Saturday, April 23, 2011

US Male

A bit ago I was talking about the idea of finding hidden art. How, I would find in some basement an entire run of a comic book made for only one person to see. I can imagine going through pages, now old and brittle, and seeing a lifetime of art.

I imagine the first episode was written all the way back in 1938. It is dog eared and a bit grimy from all the times it has been handled.  The paper itself isn't good.  Pure pulp.  It smells damp even though it isn't.  It's a small little thing.  Barely 14 pages.  But this was the seed that ended up filling this entire basement. 

I lay it carefully on the drafting table in the basement.  I adjust the green shaded light and looked at the cover.  The art was definitely juvenile.  There was talent, and a certain natural flow, but the characters were blocky and the perspective was off.  On the cover was a group of cowering thugs (there should be a name for a group of thugs.  A fungus of thugs?) and over head a figure all in blue was hurtling downwards head down and fist out to mete out some righteous retribution.  The figure had gold piping along his side and a pouch at one side.  The title was simply "US Male"

I turned the page...

The story was fairly simple.  Mild mannered John Norman wasn't having a good life.  A bad heart has made him weak and picked upon.  Even in his job at the post office he was mocked.  In a lesser man, this would have made him bitter.  John Norman though just wanted to be well enough to make a difference in the world.  Not even allowed to walk a beat, John was sent to the dead letter office to sort through the mess.  That is where he found the box that called to him.

It was against regulations, but he could not resist the box.  He opened it, and out  of the box popped Hermes.  Hermes says to John you have to be a messenger for a new age.  A messenger of justice and freedom.  John says he would do that even if his heart stops this very instant.  Hermes smiles and in a wink gives John a new strong healthy body.  Hermes says he can only be this adonis five times five minutes a day.  Hermes says he will also have the power to travel between wherever messages are sent, and that this pouch will always have what he needs.  Hermes does warn that it might be what he needs, but he'll have to figure out how to use it.  Thus a new hero was born.  A might messenger of justice....


It made me smile.  I wonder if the artist felt like John Norman.  Was he ill as a young man?  Did people make fun of him?  Was this why he never showed this to anyone else?  


  1. That's pretty awesome. Reminds me a bit of Henry Darger’s Into the Realms of the Unreal

  2. Yes I was thinking of that. Sometimes the real world is the strangest of all.