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Filtering by Tag: superheroes

Superhero Stories by You #2: Battle of the Ninja by Ryan Wu

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

"Bokeh Ninja," by Nick Harris, via  Flickr  and courtesy a  Creative Commons  license.

"Bokeh Ninja," by Nick Harris, via Flickr and courtesy a Creative Commons license.

Battle of the Ninja
by Ryan Wu, age 9

Deep in a warehouse in Oakland, California, machines whirred to life. Cranes clicked plating and armor into place, and a mysterious hooded figure typed furiously into a keyboard of a laptop, completing the programming and design of the most dangerous android ever, Dark Chase, the future enemy of the psychic ninja Chase . . .


In the year 2050, somewhere in San Francisco, Chase, an orphaned 14-year-old, was on a high school field trip to a nuclear power plant. His parents had died in a car crash, and now he lived in an orphanage. He didn’t know this trip would change his life. As he was touring a room with a tub of radioactive chemicals, he tripped and fell into a batch of chemicals. When he rose he had a new mind, like doors in his brain had been flung wide open and accepted new yet dangerous knowledge. He knew he had new psychic powers. He knew an evil android in ninja clothes called Dark Chase was riding toward Washington, D.C. on a floating motorcycle at very high speeds. He wanted to use his new powers to help the people of D.C. because it wasn’t the people’s fault that they were killed or something—because they were innocent!

When workers in hazmat suits came to pick him up to safety, he blasted them with glowing blue psychic spheres, grouping invisible power into a ball and throwing it. His teacher tried to call him back, but Chase soared through the air through an opening and flew to an area where no one had ever gone. By blowing up the small area with his powers, he then constructed a base with a forge, sleeping area, kitchen, enchantment room, and a large plasma screen TV for locating bad guys to capture them—or just play video games. He quickly forged armor out of bronze and steel with shoulder guards and a back sheath for his two wickedly sharp double-bladed swords, also crafted from steel and bronze. He made a black hovering skateboard, a hovering tank, and a floating motorcycle. Chase trained himself to drive these, and after hours of practice, he strapped his swords onto his back and took off on his hovering cycle. He had villains to find.


People screamed. The grand capital of the USA was now not-so-grand. A strange android in ninja clothes was burning Washington, D.C. As Chase descended on his hoverbike, he saw the oblivion Dark Chase had created. The Lincoln Memorial was burning and the Washington Monument was in ruins, and Dark Chase was headed toward the White House. Chase knew he had to follow even though he felt nervous, since this was his very first time trying to capture villains, so he flicked on the rockets on his hoverbike and shot toward Dark Chase like a speeding bullet. “Let’s get this over with,” he muttered.

As Chase neared the evil android, he turned on his lasers and activated the stun mode. He took aim on the dashboard and fired. Dark Chase’s left rocket jet burst into flames, and Dark Chase careened toward the ground. He smashed into the gates surrounding the White House. Chase dismounted his hoverbike and dragged the limp nindroid to the waiting police. Suddenly, Dark Chase’s eyes snapped open, and he twisted out of his captor’s grip. Chase tried to follow, but Dark Chase had the speed of a cheetah. He summoned his hoverbike, which had somehow rebuilt itself, and jumped on. In a mechanical voice Dark Chase yelled, “Sayonara, sucker!”

Chase cursed and jumped onto his own hoverbike, and shot toward Dark Chase, heading northeast toward New York City.


As Chase neared New York, he could see the outline of Dark Chase’s hoverbike in the distance. Chase gained speed and when he was close enough, he shot a grappling line toward Dark Chase.

“Hey! What’re you doing!” yelled the nindroid.

“I’m stopping you from destroying anything again!” Chase yelled. Dark Chase sneered. He drew his sword and leaped at Chase with it raised. Chase activated a huge round war shield from his watch and blocked the slash. He drew one of his swords and swung at Dark Chase, but the nindroid was quick and parried the blades away.

