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Monday, May 08, 2006

Exercise in Egotism 3: John Stewart

As a disclaimer, I like John. I like John a lot. But I think that it's been a very long time since he's been in anything cool. Sure there was JLA, but it doesn't sound like he's going to be in the new group. Hal's got the main series, Guy has the Corps, Kyle has Ion. But what does John have?

My Plot Idea for John
And it's a shame because he's a really good character. He's just...not necessarily good at being the main character of a superhero comic.

But it occurred to me while doing my politics rant, that there is a perfect plot there for John Stewart.

See, what's occasionally hard to remember (though Ragnell's highlighted this before), is that John is a character who embodies social activism.

His roots are in the civil rights movement, and I think maybe some of the loss of impact of his character comes from the lack of focus on those issues in the intervening years. Now John tends to come out to play as main character only in stories involving race or racial allegories.

Which is unfortunate in some sense, but also provides for an interesting avenue for story telling. See, each Green Lantern Corps character has some underlying aspect to emphasize in their stories. Hal's the old-fashioned adventurer. His Parallax adventures lend a nice redemptive arc, but otherwise, his focus is on pretty straight forward action. Guy's more complicated, fridge-bait turned adversary turned antihero, he's the renegade cop who does what it takes to get a job done. To go along with that, he's got the soft squishy core that places as much emphasis on inter-relationships and gruffly expressed emotions that make him an ideal center of a group of manly men (and women) keeping order. Kyle is the young one, the artist, the dreamer, whose stories center as much around personal growth and transcendence as they do around the action-adventure.

And John has one too. He's a crusader. At his best, John Stewart is about fixing things and writing wrongs. John's a character that centers around personal redemption (Xanshi, the sister). More importantly, John's a character that centers around Justice. Which is something that gets lost when he gets shoved into straight-forward adventure roles like Hal.

Mosaic was awesome, but this is my Exercise in Egotism, so I'm going to go in a different direction. Realism versus surrealism.

Basically, I want to send John Stewart to Washington.

John has the best qualities for a public superhero turned politician. He's intelligent and dignified. He's respected. The Green Lanterns, for all of Hal's antics, are still considered more hero than vigilante. And he's got a public identity already.

With all the political aftermath of Infinite Crisis and the preceding events, it seems like the superhero community could only benefit from having representatives in Washington. I don't just mean an independent strike force like Checkmate, but real voices in the government. John would be perfect for this

Politics is a game that requires patience and forethought, both of which are strengths of John's. The changes made by political means are slow but long term. And John is a character that thrives when there's an issue to be enforced, things like metahuman issues, funding for science-fiction-y research, and other nifty comic book-y elements.

John'll also have interesting challenges to overcome, his personal history, habit of dating/marrying aliens, and the possibility of divided loyalties (to an alien police force, of all things) could make for fun obstacles along the way.

I'm not sure how exciting a politics-based comic book would be, but it'd get livened up by the usual amount of Lantern-related aliens, bondage, and other fun things. And it'd be different, at least, and that's always worth a try. :-)


  • At May 09, 2006 12:22 AM, Blogger Steven said…

    That is an amazingly good idea! John Stewart as the Barack Obama of Superheroes!

    If for no other reason than that he will have to go on the talk show circuit...

    leading to the John Stewart/Jon Stewart crossover!

    And minds across the country are blown!

  • At May 09, 2006 1:31 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Gosh! I know mine is!

  • At May 09, 2006 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So,what was that whole deal with him in Mosiac?

  • At May 09, 2006 12:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Mosaic's a little hard to explain. It's a bit surreal. Displaced cities, evil Guardian, John getting a promotion to basically Guardian status, Katma got resurrected...Of course, it all went to hell when Hal got Yellow Bug from Space-d.

    It was an interesting trip. Not something *I* could write, that's for damn sure.

  • At May 09, 2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    John Stewart in politics? I like it. It would be neat to see him make speeches and imagine them in Phil LaMarr's booming voice.

  • At May 09, 2006 12:55 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Ooo, Phil Lamarr <3.

  • At May 09, 2006 1:55 PM, Blogger joncormier said…

    I like the idea, I just see it flopping (as most good ideas do when handed off to someone else). How the heck do you balance politics with flying off to save the planet? It's one thing if JS was a local hero but he's in charge of section-whatever of the galaxy. It's almost too divergent to get them to work together. Still, stranger things have happened.

    I do think you hit the nail on the head with his personality. To me John Stewart is a constant. He's the type of guy you WANT politicians to be. He's the guy you'd always want to have your back because you know he's a solid guy.

    I'd like to see him use his ring to campaign. He could make big glowing green signs that say "Vote for me!" float above his head all day long. Or get some of his alien buddies to fake an attack on New York so he could "repel the invasion."

  • At May 09, 2006 2:31 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    jon: Well ideally the balancing heroism thing would be part of the challenges for John in the story. But yeah. That's why it's an exercise in egotism, in the best scenario, *I*'d be writing the stories, naturally. :-P

    Though I'd need to dig out some poli/sci and civics text books. As the workings of government are not really my strong suit. :-)

    Aww, John wouldn't fake an invasion. In fact he'd probably win because he's so different from actual politicians, but totally what we really want in one. But the green floats and such would be awesome. :-)

  • At May 09, 2006 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know, now I'm thinking Stewart as President would have been an awesome One Year Gap shocker...

  • At May 09, 2006 4:45 PM, Blogger Steven said…

    Have we seen John in One Year Later yet?

    Or the President?

    Or either of them together? Hmmm?

  • At May 09, 2006 6:45 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    dan and steven: You know they *do* mention an undercover job. That'd be a pretty awesome undercover job if you ask me. :-)


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