Bring on the HAMMERVERSE!
The little "indie comic" about black superheroes that could. Hopefully.
So here goes. I’m a Black comic book creator/writer who has been painstakingly pursuing some type of success in an industry that definitely doesn’t know my name. I am not a public personality. I am not wealthy (at least not at this moment in the physical world). I obviously am not well connected or lucky by any means. In fact, if we were to look at my time and personal capital that I’ve spent to get to this meager point of accomplishment with my creations, LUCIUS HAMMER and THE HARLEM SHADOW, you could trace the richter scale lines that damn near destroyed my personal life back to ten years ago. But I remain defiant…despite the odds. I believe in my writing, I believe in the talent I have decided to surround myself with and last but not least. I believe in Lucius Hammer.
I started writing about a “black superhero” because I didn’t like what was being offered up by the existing STATUS QUO corporations who were mass producing comics at the time. MARVEL always had the best Black characters as far as I was concerned, but they all had lost their 70’s blaxploitation edge and had become increasingly less interesting. DC had rolled out an entire universe of Black characters that I enjoyed to a degree but found them to be lukewarm versions of other white superheroes. I had read this truly different and inspiring indie comic that was being published at the time by BIG CITY COMICS. The book was called BROTHERMAN and it was a literal urban feast for the senses complete with a fully imagined world along with a “proof is in the pudding” legitimate black superhero. The comic was black and white but was brimming with “flava”, “attitude” and dare I say…swagger. There was hella social commentary…not always verbally communicated, but sometimes transmitted elegantly through the artwork of the creators. I’m not going to summarize Brotherman here, if you want to read it…go cop your own and support them brothers. I’m just saying that these reasons were the stimuli for me creating LUCIUS HAMMER.
The first few pages of LUCIUS HAMMER came off like a spoof to me as I re-read the initial sixteen pages of my roughscript. He’s was LUKE CAGE essentially…a character that I had a love-hate relationship with (I will explain what I mean by “love-hate” in another episode)…kind of like Shaft with superpowers. I didn’t hate my first draft but I knew via my writer’s intuition that the comedic tone I was using was all wrong. This story that had been churning and coalescing in my brain was far from a comedy. Actually what I had been dreaming of since I was a young lad was a cogent explanation for questions like “why there weren’t black superheroes in the comics of the thirties and forties?” “When black superheroes did appear in comics…why didn’t they have families or complex background stories?” “Why did all the black superheroes seemingly speak “jive” or ebonics.” Becoming older and a better writer, I slowly started to formulate a plan for an “everyman hero” that I would later christen LUCIUS HAMMER. LUCIUS would be this super-powered brother from down south who was endowed with a stunning cache of powers…herculean strength, super-hearing, an elongated life span (you know what they say, “BLACK DON’T CRACK”) super memory and the ability to communicate with plants and animals. His powers weren’t triggered by radiactive bug bites or gamma bombs…the way I imagined it, Black folks passed down super powers or preternatural abilities through their kin folk and bloodlines. So throughout history…if one of your ancestors exhibited the ability to withstand fire or survive a gunshot…chances are that someone else in the family would inherit that power and pass it on themselves later. This to me was a more fascinating way to discuss superpowers and ancestry. Also, it seemed fitting that much like the missing culture and history African Americans lost as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade that these permutations may have occurred as a genetic defense mechanism and each family had an oral tradition that maybe explained the reason for those powers. Either way I was intrigued. LUCIUS HAMMER became this fully fleshed out three dimensional character who benefited from an extended lifespan and therefore he would make the perfect narrator in my story to tell the obscured history of the black superhero…after all he would have experienced it all, right?
Issue one of LUCIUS HAMMER and two were little miracles. I launched an ash can at Chicago Wizard World 2009. I threw a book signing beer crawl at a local pub around the corner from my house in October of 2010 to celebrate the first issue. THE HARLEM SHADOW (a character who appeared in the inaugural issue of LUCIUS that many fans demanded have his own book) was launched at the 2010 ECBACC Comic Convention in Philly. And through some divine intervention, managed to publish one more issue each of both titles in 2011. Since then, there’s been artwork…artists have come and gone. I’ve been too picky about artwork or become disillusioned with the prospect of being broke while attempting to plug a comic with no marketing or word of mouth. Not making excuses. This has just been what it is. However I am back on task with a new lease on life and ready to finish the first arc of LUCIUS and HARLEM SHADOW so you can have the complete idea I was trying to communicate in the first place. For the fans I have managed to collect over the years, I appreciate your patience. For those who got frustrated and left, come back to me. I got things figured out this time and I’m not just flying by the seat of my pants.
For regular updates on my hero’s journey, check me out here at supergangsta.substack.com. You can also see the building blocks of what I have assembled thus far at www.soulhammercomics.com. I got stuff also on the gram so look over there as well https://www.instagram.com/luciushammer/ and https://www.facebook.com/luciushammer.
I appreciate everyone who wants to ride along and view this sometimes messy but rewarding creative process that hopefully at the end of the day produces some pretty cool and fun stories from the brain of yours truly.