Monday, October 4, 2010

Geekwood: The Enigma

While it is easy to find certain comic characters such as Wolverine or Batman hot, most sadly overlook other hotties such as Continuity Comic's Megalith on this entry's offering: The Enigma.  Born from the creative genius of Peter Milligan and given visual life by the artistic exemplar Duncan Fegredo, the Enigma is a character of mystery and sensuality unbound.

I still re-read this miniseries at least once a year.
At the risk of spoiling the story which was published back in 1993, the Enigma is a strange man with reality-altering powers whose far from ordinary past set the stage for the events that were to unfold in the miniseries.  A man named Michael Smith quickly learns that his own life is somehow entangled in the mystery of the masked and caped comic character that has somehow come to life.  Wearing a face mask, a ruffled shirt and a cape, the omnipotent yet emotionally detached man known as the Enigma is soon discovered to have been inspired by the remnants of Michael Smith's emotional releases in the ruins of what was once his parent's home.  Learning much of Michael Smith's happiness as a child was drawn from a long discontinued comic book called The Enigma, the Enigma then embraces that persona as his own, empowers total strangers to become his league of villains, all part of an elaborate plan to win against the Enigma's true enemy:  his own mother.
A masked hero who attacks his enemies by tearing out stars from their stomach.  You gotta love that imagery.

The Enigma is a story that explores the importance of self and identity.  Especially the need to be able to embrace ones sexuality in a world where labels and roles become reduced to merely fulfilling one's routine.  The Enigma forces Michael Smith to face with his own inner demons and struggle for self-acceptance, and later reveals that very said acceptance was the thing he needed to face his own demons.

I can never recapture how excited and shocked I felt to realize for the first time how this comic was touching on the "gay" issue.  Back then, the idea that a comic would discuss it seemed unheard of.
The comic was published by the Vertigo line of DC Comics, which for its time was touted as the pioneer creative ground for works that approached comics with a far more adult sensibility.  While European comics and Japanese manga have long treated comics are merely a medium and not a childish format, Vertigo comics was a good step in that direction.  Needless to say, it allowed The Enigma to explore themes and issues other comics would shy from.
There's an Enigma for everyone!
See, even footsies!
The Enigma was far from the typical likeable character.  He used people to further his ends without care, being blunt about what he needed and being direct about why he did things.  His lack of social graces made him far from the ideal one would expect.  His preferred form of dress seemed a tad too fashionably gay.  And while he had a magnificent smile and a hot body to boot, his emotional sensitivity was far from acceptable.

The artist really succeeded in giving him an iconic look.
Or as Ru Paul would say, "Enigma works it!"
However, the Enigma was one who did not shy away from truth.  The Enigma faced with the Truth head on, and challenged us to do the same.  The Enigma openly embraced the need for sensuality and perhaps in unexpected ways even catered to other's sexual fantasies without trying.   The Enigma challenges and inspires and demands one to be true.

This image.
I remember seeing this for the first time and so wishing I was Michael Smith.
For such qualities, the Enigma deserves to be my choice for this entry's Geekwood post.  And yes, while the idea of dating a guy who loves chewing down lizards sounds questionable, realize this is a man who will remind you that you never need to fear falling because he will be there to catch you.  This series hooked me so much that I spent over five years struggling to find all the issues (only to finally receive them as a gift from an ex who sadly has never gotten past hating me) and eventually inspiring me to write my own take on a sequel to the story.  (Much to my chagrin, the sequel was very received and is still online in a number of websites out there.)

Falling indeed.
And his saying it is not just metaphor.
It is real.

"Like a Strange Girl." 


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