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So you want to be a superhero

They have always walked among us, those with remarkable powers. Call them shamans, wizards, witches or saints. For most of human history, however, they have been incredibly rare, perhaps only one or two per generation. That all began to change in the early part of the 20th Century. Many theories have been put forth, but no one is sure why these gifted individuals began appearing with greater and greater frequency in the wake of World War I. By the time World War II began, they were cropping up frequently enough that governments on both sides began recruiting them for the war effort. The Allies had their famous Liberty Squad and the Nazis had their Ubermensch. This arms race of super humans continued throughout the Cold War, each side fighting to maintain superiority of those incredible beings who came to be known as the metahumans.

As they continued to display ever more incredible and diverse powers, however, it became apparent that not all who were affected by whatever was causing this were so lucky. While they could fly or produce fireballs from their fingertips, the metahumans appeared perfectly normal. In fact there were many who actively hid their abilities and preferred to blend into normal society. Others did not have that option. The popular press referred to them as parahumans, those who had powers to one extent or another, but who displayed physical features that forever separated them from the rest of humanity. In many cases they were ostracize and discriminated against, and while that began to change during the 1970s, with the birth of the Parahumans Rights movement, many were still forced to exist on the outskirts of society.

Today, both metahumans and parahumans are a common sight. Every major city and metropolitan area has individuals and teams who use their powers for good. Tales of these “superheroes” fill TV and movie screens as well as the pages of popular magazines and newspapers. In many cases, they pit their powers against those metahumans who would abuse their gifts for selfish purposes; superheros versus supervillains.

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Super Hero 101 JohnMonahan