Suddenly Chase had an idea. Where was the nindroid’s control panel? Then he saw it: a small square door in the middle of the Dark Chase’s stomach. Chase thrust his sword at it, but the nindroid quickly slammed his blade down hard and Chase’s sword fell through the air. He knew he should retrieve it with his powers, but there was no time. Dark Chase swung his deadly silver-and-iron sword, and Chase raised his shield. The blade shattered.

Dark Chase staggered back. Chase shot a psychic sphere at him, which left Dark Chase no choice but to jump back onto his hoverbike, cut the grappling line, and soar away. Chase retrieved his sword, sheathed it, and shot toward Dark Chase with the New York skyline rising before him.


Chase had never been to New York, but he had read a lot about it. While eating cheeseburgers at McDonalds, his psychic powers automatically sensed something. For some reason, he knew that the Empire State Building was on fire, and the guy that was causing it was obviously Dark Chase. After finishing his cheeseburger ASAP, he activated the GPS system on his hoverbike, which was parked in front, and soared through the streets of Manhattan looking for Dark Chase. He found him invading the Empire State Building. The lobby had been thrown into chaos. Shops were flaming, and Dark Chase was trying to burn the eating area. Chase yelled, “Stop, you stupid idiotic nindroid!” Dark Chase turned. His glowing red eyes widened.


“Yeah, it’s me, you stupid idiot,” Chase taunted. “Try to get me. Or are your legs too rusty to run?”

Dark Chase growled and Chase took off, Dark Chase on his heels. He leaped onto his tiny hoverboard and shot away, with Dark Chase still licking his heels. But Dark Chase had his hovering tank!

“OH GOD!” I’M DEAD MEAT!” yelled Chase. In his panic, he used a smoke screen, summoned his own tank, and got in. He stuffed his board away, took the controls, and shot laser bolts at Dark Chase from the top turret. Dark Chase dodged and soared toward some old warehouses, with Chase shooting right behind him.

They crashed through the roof of a warehouse, destroying it and crushing crates into splinters. They rose from the wreckage, groaning. The two enemies focused on each other and each one drew weapons: Chase drew his swords and shield, and Dark Chase drew his swords. Chase slammed his shield into Dark Chase’s head and the nindroid’s anger exploded. He summoned his hoverbike and automated tank, which had rebuilt itself, and Chase did the same. Each one jumped onto his hoverbike and started firing laser bolts. Pretty soon, Dark Chase’s tank exploded. Chase threw a metal razor frisbee, and the frisbee’s sharp blades tore into the wiring of Dark Chase’s hoverbike. The hoverbike’s mechanisms short circuited, and it dropped like a stone.

Chase charged at the stunned nindroid and slammed his weapons into Dark Chase’s head. The nindroid crumpled. Chase then stabbed into Dark Chase’s wiring, and the evil nindroid was finally destroyed. Chase rejoiced, but he still had to find the hooded figure who created Dark Chase, and wouldn’t stop until he found him.

He’ll sentence that rotten piece of scum many years in Alcatraz that he’ll be staying there for the rest of his life.


At his base in the middle of nowhere, Chase had some thoughts, like who created Dark Chase, where did Dark Chase come from, and why did the creator of Dark Chase try to kill him, and where was the creator of Dark Chase now? Chase knew he should plan about going after the strange figure, but he was beat after fighting Dark Chase, so he figured he should kick back and relax before planning his next mission.

Just outside Chase’s base, the figure who made Dark Chase sneered, and said, “You’ve won this time Chase, but this isn’t over.” With a swipe of his cape, the figure disappeared into thin air.

Send us your superhero-inspired short stories, poems, and essays! All the details are here in our call for submissions. All writing on published on the blog will also be considered for our print zine KaPow! Superhero Edition, which will debut at the Fifth Annual Pittsburgh Zine Fest. Buy a copy of KaPow! Poem-A-Thon Edition to see what other great student writing we've published. 

Superhero Stories by You #1: So You Want to be a Superhero How Noble of You by Zachary Schechter

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

"It's not easy to be a superhero" by Esparta Palma. Via  Flickr  and courtesy a  Creative Commons License .

