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Cristian Daly
Promising Playwright Follow-Up, September 2016

YPT alumnus Cristian Daly wrote the play Captain Marvelous, which was a Finalist for the 2016 New Play Festival. We caught up with our June 2015 Promising Playwright, who has since moved to Texas, to learn more about the superhero universe he has created!

Keep an eye out for Captain Marvelous and the Legion of Light in YPT's 2015-16 Annual Report, coming soon!

“YPT gave me the chance to ... make [Captain Marvelous] into something.”

Cristian Daly brings his world to life through comic books. “There was some sort of joy from the very first page I read,” the kind-hearted incoming sixth grader remembers, that inspired him to create new universes in his imagination and transform quotidian events into epic adventures.

The first comic series Cristian wrote, in third grade, was called The Adventures of CJ. “Those were about me: just a regular human being” doing things like scoring the winning points in a basketball game and hating the nasty cafeteria food. “I [liked] to write about things that actually happened to me; those were the things that made him interesting,” he says.

At the same time, reading Marvel and DC comics led Cristian to “imagine what my superhero would be like”: a version of himself who is “the embodiment of all the things I wish I could do.” And thus, Captain Marvelous was born. Like Superman, Captain Marvelous can fly and has laser vision; like Cristian, he is sweet and funny and deeply compassionate. The character has many different iterations, including  Cancer Awareness Captain Marvelous, who wears a pink suit and has shaved off his trademark “pompadour hairstyle.” “The reason he shaved it off is to show ... that evil comes in many forms, and cancer is one of them,” Cristian says.

Though Captain Marvelous was born in Cristian’s mind, he first sprang to life in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program at Watkins Elementary School. Given the chance to write about whatever he wanted, Cristian chose to introduce the world to Planet X-A-Z, the Legion of Light and the evil Dr. Snake—who used to be a hero, but grew jealous when Captain Marvelous ascended to stardom. The play was a hit, and Cristian became a Finalist for the 2016 New Play Festival. By then, he and his mom had moved to El Paso, Texas, but the two flew back to DC to see professional actors do a reading of Captain Marvelous at the Festival kickoff party.

“I’ll never forget that moment; that’s really a core memory for me,” Cristian says. “It made me feel good that people would be interested in making my play into something.”

Six months later, Captain Marvelous is back, guiding readers through the pages of YPT's 2015-16 Annual Report. Reviving the character has inspired Cristian to plan two new comics and another play: Captain Marvelous Returns. We can’t wait to read them all!