Reality series to define the next superhero

Spiderman, Superman, X-Men, The Punisher - the list of comic book creations to get recent revivals on the silver screen and gaming platforms is endless. It was only a matter of time before somebody put the reality spin on this genre in hopes of drawing eyeballs. The latest contestants for superhero fame are coming to IFC next month, and it's got credibility comic fans can appreciate from host, and comic book mogul, Stan Lee.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?, is a six-part series set for a Feb. 4 premiere on IFC in the 8 pm time slot, and the Alliance Atlantis-owned specialty net is kicking off the launch with a Superhero Sunday Marathon. The show itself challenges contestants to create an original identity and design their own costumes. As host, comic book mogul Stan Lee will personally select 11 finalists to move into a secret lair together, and over the course of the series, he will judge their performance as heroes, picking one to headline a new comic book.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero is already green-lit for a second run on the Sci-Fi Channel in the US, this time for a 10-episode run. The US net has also constructed a microsite backing the show. Wanna-be superheroes can download video and applications to become one of the tights-wearing contestants on the show’s next season. And – in the UGC spirit – the online game component gives users the ability to design their own superheroes from head to toe.

IFC’s promo push for the premiere is tied to the Superhero Sunday Marathon, which starts at 1 pm on Feb. 4 with Comic Book Villains, and continues with Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn at 3 pm, and Stan Lee’s Mutants, Monsters & Marvels 6 pm. The marathon concludes with the network premieres of two darker comic book-based flicks The Punisher at 9 pm and Spawn at midnight.