It’s the Fourth. You finally have the day off. It’s time to relax and enjoy the festivities. But wait. The weather is crummy, fireworks are postponed, your plans for a barbecue are nixed, what can you do? How can this day be salvaged…?
To celebrate, what’s more “American” than drinking a nice Pilsner? Sounds good, don’t mind if I do! Thanks to Beer’d I have just that! Their ‘Connecticut Casual’ is a smooth, drinkable Pilsner, perfect for the day to lounge around. Maybe to go with…A good book?
Sure everyone knows what you’re talking about when you say, “The Fourth”. Usually, they’re talking about America’s Independence. To me, I also think comics. Specifically, for The 4 Color Campaign. A movement I started to encourage people, young and old(er), to read more comic books. Using ‘the4colorcampaign’ hashtag, I hope it will help others in finding what everyone is reading, who a favorite artist or writer may be and shake the stigma of comics being “just for kids”.
Well, I’ll tell ya, the release of Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, which is published by Dark Horse, is not for kids. At least concerning some of its themes. It’s a deconstruction of the superhero genre. There’s been countless attempts we’ve seen before but what Jeff Lemire does with it seems fresh.
There’s obvious homages to characters we’ve seen before. Abraham Slam is the leader of group. A fighter who could closely be compared to Captain America, minus the serum. Barbalien, aka Mark Markz, is a Martian Manhunter type to a “T”. NASA astronaut, Randall Weird is a take on the character of Adam Strange, a science fiction adventurer. Along Weird’s side is Talky-Walky, his robot companion. Insert ANY human-quality robot found in fictional works. Madam Dragonfly is a witch that could be compared to most others but I see a lot of Raven from Teen Titans on the page. “Golden Gail” is the female version of Shazam/Captain Marvel. Gail is an older woman trapped in the body of a nine year old. And last but certainly not least is Black Hammer. A mix of Shazam and Thor.
And though there’s similarities with characterization, that’s where it stops. We’re introduced to each character methodically, issue by issue, dangling the carrot of mystery throughout. After a cataclysmic event, defending their Spiral City, a white light engulfed them and they found themselves in Rockwood. Why are they together as prisoners(?) in a seemingly idealic town, taken away from the city they swore to protect?
I couldn’t put this book down. Jeff Lemire writes each character with depth and each one of them sounds nothing like the other. They all have their own singular voice. Other writers have a tendency to write the same dialogue for their characters. A child isn’t going to sound like an adult. Especially having the vocabulary an adult would. The same could be said of the female perspective compared to their male counterparts. Lemire does the transitions flawlessly. A fascinating read, you will breeze through and will undoubtedly crave for more.
So, whatever YOU do for The Fourth, maybe brave the elements for that perfect burger or juicy dog, waiting for that crazy cousin to finally lose a digit to a firework he got from his “guy”, or like me, read a good book in peace…while those DAMN KIDS LIGHT THOSE FIREWORKS IN THE BACKYARD AGAIN!!…*ahem* Regardless, let’s do it for the Re(a)d, Write & Brew.