The Parts that make up Superpowers!

I chose to listen to Superpowers and I made a lot of observations. In order to accurately analyze this piece, I broke it down into volume, pace, and tone, narration, music, and organization.

Volume, Pace, and Tone:

In the beginning, Chris Ware (the comic artist) speaks slowly and quietly, which makes his insecurities clear. He is very conversational when talking about his past and the hardships of his childhood. This contrasts Ira, who speaks confidently and with purpose. Ira doesn’t include words like “um” and “uh,” but Chris does. Chris also takes deep, loud breaths that express his anguish. This is fitting and was probably purposefully left in the audio for the reason of developing a mood. While both men are conversational, Ira is quicker and, to some degree, rehearsed. The woman talking about Zora is the most rehearsed, yet this adds to the dramatic aspect of the story.


The narrator changes often throughout this piece. There is Ira, who tries to paint a visual picture in the listeners mind. The woman talking about Zora does this as well. Both of these people seem to be reading loose scripts, so the wording is carefully thought out. When different people are interviewed, they are very unrehearsed. Multiple people are interviewed to prove a point. After a topic is introduce, these additional points of view are added to enhance the piece. While everyone doesn’t have very different voices, you can tell who is who by different cues. Chris and Ira talk in different volumes and paces, as was mentioned before. There is one man interviewed who is in a loud environment, maybe a bar or restaurant, and that is what differentiates him from the others. The women sound very similar, but they’re interviewed in different ways. They both speak slowly, but in only Christine’s interview can you hear Ira asking questions. Ira rarely is heard asking questions, but prying was the only way to capture Christine’s elusiveness. I think it proves the point she’s saying, that she would choose to be invisible because of the shame she has, because she basically refuses to answer some of Ira’s questions. I suspect this is a reason why his questioning is included in this portion.


In class, we talked about how it makes sense to not have lyrical music in our audio project. In general, this rule is followed in this piece and the music is simply there to set the mood. It differs between light music, a heavy beat, typical comic book soundtracks, and dramatic, string instruments that portray the mood. These are played both on its own and lightly in the background while someone is speaking. However, there are occasionally lyrical numbers that are used to separate different acts. This draws a clear divide between one segment and the next.


Sometimes it is hard to keep track of where you are when simply listening to something, but this piece does a great job helping the listener. The program is broken down into both acts and stages. The stages are used to describe the process of emotions one may feel through different struggles (for example, when they speak about the process of deciding if one would chose to be invisible or have the ability to fly is chronicled through five clearly marked stages. The acts, as mentioned before, are separated using music.

The organization of the topics is note-worthy as well. This piece starts off with a light topic including using your invisibility to see women naked in the shower or using the power of flight to fly your baby to a doctors appointment. However, the piece goes into much deeper topics, like how people’s self-image and “guileness” influences their choice of superpower. This format gives the listener time to become comfortable with the flow of the story and not feel immediately overwhelmed by the heaviness of the piece.

Together, these different components work to create a comprehensive, interesting audio piece. I will be sure to keep each aspect in mind when I make my own project.

– TS


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