BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
In a world of superheroes where everyone's fighting to get the "scoop," doesn't it seem a natural progression to just hire your own hero to make the news? That's what the Manhattan Guardian has done in the pages of the Grant Morrison penned Seven Soldiers: Guardian
. They've picked someone who fit the bill of their vision of a hero, put him on the payroll and sent him out there to make some news. Ex-cop Jake Jordan's the new Guardian and making a nice chunk of change for his services, but will money matter if he doesn't survive the job?
Although there have been other heroes called "The Guardian," none were on a newspaper's payroll. Jake Jordan is the first Guardian mascot that the Manhattan Guardian has hired. "Jake's an ex-New York City police officer who lost his job after a shooting accident," said Morrison. "This is an attempt to get back to the roots of the character [of The Guardian] and regrow him from there, so the elements I chose to emphasise and which seemed most important to this concept were the idea of the Guardian as a street level local hero, who deals with bizarrely 'local' problems. I wanted the Newsboy Army connection to Kirby's original Newsboy Legion kid gang idea, so I developed the notion of the Newsboy Army as a kid superteam which eventually develops into a volunteer street network of reporters who provide material for the Manhattan Guardian - a daily newspaper 'for the people by the people'."
"I like the fact that we've created a 'black' superhero comic that's not about race," he continued. "I enjoyed working with [artist] Cameron [Stewart]
again and I think we've achieved our aim, which was to add a viable new character concept to DC's
impressive roster. The whole comic is very much influenced by the work of Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko
and Will Eisner
As for why one might want to risk his or her neck running around in a costume and making news, Morrison said that has to do with the pay. "It's five thousand dollars," he said. "A WEEK. With Benefits."
"I don't think there's another newspaper hero around, plus he's got a shield and a big stick," continued Morrison of what sets The Guardian apart from the typical costumed hero. "How can you go wrong with that?"
Although the last Guardian had ties to a DC science group called Cadmus, this Guardian has no such ties to that organization, for one simple reason: they sold the trademark. Morrison revealed the sale in issue # 1 of Seven Soldiers: Guardian
, but isn't saying why though. "Someone else can tell the story of how THAT
might have happened."
In his first outing, the Guardian finds himself up against Pirates, but they aren't sailing the seven seas, they're riding the rails beneath New York City in the subway system. "They're gangs of homeless people who've stolen and customized subway trains and use them to ride around looting and pillaging," said Morrison. "The main trains are run by a couple of feuding, self-proclaimed pirate captains called No-Beard and All-Beard."
Morrison said it was a challenge to come up with the scenes and situations his leads faced under the Seven Soldiers
banner that tied them together, but were still independent stories. "It was tough. Some of the comics are a little more 'self-contained' than others I have to admit, but I try to have a satisfying beginning, middle and end in each one, while still throwing in cliffhanger elements and ongoing story threads. The stories just come pouring out."
Morrison said he doesn't have plans for The Guardian after Seven Soldiers
, but hinted someone else might. "I believe the character may appear again," he said.
Issue Four of The Guardian is due in stores this week.
began in February's Seven Soldiers # 0
. There are seven four-part limited series being released on a bimonthly basis: Klarion: The Witch Boy, Zatanna, The Guardian, The Shining Knight, Frankenstein, Mr. Miracle
, and The Bulleteer
. Issues of Klarion, Zatanna, Shining Knight
, and The Guardian
are in stores now. Mr. Miracle
begins in September, Bulleteer
begin in November. The finale, in Seven Soldiers # 1
is scheduled to ship in April of 2006.
Keep checking back with THE PULSE
for more on Morrison and his Soldiers.
READ MORE HERE:
GRANT MORRISON 7 SOLDIERS PART ONE
GRANT MORRISON 7 SOLDIERS PT TWO: SHINING KNIGHT
GRANT MORRISON 7 SOLDIERS PT FOUR: KLARION
GRANT MORRISON 7 SOLDIERS PT FIVE: ZATANNA