|icon_uk (icon_uk) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2011-04-02 10:04 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||creator: dan jurgens, creator: troy hickman, publisher: top cow, title: common grounds|
However, I love the offbeat too, the "slice of life" stories which look at how superpowers impact ones life, and look at why some people become heroes and some people become villains, and why some people don't actually do much with their powers. The likes of "Astro City" and "DP7" examine this sort of thing, but there are others too. This is the first of a series about one title which did it very well indeed, IMHO.
"Common Grounds" was a 6-issue mini series from Top Cow Productions in 2004, created by Troy Hickman, with two stories per issue, and a rotating cast of noted artist telling one story each.
The premise is simple. In this world there exists a chain of coffee shops; "Common Grounds", whose purpose is to create a neutral environment for super-powered beings. Anyone is welcome (though "normals" tend to be intimidated) but the one rule is "NO FIGHTING". There's no truce magic, or power neutralising effects or the like, just mutual agreement. And it holds too, because even supervillains like somewhere to get a nice kruller and a cup of really good coffee. And anyone dumb enough, or psycho enough, to try something there would discover that A) Their bouncers are superpowered too, and B) All the OTHER heroes and villains who liked it there would be after you like a shot. You think Darkseid is bad, just wait until you see Bucky deprived of his coffee and morning Danish pastry... An eternity in the Firepits of Apokalips would be a refreshing spring breeze by comparison. (It's never stated, but one might assume that the Police don't intervene on Common Grounds property because if they're having a coffee they're not robbing a bank, and if you did try to intervene then it would get very messy very quickly.)
These stories are mostly 9 pages long (a few longer, a few shorter), which makes trimming to 1/3 a beast of a job, so I would thoroughly recommend checking out the proper versions of these stories (It's available as a TPB for those who can't find the single issues) as they do deserve a proper reading.
From issue 1, the tale of Speeding Bullet, who lives
"Beyond the Speed of Life"
(Approx 3 pages from a 9 page story)
Ed Franklyn is an up-and-coming writer who has managed to secure an interview with Speeding Bullet, the devil-may-care superspeedster superhero. Ed has always rather envied superheroes, he'd always imagined how cool it would be to have superpowers, as do many people who seem to have rather tame lives... They arrange to meet at a Common Grounds...
I like this guy.... Anyway, SB explains that he has no clue as to the origins of his speed powers, one day he was running to catch a bus in New York, the next thing he knew, he was in an Iowa cornfield. Being of that sort of a mind, he decided to use his powers to help people, made himself a costume, and promptly became Speeding Bullet, the sort of hero who runs into burning buildings to pull people out. Ed expresses his envy of SB, but SB says that it's not that simple...
Now there's something we never hear from Wally, Bart or Pietro, but it makes perfect sense.
He can only afford his food bills because for an hour once an month, he donates blood plasma. His body replenishes it in about 27 seconds, and he earns about $1800. He also gets a lot of freebies because of who he is, case in point....
Okay, now that's DEFINITELY not something I've even heard Pietro mention...
He liked reading, but is quite literally running out of books to read because he zips through them so fast.
Ed realises that this means all the Pauly Shore ones too, and commiserates. SB mentions that because he doesn't sleep anymore, when he's not actively helping people, he just keeps running, racing along the roads at night for something to DO. He also notes he thinks he has every billboard in the entire USA committed to memory.
He'd also like to help out in other countries, which he could reach quite easily, but he's basically barred from foreign travel, because his powers would make him the perfect spy.
Ed tries to cheer him up by reminding him of all the good he's done, but like most of us, SB tends to remember his failures more than his successes. There was a little girl trapped in a mineshaft which was slowly collapsing on her... He offered his help of course, but...
She died, her lungs filling with dirt whilst he was out getting sandwiches for everyone... There's no blame of course, there's nothing he could have done, but from his POV, he SHOULD have been able to, and that's what he remembers, as he starts to break down in frustration.
I love that last panel, it's nothing more than a man reaching out to make contact with another man so he knows he's not alone. It's not sexual, it's not even affectionate per se, it's just.... human.
SB gets himself under control, though he notes that he's not even sure most forms of suicide would work for him since he heals from just about anything at hyperspeed
SB then says he has to head out, and Ed tells him that if he ever wants to talk, for another interview, or even just because he wants to talk, to get back in touch..
So, your thoughts?