Bamf! Superhero-ing with P.E. Bolivar

Ah,superheroes! Is there any­thing they can’t do?

Oth­er than exist in real life, I mean.

You want real life super­be­ings? Go talk to a fire­fight­er, or a doc­tor, or a pro-choice activist in Mis­sis­sip­pi, or a Mus­lim pro­tes­tor at a Drumpf ral­ly. They’re the real heroes.

*Ahem* But I digress…

Today’s sound effect.

In coop­er­a­tion with EDGE Pub­lish­ing, I here­by present for your enjoy­ment The Super­hero Uni­verse Inter­views, a series of (you guessed it, smart guy) super­fi­cial inter­views with many of the hero­ic con­trib­u­tors to Super­hero Uni­verse, the nine­teenth (one more than eigh­teen!) iter­a­tion of EDGE’s acclaimed fan­tas­tic Cana­di­an fic­tion anthol­o­gy series Tesser­acts.

Please note that I am not only a fan of the book; I’m also a mem­ber. I leave it to you to find my sto­ry amongst all these trea­sures. Here’s a hint: it’s the sto­ry with my name next to it.

Click here for infor­ma­tion on how to pur­chase your very own copy of Super­hero Uni­verse.

And click here for a brief pdf sam­ple of all the sto­ries.

Today’s author: P.E. Bolivar

P.E. Boli­var

P. E. Boli­var is a writer, and air traf­fic con­troller, liv­ing in Van­cou­ver, B.C. His work also appears in The Out­liers of Spec­u­la­tive Fic­tion anthol­o­gy and Pulp Lit­er­a­ture mag­a­zine (Issue #10, avail­able in April). You can find him at, on Twit­ter @PEBolivar, and on Face­book.

Tell us about your sto­ry, “The Rise and Fall of Cap­tain Stu­pen­dous.”

The Rise and Fall of Cap­tain Stu­pen­dous” con­cerns a reporter whose career is launched after inter­view­ing Canada’s great­est hero, Cap­tain Stu­pen­dous. From that day on, vil­lains think she’s his girl­friend, and con­stant­ly kid­nap her to attract his atten­tion. The sto­ry is a satire about super­heroes, and how we per­ceive them, and how they in turn per­ceive them­selves.

How did the idea come about?

It orig­i­nat­ed with one of the vil­lains, a small man with the pow­er to con­trol peo­ple through scent. Beware the smell of Pherog­nome! I thought it would be inter­est­ing if the most ridicu­lous of vil­lains end­ed up being the superhero’s great­est threat. It start­ed there, but then mor­phed quite a bit.

Were there any super­hero-relat­ed pitfalls/clichés that you strug­gled with?

No, I embraced them! It is a satire after all.

What do you think of the resur­gence in super­hero movies and tele­vi­sion shows?

I think it’s great. More movies and shows mean more chance that, for every bad adap­ta­tion, there will be a great one.

Night­crawler, Vol­ume 3, Issue 3.

Which super­hero could you see your­self being best pals with?

I’m a huge fan of Night­crawler. We’d crush over our mutu­al love of Errol Fly­nn movies, but fight over reli­gion.

What makes a good hero?

They have to con­nect with read­ers, and are most suc­cess­ful when they rep­re­sent the zeit­geist of their era, for bet­ter and for worse.

Best/worst super­hero? 

As I men­tioned, I love Night­crawler, prob­a­bly because my teenage self relat­ed to his dreams of being a swash­buck­ler, and the way he felt like a sec­ond fid­dle to the oth­er heroes. Most teens can relate to feel­ing not as pop­u­lar as oth­er kids, I think. The worst heroes are all the ones that stretch, because, come on. Lame.

Best/worst supervil­lain?

Jok­er is the best, because vil­lains need to be evil, but also fun to hate. Movie Loki is a close sec­ond.

Worst? Too many to count. There have been some pret­ty bad ones in comics.

Under/Overrated super­hero?

Super­man is over­rat­ed, because it’s easy to fight bad guys when you’re inde­struc­tible.

Under­rat­ed? Prob­a­bly Night­crawler!

X-Men Leg­ends: Dark Phoenix Saga. The X-Men #129–138

Most/least valu­able super­pow­er? 

Being inde­struc­tible, although com­ic writ­ers seem to think fly­ing is the most valu­able. Even char­ac­ters that don’t start with the abil­i­ty tend to acquire it the longer they last: Won­der Woman, Jean Grey (who then became Phoenix), Rogue, and of course, Super­man, who start­ed his career leap­ing. Least valu­able seems to be deci­pher­ing lan­guages, includ­ing under­stand­ing com­put­ers. Those char­ac­ters tend to get one scene every few comics.

What’s the super­hero cliché you hate above all oth­ers?

I’m not sure it’s a cliché, but I find super­hero team-ups tend to lead to some pret­ty ridicu­lous plots. If you have the Hulk or Super­man on your team, do you real­ly need the guy that can shoot arrows, or some­one that’s trained in mar­tial arts? The writ­ers always have to find ways to keep the pow­er­ful guys away for most of the sto­ry, because as soon as they show up, bam, it’s over.

If you could have super­pow­ers for a week, what pow­ers would you choose and what would you do?

Fly. And I’d fly.

Excal­ibur, Num­ber 1, Oct 1988.

Favourite/least favourite par­tic­u­lar super­hero media?

I love the orig­i­nal Phoenix Saga by John Byrne and Chris Clare­mont, and any­thing by Alan Davis. I’m not a fan of the Arrow TV show, because I feel it cap­tures none of the Green Arrow I remem­ber when I read his books in the 90s.

Which do you pre­fer, “grit­ty” sto­ries or those of a more fan­tas­ti­cal bent?

Bat­man’s solo sto­ries are some of the most com­pelling tales in comics. But I love Alan Davis’s run on Excal­ibur, and you don’t get much more fan­tas­tic than that.

Where do you hope future super­hero sto­ries will take us?

I real­ly enjoy sto­ries that won­der what it would real­ly be like to have a super­hero in our uni­verse, both the good and bad. Most­ly I hope they can con­tin­ue to sur­prise us.

Super­hero Uni­verse: Tesser­acts Nine­teen

Pur­chase your own copy of Super­hero Uni­verse (you know you want one) at: