Next Show:10th Anniversary Show! // Mar 15 at 8:00pm // PianoFight, SF

Dave's Manic Monday: Superheros

Hello true believers!

It's been a hectic, fun couple weeks, full of goodbyes, adventures, and long nights. All of this excitement and the repeat previews of Indian Summer have reminded me of the summers of my childhood. In honor of my childhood, and a classic improv game, I'd like to spend a few minutes reflecting on superheros. Much of my imagination during my childhood and into my adult life has been occupied by the mythical worlds of superheros. There are so many great superheros out there, whose powers and stories fulfill our greatest fantasies and deepest desires. However, for every multi-dimensional super-character or surprisingly brilliant, yet unconventional superpower there are scores of unfortunate imitators. These characters exist as afterthoughts and mere shadows of their fabled brethren; perhaps the hungover brain farts of possibly overworked writers.

Here are a few of the most memorable, unfortunate less-than-superheroes from my childhood:

Super Friend's Wonder Twins (DC)
I remember the Wonder Twins (real names Zan and Jayna) appearing on Cartoon Network re-runs of the Super Friends cartoon. They have the impressive ability to change their bodies into whatever element or shape they desired. This could be a truly awesome power if they didn't almost always choose to do really lame ass shit with this gift. Zan can transform into any state of water, and potentially other materials or elements, but usually chose to become a bucket of water or sheet of ice...perfect for hydrating or awkwardly tripping an enemy. To make matters better, his sister Jayna has the super-rad ability to shapeshift into any animal she can name, which she usually used to back-up Zan's super-square incarnation; like transforming into a giant eagle or she could drop/throw aforementioned bucket of water onto a villain. To top it all off, when using their powers they always declared: "Wonder Twin powers activate...form/shape of...," completely losing the element of surprise. Keep it up Wonder Twins, there are dehydrated, partially deaf villains out there that must be stopped!

Tuxedo Mask (Sailor Moon)
There is a lot that could be written about the questionable superpowers witnessed in the Sailer Moon mythology, not to mention the intense level of gayness exercised by my prepubescent interest in this anime television show. In the pantheon of superheroes that have occupied my thoughts over the years, few seem as uninteresting and flat-out dumbfounding as Tuxedo Mask. Tuxedo Mask had the unenviable ability to throw a seemingly endless supply of mature, long-stemmed red roses at adversaries as needed. He always showed up at the last minute when the situation seem dire for Sailor Moon and the girls, always dressed in crisp formal wear, flowing cape, cane, white eye mask and all. Wait...he has an endless supply of well-pruned flowers, arrives to the battle fashionably late after the girls have done most of the work, clad in pressed evening wear...OMG, how could I not have seen this before?!? Tuxedo Mask is the least closeted superhero in the anime world! I change my mind. Tuxedo, you stay fabulous! You can whisper your sweet nothings to me anytime you want...oh, and who does your dry cleaning?

Ma-ti (Captain Planet and the Planeteers)
I love the idea of creating programming for kids and young adults with themes of environmentalism and eco-awareness, and overall, I thought Captain Planet was pretty successful. I liked the show as a kid, although even then I craved more multidimensional obstacles and more complex story lines. The show features 5 kids from different cultures all over the world who are chosen to protect the planet from the forces of pollution and corporate greed by wielding the elements of the earth, which, if necessary, can be combined to manifest Captain Planet, a granola version of Superman with a bad outfit and an atrocious green mullet. Each 'planeteer' is given a ring that gives them the power of earth, air, fire, and water, oh, and...heart. That's right, Ma-ti is from an indigenous South American indian tribe and has the power of sympathy, in addition to being empathetic/communicative with animals. Anyone who has ever been throw a bad break-up or employed the services of Cesar Milan can appreciate the significance of these gifts, but I just don't think it needed to be included in this team. The other 'planeteers' could have handled the empathy and animal situation based on their diverse backgrounds and abilities. Think of it this way, in the event of another major oil spill, Ma-Ti is not going to be one of the first superheros we're going to call. He'll probably be brought in later as a consultant, but Aquaman or that Asian girl have already done all the heavy lifting. But hey, thanks for the hug Ma-Ti!

Feel free to comment and add any of your favorite worst superheros!


  1. Ma-Ti was on my list, for sure!!! And a throw-back to our last improv show...Robin? I mean, he's just riding on Batman's coat-tails. Or should I say, cape-tails...