Sunday, June 26, 2005

Built Like a Brick City

Return to Brick City!

Wherever it is....

The last in this series on the Forgotten Fictionopolises of the DCU is Brick City, former anti-crime arena for Black Lightning, part of DC's stable of solid secondary heroes, and the one of the few people to turn down membership in the JLA because they were "a bunch of jive turkeys". Indeed!

Brick City is the mysterious El Dorado of the DCU (uh, not the one from the Superfriends, who worked with Black Vulcan not Black Lightning, but that's another story). Thanks to an ambiguous introduction of BC, it's unclear whether it's a city or just a neighborhood. In the real world, it would have to be a nickname for a neighborhood; nobody would name a town "Brick City". For that reason alone, we should assume that in the DCU it's a city; DCU cities are almost always named something like "Simplistic Adjective City". Civic City, Central City, Coast City; Brick City.

Furthermore, it's unclear where in the U.S. Brick City might be and what its realworld analog is. St. Louis sometimes calls itself Brick City, but Black Lightning strikes me as a pretty firm northerner. Lots of people swear Brick City's in Ohio, but that's mostly Clevelanders trying to get themselves noticed. The Rap Dictionary (consult your own copy) lists Brick City as the nickname of Newark. Given that Black Lightning hung out in the east coast cities of Metropolis and Gotham, and that Brick City was portrayed as a wretched wasteland of poverty and crime, Newark as the real world analog of Brick City just plain feels right.

We didn't have much time to get to know Brick City, but its principal exports were despair, gang warfare, and malt liquor. Gotham's problem is it's so good everyone wants a piece of the pie; Hub City's problem is it's hopelessly corrupt; Vanity's problem is it's designed to attract evil; Brick City's problem is it's achingly poor. The simple honesty of that is, frankly, refreshing. Much of crime stems from poverty, the desperation it creates, and the damage it does to familial and societal structures. The other cities in the DCU can be hard to identify with, because, face it, you don't know anywhere quite like Metropolis or Gotham. If you've ever lived in a city with a ghetto, then you DO know a place like Brick City.

DC, bring back Brick City, home of poverty! Fighting Maggedon and Starro is all well and good, but shouldn't we have a place where there's a simple realworld enemy like hopelessness, impoverishment, and addiction? And who, Absorbascommenters should continue Black Lightning's fight there?


Benari said...

Who should continue Black Lightning's fight there? Black Lightning!

Scipio said...

Ha, agreed! But I'm assuming DC considers him "retired", as he keeps saying.

Damn fit looking for a former Cabinet member, though...!

Scipio said...


I guess that answers THAT question! LOL

Thanks, Tony!

Tegan O'Neil said...

Well, then how about a Howard the Duck / Black Lightning / American Splendor crossover?

Scipio said...

LOL, nice!

But I think that doesn't count, for two reasons.

1. Brick Township is okay; Brick City is something else!

2. I said 'in the real world'; that's in JERSEY.