Joey Cavalieri on ANIMAL MAN, THE MIGHTY -- and more
Do you have any idea what it’s like attempting to distinguish a new costumed hero comic in a field overrun with costumed hero comics?
It keeps putting me in the mind of those painful auditions they used to hold in the pages of “Legion of Super Heroes.” Remember?
“Sorry, making plants grow incredibly fast really isn’t much of a useful super power.”
“You’ll see how useful it is when you forget Saturn Girl’s birthday and you need a dozen long-stemmed American Beauty roses in a hurry.”
“She’ll know where I got them. Rejected.”
Nobody likes rejection. So what’s the answer? How about super hero comics that are, how can I put this?... tweaked just a little bit?
I’ve wrapped up two series that take everything that’s common and customary in this genre and upends it.
Gerry Conway – who’s had his name on plenty of episodes of “Law & Order” as well as comic books -- thought it might be compelling to see what would happen if a character really could age and confront his mortality. Gerry put Buddy Baker through a lot in THE LAST DAYS OF ANIMAL MAN. In fact, Buddy’s travails follow the model of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining,…uh, sleepy… grumpy. Yeah, Buddy spends a great deal of the miniseries being justifiably grumpy, when he realizes that being a hero has forced him to neglect much of what was really important, in particular, his wife and kids.
(Also, if it’s not uncool to geek out in this context, can I mention here that the miniseries has a whale who’s a Green Lantern? Whale with a Power Ring. Chris Batista was a happy man when he got to draw that.)
In THE MIGHTY, Pete Tomasi and Keith Champagne present a skewed take on what the Superman/Jimmy Olsen friendship might be like if it went horribly wrong. What if that signal watch were little more than a tether, a leash to keep constant 24-hour tabs on your “pal”? What if everybody’s number one hero had a series of other “pals” who died under mysterious circumstances? What if you’re a “pal” who doesn’t want to become the latest victim, especially after you discover your hero’s “secret origin” isn’t at all what you were led to believe. (Chris Samnee draws this revelation in issue #10.)
Like I say, I’ve wrapped these up. But they’ll be collected soon, so if you’re one of those “wait for the trades” types, you’ll find that these are worth seeking out.