Day 26 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is my own personal creation, a hero called Kid Hype!
This is a character I had in my head for a very long time, and I finally took a crack at realizing it a few years ago. You can read the intro story on the site here: Kid Hype’s intro story.
OR, you can download a hi-res pdf of the story here: Kid Hype! Intro PDF.
WHO IS HE?
Kid Hype is Jackson “Jake” Williams, Jr. He’s the son of a prominent and respected super-hero who is now believed dead.
In a way, Kid Hype is really about Jake’s father, Dr. Jackson Williams, who was commonly known as “Hypertran” -so named by the public after a limitless energy system he devised called the Hypertransitory Energy Infusion Process (now we finally see why this site is named as it is, right?).
Jake actually calls himself “Unity II” after his grandfather, the world’s first super-hero, who called himself Unity. Much to Jake’s dismay, the media and even his friends refer to him as “Kid Hype”, after his father.
THE ORIGIN – DADDY ISSUES
I don’t want to give too much away in case any of you actually want to read the story and see how things unfold. But some of the general basics that we find out in the intro story are as such:
- Jake has been gone a long time and has now returned -thanks to his father.
- He has all the powers his father had -which means he’s extremely powerful.
- Although he’s a teen, he’s much older than he should be.
- His father has died in the effort to bring him back.
- Jake has inherited some of his father’s enemies.
Pretty much everything that happens at first traces in some way back to his father. Not really knowing either character, we’ll have to learn about them both as the story unfolds.
WHAT DOES HE DO?
What this means is that he can control matter and energy on an atomic level. Allowing him to alter reality to a certain extent -creating things apparently out of thin air or changing fire into ice, etc.
As if that isn’t enough, Jake has super-strength and invulnerability at Superman levels of power.
THE DEAL WITH KID HYPE
As there’s obviously not much on the character yet, I’ll just take this opportunity to explain my motivations for creating him.
I’m actually almost working backwards on it. Kid Hype is part of a much larger story of which he is neither the beginning or end. One day I plan on going back and telling the tale of his father and connecting the dots between this and some of my other stories.
Reading and researching a lot of the Black heroes I’ve written about this month really made me think about why I made Kid Hype in the first place.
Sometimes I would see these heroes and they’d be underpowered or irrelevant to most of the cool action going on. Sometimes they’d just be there to fill out the panels, and sometimes they were just embarrassing clowns.
Other times I’d see some top notch Black heroes that really impressed me and made me proud. It’s a mixture of wanting to do better than the worst and also contribute something to stand alongside the best that really made me come up with Kid Hype.
I’ve had people tell me “Kid Hype is way too powerful. He can’t be challenged.”
My answer is…yes.
I wanted to make this character so powerful that it’s going to take a massive amount of creativity to come up with a decent adversary or challenge for him on a consistent basis.
I don’t want it be like Green Lantern, where the ring can supposedly do anything but they always run out of power, or there’s some yellow around or something. Or Superman and the Kryptonite. Or like Peter Petrelli on Heroes, where they couldn’t figure out how to challenge him so they had to de-power him.
Nah. Gotta keep innovating, y’all.
FRIENDS OF HYPE
As a teenage hero, Jake will have some allies. You can see little glimpses of them in the intro story.
They won’t be a team like the Teen Titans or anything. Nothing that formal, but they’re all connected in a similar way as the Titans. Each one is the protege or otherwise connected to a peer of Jake’s father. As such they naturally gravitate toward one another.
So no regular meetings or anyone getting kicked out of the group, but they’ll have each other’s backs.
One thing that always annoyed me about some of the teen heroes was that they were always fame hungry, trying to make a name for themselves in the hero biz.
These guys are definitely not in it for glory. Each one has their own motivation that may or may not always line up with Jake, but we’ll see that these kids are going to have to help each other out. Some will be more ready than others to move up to the front lines.
THE INTRO STORY
I have to admit here. I’m a bit embarrassed about the artwork in this one. I actually drew all this stuff over 3 years ago in order to submit it to DC’s Zuda Comics webcomics experiment (which has since ceased operations).
They rejected the comic at the time. I was pissed off, but then I felt better because I actually lost interest in the story and I would’ve hated to have to keep doing it if I wasn’t interested.
For those who don’t know, Zuda was a site where you could submit your webcomic, then it would be voted on by the comic-loving internet at large. If you won, your comic would be featured on the site indefinitely.
The promise here was that you’d garner a huge audience and possibly catch the eye of a DC editor. The drawback was some legal stuff in there granting Zuda the right to reproduce your work and such. At the time I thought it was a small price to pay but now I’m pretty glad I didn’t make the cut.
Anyway, as artists do, I feel like I got better over the years, and sometimes going back and looking at my old stuff is a bit painful. My instinct was to just start it over, but then I changed my mind.
At some point I just have to accept that it will never be perfect. Three years from now I’ll probably be looking at these drawings and cringing, too.
When I read through it I see dozens of places where I would have phrased things better or set the type differently or colored it differently. I could go on forever, I’m sure.
THE WRAP UP
So this is a short one just because there’s not much Kid Hype material…yet.
Reading about all the Black super heroes this really got me energized to contribute to this thing, and actually got me excited about this story again. I’m going to pick up where I left off and see if I can force myself to do some consistent updates to the story.
And with that all said and done, here’s the pencil art of Kid Hype -actually the first sketch I’ve done of this character in over two years. Enjoy and stop back tomorrow for the next hero!