Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What I Found While I Was Reorganizing My Comics

A suicidal twenty-something, a dead beat dad, a little girl, a caveman, a wannabe villain, a real villain, and a a group of Johnny Knoxville poser. What do all these people have in common? They were all bearers of the HERO device during Will Pfeifer's series of the same name. By typing in four simple letters to what basically looked like a glowing hockey puck...BAM you become a super hero. Not just one superhero but any number of superheroes. You, I or anyone could get our hands on the device and walk away with the powers to rival Superman.

It was one of the series that everything (writing, art, inking, editing) all came together. Although based on the fact that the series was ended after only 22 issues I think I'm the only one who thought this. If you ever come across the comic on eBay or some quarter bins you really should pick it up. Here is just a couple reasons why.

Writing: Will Pfeifer, under appreciated Will Pfeifer, puts together a great story. A story with a clear beginning, middle and end. A story where everything is interlinked and characters from the beginning to come back to be the heroes of the end. The characters are three dimensional, full of faults and foibles, the capacity for greatness and the tendency to the idiotic. They are human In the first arc lovable, down on his luck Jerry gets powers, goes out to fight some crime and what happens?

He gets his ass hit by a car! That is fantastic! I'm a very clumsy guy and if I had a superpowers that is exactly what I would end up doing to myself. Other HERO device owners use it to make friends or to perform stupid stunts. Things real people would do with super powers.

But the story is so much more than that. It is a morality tale. The device has no conscious it simply grants powers to whomever types in the correct letters. Thus the responsibility is placed on the handler to do the right thing. The best part is that they don't always do the right thing. Some use it for petty larceny, others for mass murder. Our favorite characters get killed and others have their lives ruined. It is life with powers. Fantastic.

Art: Kano, Dave Stewart, Dale Eaglesham, Wade von Grawbadger, and all the rest that put their time and skills into creating a visual world for Pfiefer's story. Aside from Robby Reed's sudden Barry Bonds jump in physical stature halfway through the series I think they did an excellent job. Kano with his pencils that feel like kind of like Wagner's Mage in their expressive simplicity. Check this out...

Eaglesham, who took over for 15 through 22, brought on a more traditional penciling style to the comic in my opinion but it was still great. While I would love to show you page 16 of issue 16 but I don't want to spoil it if you guys do ever go and pick up the issue. So instead I'll drop another a great page...

Look at Jenny's expression. Look at this anguish and sadness (I won't give away who died). Look at Robby's guilt. Whoa dude. It's all golden.

Covers: They say you can't judge a book by it but the covers for HERO attested to the series' greatness. In fact they were what drew me in from the very beginning. Their subtle shading, their watercolors feeling, all of it really creates a tone for the series. I'm not really that good about talking about art but let's just say that when I came across the comics again this past weekend while alphabetizing my collection I was still blown away by just how great they were. Here are my favorites.

I know I have been gushing like a school girl but when a comic is really good one should talk about it.


Blogger Filthy McMonkey said...

Damn right. They should never have cancelled HERO. There were so many places that series could have gone...real people-REAL people doing what real folks would do if given the opportunity. I mean personally, if I got me a power dial, my first job is to make me some money with it, I got kids to feed, you know? I'm not saying I'd jump straight into crime, but exploring the more lucrative possibilities would definitely be a priority.
Anyways, yeah, just another example of a good comic dying a premature death (Chase, anyone?).

2:27 PM

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