Who wants to be a Superhero? Chris Watters does. On the reality TV show Who Wants to be a Superhero that concluded in August, Watters and his alter ego, Major Victory, vied for the title of America's newest superhero.
Watters is a former Boise State student, and for the first five episodes, it looked like he might win the whole shebang. Sadly, nothing could save him from evil elimination and Major Victory was done away with on the fifth episode. But the former Boise resident is still a hero to many.
The show, which aired on the SciFi Channel, was created by the legendary comic-book creator Stan Lee and the same masterminds behind stunning successes For Love or Money and Who Wants to Marry My Dad? The weekly one-hour competition reality series began with a handful of contestants, each with an original idea for a superhero, a self-made costume and their best superhero mojo. The show tested their mettle and their limitations, and dared each to prove that he or she possessed necessary superpowers such as courage, integrity, self-sacrifice, compassion and resourcefulness.
The winner of the show got a unique prize--immortality with a comic book created by Lee about the character and an appearance in an original SciFi Channel movie.
"I always did want to be a superhero," Watters tells Boise Weekly between meeting with clients (in his real life, he's a disc jockey at the Hollywood nightclub Highlands) and doing more press for the show. "In fact, my sister and I used to dress up as Batman and Robin."
Watters, 38, and his family grew up in San Francisco. They later moved to a small town where dressing up as superheroes was no longer cool. Watters came to Boise, which is his mom's hometown and his sister Megan/Robin's current home, to attend Boise State.
Though Watters wasn't really much of a comic fan, only having watched Spiderman cartoons as a kid, on a whim, he and a friend invented a superhero for fun not long before he became aware of the show's tryouts. "I already had this character Captain Victory. It was a brainchild of my buddy and myself, and we came up with the powers," he says. "I went in there and met Stan Lee and I went in as Captain Victory and he said, 'How about we promote you to Major Victory?'"
Getting selected as one of the characters was a major victory in itself, considering Watters had to create the entire history and persona of the character in addition to his superpowers: Major Victory got his powers from an accidental explosion at a speaker-testing facility. Now he can levitate, has super strength, super eyesight, super jumping abilities, can go 25 minutes without air and can manipulate sound waves to create noises or throw his voice. Of course he has his own personal kryptonite: His vulnerabilities include being deaf in his left ear and, sadly, lactose intolerance. That means no milk, ice cream or pizza for this super pooper.
And no superhero is without a catchphrase. MV's insightful motto: "Be a winner, not a weiner!"
"I went on the show to make fun of comic books and ended up falling in love with it," Watters says of his attitude. Even with chiseled features and red tights, Watters was a goof, serving up much of the comic relief (pun intended) and playing up his past as a stripper by taking off his gloves and cape at opportune moments for a laugh. "All the stripping was a bit [created] in the editing," he says. "It's my past, but I brought it into the picture."
MV's comedy shtick worked at first, and he appeared to be the frontrunner in the competition for a while, but unfortunately, Lee gave him the boot. "The reason Stan Lee kicked me off was because I was a parody," Watters says honestly. "And that was my thing, but the guy who won should have won." Stan Lee said kids wouldn't know what to make of Major Victory, saying he "makes for a better stand-up comic or sitcom star than a superhero."
So despite the loss to Feedback, the winning superhero who gets powers from watching video games, Watters is really pleased with the experience, and he wouldn't change anything about Major Victory.
"You feel like a human, but you don't realize how you touch people," he says of being a superhero. "I changed lives; the stories I could tell you, it would just melt your heart. When someone like myself who is just trying to do better can show other people that there's compassion in the world, that helps."
Watters tells the story of a letter he got just recently from a male fan who lost his wife two years ago. He is overweight and had a heart attack 32 months ago, but after he watched the show and saw Watters' relationship with his daughter, the guy decided to lose weight to make sure he sticks around to be a superhero to his own daughter.
And having done so well in the competition is opening doors for Watters. He was on the Today Show a couple of weeks ago. He's also heading to some of the major comic shows as Major Victory, and he's been approached by several cartoonists to do a comic book with MV.
Though the newfound success hasn't really helped out the DJ biz, Watters says he's gained a more compassionate perspective and learned a lot about being a good person. "Every person on the show had a message and I took a little from every person," he says. "My message was to have a good time and to be a winner."
But since he wasn't a winner, what does that make him? "Even though I lost, I'm still a winner, I'll never be a wiener. I have too much fun."