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Published:September 1st, 2006 03:46 EST


By Sean Stubblefield

A new superhero has entered the world! Responsible for such renown comic book characters as Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Hulk, and X-Men, Stan Lee now presents the first winner of his reality game show called Who Wants To Be A Superhero?.

His name… is Feedback.

Secret identity: Matthew Atherton, software engineer; age 34.
Super powers and abilities: Temporarily absorbs powers and abilities from video games that he plays; generates a feedback field that disrupts electronics within 15 feet; computer genius.
Fighting for: Justice and fair play.

Stan Lee, using the venue of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? set out to discover, or simply manifest, the next superhero.

For the show, eleven contestants— having gone through a selection process-- create and adopt a superhero persona of their own design; each are in costume and in character the whole time. Over the course of six weekly episodes, Stan Lee has tested a group of would-be superheroes on the attributes he thinks a superhero should have-- such as courage, character, and compassion.

Inspired and fascinated by superheroes his entire life, Matthew Atherton— encouraged by his wife, eagerly pursued the opportunity to join this reality show. The chance to be made into a superhero, a dream come true. As a teenager, Spiderman was a significant role model for Matthew, and Stan Lee is his idol. To be a part of this show, to meet and be praised by Stan Lee, was a wish fulfillment.

In his real life, Matthew is a member of Rotary Club, involved in various kinds of community service, and strives to live his life in superhero like fashion by seeking to help others where he can.

While he doesn’t actually have the powers of his fictional persona, Matthew, portraying Feedback, has passionately demonstrated himself to be the embodiment of a superhero, in boyish enthusiasm and excitement. With a Tom-Cruise-like integrity and intensity, participating in this reality show is, as he confesses, the culmination of everything he’s ever done. He genuinely wants to be a superhero, taking that role very seriously.

A fact that is recognized and appreciated by his fellow contestants. This wasn’t just a game to Matthew, but a validation, a test he was dedicated and determined— perhaps even destined-- to pass. I think he deserved to win.


Each episode, Stan Lee gives the characters a task to complete, a challenge to overcome… and in each episode someone is eliminated, as Stan uttered the dreaded phrase, “Turn in your costume”. Several of the challenges actually featured a red herring or surprise twist, where the real goal wasn’t the stated goal. A superhero has to expect the unexpected; Stan scrutinized their performance as well as how they responded to the challenges, to him and each other. Each elimination was progressively more difficult, for both Stan and the heroes (as well as many in the audience, I dare say)… because they had become as family and friends. Each episode brought them closer together, even as it tore them apart--- literally and emotionally. Although in competition, every player frequently supported and cared for each other. As the end of the game drew near, Feedback became less concerned about winning the game and more about his friends; he wanted them to do well. He was often ready and willing to step aside and forfeit his dream for the sake of his friends; yet somehow without intending or managing to compromise himself or the game. Some may call that move absurd, foolish, misguided, quixotic, naive…

or heroic.

But, in the end, there can be only one winner… who will have their character immortalized in a new comic book developed with Stan Lee and Dark Horse Comics, as well as appear in an original SCI FI Channel movie! The comic has a publication date of October 4th. 

Along with the characters of Fat Momma, Major Victory, Creature, and Lemuria, Feedback was among the Final Five. Creature was dismissed. And then Lemuria was gone. Followed by Major Victory. So forth, until only one remained. Although Feedback ultimately won the game, he isn’t the only authentic hero revealed on the show. The characters of Major Victory, Fat Momma, Lemuria, Creature, Tyveculus and Levity have, in my opinion, each shown— throughout the competition and in their exit interviews-- that they also possess the fundamental qualities and spirit of a superhero.

However, it wasn’t all just an act; no mere caricatures or clichés were these individuals, but real people, wanting and trying to be heroes. I think they all succeeded, worthy and deserving of their own comic book and movie deal.
The world’s next great superhero was announced by Stan Lee, to exuberant applause, in a public ceremony held at Universal Citywalk (Universal Studios, Hollywood).
Fat Momma, the runner up, sincerely congratulated Feedback by saying, “You have been an excellent contender. I am so glad that I have had the chance to get to know you. I wish you the best, because you are my superhero.”

Surrounded by friends and family and a fervent audience, an awestruck and thrilled Feedback victoriously declares,

“Every dream you have ever had is possible!”
“ I can’t believe this. I’m a superhero!”
Learn more about Feedback: