Hero Worship is a 2014 Superhero novel by Christopher E. Long. Marvin Maywood is an IWP (Individual With Powers) who longs to join The Core, the premiere superhero team of the town, but there are Clean powers and there are Dirty powers. Marvin's power involves him gaining strength, speed, and durability from the fear of others, so he's labeled as having a Dirty power, and he scrapes by a living working at a restaurant while squatting in the sewers with his two friends who also have Dirty powers, one which can't keep himself solid for long and one which can grant euphoria with a touch.
A chance encounter with one of the members of The Core gives Marvin a chance to move to the big leagues, but he quickly learns that his heroes have feet of clay, and that joining The Core will mean leaving the only family he's had for years.
This book exhibits the following tropes:
- Bad Powers, Bad People: If you have powers that are judged to be Dirty, you are effectively blacklisted not only from using your power, but also from most legit employment because of fear that you might use your power. There's a blood test that determines whether you will have powers and if the power is Dirty or Clean. Said test is revealed to actually be a sham with the results being random unless the tester wants a particular result.
- Broken Pedestal: Marvin idolizes The Core, but he learns that they're not nearly the ideal heroes that he thought them to be although they're revealed to not be all corrupt, just spoiled by association.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. It's made clear that Marvin is deeply hurt by Eliza's assault.
- Fantastic Drug: Yvonne can induce euphoric pleasure in anyone she touches. Among other uses, she earns income by giving druggies a hit.
- I'm Melting!: This happens to Kent slowly throughout the day. He sleeps in a mold to wake up with a human shape.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: Kent has difficulty staying solid. His default form is largely liquid. He solidifies overnight, and typically rests inside a mold that gives him whatever face he wants to wake up with, but in his waking hours, he liquifies again.
- Rubber Man: Kent, to some degree, but it's a bit more like natural rubber. He can't keep his shape and generally can't choose his form other than by sleeping in a given form. Near the end of the book, he shows that he's gained more control, and can even shape his fingers to open locks.
- Super Serum: Eliza provides Marvin with a serum that amplifies his powers. It's later revealed that most of The Core are on the serum to keep their powers at full strength, and that overuse can kill.