“In all the infinite versions of Earth, the farm boy with the cape must show up first. He’s the one who shines brightly enough; until he breaks the ice jam, the rest can’t make their entrance. Even beings as old as time–warrior gods, Champions Eternal–have to stay in the shadows, like chess pieces locked in the box. Crisis after crisis may shatter and remake the world, but humans must cope on their own until the superpowered Boy Scout takes the field.
Only then may the curtain rise. The floodgates open and the genies in crazy costumes come streaming from their bottles.”
–from page 22 of James Alan Gardner’s All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault