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Friday, June 30, 2017

Reader's Diary #1615- Jeff Lemire (writer), Dean Ormston (artist): Black Hammer Secret Origins

Jeff Lemire's Black Hammer Secret Origins is exactly the comic I wanted and needed right now.

I think there's a misconception out there that superhero comics are fine, but most people mature past them and eventually turn to serious, literary comics. This despite Watchmen having been published some 30 years ago-- you know, the superhero comic that supposedly proved that superhero comics can have literary merit.

This won't be a rant against Watchmen, but as I was underwhelmed by that one personally, it would be hard for me to cite it as an example of a smart superhero comic. Not that I find most superhero comics dumb. I think some of the themes explored in recent years by Marvel and DC (vigilantism, patriotism, collateral damage) are worthy topics of discussion. But nonetheless, these are expected themes of superhero stories.

But Jeff Lemire's Black Hammer Secret Origins explores themes beyond that while still celebrating the insanity of superheroes. The oppression and loneliness of a small town and it's a fun book? Yup!

So, it's literary for sure, but I'm not necessarily recommending it to those without a knowledge of superheroes. Would such readers enjoy it? If you were fans of Jeff Lemire's Essex County, most likely. But, as I said at the beginning, it found me at the right time. I've practically been devouring superhero comics over the past year or two and the nods to classic superhero characters were definitely more appreciated this way: Swamp Thing, Adam Warlock, Thor, Martian Manhunter, etc. Make no mistake, this is also a love letter to superhero comics; and most likely a point about how their fantasy worlds provide escape from hum-drums of rural life.

As for the art, it's also great and coloured perfectly. I'll admit though that Dean Ormston's style is so similar to Jeff Lemire's I thought it was his.

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