Sunday, January 27, 2013


I've said over and over that I was brought up by television. Most people think it's a joke but it's actually the truth. As soon as I was born my parents dropped me in front of a television set and gave that dusty Greatwall the work of turning me into a human being. The sarcastic, sociopath here today is the result of that process. 

Anyway during that whole process, I was completely enamoured by the idea of the superhero. The world through their eyes was so simple. Good always fighting evil and winning. I wanted to be part of Gotham City and watch Batman beat up The Joker or be a citizen of Metropolis where I would chill for Superman to fight bad guys and bring balance to those chaotic streets. I think the only place where I didn't wanna be was Spiderman's New York because I think webs are kinda gross.

If you think back, there was never an African superhero. Ok I don't know if we can count Kwame from the Captain Planet. For those of you who don't know he was one of the planeteers who came together to call upon Captain Planet. He was from Ghana but he doesn't count because he doesn't even count as a side kick. In fact he was a ring bearer. Anyway spurred by jealousy, I imagined these superheroes in the Kenyan context and  tried to figure out how they would fair. It recently just hit me that it would be an absolute disaster. Our society is simply not made for them. With the help of some tv junkies we figured out how they would totally be screwed by our version of reality.

Lets start with the easiest. Spiderman. He depends on his ability to swing around tall buildings to fight crime. Have you ever noticed he never fights crimes in low rise buildings or bungalows? Evil always seems to show up on some crazy skyscraper. So in Nairobi, Spidey would be limited to fighting crime around KICC and Times Tower. And he would probably just circle those buildings and take javs between them and other buildings where crime might rear it's head. The only thing that I can think of as a positive is that maybe Spiderman would be the face behind Mortein Doom as they drop Louie the Pest in an attempt to capture the imagination of the nation.

Moving on to the Man of Steel himself. Superman was one of my favourites while growing up. He just seemed to have it so put together. This was before that whole Smallville nonsense where he drove me nuts for not kicking Lana Lane out of this galaxy. In Kenya he would be loved but then I am pretty sure kanjo would arrest Clark Kent for changing in telephone booths. That would be interesting seeing Superman being thrown into a city council pick up. The charges would be piled on for that outfit. Indecent exposure for showing his underwear to the public. And I think we are generally smart enough to figure out that Clark is Superman based on the fact that we nabbed Waiganjo.

Then the brooding billionaire turned caped crusader. I never quite liked Batman because I figured he was a spoilt kid with too much time on his hands. What's with the different voice when he has the mask on? Does he just get a cold when he dons it? So yeah Batman would never quite get to any crime scene because the batmobile would be stuck in traffic all the time. That thing is huge. In fact the only place he would probably fight any crime would be on Thika Road but then we all know once he would get to the Githurai overpass, the car would be stolen and scrapped while still occupied. And somehow Batman isn't very scary when he has to travel via mat.

Then we all know there would be questions about his relationship with Robin. As in what grown man runs around in costume with a young kid? That stuff would fly in Gotham but in Nairobi we don't play that. That said I feel like Batman would find his way through the justice system. That dude is loaded. In fact he would probably be a prime candidate for the elections here. He has all it takes. Money, an angry streak and crazy creepy skeletons in his closet.

The rest I can just lump together. The Hulk would make an awesome councillor. In fact I think the Kenyan councillor was the original inspiration for The Hulk. Because all he does is get angry and smash stuff. Green Lantern would get an endorsement with Adopt-A-Light for obvious reasons. The Martian Manhunter (J'onn) would be deported because he looks Ugandan.

And those are just the ones I could think of. Point is that the superheroes would have a crazy hard time on this side of the planet. Things would be thick. So maybe we should just accept that there is a reason they were kept in their simple little worlds. This here is the Big League.

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