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Committed: Flying

superman-12Out of all of the fantasies of having super powers that I’ve had over the years – super-strength, invisibility, telepathy, stretchiness, super-speed, x-ray vision, prescience, being green, ninja killing techniques, invulnerability – I’ve never thought about being able to fly. It just didn’t sound that interesting, or “super”, I figured you could always use a plane. Really, if I’m going to have a transportation power, why not fantasize about having Star Trek style transporters? Or Flash Gordon/Ex Machina jet packs? It seemed like a theoretically useful skill for real life, but not terribly exciting for fighting crime. I imagined that it’d be handy for getting away from criminals, but I never fantasized about it, or even considered it much of a power.

Buffy32aMy brother says that he read a facebook quiz result which stated that the majority of women want to be able to fly, while more men want to be invisible. I say bollocks to that, I think most people probably fantasize about being able to move things with their minds. Whether via telekinesis or “the force”, it sounds like it’s easily the most useful power to have (and I’m absolutely guessing here, so feel free to correct me if you disagree.)

Then last week I came to the realization that I needed to fly 6,000 miles to go back “home” to London, for the first time in 2 or 3 years. It’s not that I miss it that much, and my loved ones have visited me… but getting on a plane for 11 hours is going to give me a much needed change of perspective, a change of scenery, culture, people. Now that I’m forced to get off my arse and take an stupidly long flight to visit London, I see that flying might be the one power that could immediately offer that change of perspective. Being able to get a dramatically different look at my world could really transform my life in an instant.

MiraclemanSomehow, without even meaning to, I suddenly noticed that I hadn’t left America in at least a couple of years. As a bit of a naturally nomadic European, this came as a bit of a shock. Until I moved to San Francisco, I used to visit other countries all the time, and it wasn’t a big deal because it was all so close. You can get to Germany, Holland, or France in less than an hour, for less money than it costs me now to fly to Los Angeles. There’s even a bloody train which goes straight from central London to Paris now, it’s stupidly easy. Now I live here and I let myself get stuck.

Putting useful and practical reasons aside for a moment, I think it’s a power that would not only give me new travel options, but an entirely different outlook on life. Flying to get the overview, to be in an entirely open space, with no ceilings weighing down on you… this might be the only power to have that can allow a person this freedom. Being able to get up high, above the tall buildings, lumbering automobiles, and filthy pavements would definitely change the way I felt about cities. I could get far above the smelly man in the park, (the one who inexplicably changed his socks in the rain yesterday.) I could get high up in the rarefied air, and feel the wind moving around me. It sounds pretty appealing.

11 Comments

Have you ever had a flying dream? After you experience it, you want to be able to do it again more than anything.

I’m still waiting for an alien to crash land in my backyard and bestow a Green Lantern ring upon me.

I think flying is the super-power I’ve always most wanted, with the possible exception of some sort of long life and youth. I’m not much interested in telekinesis. (I’ve never had a flying dream, though, but I have had dreams where I could jump really far.)

And being able to take a train anywhere, like they do in Europe, would be pretty cool, also.

There’s also the increased aspect of how much space you have even indoors. As astronauts point out…the space seems small if all you consider is the floor. But if you could, literally, be anywhere in the room, including off the ground by three feet…it can change things.

Though with good telekinesis, you get flight :)

It’s the idea of being up up high and gliding about which I like about flying more than it’s practical applications for travel.

Shapeshifting would be the best power I think; asuming you could become things other than a human.

Bernard the Poet

February 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I remember when Roger Stern was writing the Avengers in the ‘Eighties, he had Captain Marvel fly to Paris for lunch. It is silly, but that scene is still memorable after all these years, because so few superheroes seem to use their powers to travel and enjoy the finer things in life.

The ability to fly sounding not interesting: understandable. And i totally agree with your point about flight giving a different outlook. Which reminds me of one of the more fascinating interpretations of this power in comics, from The Authority #8 (way back in ’99) by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. I do not know if you read or remember that issue ,Sonia, but there’s that scene where Swift is telling Apollo how to work with (and even communicate with) the air. Very memorable scene. The power of flight can be easily taken for granted or underestimated (esp since it is frequently used in comic books and movies), but The Authority’s creative team really embraced and realized its nuances and potential.

I think that the power would be great if you could handle heights. Even a slight amount of acrophobia would make it a horrifying experience, unless you managed to repeat it enough to get used to it.

Wasn’t there a Generation One Transformer who was afraid of heights but was able to turn into a jet? Sucked for him.

I suffer from Vertigo…

But I have had plenty of flying dreams.

If I could fly, I wouldn’t suffer from vertigo, as I wouldn’t worry about falling…

Flying is right up there for me, along with shapeshifting (the non-painful kind, please!) and invisibility.

The thing about being able to fly is that it’s kind of important to be able to fly FAST. Otherwise that trip to London is extremely long and very boring. It’s also important to not get tired, because there’s not a lot of rest stops …and the Atlantic Ocean is cold!

I wonder how much of a problem acrophobia would actually be, though. I don’t suffer from it (at least not enough to consider it a phobia), but I understand that the most commonly accepted explanation is a fear of falling. If I developed the ability to fly, I’d probably start low and gradually go higher as I learned not to be afraid that I might fall (like a sort of systematic desensitization therapy).

In the very first issue of ASTRO CITY, the Samaritan dreams of flying for the sake of flying, rather than as a means to an end.

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