"It's not easy to be a superhero" by Esparta Palma. Via Flickr and courtesy a Creative Commons License.

So You Want to be a Superhero How Noble of You
by Zachary Schechter, age 17

So, you’ve woken up one day with an intense desire to save the world and the few billion and change people who live in it. Good for you! You now have something in common with every  elementary school student and small child who has ever laid eyes on Superman. However, you have one thing going for you that those other children don’t; you have this handy dandy guide right here. The children don’t have that. They probably can’t even read.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that most superheroes worth their salt have some kind of superpower, or enough money that they don’t need superpowers. Presumably you have none of those, you poor mortal soul, you. Now, there are a number of ways one could go about obtaining superpowers, most of them entirely fictional and should not be attempted in a real world environment. There’s cosmic radiation, gamma radiation, solar radiation, spider radiation—apparently superpowers are a common side effect of lethal tumors in the comic book world. For some real world options, though, we suggest looking into genetic science: walk into your local gene splicing laboratory and see if they can give you some gills or some wings or some vampire fangs. Vampires are all the rage these days apparently. However if you cannot get your hands on some superpowers, that’s ok too. It’s not like anybody’s gonna laugh at you for not having superpowers while you’re saving their lives. That would be so rude.

If you do choose to go down the no-superpower route, though, you’re gonna need something else to give you an advantage over the criminal scum of the world. Many superpowerless crime fighters take up some form of martial arts or karate. However just a quick warning, many karate instructors are quick to remind their students that karate is for self defense only. This can get quite annoying, especially if you’re planning on ignoring that and taking the fight straight to the criminals anyway. To subvert this, the authors of this guide are releasing several of their own martial arts instructional DVDs, order now! Other superpowerless heroes choose to illegally acquire military-grade weapons and just shoot criminals. The authors of this guide do not condone the actions of these “heroes” and suggest you buy our instructional DVDs instead.

The next thing you’ll need is a costume. Otherwise you’re just some person punching other people, and that’s illegal. The costume makes it less illegal. For some reason. Probably because people are more comfortable with it and it allows the criminals to put “super villain” down on their résumés. If you plan on fighting crime at night, black and gray is definitely the way to go when picking out a color palette. Not only does it provide great camouflage, but it also looks really trendy and stylish... and scary. If you plan on fighting crime during the day, then we’d suggest a dark crimson. Either way it’ll end up that color—because if a criminal’s committing a high profile crime during the day, chances are he won’t think twice about shooting some wannabe superhero. So stick to fighting crime at night.

Many superheroes find it essential to cover their face with some kind of mask while they fight crime. We would definitely recommend this as well, but don’t use one of those domino masks that only covers up the small area around your eyes and the bridge of your nose. Those are not the most readily identifiable parts of your face, that is not a good disguise. A cowl that covers the top half of your head is only marginally better. Yes, it covers more of your face and hair but it still leaves a lot exposed. What we suggest is some kind of ski mask or balaclava, something that will cover your entire face. This form of mask is definitely the most protective of your identity, but it is also very popular among the criminal population so you run the risk of showing up to foil a crime in the same outfit as your criminal adversary and that’s just embarrassing.

Capes are another staple of the classic superhero costume. They’re also incredibly inconvenient and useless. For starters they get caught in everything. Literally everything, mostly doors, though, and the last place you want to be when you’re being held at gunpoint is caught in a door. You’d probably rather be in Bermuda or something. Well too bad! Superheroes don’t get vacation days. Not that you’d be held accountable for taking any, you don’t have a boss or anything. Feel free to customize your costume in any way you want. Most superheroes like to paste pictures of their favorite animals or favorite weather events on their chest. This is actually a really stupid thing to do. In practice you’re essentially just drawing a brightly covered target over your vital organs, so don’t do that.

