With The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Dark Knight Rises all hitting the big screen this year, 2012 will undoubtedly go down in history as an epic year for all geekdom. But as much as I love the Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman franchises, I can't help but feel there's room for improvement with comic-book-to-film adaptations as a whole. And being a selfless cinephile, I'm offering free advice. I even persuaded the talented artists at the Comics Factory, based in Hollywood, Florida, to draw up a prototype. So what if it has my face? The rest is up to you, filmmakers of the future.
Building a Better Superhero
Someone get on the phone with Andre Leon Talley, because there is a famine of beauty in the superhero costume department. For starters, it's time to lose the cape. This isn't the Ren fair. The only imposing figures who need swaths of cloth hanging from their necks are the santos at Hialeah botanicas.
We need a postmodern, deconstructionist outfit that is inspired and inspiring — think Rei Kawakubo meets Alexander McQueen. Let's not merely hint at the chiseled chest and pecs; lets show those babies off. And if you really want to intimidate your foes, wear anything ABBA donned in the '70s. Nothing is scarier than gigantic biceps wrapped in metallic polyester.
The Love Interest
Why shouldn't our ideal crime fighter be of the homosexual persuasion? After all, superheroes are muscular, wear tight clothing, and know how to make an entrance — doesn't that just scream gay to you? Hey, it worked for the Green Lantern.
Maybe I'm biased. But on the list of cities just begging to be saved, Miami is at the top. And it's time comic fans had a superhero who lives in a colorful setting, some place practically lifted directly from the pages of a comic book. Doesn't Lincoln Road or Little Havana sound like a welcome change from the drab cityscapes of Gotham and Metropolis?
Plus, a superhero could enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle here, because he'd be truly inconspicuous. Would any real Miamian blink if he or she saw a pumped-up, bulged-out man in über-tight clothing dashing across town in a ridiculous sports car? Hell, that vision is one of the first things tourists encounter on the way from the airport to their hotel. And think of all the possible locations for his secret lair. It could be one of those big houses on Old Cutler Road that no one has ever been to. Or better yet, an underground hideout beneath the home-run sculpture at Marlins Park. Nobody wants to look at that thing, so slipping in and out unnoticed would be a snap.
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I've described the look, the love interest, the enemy, and the home base — the roadwork has been set. But it took a team of artists to bring our hero to life. Happily, that's exactly what the folks at the Comics Factory do every day: create studly comic-book versions of superhero geeks like me. The process starts at $99 and involves a week of waiting; all they need is a photo of you and an idea of the kind of hero you'd like to be. But if you want a Batman-ized drawing of yourself, you better act fast — graphic artist David Babich says demand swells with every new superhero movie release.
In a year like this, that means Miami could soon have all the heroes it can hold.
Kareem Tabsch is cofounder and codirector of O Cinema.