I'm a little bummed out about the whole Spiderman Disney Sony thing. I mean, I get that corporations are out there to make money and intellectual property rights are part of that, but it is hard not to feel a little frustrated as a fan. In fact, part of what I like about superheroes is how they serve a role as contemporary icons that represent out hopes and dreams. I mean, societies need stories that we can tell and share involving people that we can admire and look up to. They both represent our fears and manifest our hopes. So, despite my love of franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, it is sometimes a struggle when I realize the extent to which they are controlled by large corporations.
On top of that, the merchandising sometimes feels just a little too, well, redundant. I mean, how many franchises undermine their own popularity by churning out toy after toy and t-shirt after t-shirt. I get the irony here, OK?!?! I'm not suggesting that we dismiss the franchises that we dearly love, because they are symbols that unite us and give us commonality as both nerds and simply members of the same society. As a sociologist might say, they are important carriers of culturally relevant symbols. Still, I think that we also need to create space for symbols that are unique and outside the control of large corporations. We can create symbols that stimulate creativity and imagination and allow us to build and create elements of our own identity. I think this is part of what drives franchises like Minecraft because people want space to build things on their own.
So, I've decided to do a little beta-testing of a superhero story construction generator that will allow my fellow Nerds to create superhero stories on their own. My initial format is relatively simple, but I hope to expand on it into more of a "Choose your own adventure" type of storyline built around superheroes that YOU create. That's the idea, at least.
As things develop, I've added opportunities for people to get hand-drawn pictures of their superheroes and my hope is to add an associated customized product line. The stories, however, will remain free and open while you will also have the opportunity to "lock in" your unique hero by adding it to our hero registry. So I hope that you will help me start this new initiative by testing out our FREE superhero story generator!