LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #48

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 25 21:23:42 PST 2007

Mitchell Crouch said:

>I think you may have just single-handedly destroyed my faith in
> superheroes. Good job!


Ahem.  It is time for a Tom Russell intervention.  And review.  All
mixed into one.

The thing that's great about Easily-Discovered Man (okay, one of many
things) is that while it works as surface entertainment, and is, in
general, incredibly funny, it also works on a deeper level, as a

Now, some of you are saying, Tom, bildungsroman is just a fancy word
for "Coming of Age" story, so why don't you just say coming of age
story?  Wouldn't that be simpler?  And, yes, if I just said Coming of
Age, I wouldn't have had to search to find out how to spell

But bildungsroman doesn't _exactly_ mean coming of age story.  It
means, a novel of education.  And while the two are intertwined and
more-or-less inseperable, it's a distinction I want to make because I
feel that "Easily-Discovered Man" as a whole, and particulary this
recent arc, concentrate on Hector's _education_, on an influx of new
ideas that challenge his preconcieved notions.

This is certainly the case in this issue.  Not only do we get the
"superheroes-as-fascists" analogy that has shattered young, innocent
Mitchell's faith in the noblest and greatest genre ever concieved, but
we also get Lite's challenge to EDM-- that he shouldn't make life
decisions based on what he read in comic books-- and we get tangible
evidence of the fascists analogy when Substitute Lad practically
lobotimizes the young woman responsible for all these ape shenanigans.

These ideas are challenging to Lite, and cause him to rethink his
life's path-- which is the major crux of this arc, I think.  But I
don't think this is a case of Rob Rogers becoming cynical about the
genre, which at its heart is not descriptive of humanity but
proscriptive: a genre and character type that inspires.

I think his general thesis might be somewhere along the lines of,
superheroes are only people, and therefore they can be fallible.  I
don't think Rob is exchanging one moral simplicity (optimism, and I
don't think there's anything wrong with that, either) for another
(cynicism, which I disagree with strongly): I think he's taking us into
the territory of moral complexity.  With jokes.

And what could be better? :- )


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