Wuxia vs. the Superhuman Genre
Wuxia vs. the Superhuman Genre: What’s the difference? The Wuxia hero is also normally a superhero, with few exceptions, but carries a code of honor and integrity like the comic book superheroes I grew up with. They all symbolize bravery and machismo, and they have physical powers that everyone reveres. The primary difference between the Wuxia hero and the American comic book hero is that the Wuxia hero rarely pack a secret identity, opting for worldwide fame instead, and their powers can be enhanced with hard work and a lot of luck. With the right secret training manual, martial arts skills can be developed to the point where physics and gravity are defied and the mysterious chi that master practitioners all possess can be strong enough to rival modern day hydraulics. Comic book superheroes start out with special powers, and although the powers can evolve, they can’t actively seek an upgrade.
The traditional Wuxia heroes do fight for justice, they protect the weak, they have unreal courage, and they often interfere in events that they originally had nothing to do with, just to impose their high moral values. As a result, they are also vulnerable to mistakes and poor judgment. But in the simplistic world of wuxia, the hero is a role model that cannot screw up in his judgment of good or bad. He is the judge, jury, and executioner, and when he finally draws his sword to help the weak, the bad guy is so obviously scum of the earth that there is no doubt his judgment is accurate.
I explored this theme in my previous book, making it a non-traditional martial arts novel where the superhero is flawed in judging who is the bad guy. By the end of the book, he was no longer sure whether he’s fighting for the good guys or the bad guys, and ultimately learns that justice in that world depends on point of view.