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Man and Superman
By Tucker Burns
NEW YORK — He’s faster than a speeding bullet. He’s more powerful than a locomotive. He’s able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Unfortunately, he’s also kind of nuts.
Known simply as “Superhero,” this masked man impressed our city with feats of strength and displays of bravery in the last week. However, once the mask was pulled back, Superhero was revealed to be both a hero and a villain.
Superhero came to prominence innocently enough after he stopped an apparent mugging of local senior citizen Ida Jacobson. “A man in a mask pull a gun on me and then Superhero came to my rescue,” said Ida. “He was like an angel.”
Later, Superhero saved Chronicle reporter Grace Hall after a car accident. “He took me in his big arms and lifted me out of the car,” said Hall, who described him as cute, despite his silly uniform. After that, Superhero showed up in New Jersey, where he prevented a bus full of children from careening off an overpass.
Unfortunately, Superhero’s heroics weren’t so heroic. He wasn’t simply in the right place at the right time to get these people out of harm’s way. He was there only because he staged the events.
The motive for Superhero’s bizarre deception lies in the person behind the mask. Under the lightning-bolt costume was Derek, an unassuming young man infatuated with comic books. Derek was born with special powers, such as telekinesis and flight. As he matured into his skills, Derek realized that he could be just like the superheroes he had read about his entire life. However, when he took to the streets in his superhero persona, he found that he couldn’t predict where he was needed.
Frustrated, Derek used actors to choreograph incidents, allowing people to be put into danger so he could save the day — and get the recognition. Using a little-known 1980s comic called Captain Vigilant as his script, Derek set out to show the world what Superhero was capable of.
After the mugging, car accident and bus accident, Derek planned to save New York from something that even Captain Vigilant was unable to stop: a bomb.
The Chronicle was able to locate the bomb in Derek’s comics shop as it ticked down. However, Derek returned, locking Hall and this reporter in a room with the bomb. Meanwhile, Chronicle reporter Wes Freewald confronted him.
“Anybody who reads comics knows that all superheroes have a weakness,” Freewald said. “Derek’s was that he’d been picked on his entire life, so he can’t think straight when someone disses him.”
After confronting Superhero, Freewald made it to the bomb in time to call the authorities and avert disaster.
So for now, the streets of New York are safe. But for how long? Tune in next week! Same Chronicle time. Same Chronicle station.
“Man and Superman”
Written by Henry Alonso Myers
Directed by Adam Davidson
Brian Poth . . . . . . . . as Derek