HERO-FOR-LESS: Become a predictable formulaic hero for CHEAP!

Not creative enough to come up with your own unique hero backstory? Don’t worry — no one is!

Illustration by Emma Wu

By: Zoe Vedova

HAVE YOU RECENTLY ACCIDENTALLY ACQUIRED SUPERPOWERS BUT DON’T THINK YOU’RE INTERESTING ENOUGH TO CARRY AN ENTIRE FRANCHISE? NOT A PROBLEM! Here at HERO-FOR-LESS, you can custom-build your own easy to advertise superhero identity for yourself! Our basic package includes (but is not limited to):

1)Tragic backstory

Black-and-white flashbacks occurring at the climax of battle when an antagonist triggers a repressed childhood memory are universally adored. However, flashbacks are only effective if they draw sympathy from the audience — sympathy directly correlated to the flashback’s calibre of tragedy. Fortunately, this is what childhoods were engineered for! To build your new persona, you need a new ORIGIN STORY.

Childhood is a magical place for superheroes to develop crucial insecurities, phobias, and a skewed moral compass that’ll bequeath them with the honour of being a loveable Anti-hero.* Kids have been desensitized to a protagonist with a single dead parent since Snow White first hit the silver screen in 1937. In a market completely over saturated with missing moms stunting generations of heroes’ emotional growth, you need to pick a childhood that’s harder, sadder, and more psychologically destructive then all the rest.

*Only available for men


Choose three to four time-tested catalysts for herodom!

(Dead parents included in every purchase!)

  • Beaten up in middle school for wearing light-up Sketchers.  
  • Both of your parents loved your family dog more than they loved you.
  • Kids tried to bury you alive in your elementary school’s sandbox.
  • Never learned how to work a microwave.
  • Your best friend became a great Superhero at age 10 and then you became one afterwards and no one really cared.
  • Genuinely lactose intolerant.
  • Entire township tried to burn you at the stake for being ‘quirky.’
  • Abandoned in a strip mall as a toddler, raised by the employees of a Return-It depot


2) Villains

A hero is only as good as their villain. The days of hunchbacked mad scientists and their bumbling, grotesquely underpaid intern of a sidekick are OVER. Villainhood has transformed heroes’ ideological adversaries from kidnappers of orphaned kittens to well-dressed, multi-faceted characters (blamed largely on third-wave feminism). Though there’s no real way to know what cocky fucker your life-long enemy is going to be until they arrive, a little positive manifestation never hurts. Scan the very short list and look for a villain archetype that’ll be compatible with your own character development!


    1. Intelligent

      Masculinity is no longer confined to fistfighting since there are less abandoned warehouses available to fistfight every single bad guy working for your enemy than ever before. Good vs. evil has become a battle of wits. Calculate your moves against one another from the comfort of your own home while getting other less important people to take the collateral damage. The times you’re thrown through a skyscraper window and straight across a regular office will decrease by 100%!

      Prerequisite: Have to know how to play chess.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
    2. Possible sexual partner

      Enemies to lovers has never been a hotter trend. Even though their morals are atrocious, when you’re grappling for the remote that’ll turn off the bomb — faces pressed close enough you could almost kiss — you can’t help but wonder that if your ideologies didn’t separate you, what would happen?

      This trope is a perfect choice for the busy hero who doesn’t have time in their schedule to envision creative and inspiring hero-villain character arcs. No work is necessary because an army of overly attentive, weirdly protective fans will help create your story through fanfiction! Simply peruse pages of their unpaid writing to find narratives you like and re-enact them with your villain.

            Prerequisite: Most likely you have to be gay.