I think about superpowers a lot.
I’m in the habit of asking people what they would want for a superpower. Almost unsurprisingly, most people want abilities that would help themselves out in everyday life. Teleportation, is very popular as well as the ability to read minds, and telekinesis. My girlfriend, who is not a comic fan, wants weather control, which would be cool, but maybe not super useful hear in L.A. since the weather is generally always nice. But, I suppose if she had the power to control the climate she could make it storm and end this terrible drought.
That’s when I realized that Storm kind of sucks. Instead of squaring off with villains, she could use her talents to end droughts and inclement weather. Now I understand that Storm’s powers don’t exactly work that way (or at least I understood after a few of my co-workers calmly explained why my theories are “harsh”). Storm has to pull the weather pattern from another part in the world, meaning, if she wants it to rain in one part of the world she has to pull the rain clouds from other parts of the world. I explained that she could probably spare to pull some clouds from Seattle or Vancouver, perhaps even clouds over the ocean. Some thought it might not work that way, that she just pulls random rain clouds when she creates her storms. Maybe, but wouldn’t that mean every time someone robs a bank Storm might be causing large parts of the Earth to dry up. If so, Storm kind of sucks.
Perhaps I’m unfair. Most superheroes could do better. Superman could run around in a hamster wheel generator and power entire cities in a couple of hours, sounds a lot more useful than that newspaper job of his.
Banksy spent the last month in New York; and during that time his artwork was stolen, destroyed, and even sold on the street for $60. In one neighborhood, shady locals covered his work and charged admission to people who wanted to take a gander at the fresh artwork. Banksy feels like a modern day superhero: his identity is unknown to everyone, he leaves his marking in places his visited, People are trying to capture photos of him in action, he breaks the law for “good”, and even scales buildings at night (I think he uses a ladder). He has even had rivals, King Robbo, another street artist, feuded with him for years in a “graffiti war” in which the two exchanged licks in the form of covering up each others works.
If we are to think of Banksy as a superhero, the question is: what would happen if his identity was revealed? Would people from Team Robbo hunt him down? Would he be wanted for the crimes he’s committed? Or would people stop caring about him?
Shepard Fairey, another artist known for his iconic OBEY image parodied above, has his identity widely known and his career has flourished in recent years (other than being arrested in 2009). He makes images for clothing and designed art for an Led Zeppelin album. In fact, I’d argue that his famous “Obama Hope” image is more well known than any of Banksy’s images. Yet, for some reason people seem to care about Banksy more. The populous simply loves the mysterious character more (just like in all those teen romance novels). He’s not just another artist, he’s a mystery. People have claimed they know the identity of the enigmatic artist, but honestly I, as well as many others, probably don’t want to know who he is, at least not yet. I think much of Banksy’s draw is that he is so unknown, and perhaps it should stay that way or else his appeal might become as temporary as his physical art is.