Friday, February 5, 2010

Is Lucius Hammer the Black Superman?

I recently sent a book out to a paying customer who in turn sent me a semi-negative review. I have learned to take these amateur reviews with a grain of salt. But something this guy said recently struck me as odd and contradictory, for a comic book fan. The first thing he said was that "the reason why a lot of people hate Superman is because he is to pure." This made me laugh as a true comic book aficionado and a student of the superhero. Superman is the mold from which all have been cast. And while I realize over the years people have chosen to hide behind this favorite weakness of comics' greatest character..."He's too powerful...he's too virtuous...he should be grittier, more a Marvel hero! I can't relate to Superman...he's not like me. He's not supposed to be like you dummy. That's the point. He's a standard. The bar. He's the best and he's meant to be more than even the greatest of us. That's part of Superman's appeal. The reason I'm breaking down the dynamics of Superman theory is because this fan said that Lucius came off as a Black Superman. He also implied that Lucius wasn't as interesting as he could have been because he had good morals and a very hefty cache of superpowers. See this fan is looking for angst and nuance; a character with weaknesses...maybe a troubled love know...the Marvel Formula created and patented by the Godfather of Comics, Stan Lee. I can certainly dig the Marvel Hero "Angst". It's the stuff of my childhood. I love Stan Lee and his many creations...but my job as a writer is to go beyond what has already been done and try my luck and imagination at creating that new "funk". Lucius Hammer is certainly that new "funk" but I was flattered at the Superman comparison because Superman is the character every comic book hero has to answer to upon entering the literary pantheon of the superheroic. Lucius Hammer is not going to be a "dark" character. I grew up in the seventies and eighties and read comics in both decades voraciously. I devoured Roy Thomas' Avengers Skrull Invasion Masterpiece, I thrilled to the reprints of Origins Of Marvel Comics and Son of Origins, I was floored by Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen, and Dark Knight kicked me in the brain just as I was entering into my freshman year in college. I know why comics went down the dark path and now I am going to do my least with this book, to bring back the fun. Lucius Hammer is going to be a book that can be read by an eight year old or a thirty-eight year old. He's a good dude with good intentions. Now of course he's going to face obstacles, but like Superman, what are those obstacles and how do they propose to stop a man who is damn near invincible? What cracks me up about the whole "Superman is too powerful" shtick is that these same people love Batman in his recent incarnation and somehow writers of recent vintage have turned him into this invincible being who can go toe to toe in a fist fight with Darkseid! Really? Superman is that dude we all wanted to be at some point in our childhood ( ladies.. the same is true for Wonder Woman) because he doesn't lie...he doesn't give in to temptation..he stays the course no matter what happens and he's true to a planet that's not even his native world. He's a hero...and to me love him or hate him...he is psychologically the the hero all the others are trying to be. Lucius Hammer is very different from Superman in terms of how he is received by the public and some of the choices he makes as a superhero but he's got the same moral code. We all have become fascinated with "dark heroes"...time for some light!


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