Older people remember comic books of their childhood being one of two things: either it was Archie, Veronica, and the gang, or it was a superhero with muscles so tight they bulged no matter what clothing they were wearing. Today, comic book creators understand people are much more diverse and can support a multitude of characters from any background imaginable. Image Comics has a new character that demonstrates this evolution.
Real and Relatable
The character Geiger, created by industry veteran Geoff Johns, demonstrates how comic book characters have become more relatable to their readers. Struggling with the aftermath of a nuclear battle, Geiger is a husband and a father, and his pain resonates from his current and ongoing life experiences.
While Geiger may fall into the category of superhero due to his radioactive-induced superhuman strength, he is anything but typical. He’s earthly. He’s not a wealthy genius, and he doesn’t possess futuristic weapons. He’s a man that was dealt a difficult blow.
Minorities and Racism
While minority characters are not new to comics, fans have seen very few characters from Middle Eastern backgrounds. Born of Arab descent, Geiger has seen racism and he has had to battle it. This is a new and welcome battle. Readers of comic books don’t usually witness struggles that are so close to home. There’s also the fact that Middle Eastern people are usually cast as villains in American entertainment. Characters like Geiger pave the way for understanding and acceptance.
Home and Family Issues
No stranger to including a few family dynamics (think of Stargirl and her nuclear family), John’s character Geiger must also deal with family problems. His heroism stems from his desire to protect his family, and his pain is his required distance from them. Family’s can become separated for all types of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to divorce, other times it may be due to career demands. It’s never easy, and for a man like Geiger, who is devoutly loyal to his family, it’s downright painful.
These are situations that many people, not just Americans, can relate to. Geiger gives comic book fans a hero with an identifiable background in a situation that is eerily realistic. Nobody knows what the future holds, and if in 2030 there is some fallout from a nuclear war, everyone can hope that people like Geiger will be there to protect and serve. In the meantime, enjoy Geiger on the pages of Image Comics.