Dave Lizewski – “I’m the guy with the electrodes attached to his testicles.”
Most superheroes have a tragic defining moment which takes them from an ordinary Joe into a Mr Hero in less time that it takes for the Hulk to rip his shirt.Of course most superheroes live in a world filled with other super beings and so their transformation is not something unexpected or out of the ordinary.Sure being bombarded with cosmic rays or being bitten by a radioactive spider is a little bit different, but when you live in a world of gods and monsters, it’s kind of par for the course.For Dave Lizewski the idea of dressing up in spandex and fighting crime was something which he dreamt about, because in his world superheroes only existed within the pages of a comic-book or on a movie screen; well that was until he decided to change things a little.
Published by Marvel Comics under the imprint of Icon, Kick-Ass was a story created by Mark Millar and John Romita JR that told the tale of high school student Dave Lizewski and his transformation into superhero, Kick-Ass.The great thing about Dave was that he was an ordinary kid, he wasn’t particularly popular at school, he was a bit geeky and he spent his night playing online games and talking to his mates on MSN.Dave also loved comics and so he spent a lot of his time imagining what it would be like to suit up and head into the night to take on some lowlife scum dressed as a costumed crime-fighter.He also had no luck with the ladies and had pretended to be gay in order to get closer to a girl he was in love with, even though this was never going to make her love him.Frankly Dave was just the same as everybody else and so would fade out of existence from time to time just like all of his other ‘non-popular’ classmates.However where Dave differed from his classmates was that he didn’t just imagine a life where he was someone special, he actually made it happen by becoming a superhero, after buying an outfit on EBay.From that point on Dave’s life became more hectic as he discovered that having a double identity whilst playing at being a hero could be more trouble than it was worth.The thing about being a hero in a comic is that you usually get given a special power, or at least spend years developing skills to make yourself the best of the best.Dave didn’t do any of that, and instead was still just a kid in a costume fighting crime, he had a feel of Peter Parker about him, but generally Dave was just like any normal kid trying to be someone else.
As Dave’s story developed he clearly started to get in over his head with all the crime fighting and that’s when he met two characters who had taken the idea of becoming costumed superheroes a little too far.Dave may have been the first to put super heroics into action, but he soon inspired others, including the father daughter team of Big Daddy and Hit Girl.Daddy was a man very committed to his cause, only like everything in reality the truth behind that cause was obscured by a touch of fantasy.As for Hit Girl, she was a pint-sized tyke who had no problems about slicing and dicing her enemies and had a mouth on her that would have made a sailor blush.The two together were more than Dave had bargained on and it was the beginning of a tough ride for his alter-ego Kick Ass as they got him deeper into the murky world of tackling organised crime.By the end of his encounter with the pair, and his friendship with another superhero wannabe the Red Mist, Dave had seen what it was truly like to be a hero in a world where superheroes don’t really exist.
Although things got more than a little brutal for Dave in Kick-Ass, writer Mark Millar was able to keep the story working perfectly by taking all the typical comic-book conventions and geek out moments expected from the genre and then applying them to a contemporary setting.This was a world where superheroes are made or broken on YouTube and are contacted by members of the public via MySpace.In the modern world of superheroes it’s not just a case of having the good guys fight crime it’s now about making it all seem plausible.So Millar made sure that Kick-Ass fitted in with that idea and also made sure he couldn’t just do things that weren’t achievable by everyone else.So Kick-Ass couldn’t leap across buildings like Batman or Spidey because in reality the distance between them was too far and when taking on a gang of bad guys who clearly outnumbered him, he had his ass handed to him.After all this was supposed to be a story about an ordinary guy, and so that’s what happens when you’re nothing special you get the crap kicked out of you.This also led to a lot of comedy that would come from such situations and it strangely (yet perfectly) complemented the harsh reality of seeing gangs mutilated and blood splattered practically everywhere.This suited the pencils of co-creator John Romita JR who could control each panel with ease whilst giving readers all the brutality they needed to match the situation. The combined talent of Millar and JR JR made Kick-Ass not just an interesting read but also another great chapter in modern superhero stories.Dave’s journey had all the imagination and excitement expected from an origin story yet never became predictable; meaning it pretty much kicked ass!
ASS ME A QUESTION: *Prior to Kick-Ass launching as a series, a charity auction was held to name the main character’s secret identity.Dave Lizewski won the auction and so decided (and rightly so) to name the character after himself.
*Writer Mark Millar has written numerous fan-favourite stories including Superman: Red Son for DC and Civil War for Marvel.He teamed up with Bryan Hitch on The Ultimates, Marvel’s ‘Ultimate Universe’ take on The Avengers and also created Wanted, which was turned into a (so-so) film in 2008 starring Angelina Jolie.
*John Romita JR is (not surprisingly) the son of artist John Romita.JR JR as he’s often known has worked on most Marvel characters including Punisher, Hulk, X-Men and Iron Man.He’s arguably most famous for working on The Amazing Spider-man.
*Kick-Ass makes numerous references to comics and comic-book films from Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men to Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).There is also a discussion on Galactus’ appearance (or lack of) in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).
*When Kick-Ass realises that jumping across rooftops is too dangerous he says, “Fuck this. I’m walking”, and takes the stairs.
*A Kick-Ass movie directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Aaron Johnson as Kick-Ass and Nicholas Cage as Big Daddy released in 2010.