Suggested Reading: Hancock - The Indie Comic Book of Superhero Movies
by Roman Chavez
July 1, 2008
We all know the Supermans and the Spider-Mans of the world, but how often do we get a completely fresh superhero idea? Not as often as you think. The market is pretty much tapped out. I believe that Hancock will reintroduce the superhero genre back to the public who may have some reservations about superhero-related material. I know I've had my dreams crushed by a few superhero movies and it took even me a while to bounce back. I watch them all even if I think it may ruin a character for me. I'm a fan, what can I say? Let's break Hancock down this week and even throw in some great indie comic suggestions.
Will Smith? A big budget superhero movie? What else could you ask for? How about a big budget superhero movie with a character that nobody knows? Hancock! I think that's pretty freakin' sweet. You've got this hobo-looking muthaf**cka with these fantastic abilities he doesn't really seem to have a grip on. Clark Kent once said that he has to constantly be aware of how fast he runs, how hard he shakes a hand or to even not catch himself when he trips. Hancock makes no such attempt. In the trailer he makes the bench he sleeps on explode just by flying off of it. He has no regard for bystanders and will get in your face if you badmouth him. What kind of hero is that? One who doesn't have a hero role model - that's what kind!
Hancock says that he is the only one of his kind on the planet. And he is doing the best he can with a hangover. Those people need to give him a break. I also really like the Ray Embrey character played by Jason Bateman. He is a public relations consultant who is saved by Hancock and wants to help his image. No butler, no boy wonder, just a guy trying to pay another guy a solid "I owe you one." Obviously, I love comic books. I read them almost every day. Lame I know, but I sleep pretty well at night. There isn't much better than discovering a new character, especially one as seemingly interesting as Hancock. And we all love a character that we can relate to in some way. Hancock doesn't shave, likes to sleep it off anywhere, and seems to be drunk throughout most of the movie. Now Tony Stark was an alcoholic, but who can really identify with an alcoholic billionaire? Plus, you gotta love that beanie!
I am hoping that Hancock will be one of the most original ideas that we've had in a long time. Sure it's a superhero movie, but it's one with a twist. Hancock may not be based on a pre-existing comic book character, but it is definitely the "indie comic book" of superhero movies. If you are not reading any indie superhero comic books right now, shame on you. I'm not saying that I read them all, but it's nice to take a break from the mainstream fare every once in a while. Tell you what, being the nice guy that I am, I will suggest a few hidden gems that you might not know about. Enjoy!
Published by Image Comics
Written by Robert Kirkman, Illustrated by Cory Walker
This book is not as indie as it used to be, but is still a gem that most comic book fans haven't read. Mark Grayson is your average high school kid. He has a job, friends (not that many) and a family. Oh, and his dad is the world's most powerful superhero - Omni-Man! All Mark has been waiting for is the day that he will get his powers. That day comes and we get a new, kick ass teenaged superhero comic - chalk full of angst, super powers and some teenage drama. I like that this book has the most powerful superhero as a background character. You get to see Mark blossom into his own. The series just hit issue #50 and has had some crazy twists in it. Buy from Amazon.com.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jay Faerber, Illustrated by Mahmud A. Asrar
This is my favorite team comic right now. Dynamo 5 is the story of the children of Captain Dynamo, the beloved protector of Tower City. In a nutshell, Captain Dynamo is a very promiscuous guy. He is poisoned during sex and the villains of his city find out and start to run amuck. Captain Dynamo's wife finds out that her superhero husband has been unfaithful and tracks down some of his illegitimate children. She gathers five and exposes them to the same radiation that gave her husband his super powers. We are not talking identical youngsters; we are talking sons and daughters of different ages and ethnic backgrounds. These five heirs to the superhero throne each get one their father's multiple powers. Not only are these siblings getting used to each other and their new powers, but they have to get used to the idea that they had this superhero father that they never knew. It also raises questions about their mothers that were most likely married at the time they shacked up with Dynamo. It's a fun book. Almost all action with just enough story to keep it interesting. Check it out! Buy from Amazon.com.
Published by Marvel Comics / Icon
Written by Mark Millar, Illustrated by John Romita Jr.
