Sam, cartoonist

Sam (6) came home from school the other day with a number of pages of made-up superheroes. This group of six I found especially intriguing and sat down to ask him about them. He told me about them (he was making them up as he went along) and I asked if I could draw my own versions of them. He gave me the okay, so I now present them to you: the superheroes of tomorrow. None of them have names yet, hence the rather generic descriptors they currently possess.

Fire guy — not to be confused with the Human Torch, this is a person made entirely out of fire. I’m not sure if this has ever been done before — usually a fire guy is a person who can become fiery but is not actually made of fire himself. Where Fire Guy came from is another story.

This guy seems like the leader to me, a kind of mad-genius Inventor Guy. I’d like to think that he’s a Reed Richards-level intellect that was horribly disfigured in a terrible accident but then learned to build himself a new body. As you can see, his torso is a metal cylinder and his “arms” are bolts of electro-magnetic power that enable him to reach out and pick up large metal objects. I asked Sam if the big square things at the ends of his legs were his feet or something he was stepping on, and Sam said “no, those are his feet,” and if I’m not mistaken this is the first superhero with gigantic blocks for feet. I’m not sure how it would benefit a superhero to have enormous blocks for feet, but who am I to argue with the choices made by a genius inventor? The ever-writhing cables circling his torso, I’d like to think, are held there by electromagnetism and can also lash out to grab things or hit bad guys.

I’m calling this guy Armless Guy for now. I asked Sam what all the different little appliances were coming out of his body and he was clear on some of them and not clear on others (imagine! a cartoonist who thinks more about how something looks than whether or not it makes any sense!). A couple of things were clear: he carries an axe and a circular saw and a drill — he’s kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of superheroes. I asked him what the top-left appliance was and he said “Oh, you know, an extra eye,” which led me to consider that Armless Guy might also be technically blind. Lacking a clear idea on his two other limbs, I gave him a launchable rocket and some kind of energy-burst weapon. When my wife saw this drawing she said “Why is he smiling?” and I said “Well, he doesn’t have any arms, I wanted him to at least be cheerful about it.” And now that I’m looking at him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he wasn’t actually some kind of cyborg.

Plant Guy is my favorite so far (Sam has many more spreads like this). At first I thought a Plant Guy would be boring to look at, but this guy took me by surprise. Although I can’t for the life of me figure out what his super-powers are, the idea of a super-hero with flowers growing out of his ears and forehead seems like a winner to me.

This is Electricity Guy, or Lightning Guy. Electricity Guy is closely related to Fire Guy, insofar as he is an entity made entirely of electricity, unlike the Superman villain Live Wire, who is a human being who can become electricity under certain circumstances. Where did he come from? What’s his story? I want to know.

And finally, Cable Guy, a disembodied head connected to a large cable, with various electronic components sprouting from his head and limbs. When I first saw Sam’s drawing, I asked if Cable Guy’s left hand was an electrical plug. He said “Well, it’s supposed to be a video camera or something, but sure, it could be a plug.” Then I asked him what his other hand was, and he said “Well, I think that’s a different kind of video camera, but really it could be anything.” Then I “got” the character — he’s like a sentient surge-protector and you could, conceivably, attach any number of electronic devices to his cables. The satellite dish sprouting from his forehead seemed obvious enough, but I made the wrong guess about his other device, saying that it was a flat-screen monitor. Sam informed me that I was incorrect, and when I asked him what it was then he merely offered “Well, you know, extra face.” So there it is — Cable Guy’s extra face.

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16 Responses to “Sam, cartoonist”
  1. These are great; I think Plant Guy is my favorite too.

    P.S. Cable Guy’s extra face totally looks OBEY GIANT-y.

    • Todd says:

      That was unintentional — I assume that Cable Guy’s Extra Face is capable (or “cable-able”) of expressing many different emotions. In fact, now that I think of it, his Extra Face could be a kind of ironic counterpoint to whatever his Real Face is expressing, giving him a kind of Janus quality.

  2. Static Guy reminds me of the VB villain White Noise, the racist former man whose only exists as electricity in the present. Static Guy isn’t racist, right?

    (This begs a question about “parenting and VB” but we’ve gone that road before.)

    • Todd says:

      I haven’t yet gotten a clear answer from Sam whether these are all good guys or bad guys, but I’m reasonably sure that Electricity Guy isn’t a racist. In fact, I’d be willing to bet he’s AC/DC.

  3. eronanke says:

    It’s interesting the consortium of heroes that your son has created; two ‘hot’ elementals, and 3 (3!) heroes without natural arms.
    I think it may have to do with the concept of morality and humanity; they all, for example, have natural, (or normally shaped), heads. After all, a creature made entirely of electricity or fire need not have one unless they are taking on the appearance of a human or were human at one point.
    The fact that three heroes have no arms is interesting. I have no idea what that means – perhaps Sam equates super-powers with physicality; touching, lifting, etc differently than normal men.
    Finally, a question: Who is the guy hanging down from the top of the picture going ‘Hey’? He seems to be a tiny man partnered with a regular-sized man.

    • Todd says:

      I believe that’s a tiny man partnered with a regular-sized man. That turns up a lot in Sam’s superhero menageries — giants, regular-sized guys, then tiny guys, then microscopic guys you can’t even see, all saying “Hey!” I couldn’t see anything special about them except their irregular size so I’m awaiting further description of them.

      I’m not sure Cable Guy counts as “not having arms,” since he doesn’t have legs or a torso or a neck either.

      This is also, I might add, a relatively small sample pool — Sam produced eighteen or so characters in this one session alone, so many that some of them he can’t remember what they’re supposed to be, or wasn’t even considering what they might be when he drew them — more than once I’ve asked him what a guy is supposed to be and he says he doesn’t know, he just had an idea for a look.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Armless Guy

    Armless Guy doesn’t need to be blind to warrant that extra eye. Think of how useful it would be for seeing around corners and under people’s skirts. No wonder he’s smiling.

  5. planettom says:

    Inventor Guy may have gotten his block feet by, in his Origin Story, being fitted with cement shoes by the Mafia.

    They also disarmed him.

    Throwing him into the river, unfortunately for them but fortunately for him, it was teeming with electric eels, which gave him his electro-magnetic powers…

  6. faeryhead says:

    Your drawings are fun, but I have to say Sam sounds pretty darn awesome.

  7. monica_black says:

    Plant Guy reminds me a bit of Bushroot from the cartoon show Darkwing Duck

  8. binaisagnome says:

    Cable Guy’s face (no. 1) reminds me a lot of Patrick Stewart. It’s not just the baldness.

  9. Can we expect Sam to be filling in for you the entire duration of the Writers’ Guild strike? And does he know he’s a scab?

    Come to think of it, “Scab Man” could be pretty cool…

    • Todd says:

      Sam just got a series order from Adult Swim for Inventor Guy and the Other Heroes (working title). Being six, he’s ineligible for membership in the WGA anyway. They’re paying him in Star Wars action figures, which are more valuable than basic cable residuals anyway.

  10. night_spore says:

    I dunno about your interpretation of Cable Guy there, I see him more as a sort of super-spy what with all the video cameras. Sam’s pretty smart, you’d probably want one regular camera, and then maybe a thermal imaging or high speed camera. He photographs crime and then plugs into the internet to instantly upload his verite videos to the internet. Evil or good? Could go either way, depending on whether he wants to distribute information or sway opinions.

    Plant Guy is pretty cool, too. Obviously he is most effective against insect-based opponents.