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Comic Book / A God Somewhere

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"I had a dream the other night. Or maybe it was a memory. I was a god somewhere, in a another universe. A smaller universe. There were people there. I must have made them once a long time ago, but I didn't remember that part. They prayed a lot. I could do anything. But I already had. I was bored. I needed a bigger universe. Then I woke up in my bed. Pretty soon, though, I got to thinking about those little fellows, back in the other universe. They don't know I left. They could still be praying to me. I bet they can't even tell the difference."
Eric Forster

A God Somewhere is a 2010 graphic novel by John Arcudi and Peter Snejbjerg which deconstructs the idea of the real-life superhero. It tells the story of Eric Forster, who is discovered to be the first human being with superpowers after he survives an explosion in his apartment building. After using his new powers to rescue other survivors in full view of TV cameras, Eric becomes an immediate sensation. Things go downhill from there.

This graphic novel provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear if Eric is killed by the nuke because even his powers couldn't stop it, because he allowed it to happen for whatever reason, or even because he purposefully used it to commit suicide. Likewise, Sam is left unsure as to why Eric saves him from dying and does it in the specific way he does. Really, a lot of stuff about Eric after his powers manifest qualify; we're never really shown what he's thinking or his perspective on what's happening.
  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness: What precisely causes Eric to start seeing other humans as lesser and to become evil is left very fuzzy and unclear, as we never really get to see things from his perspective. He tries to explain it to Sam near the end, but it quickly becomes apparent that he can't get the point across. The story also leaves it ambiguous as to how much push Eric really needed to become a monster; even before he got powers, he was kind of a weird guy and already rather quick to jump to violence, if only in the defense of others.
  • Anachronic Order: The narrative is presented in a somewhat jumbled order, regularly jumping back and forth between four general time periods; Sam and Eric's time in high school and college, the days leading up to and after Eric gets his powers, the last year of Eric's rampage, and the year after Eric's death.
  • Asshole Victim: Deconstructed. Shortly after getting powers, Eric stops a pair of would-be spree killers in a shootout with the police, and the fact that they were evil ends up causing most people to overlook the needless brutality he uses in the process. Said brutality serves as one of the earliest hints of his onset madness. Later on, a few of Eric's victims are shown to be jerks, but not in anyway that justifies what he does to him, and the story portrays the idea that violence and cruelty becomes justified when done to the "right" targets as insane.
  • Beware the Superman: Eric becomes this for the United States after he goes berserk and tears through town after town for three years. He can't be stopped by anything but the most extreme weapons and certainly can't be bargained with. After a point, he seems to barely qualify as human anymore, certainly not in thought process.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Eric has been defeated, but he went on a rampage of death and destruction across the U.S. for three years before he was put down. The friends he left behind continue to be negatively affected by his actions; Alma, who was raped by Eric, suffers from PTSD and remains adverse to any physical contact from males, Hugh remains as a quadriplegic, and Sam abandons his journalism career.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The more Eric regards himself as a god, the more he takes a view of the rest of humanity as contemptible toys and decides to break them... and that's just the start.
  • Cain and Abel: Eric's Cain to Hugh's Abel. Though fortunately for Hugh, he doesn't end up getting killed.
  • Cape Punk: A classic example, twisting your typical superhero plot into a nightmarish horror story that explores the impact of a superhuman being on global society.
  • Category Traitor: He doesn't outright say it, but Kelvin is clearly implying this trope when he claims Sam always hangs out with white people and not "fellow brothers". Sam tries to act unmoved and intellectually knows the accusation is ridiculous, but is clearly bothered by it nonetheless.
  • Central Theme: Violence and how it changes people.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Lampshaded. The woman that Eric rescues on the night he gets his powers is later widowed because her husband just happened to be one of the soldiers sent to fight Eric in the final battle and was killed during it. She's shown in the epilogue to have written a book about her experiences and struggle to come to terms with the bizarre coincidence, while Sam is visibly unnerved by it.