This one is pretty new and is currently only on issue #3. I know what you're saying: "Marvel? That's not an independent company!" And you would be right. Kick-Ass is a "Creator Owned" property produced by Marvel Comics under the Icon title. It is a mature title that does not take place in the regular Marvel Universe. Anyway, Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, a high school student that dreams of becoming a superhero. Dave has no powers and is really into comic books. So he gets a wet suit and mask off the internet and makes a costume to fight crime. This ends badly. On his first attempt at heroism, Dave is beaten up badly and wanders into the street for aid only to be hit by a van. I cannot wait to see where this series will take us next! Buy from TFAW.com.
As I said, I don't read all of the independent comic books out there. These are just a few hidden gems that I'd suggest. If you have any suggestions for any others, please comment and let our readers know. I hope that you enjoy the series that I have listed. Take a chance once in a while and pick up that iffy-looking comic book or graphic novel. Who knows? It may be gold. So long from Roman's Land and keep reading.
Good suggestions. I would also recommend the mini-series "After the Cape" from Shadowline/Image Comics. "Created by Howard Wong After the Cape tells the story of a down on his luck former superhero who, following his retirement as a superhero, has fallen into depression and succumbed to alcoholism. He must make ground breaking decisions about both his superhero career and his duty as both a husband and father."
Dan on Jul 1, 2008
I guess I should feel slightly proud of myself on the fact that I have already read Invincible and Kick-Ass before. These are great suggestions. I'll have to check out Dynamo 5. After the Cape interests me as well so thanks to both of you for the suggestions. The only recommendation I got is Garth Ennis' "The Boys". I don't know if it was mentioned previously but it is an awesome comic series. "The series is set in a contemporary world very much similar to real one, with one notable exception: a number of people have some form of superpower. The series follows a superpowered CIA squad, known informally as "the Boys", whose job it is to keep watch on superheroes and, if necessary, intimidate or kill them."
Thoughtless on Jul 1, 2008
Another "indy" take on superheroes with a flawed central character would be Marvels own "Alias". I know it's a Marvel book but it's published under its MAX imprint so it's not the usual stuff. Anyway, from the Wikipedia entry "The protagonist of Alias is Jessica Jones, a former costumed superhero named Jewel who left that avocation to become a private investigator. The running thread is Jessica's character development, as the layers of her past and personality are revealed to the reader while, simultaneously, she tries to come to terms with them herself."
Dan on Jul 1, 2008
INVINCIBLE is fantastic
Heckle on Jul 1, 2008
Now if only the movie that prompts these readings was worth a *BEEP*... interesting picks though.. have to looks into them again
Dusty on Jul 1, 2008
This is great and everything, except Hancock isn't a superhero.
The Marcus on Jul 1, 2008
im really looking forward to Hancock this weekend and i might check some of these out "Invincible" sounds pretty kool. Thanks once again Roman!
Curtis on Jul 1, 2008
I would recommend "Powers" by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. The creators may be mainstream, but the comic was initially published by Image (who release Invincible) and is now published by Icon (the same as Kick-Ass). "Powers" is about two police offers who investigate murders related to superhero's. One of the officers was a former superhero, but has lost his powers. The story is quite dark, and since it is creator owned, the series can literally go anywhere. It is definitely oe for mature readers. I am not doing a great job of describing it, but it definitely warrants reading!
Tabraz on Jul 1, 2008
Powers is good. Bendis wrote it as he did Alias which I described above.
Dan on Jul 1, 2008
Hmm. All sound pretty cool. Check them out sometime. Thanks!
Ryan on Jul 1, 2008
Hancock= DVD rental. Saw it earlier. All the good stuff was shown in the previews. The twist: YAWN. Most will be disappointed. Bring on "The Dark Knight"!!!
Pickle on Jul 1, 2008
I have to agree with Thoughtless with his recomendation of The Boys and with Dan on Alias and toss out a couple of others including The Authority , Sleeper and Ed Brubaker's Criminal. Oh and Roman I'm glad that some of the titles I suggested to you made the list including Invincible and Dynamo 5.
Kindred1823 on Jul 1, 2008
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