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Reality Contestant on Who Wants To Be A Superhero

by Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 10/6/2007)

Matthew Atherton - 'Feedback'

Richard: What did it feel like when you learned you had won?

Matthew: I was in total shock and disbelief. I was sure Fat Momma was going to take it, and I would have been happy for her if she had. But I couldn't immediately comprehend the magnitude of having won - it was just this feeling of validation, and pure joy. Even today I am in awe that my wildest dream really did come true! I now really have acquired a superpower - one that allows me to make kids' wishes come true by raising money for the "Make-A-Wish" Foundation and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

Richard: How did you interact with the other competitors?

Matthew: We quickly became like family in the lair. I tried to treat my fellow competitors with respect, and most importantly, not to pass judgment on anyone. Even though I had waited for the superhero experience my entire life, I had to be careful not to think that it was more important to me than to the other heroes. We were all there for valid reasons, and when under stress, I had to make sure I remembered that. It doesn't take a superhero to be considerate of others.

Richard: Do you get into a certain mind set when dressed up as Feedback?

Matthew: I'd like to think that Feedback is just me in a shiny costume! However, a shiny costume attracts attention, and so I am more mindful of how my actions would be perceived by others when in costume, rather than when I am in my secret identity. I am guilty of losing my patience when in civilian clothes, and when in costume, I find the strength to be more patient, which helps me be more patient as my alter ego!

Richard: How did you create the character of Feedback?

Matthew: It was my wife, Sarah, who had the idea, "Why don't you do something with video games?" I couldn't think of any character that I had ever known who got their powers from playing video games, and Stan did say he wanted an "original" superhero, so I took the idea and ran with it! I would toss ideas back and forth with Sarah, and she threw in even more cool ideas, like the memory loss whenever I use my powers, and the "armored" look and feel of the original costume.

Richard: How does Feedback get his powers and what are they?

Matthew: From playing video games! Any game that he plays, he can emulate the powers of that game for a short period of time. The problem is, whenever he uses his powers, he loses memories. This forces him to use his powers wisely, and only as a last resort, because each use of them is a personal sacrifice of memories that make him who he is. One power, which he considers more of a weakness, is a "Feedback Field" that disrupts electronic devices within his immediate vicinity. (Not a good power to have when you work with computers, or need to play video games to get your powers!) It's a power that's always active, and that's the reason for Feedback to have a superhero costume - wearing the special suit disrupts the "Feedback Field." (I wanted there to be a good reason for running around in spandex!)

Richard: How did it feel getting your own comic book?

Matthew: In one word? Unbelievable! The comic is sold out all across the nation now, but when it first came out, it was an amazing feeling to walk into a comic shop, and see a comic on the shelf where I was the superhero between the cover pages! And even more amazing? To know that it was Stan Lee, the creator of the very books that I had read to get to this point, who had written the story!

Richard: Do you have any say in how your character is used?

Matthew: Well, just like the costume that I received on the show, part of the fun is the surprise! But I was asked to provide a list of ten things that I would be disappointed about if they didn't appear in the comic, and I think Stan took many of those things into account. Of course, the prize was for Stan to write the comic, not me, so he came up with his own version of Feedback! And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Richard: What was it like appearing in "MegaSnake"?

Matthew: Well, I can tell you what it was like to film it! It was freezing! That costume will keep me hot on a sunny day, but it sure doesn't keep me warm! Underneath it I was wearing two sets of under garments, PLUS the Spider-Man suit I had made in college, and I was still cold! But seeing Feedback in the movie was neat! I wish they could have worked it in so that Feedback could have had some superpowers! But who knows what will come up next! A lot of the fans who saw MegaSnake have made their voice very loud and clear that they want more Feedback!

Richard: What are your audio series about?

Matthew: The audio dramas are great! They consist of stories written by fans, and they are then tweaked into audio dramas by Alan White, who heads up the project, and are posted on Alan does an amazing job, as do the fans who supply the source material, and all of the people involved that provide the voices! Sarah and I love sitting down and recording our parts whenever they come our way!

Richard: Do you enjoy attending Comic Conventions?

Matthew: Comic conventions, for me, are really, really fun! I love being able to connect with fans, and I love the opportunity to raise money for the two charities that I support: The "Make-A-Wish" Foundation ( and Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (! The hard part for me is that the lines are so long to see me, and Fat Momma, and Major Victory, that we never get a chance to walk around and see the show! (And there are some panels and events that I would LOVE to go see! I missed seeing the Iron Man armor at San Diego, and I was bummed for a week! But that trailer looks AWESOME!)

Richard: Would you like to or are you pursuing an acting career?

Matthew: I'm not actively pursing it. I sort of "leap-frogged" over my whole original purpose for wanting to learn how to perform. Before "Who Wants To Be a Superhero?" came along, I thought the closest thing I could ever get to being a real superhero would be to maybe play a superhero in a student film, or perhaps even, one day, maybe on screen. But now - I LOVE to do speaking engagements and motivational speaking! The response has been amazing, and I have fun talking to kids and young adults, and even educating students on what goes into making a reality show (now that I've been fortunate enough to be involved both as a contestant on Season 1, and in production, with the Season 2 "Superhero Aftershow" on

Richard: What do you do with any free time you have?

Matthew: Free time is a rare and precious commodity in my life right now. I spend as much time as I can with Sarah and our two dogs, Emily and Maggie. But I enjoy doing... too many things! I love playing video games (a friend of mine lent me some games a YEAR ago that I still haven't played!), reading comics (Nitro G keeps me up on what's a good read), and interacting with Tech Support, the Official Feedback Fan Club. They rock!

Richard: What comics did you read as a child and do you read now?

Matthew: I have a pretty extensive Spider-Man comic collection, and read Spidey almost exclusively in my youth (I have had several fans test me on X-Men, and I'm afraid my X-Men knowledge doesn't match my knowledge of the Spidey-verse). Right now my tastes are more varied, and I try to take fan suggestions on what's good. I am reading some older Green Lantern comics in graphic novel form, right now, but I am still into the "Back In Black" storyline in the current Spidey comics!

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Matthew: You can contact me directly at , and on MySpace. There's a link to my MySpace on my website, which is .

Richard: Any last words of wisdom?

Matthew: To all of you reading this, I would ask only one thing. Find out who you can be a hero to in your life. Even if it's in a small way. You never know what kind of positive impact you can have on the world! And you don't need a shiny costume to do it! GAME ON!

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