(Author photo from here.)
The world of the Elite Hands of Justice and the cities they inhabit – Megalopolis and Covo City – were created so I could play with both superheroes, magic and celebrities, all things I like. Though it hasn’t been touched on yet in the series, there’s probably supernatural creatures hiding in a dark alley somewhere.
My heroine in Phenomenal Girl 5, Lainey Livingston, lives in a world where magic and superheroes are an everyday occurance. Children are tested for powers at the onset of puberty. This isn’t to say that some kids don’t hide it or otherwise slip through the cracks (where do you think villains come from?), but those that are found are sent to a special school to develop and train their powers. Magic ability is considered a “power” and all of those who attend the School have a basic idea of how magic works. Those who do have the ability to use magic go off on their own path, to work with mentors to train them how to use spells while the rest of the students, Lainey included, continue on with their own specific studies. Most of the students’ goal at graduation is to be recruited for one of the major hero teams. For every student who “makes it,” there are plenty of those who don’t. But we don’t see those students. Yet 😉 And again, where do you think villains come from? Along those lines, there are also people who get their powers through accidents or scientific experiments.
To those fortunate people who grow up with special powers, being a hero is a job, much like being a firefighter or a police officer, or even a professional athlete. They go to interviews to try to get on the best teams, jockey for position and authority on each team, and tend to date within the workplace. In many ways, Phenomenal Girl 5 is a workplace drama 😉 That was part of the fun of it for me: this is a job to Lainey and her friends. There’re aspects of her job she doesn’t like doing, her co-workers fight and bicker, people get mad or can’t hack the job and quit, she gets overlooked for the big assignment, and she’s being trained by someone who is difficult to work with 😉 We can all relate to that.
At the same time, to the civilians, the heroes are celebrities. Much like we glorify and raise up (to then tear down) the beautiful people in Hollywood, the civilians do the same to the heroes in my world. The heroes are the subject of the gossip rags, the paparazzi take their photos, they seek publicity and interviews, and have merchandising rights. The Elite Hands of Justice, which is the most famous superhero team, live in a building that has a museum and gift shop on the bottom floor. There’re EHJ mugs, t-shirts, snow globes and action-figures. There’s an EHJ Saturday morning cartoon. This isn’t to say that all the heroes are glory hounds: The Reincarnist is very disappointed in the turn the EHJ has taken, but he still gets his picture taken when he goes out to dinner. Whether he likes it or not.
This brings up the two cities we see in Phenomenal Girl 5 – Megalopolis and Covo City. The EHJ’s headquarters is in Megalopolis, a large city where everything happens and they are the center of attention. I picture Megalopolis to be like our New York or Hollywood, somewhere where there are restaurants and clubs to be seen at, shops where you can buy the latest couture, and you might see a celebrity dashing into the local coffee shop for their morning fix. It’s the larger-than-life city.
Covo City, where the Reincarnist makes his home, however, is the opposite. It’s more of an every day big city. Sure, there’s crime, and villains to fight, but it’s not as flash as Megalopolis. The reclusive Reincarnist can live on the outside of town and not have paparazzi and star tours passing by his gate every day. While you might get an occasional paparazzo or sightseer who knows the Reincarnist lives nearby, they’re not as prevalent. Celebrities aren’t expected or noticed in a city like that. And Lainey, who’s pretty much an unknown at the beginning of the book, can go anywhere and not attract any attention. The strange part of all of this is I don’t like big cities. Way too many people for me. I’m reclusive like the Reincarnist.
You might also wonder how the police feel about the heroes. Like you might expect, some of them like them, and some of them hate them. The police are doing the same job as these people, fighting crime, yet without the flash costume, celebrity status, or the big bucks. You can see why they’d hate them. But some of them take the help and expertise they can get. You see both kinds of the Covo City police force.
So that’s my look into the world of the Elite Hands of Justice!
Phenomenal Girl 5