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Thread: Questions about superpowers

  1. #1 Questions about superpowers 
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    I am writing a comic book where most of the world has superpowers, it's basically like the X-Men, except in my book, their powers start to manifest right when they're born, I am no scientist, so I was hoping someone could give me a good idea for what gives them their superpowers, something to do with chromosomes? Again, I am no scientist, so I probably sound like an idiot. Just some kind of scientific explanation for what gives them their powers when they're born.

    Thank you for any replies! It is greatly appreciated


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  3. #2  
    Forum Senior pineapples's Avatar
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    Superpowers are impossible in reality so not sure how to pin real science on it. But IMO, trying to explain away a superpower scientifically can rob the reader of its mysteriousness, or kill off any suspension of disbelief.

    Nobody wanted to know the Jedi Force was actually the cause of high counts of microorganisms called “midi-chlorians”. Well I didn't anyway!


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    It depends if these superpowers break the known laws of physics/chemistry/biology. If they're superpowers then the answer would probably be "yes" they do break the laws of science, and so it's not worth making too much of a sciencey-based explanation.

    You probably can't use any kind of genetic mechanism for granting the powers as that's already been done, like you've already said with the X-Men.

    Perhaps some kind of experimental drug that the mothers took while pregnant - like thalidomide but with powers instead of deformity?

    Or maybe some kind of radiation leak that altered the amniotic fluid, which then gave the babies powers.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Radioactive milk.
    Radioactivity has been used to explain all sorts of foolishness in comic books.
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    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Radioactive milk.
    Radioactivity has been used to explain all sorts of foolishness in comic books.
    I was once bitten by a radioactive slice of bread.
    It didn't bestow any noticeable super powers on me, but I am a little crusty at times.
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  7. #6  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Mitochondria are the power source of our cells. So <insert fictional technobabble here> happened to the mitochondrial DNA allowing them to release vast amounts of energy by quantum effects / cold fusion / trans-dimensional energy-transfer / blah.

    The interesting thing about mitochondria is that they are always inherited from the mother. Maybe you can work that into your story?
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  8. #7  
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    You could blame it on a virus. You could make it a virus that causes random changes in DNA, or that picks up characteristics from animals and transmits them to humans. The problem with random changes is that the huge majority would be fatal to the child, some would be non fatal but disfigureing and only a tiny percentage would be positive and a tiny subpercentage might grant super powers. A better idea might be infection with intellegent nanos that make intentional changes in their hosts. intentionally trying to make them superior so as to enhance teh nanos chance of suvival.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    In humans, mitochondrial DNA can be assessed as the smallest chromosome coding for 37 genes and containing approximately 16,600 base pairs. Human mitochondrial DNA was the first significant part of the human genome to be sequenced. In most species, including humans, mtDNA is inherited solely from the mother.



    This was caused by a passing asteroid that emitted a new form of energy that was not known. Once these genes were bombarded they were transmuted and kept transmuting from generation to generation causing millions of strange powers that the offspring had.
    Last edited by cosmictraveler; February 27th, 2014 at 02:30 PM.
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  10. #9  
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    My dog has a superpower. She somehow instinctively lies down in the exact spot that makes her most in the way of whatever I am trying to do. I haven't figured out a good superhero name for her yet. Maybe obstruction girl? Doesn't really have a ring to it...
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    You could just leave the cause open.
    It might even work as a subplot if nobody knows why the babies have superpowers. I wonder what kind of things can happen in maternity wards with superbabies. I wonder what kind of things might happen if people are trying to figure it out.
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  12. #11  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    There's also the question of how "super" they're going to be.
    Larry Niven's Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex is always worth a read: for laughs AND just what problems super-powered kids can have growing up. Not to mention later on in life...
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    You could use a virus that causes DNA to be triple stranded instead of double stranded. The new strand would allow new types of nucleic acids to bind with DNA and lead to new abilities...
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  14. #13  
    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sci-fi guy View Post
    You could use a virus that causes DNA to be triple stranded instead of double stranded. The new strand would allow new types of nucleic acids to bind with DNA and lead to new abilities...
    And to regenerate into new bodies when they die...
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  15. #14  
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    How about your own super power? What gave you that super you have that nobody else has? Do you know it? I take super to mean, over the norm at any level.
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