John and Gia have given you their takes on HEROMAN, and so has GodLen, so I figured Anime Vice’s resident comics guy/anime N00B ought to give his two cents on the new show, given that it’s the brainchild of the Elvis/Hulk Hogan of American comics. I always stand in admiration of the zest and productivity smilin’ Stan Lee still retains at his age but, God bless him, his writing style is still the same as it was in the 60s. There was a lot of hullaballoo a few years when he wrote a series of comics called “Just Imagine…” that answered the question of what legendary DC Comics characters like Superman, Batman and Green Lantern would look like if he had created them. As I recall, there was a lot of excitement for the mega-project but, when it hit, readers were a little surprised to find comics that weren’t exactly… in sync with modern storytelling. You can either call Stan’s work outdated or classic, depending on what mood you’re in, and HEROMAN is no exception.
It’s an interesting novelty to see a story so in the style of the Silver Age of American comics rendered in such lively Japanese animation. Jimmy Jones reflects Stan’s habit of alliterative names, for one, joining Bruce “The Hulk” Banner, Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards and Scott “Cyclops” Summers. Really there are lot of parallels between him and Peter “ Spider-Man” Parker: he's an orphan with an elderly relative looking after him (Aunt May), his best friend is much cooler than him (Harry Osborn), a popular girl takes a shine to him (Mary Jane) and a jock bully treats harassing him like it's a job(Flash Thompson). The whole conceit of Heroman coming to life with a simple thunderbolt fits is also within the exact same kind of logic that allows a kid to get powers from the bite of an irradiated spider rather than die of poisoning.
I don’t think there’s really much for me to comment on here. This was clearly intended for audiences a lot younger than me. I did think the animation was superb, though, and I’m curious to see how kids these days, especially those in Japan, will accept this.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this April - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.