We’ve all heard the origin stories. Ordinary kid gets bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes a superhero. Boy’s parents are killed and he spends his life getting revenge. Four scientists are hit by cosmic rays and are suddenly given superpowers. An alien crash-lands and is endowed with superpowers by Earth’s yellow sun and decides to use them for good.
Ordinary guys pushed towards a life of heroics because of an extraordinary occurrence in their lives. They’re all the same story, told in slightly different ways. These are the hero conventions that we’ve all grown used to and that we expect when we pick up a comic book with a masked vigilante on the cover.
Kick-Ass throws every single one of these conventions out of a ten story window.
I’ll admit, I’d never so much as heard of the title until just before Comic Con last month. A few weeks before, All Things Fangirl’s Loquaciousmuse cautioned me not to miss the Kick-Ass Comic Con panel. Of course, like an idiot, I did, and it wasn’t until afterward that I heard how amazing it had been and got caught up in the buzz surrounding the forthcoming adaptation of the comic.
And today, with Lionsgate Films winning the post-Comic Con distribution fight, the buzz surrounding Kick-Ass is only going to get louder.
I finally had a chance to pick up the six issue, on-going series this past weekend, and now I get all the hype. Now I understand why a comic series that isn’t even ten issues long warrants a feature film.
For Dave Lizewski, the comic’s protagonist, there’s no extraordinary event in his life that propels him into a world of heroics. Sure, his mother has passed away, but she died of a brain aneurysm, not in any unconventional way. He’s a high school kid like so many others: one who likes to hang out with his friends, has an unrequited crush on a girl at school- whom he befriends by pretending to be gay- and spends his time playing video games and reading comics. Dave is a kid who one day simply wonders, “Why has no one become a superhero before?”
And so he does. He buys a wet-suit on eBay and spends his evenings skulking on rooftops, and his lunch breaks going to the gym.
The result is a crass and bloody title, as funny as it is shocking. The characters are ordinary and over the top at the same time, and while Hit Girl, a ten year old masked hero trained by her ex-cop father, may be a bit hard to believe at first, the series manages to find its groove in just six issues.
I honestly can’t say enough about Kick-Ass. It’s a perfect title to adapt, and a perfect fit for the stylized look that they’ve chosen for its film version. Unlike some comic to film adaptations which are all visual effects and no story (looking at you X-Men Origins: Wolverine), I have faith that Kick-Ass is going to have the story to back up all of that action, blood and gore.
If I were you, I’d pick up Kick-Ass the next time you’re at your local comic shop. And go check out the Comic-Con footage on Youtube before Lionsgate gets wise and pulls it.
Update: Sorry, guys. Lionsgate was fast! Here’s some footage from the comic con panel instead:
Kick-Ass is published monthly under Marvel Comics’s Icon imprint, and the film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, will be in theaters in 2010.