By 1961, it was fairly clear across the United States that, like 'em or not, the concept of science-heroes were here to stay*
. Costumed individuals with unusual powers
, fancy technology
, or just a lot of training
, were getting involved in dealing with various street-level criminals.
A group of select businessmen were willing to look beyond profit and see that action needed to be taken to prevent vast changes in the social order - an order which they currently dominated (for simplicity, let's just refer to them as "The Foundry"). They approached less-than-moral scientists (and others in various industries) with a proposition: We don't want your patents or your company, but we do want you to create a product for us, a product that will make use of your various gadgets and toys and weapons - the "science-villain".
The idea was simple: These men were concerned that once the heroes had dealt with enough troublemakers, they might set their sights on bigger dangers (such as corrupt business practices
). However, by having to deal with costumed individuals like themselves (sans
morals or conscience, however), it'd keep the heroes busy and distracted.
Many of the early villains were fairly unoriginal; primarily just thugs with fancy weaponry (such as "flight suits" or blasters of some sort). Fortunately, the Foundry was the type to learn from past mistakes, and began to up the ante. It was clear that many science-heroes had powers that were part of their physiology, rather than equipment. So they began to do research into bio-augmentation, so their "labrats" would have a better chance.
By the early 1970s, however, it was clear that the Foundry was no longer #1 in the industry (so to speak). Other groups had begun their own superhuman programs, creating a bit of an "arms race" of sorts. That's when some of the members of the Foundry came up with an interesting idea: Repackage their "project" as The Powerhouse.
Through various methods, rumors of their project began fluttering around. A person could gain superpowers (various "packages" were available), just like the heroes they read about in the papers or saw on TV. There were other "volunteers" who were of the "if they vanish, nobody would notice" variety as well.
Unfortunately, the cost could be a bit steep, so many of the volunteers ended up working for the Powerhouse. The organization had been responsible for establishing various secret "superhuman fight clubs" across the country, so the newly-empowered individuals would be given a costume and code-name (along with a fake origin), and work off their debt in that manner. (Obviously, if an individual had cash like Tony Stark
and Bruce Wayne
, they were exempt).
Despite what the Powerhouse predicted, many individuals actually WERE
able to work off their debts, rather than get slaughtered in the ring. The now-current manangers of the company decided to strike a deal with the fighters: IF they managed this accomplishment, the Powerhouse would set them up with a new identity and life "above the surface".
So, over the last 25-30 years, many heroes have appeared with a fake backstory. Some have been heroes, some have been villains, others just try to live a normal life (albeit with powers). These are their stories.
So, basically, the idea would be a bit like Astro City
: A collection of stories in a world with superheroes, with different stories about different characters. The common link? They all share a similar origin. Suggestions/ideas?
Embroiled in slave rebellion, I escaped crucifixion simply by declaring 'I am Vito', everyone else apparently being called 'Spartacus'.