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Heroes and Villains Pageant! (from Virginia Commonwealth University - VCU)
by: Protoclown

Last week, I was invited to attend the second annual "Heroes and Villains Pageant" at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Josh Bishop's (the same guy who had his students do RainbowPuke pieces) art foundation students were asked to design a superhero or supervillain costume and create a character around it. In the pageant, the students showed off their costumes and told a little about their characters, while a panel of judges rated each character in the categories of Heroism/Villainism, Stage Presence, Costume Design, and Creativity.

I'm going to give a brief rundown of each character here, along with my own commentary:

The Secret

So this villain wields the power of secrets after her own secrets crippled her and she herself became a secret, kind of like becoming a werewolf, only with the power of blackmail instead of strength, ferocity, and speed. She torments people by turning their secrets against them, which really doesn't make her any more villainous than the average politician. She also carries a giant key around with her, which is probably the key to some city that she blackmailed the mayor into giving her.

Tilt

This heroine dresses just like some of the people that go to my gym, I shit you not. She considers herself to be "near the bottom" of the heroic scale, and admitted that she's quite the procrastinator. And much like your daddy used to claim before passing out on the couch in front of reruns of Cheers, she requires the aid of her "super duper drinks" to motivate her into productivity.

Nameless Super Team

This team couldn't be bothered to come up with a name for themselves, because they're too busy "fighting crime and looking good". On the left we have Lazy Mike, who wields the furious power of narcolepsy. He sleeps and plays video games instead of fighting crime, because "fighting crime is boring". Sounds like some cops I know. In the center we have the shallow Myspace Man, created by Tom (if you don't know who that is, you don't get the joke in the first place), and like most people on Myspace, he considers himself gorgeous and probably can't walk by a mirror without snapping a photo. And thank god for him, I say, because I've long thought Myspace needed a hero patrolling its borders and protecting me from shitty bands I'll never listen to trying to friend me and girls that aren't real trying to get me to go to some other site to "see more photos". Finally, on the right, we have The Eaglescout. In his own words, he is trustworthy, kind, obedient, helpful—well, you get the idea. And just LOOK AT THOSE SHOES! His shoes must harness the light of a thousand suns, and I wouldn't think the rest of the team would have to lift a finger to fight anybody, as Eaglescout here could easily blind friend and foe alike with the power of his luminescent footwear.

Georgia Belle

This heroine hails from Savannah, Georgia, and goes to balls and fights crime because "it's fun". I don't really know anything about her powers, but maybe her umbrella has something to do with it. Come to think of it, I don't really know how much crime is occurring at costume balls out there, but if anyone should try to spike the punch bowl or anything, I'm sure she'll be on the scene and ready to put a stop to such tomfoolery.

The Forces of Liberty

This team comes from the dark future of 2020, when communists have attacked and destroyed the Statue of Liberty (among other things, I'm sure). On the left is General Justice, who wields a mighty big sword and is a bloodline descendent of George Washington, and on the right, Captain Copperplate, a mechanical warrior constructed from the leftover scraps of the Statue of Liberty. Sure, he's not very fast, but he's packing some pretty impressive weaponry there. When asked how they would help solve the problem of world hunger, General Justice shot back, asking "Is the world hungry for food? No. They are hungry for freedom, and justice, which we will serve to them on a silver platter".

Captain Christ and Super Jew

I don't know if these ladies have a combined team name or not, but they are chosen by God to save the souls of the world. But judging from the amount of "heroic visitors" I've had appear on my doorstep, I figure they must have quite a bit of competition from Jehovah's Witness and the Mighty Mormon Power Preacher. Unfortunately for souls that need saving everywhere, they seem to bicker among themselves quite a bit, and they can't seem to agree on whether their battle cry should be "we're the chosen people!" or "praise Jesus!".

Dr. Klutz

A clumsy male nurse turned villain, Dr. Klutz was studying to be a doctor at Johns Hopkins, but after screwing up one too many surgeries, he was awarded a diploma with the word "loser" stamped over his real name. This drove him over the edge and into a life of full-time villainy. Dr. Klutz wields fearsome technology such as his noisy laser pistol, his toaster brain helmet, and a disturbing lack of pants. When asked what his greatest invention was, he responded in a raspy, Cobra Commander-like voice, "Me, myself". I've got to kind of lean towards the toaster brain helmet myself.

Lazer Demon

This villain was working at his candy factory in Tokyo when it was attacked by a giant monster (as happens frequently in Japan). In the ensuing chaos, his hands were covered in purple taffy which permanently fused to his skin, granting him the stretchy powers, laser eyes, and ability to turn people into zombies that one might expect after such an accident. He also plays a keyboard made of golden lightning. When asked about his candy preferences, he replied that he likes "all kinds of things", from chocolate, to sour stuff, to "crazy sewage".

