Welcome back to everyone who read the first blog post. Thanks for coming back. And if this is your first time, then I equally bid you welcome as well. I have two topics today: both serious I would say, but in completely different ways.
First, I want to make it known that I really do appreciate what DC and Marvel have done to make their universes more reflective of the people that make up our diverse world. Marvel has really made a great effort to push female heroes to the forefront while DC has some characters of color that no longer simply fill out team rosters, but have or at least have the potential to support their own titles. I’d like to take a moment to focus on one of those diverse heroes: Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle.
It’s hard to believe he’s already been around for a decade, but he did make his first appearance in Infinite Crisis back in 2006. He has a story we’ve seen many times before. Teenager happens to get superpowers, and runs into many obstacles as he learns how to become a superhero. The prototype for this is Spider-man of course, however Invincible definitely set a high bar for this trope. So it’s fairly easy to look upon Jaime Reyes as DC’s early Spider-man. I was a fan myself from the very start. But sales weren’t strong enough for the character to survive getting his books cancelled. But to their credit, DC keeps trying. And I like to think this is because there’s so much potential in a Hispanic teenage hero with cool powers and a legacy name. But here’s what I really want from DC. I want them to really make a push with Jaime this time. I don’t want to keep seeing him struggle to learn what his powers can do. That’s OK at the start, but I’d rather see a fast learning curve, and show that he’s not only Teen Titan material, but a future Justice Leaguer. As a Hispanic comic reader, I really want to see someone in the Justice League who looks more like me. Abstractly speaking, I mean. I know there have been many Hispanic heroes, but none have really been able to take center stage on an A-list book with an A-list team, and I think DC has that opportunity with Blue Beetle. I’m not going to wave my fist and say “DC owes us this!” Or Marvel for that matter. But I will say that anything short of this will really be difficult to look at as anything other than someone dropping the ball on a great opportunity.
I find it amazing how much I can be affected by the death of someone I’ve never met. I think that’s true for many of us. Of course we’ve likely all felt the terrible pain and sadness by the death of a family member or friend. Someone we care so deeply about that it feels as though there’s a literal hole inside you that formed when that person was ripped from your life. I’m not speaking of a sadness that’s anywhere close to this level. But I still occasionally feel sad when I hear about the death of an actor, athlete, former famous person for whatever reason. The most recent example of this would be the passing of actor Kenny Baker on August 13th.
Many of you know that he is most well known for having played R2-D2 in 6 of the 7 Star Wars movies. He also appeared in Willow and other films that you might recognize and even be fans of. I already knew this about Kenny Baker. But the more that I thought about it, how much did I really know about him? I basically knew that he was an actor who often played roles because of his stature. I also knew that he didn’t get along with Anthony Daniels who played C-3PO because he was supposedly rude to Baker on several occasions. That was pretty much 90% of what I knew about Kenny Baker. But when I heard he died, the first thing I thought and felt, was R2-D2 is dead. That’s silly I know. R2-D2 is just a character. Baker didn’t even play him in The Force Awakens. He’d already handed over that role to Jimmy Vee. But in my mind he’s always going to be that little droid that brought me so much joy throughout my life. I was 2 years old when I first saw A New Hope on the big screen, and now my 4 year old son knows who R2D2 is. It’s because he helped bring that character to life, a character that has made me smile for decades, that I am sad for his death. I did on one occasion get to see Kenny Baker from a distance at a comic book convention years ago. And when he’s old enough, I’ll tell my son that I got to see R2-D2 in person.
Rudy Hernandez has been a former comic book retailer, podcaster, a comic book fan since the age of 13, and Star Wars fan since the age of 2. He can be found every month attending the Titan Moon Comics Adult Graphic Novel Book club.