. I raised a theory of synopticism, which is the idea of the many watching the few. Through various forms of media, we (the observers) become the many observing the protagonists within the narrative. This sometimes creates balance with the theory of panopticism, particularly with the television series ‘24’, where we watch and scrutinise Jack Bauer's every move until we reach the conclusion that he can be trusted with this power of omnipotence. The optimistic conclusions within the show act as reassurance for the government’s drastic surveillance measures in preventing terrorism. Perhaps this could be applied to a video game, where a third person perspective gives us the feeling that we are surveying the character’s every move, giving the sense that they can hide nothing from us.

My main aim at this stage is to produce some conceptual artwork, and a well developed narrative.

No comments:

Post a Comment