The correlation between comic books and urban fantasy
James R. Tuck
I love comic books. Really I do. I am a fanboy through and through. My earliest reading was done through comic books. I still remember when those four color masterpieces were sold at the local grocery store for one thin dime apiece. My childhood was a blur of capes and spandex. I spent afternoons flying over Metropolis, evenings swinging from a web over New York City, and nights on the rooftops of Gotham.
My young brain was saturated with the heady, pungent aroma of ink on paper.
My whole life has been spent in the company of superheroes. As a child I mined nuggets from the Golden Age, finding them in bundles of twenty and thirty and fifty issues for a dollar at yard sales and in bargain bins. The Silver Age shined in my childhood, and I walked through the Modern Age with its variant covers spackled with holograms, foils, and glow-in-the-dark ink.
I collected comics gleefully until I had to stop in my late twenties.
It wasn’t for lack of love.
Oh no my friend. My heart still belonged to the paneled page.
I got outpriced.
Comics became too expensive for this young guy with two kids. Babies don’t want to eat comic books and they make terrible diapers. Since I couldn’t afford all the comics I was in love with I walked away from them all.
I didn’t completely abandon them. I could never do that if I wanted to. I would read friend’s comics, I would watch comic book shows and cartoons and movies, I would even buy trade paperbacks because they were cheaper on the whole. But comics did relegate to being a treat instead of a diet.
Pay attention dear reader, this is where I bring this blog post back home to Urban Fantasy, which is why we are all here in the first place.
Because I couldn’t get my superhero fix through comic books I switched to looking for superheroes in paperbacks.
This is what led me to my love of Urban Fantasy. That is where I found the superheroes. Now I see you scratching your head there, but bear with me. Finding Urban Fantasy I discovered a new breed of superheroes.
Not convinced? Read on while I make my case.
Most of my Urban Fantasy heroes had superpowers that rivaled any of my comic book heroes.
Super strength? Check.
Super speed? Check.
Mutant healing ability? Check.
They also came with an array of magickal abilities. Sometimes they had mystical weapons, usually they had real ones.
And there were supervillians.
Monsters and demons and sorcerors. You name it and it was there. They try to destroy the world and enslave humanity. They are evil on a level that Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom can’t match on their worst day.
But most importantly dear reader, I found the good old fashioned fight of Good versus Evil. Here you had people, human and non-human, using weapons and superpowers to fight evil. Maybe the battle against evil wasn’t as cut and dried as it was in comics, but it was still there.
Heroes still fought and sacrificed, holding the night back, standing in the gap for a world that doesn’t even know they are saving it. They don’t give up. They don’t quit. They throw everything they have at the Big Bad of their world because that is what heroes do.
And that, my friend, is the truest lesson to be learned from Urban Fantasy or comic books.
About Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter
Blood and Bullets
Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter 1
Kensington, February 7, 2012
Mass Market Papberback, 352 pages
Since hunting down the monster who took the lives of his wife and children five years ago, occult bounty-hunter Deacon Chalk has lived by only one rule.
He does not work for the monsters. He kills them.
So why would a vampire try to hire him as protection against another monster hunter? After enforcing his only rule Deacon goes to meet the target, a vampire slayer named Nyteblade. Professional courtesy demands he tell this Nyteblade the vampires are hiring people to kill him. Deacon finds the vampire slayer waiting in an alley.
Waiting to stake him.
He discovers that Nyteblade is a bumbling, fumbling, wanna-be instead of a badass vampire hunter. Someone who needs saving from monsters instead of the other way around. This is proven when a horde of vampires descend and he has to escape while trying to keep Nyteblade alive.
Someone has set Deacon up. Someone wants him dead.
Someone should have sent more vampires.
Bound and determined, Deacon will find out who tried to kill him no matter how many bloodsuckers, were-spiders, cursed immortals, undead strippers, or insanely powerful hell-bitches he has to wade through.
It's going to be a long night.
That Thing at the Zoo, an e-novella set in the Deaconverse, will be published by Kensington in January 2012. This is the first in a series of Deconverse e-novellas that James' will be writing for Kensington.
About James R. Tuck
James is a former bouncer and has been a professional tattoo artist for over 15 years. His tattoo work has been published in national tattoo magazines and he owns Family Tradition Tattoo in Marietta, Ga. He lives near there with a wonderful wife, three wonderful children, and six dogs of varying degrees of wonderfulness.
Look for an interview with James at The Qwillery in February 2012
during the Blood, Blogs, and Bullets Tour 2012.