8FOLD/HCC: Journey Into # 15, Slow Build

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 09:07:57 PDT 2010

On Sep 30, 12:39 am, Andrew Perron <pwer... at gmail.com> wrote:

> I note that Martin seems to have kind of a rosy perspective of him.  From
> this story, he seems kind of arrogant and self-righteous, even taking into
> account his disability-seems-like-the-right-word.

That's a good and a fair point.  One thing I didn't really emphasize
as much in this story-- because it's something the character doesn't
much like to emphasize-- is how popular he was with the press, and the
sort of positive vibes other people associate with him, and also the
historical (if historical is the right word to describe the events of
a fictional world) context that he came out of.  And if this was a
JOLT CITY story, further, I would probably emphasize what it is about
that combination that appeals to Martin psychologically.  So, let me
indulge a little...

First off, you got the death of the High Roller, which I had Martin
recount in JOLT CITY # 13.  A major event in the mid- or late-eighties
that started all sorts of debate about kid sidekicks, and four-colours
in general-- to the point that they almost came to the brink of being
federally regulated and/or outlawed outright.  A very bad and negative
time all around.

And shortly after Whaley hits puberty, he converts to Black Islam and
gains his super-speed powers.  This is maybe in '94 or so.  He's the
first teen superhero in a long time, but he's very appealing: uber-
competent (thanks in part to a group of powers that basically demands
uber-competence), very clean-cut, friendly.  He doesn't make mistakes,
doesn't let anybody get hurt, doesn't become vengeance-crazed.  He's
basically everything a hero should be, and that's what leads to him
becoming a member of the Seven Wonders.  Think of the Seven Wonders as
"the" team, at least as far as America is concerned; the best-of-the-
best, the Justice League, the Avengers, the bright-clad day-time
brigade.  He's also very particularly a role model for young black
men, someone to emulate, an alternative to, say, gangsta rappers.
(And, because he's not "dangerous", he has considerable crossover

Now, look at Martin Rock, particularly in the context of the mid-
nineties: he's tired of always being the kid sidekick when he's now in
his thirties, and he breaks off his ties with Ray Cradle.  He abandons
that heroic path to become a homeless, squatting street-level
vigilante, the mask with no name.  He's weighted down his baggage--
the trauma of what happened to him as a child, his strained
relationship with a distant father figure, his (in that metaphorical
context, incestuous) affair with Ray's wife.  Martin's damaged,
perhaps beyond repair (though in the present-day, he's trying, God
bless 'im).

And then Martin sees this black teen hero who isn't a joke, one who
grows up to be a well-liked and capable adult, one who has no baggage,
one whom achieves the laudits that Martin knows are always beyond his
reach.  And this could result in some envy-- and, who knows, maybe
there's some of that in there that reared its head on bad days.  But
there's also a sense of, he's what Martin wishes he had turned out to
be; indeed, when Martin does, surprisingly, find himself with the
mantle of the Green Knight, he seeks to be an inspiring figure to
other black youth in much the same way Darkhorse was.

> (Besides, the world needs more sassy Muslim women.)

Oh, you should visit Dearborn. We've plenty. :-)

> Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, so much good storying this challenge.


More information about the racc mailing list