Another important topic that bears discussing is how to react to the existence of other superheroes. It is important to be cooperative when dealing with other superheroes because you literally have no moral high ground over them. You both look ridiculous and you’re both saving lives so you have no right to be rude. However you should also avoid forming large superhero teams. The last thing the world needs is for all of the world’s superheroes to be taken out by a single terrorist attack on a single building because they all live there for some reason. You should also, under no circumstances, take on a teenage sidekick, even a really clever one who cracks wise. Not your son, not your kid nephew that your sister pays you to hang out with, not the local homeless orphan. No teenage sidekicks. At all. None. Not allowed. The reason for this is, simply put, it’s an incredibly boneheaded thing to do. What kind of person brings a child to fight criminals! A child is the worst possible thing to bring to a gun fight! Even worse than knives! It is better to either work alone or with another adult. Don’t try calling him or her your sidekick though. Full grown adults hate being called sidekicks, this is a scientific fact.

Since you are technically operating as an illegal vigilante, it is quite likely that you will be  hunted by the local police when you first start out. In order to deal with this, we suggest running away really fast from the potential crime scene once you stop the crime. This way when the cops get there you will be long gone. If you are confronted by a police officer, however, please remember to be respectful as he is legally doing what you are illegally doing. Seriously, why don’t you just become a cop? What are you even doing with your life? We’re sure your parents are very proud of you and your life choices. However, after you save the city from total and utter destruction a couple of times, the police will probably throw you a parade and stop trying to arrest you. So that’s something to strive towards. Once that happens, though, any time anything a little bit out of the ordinary happens in your city, it automatically becomes your problem, not the official law enforcement’s. Nuclear plant meltdown? That’s a job for you. Super criminal with a freeze ray? That’s a job for you. Alien invasion? Don’t expect any help there. Dinosaur attack? That’s your problem too. But on the bright side, you live in a very cool town.

Now that you’ve read this guide, and presumably ordered several martial arts instructional DVDs, you are now fully prepared to go out into the world and fight crime. So put your underwear on over your pants and hop into your noun-mobile and go put the fear of lunacy in the hearts of criminals and super villains everywhere.

Send us your superhero-inspired short stories, poems, and essays! All the details are here in our call for submissions. All writing published on this here blog will also be considered for our print zine KaPow! Superhero Edition. Buy a copy of KaPow! Poem-A-Thon edition to see what other great student writing we've published. 

Superhero! Writing Prompt Part 2

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Yup. That's a pretty good encapsulation of writing. (Image from flickr, via The Commons)

Yup. That's a pretty good encapsulation of writing. (Image from flickr, via The Commons)

See part 1 here.

Welcome back! Now that we have the characters for you story set, they need something to do. One of the best ways to help yourself think through a story is with a graphic organizer. Yes, it's a very school-y thing to use. It's also a fantastic resource and space to let yourself work through the pieces of a story. One of the best ones we've found is here. Let's take a quick walk through it and then we'll leave you to create your story.

Right in the middle of the page you have the main component of the story: your protagonist (superhero) against your antagonist (super villian/crisis/etc). That CONFLICT is the drive behind your story will be represented on the first line on the left side of your plot pyramid. The complications that arise from that conflict are the lines going up the pyramid: RISING ACTION. Where that conflict comes to a head is the top of the pyramid at THE CLIMAX! That should be your most exciting moment in the story because that's what the story has built to.

After the climax, however, you're not done writing. There is going to be fallout from the climax. How does the climax affect both the protagonist and the antagonist? Is one of them vanquished? Is there a change of heart? Will they both slink off to fight another day because they are so evenly matched? These are the questions that should get answered down the right side of the pyramid: FALLING ACTION. Where the story ends is the where the reader ends up: the RESOLUTION.

The other boxes on the graphic organizer are there for you to use or not. The exposition is likely something that you mapped out using the first part in your assemblage of your characters. And theme? Well, the thing about a theme is that it's really hard to assign one to your story before you begin. Don't worry about that one. And when you've finished writing/revising your story and are ready to share it, ask someone you trust what he or she thinks the theme is. It will often be something different than you would have said.

We hope that this will be helpful going forward with your writing. And hey, don't just use it for superhero stories. It'll be a resource for any story you decide to write in the future. And hopefully, you'll share them with us. We wish you good writing! Have fun!