Killer Sweet

Sure, Killer Sweet seems all rainbows, unicorns, and puppy dogs at first, singing a perfectly innocent version of "I'm a Little Teapot" before she suddenly snaps and starts hurling violent curses and promises of death. I uh, don't really know what her powers are except for looking innocent and then, surprise!, she's really not. But I'm sure that teddy bear will probably fuck you up if you look at it sideways.

Kick Ass Biker Girl

Though you can't really see it from this angle, Kick Ass Biker Girl has a pipe stuck in her side after a horrible accident, and it just so happens to have punctured her adrenal gland, leaving her full of energy all the time. She uses this energy to kick ass and take names, in four hour spurts, before she completely crashes from going full force all the time. Perhaps she could call herself Captain Methamphetamine instead?

The Fashionista

The Fashionista wields the almighty power to dress people, using what can only be some kind of mystical handbag to save people from their horrible look. Depending on your point of view, I suppose this could make her a villain as much as a hero, but if you ever make the mistake of going to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night (or day, for that matter), you'll know that a) the role she fills is vitally necessary, and b) she needs to put in some serious overtime hours.

Shii

Shii was grown in a test tube and tortured, until one day she killed her father with no regrets—or was that Wolverine's background? I can never keep up with these things. Anyway, Shii possesses the emo powers of having a split personality, one half evil psycho who has taken charge, and one half innocent victim just along for the ride. I don't know if she has any actual powers beyond a gothy wardrobe and being insane or not.

The Traffic Avenger

Now this guy is a hero I think we can all get behind, as his arch nemeses are parking tickets and the meter maids that spew them forth like bureaucratic bile. The Traffic Avenger has vowed to erase all chalk marks from your tires, destroy all tickets he finds upon your vehicle, and eliminate meter maids. He was kind of vague on that last point, but I suppose even if he does brutally murder them, he would still be considered a hero by most people out there. He said he thinks of himself as a bit of an antihero, "kind of like Napoleon Dynamite".

EJ The Supergirl

At least, I think that's what she said her name was. She can transform into a bunny and turn invisible during a full moon. Where did she get these crazy powers? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm banking on "Easter egg hunt gone horribly wrong".

Firefly

Firefly has vowed to take down the evil corporations that kill her boyfriend. Yes, that's right. Evil corporations that kill her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was apparently so important that multiple evil corporations teamed up just to kill this guy. And it sounds like they've done it more than once, too. Like, they raise him from the dead and then kill him again and again, as a fun pastime or corporate training exercise. Or maybe she's just had bad luck picking a successive string of boyfriends who have all been targeted by massive evil corporations. Either way, that's a bit of a bummer. Her weapon of choice in taking down these evil corporations is explosive pyrotechnics, specifically Boom Babies.

Eris

Eris is the goddess of strife and chaos, who wields the powers of her deadly power bolt that will kick your ass, and well, chaos. She can also fly, and uh, her powers have something to do with protecting you from the mind-numbing effects of your television, but I'm not quite sure I followed all that. She is blue though, and I happen to rather like blue people, though I haven't really met very many.

Handlebar

Handlebar is just your totally average guy except for his gigantic prehensile sentient moustache. He was at the barber shop getting a haircut one day when he got really thirsty and decided to drink the blue liquid that the combs sit in. For anyone else foolishly considering drinking that liquid, he strongly advises the following: "don't". He filed a lawsuit, but ended up getting a government contract to protect the city instead. This was probably my personal favorite of all the heroes and villains.

Ragdoll

Ragdoll died a long time ago, and she was stitched back together and brought back to life. She blacks out a lot since being revived, and people tend to die around her during these blackout periods. She seems cheerful enough but also admits that she gets mad a lot, and she seems to possess the evil power of being CREEPY AS FUCK. Just look at those eyes, those eyes, those cold soulless eyes!

Twilight the Demon Slayer

Twilight the Demon Slayer's parents were killed by demons, so he vowed to kill as many demons as possible to get them back. He wears a black head-to-toe disguise so he can remain incognito, which is also sure to cement his status as a favorite customer among convenience store employees. He has a cocky, confident attitude, and boasts about his powerful staff and how it took down a giant snake "in like one hit".

Josh Man

And finally, Josh Man, the man behind the whole event. He uses his teacher powers to watch over students and provide them with extra USB drives in case they, you know, run out of USB drives. I can only imagine how much fun an art class must be with a teacher who isn't afraid to dress up like a superhero. Unless he dresses up like a superhero every day. That would be a little weird.

That pretty much sums up the participants of the Heroes and Villains Pageant. There was one other girl dressed up in some kind of mad scientist labcoat, but she disappeared at some point in the proceedings and so never got up to talk about her character, which is a shame, because who doesn't love a good labcoat?

You really had to be there first hand to see how much work some of these students put into their costumes and characters, but hopefully these pictures at least convey some idea of it. You could tell that most of these students had a lot of fun putting together their costumes, and it definitely showed in the way they presented them.

Questions or comments about this article?
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