The arduous task of researching a book began – holed up in a darkened living room, with nothing but a bucket of popcorn and beer for sustenance I worked my way through the back catalogue of superhero films.
When I finally emerged I’d learnt two important things. 1) All the best stories have teams: Give me X-men, The Justice League and the Fantastic Four over the lonely Spiderman or Batman any day. 2) Faster is better. You never hear of a hero travelling slower than a plodding tortoise or proclaiming to be the most ponderous man alive.
It dawned on me that a book about superpowers needs a heroic approach…
So I set about assembling my crack team of ultra science communicators and illustrators. Then gave them the Herculean task of writing this book in just 36 hours.
Writing a book, in a flash
Plonked in the middle of the Manchester Science Festival and Salford University’s Science Jam, in a blur of flying fingers worthy of the Flash, we cranked out our book delving into all the nitty gritty science that fascinates us but seems to have been overlooked by movie makers.
Each chapter explains the scientific bases of a superpower, assuming that our world's scientific laws apply to the comic books' universes. We covered everything from the breakfast of superheroes, to genetically engineering a super soldier, and from the Hulk’s metabolic processes to manufacturing of super alloys like vibranium and adamantium.
Writing is usually a solitary, serious process. We shut ourselves away in offices, create a quiet environment and remove all distractions. Our book sprint was the antithesis of this, it was noisy, with interruptions aplenty, it was sociable, fun, funny, collaborative and very very productive.
Over 50,000 words, 200 pages, 15 infographics and a dozen illustrations emerged. And it really is good stuff…
Keep your eyes peeled for The Missing Science of Superheroes in print next year.