This list includes 500 superpowers! All super powers listed have appeared in fiction and/or are defined in Wikipedia’s super power list. In addition, there has to be at least one character in a comic book, TV show, video game and/or movie that demonstrates this power. This list started as an extension of the Wikipedia list in which I deal with some of the “mistakes” in that list. The following topics will be articulated in this site. (1) The self/object dichotomy, (2) an inductive approach to the topic and a (3) Literary criticism of the topic.
(1) A natural dichotomy of many superpowers is the application of the power to one’s self versus an object. Colossus (Marvel) can turn his body into a metal. King Midas can turn objects into a metal (gold). These are two very different types of superpowers. If the character can apply the power to objects then this is generally termed manipulation. If the character can apply the power to themselves then this is generally referred to as mimicry. There has been an attempt to separate these two types of powers systematically in this list.
(2) An inductive approach will be applied to this topic. Most superpower lists take an lexilogical approach. Essentially these lists act as superpower dictionaries. Superpowers are classified into categories and subcategories. Since most superpowers are neologisms, there is a focus on comparing the word they use to other words that refer to the same superpower. The approach is denotative not connotative. There is very little attempt to link the word to a corpus of literature. Superheroes and supervillains that have the power are listed and that’s all. The author of this site would argue that a lexical approach is essentially a deductive approach. The author includes a lexical explanation of the superpower but goes beyond that. Examples of superpowers usage in comic books with particular illustrations shown will be used and discussed on this site. Popular superpowers such as flight and strength cannot be dealt with in an encyclopedic manner. However, more obscure superpowers have been explored in more detail than elsewhere.
(3) Literary criticism will also be applied to each of the 500 superpowers listed. In what genres does this superpower generally appear? Does the superpower tend to be appear in particular settings? Is the superpower generally associated with a particular type character? Does the superpower have a symbolic aspect? Can the superpower be classified along connotative as opposed to denotative lines? Powers appear to have a literary lineage and/or connotation that effects how they are used above and beyond their denotative identity. Are some powers inherently absurd? Are some powers inherently more suited for villains? Are some powers inherently more suited for funny characters. Are some powers inherently more suited for heroes? Are some powers inherently horrific? These are just some of the questions this website will explore.
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