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The Man in the Machine

Hardware - Comic Review

Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan's Hardware (1993) is my favorite comic of all time. With that being said I thought it would be fitting to make this my first Black History Month review.

Hardware was the first title launched by Dwayne McDuffie under Milestone Media, a comic book company financed by DC and dedicated to bringing minorities to the forefront. Icon, Static, and Blood Syndicate would soon follow, but alas Hardware started it all.

Hardware tells the story of genius inventor Curtis Metcalf as he takes vengeance against his boss Edwin Alva after being refused royalties on his many inventions that have earned the company billions. Metcalf is angry. So much so that chapter one is literally titled "Angry Blackman". Metcalf is angry because he's hit a glass ceiling. Despite everything he's done to get to where he is, in the eyes of Alva he is still nothing. The rage is understandable. Being a black man myself I find it frustrating that despite all of my achievements I am still largely disrespected and viewed as a criminal by society. But enough about that. Let's get back to Mr. Metcalf. Writer Dwayne McDuffie creates a multilayered black man who may not be able to break that corporate ceiling, but instead can shatter cultural stereotypes in comics. Metcalf is brilliant and he knows it. Unlike many black heroes he has no criminal record, no kingdom, no hip hop influence, and no pro sports background (I'm looking at you Mosaic...). He's simply an intelligent man who has been wronged. An intelligent man who uses the very technology he developed for his employer to take him down from the inside.

Hardware is an excellent, highly recommended read with exceptional art by Denys Cowan. Thank you for creating this character Mr. McDuffie. May you rest in peace.


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