  • Dark Messiah: Eric becomes this for a cult after his death who take on his appearance and commit brutality against others to emulate Eric's own vicious amorality.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In-Universe. Sam is immensely disturbed when his article about Eric's descent in madness ends up inspiring a cult/gang who somehow see his brutal and amoral behavior as something to aspire to.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: One of the major markers of Eric's descent into Beware the Superman territory is how he stops being jovial and funny and instead starts viewing everything with either stoic boredom or seething rage.
  • Evil is Petty: The moment it becomes clear just how well and truly insane Eric has become is when he gruesomely slaughters the soldiers imprisoning him and causes massive destruction in seeming retaliation for the former detaining him, despite being fully capable of just leaving whenever.
  • Flying Brick: Eric's basic power set, though he's more faking it through tactile telekinesis than actually being super durable.
  • For the Evulz: Sam repeatedly asks Eric why he's doing all these destructive things and acting so inhuman. The way Eric tries to describe makes it seem like he doesn't actually have much reason to his actions at all; he does these things just because he can do them, and sees doing them as no more pointless than not doing them.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of superhero comics, portraying a standard superhero origin as a horror story about a man becoming an inhuman monster who sees others as beneath him, while also gruesomely averting the No Endor Holocaust endemic to the genre and exploring the perspective of the family and friends of the superhuman as they watch him change.
  • A God Am I: Discovering his powers causes Eric to become more religious than he already was, believing he has been chosen to act as God's messenger in a manner reminiscent to the Biblical Samson or Jesus. This quickly develops into megalomania as Eric starts regarding himself as an actual god and decides that regular humans are far, far beneath him.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Sam never truly understands why Eric becomes evil, despite the latter making a real effort to explain it to him. The closest he ever comes is a brief feeling of blissful disconnect from the world as Eric flies him to safety before the military's final attack, but that's about it.]
  • Happily Married: Alma and Hugh are this at the start. After Eric cripples the latter and rapes the former? The relationship goes downhill, to put it mildly.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Eric and Sam are this at the start of stories, being best friends for years who love one another like brothers, to the point that Eric often seems more brotherly with Sam than with his actual biological brother. Even after Eric goes mad, Sam is just about the only person he never hurts and who he speaks to like an equal.
  • Implacable Man: Eric generally tears through whatever comes at him, to the point that only a military-issue laser cannon designed to kill him (and later, a pair of nukes) was the only thing shown to be able to do him harm.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: There's no explanation given for why Eric gets superpowers. He just does.
  • Innocent Bystander Series: While superhuman Eric is the focal point of the plot, the story is mostly conveyed from the perspective of the normal people around him and how they respond to his behavior.
  • Insult to Rocks: In their final encounter, Sam accuses Eric of seeing people as bugs. Eric responds that he finds bugs infinitely more fascinating and worthy of preservation than humans.
  • Looks Like Jesus: After getting his powers, Eric starts growing a beard and letting his hair grow out, leaving him looking a bit like a white, blond-haired Jesus; something that doesn't particularly help with his burgeoning messiah complex. Then it grows out even more, he begins braiding it, and his hair inexplicably starts turning white as if bleached, yet another unexplained aspect of his transformation, leaving him looking less like Jesus and more like stereotypical depictions of Zeus. A symbol of his change from a kindhearted Nice Guy to a brutal Blood Knight.
  • Mind over Matter: Eric's powers, while superficially Flying Brick in nature, turn out to actually be more like tactile telekinesis, which explains how Eric can control objects without touching them and render himself impervious to damage without the trappings of superhuman durability that would make soft human organs inoperable.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: The more Eric comes into his powers, the more he grows to seemingly despise humans as a whole, claiming to Sam that they're transparent, "ugly", and choose to make themselves miserable with sin when they can be truly happy.
  • Mook Horror Show: U.S. Soldiers are shown being torn apart, smashed, and ripped to shreds by Eric in gory detail.
  • Nice Guy: Eric before he gets his powers is one of the friendliest, most cheerful people around and an All-Loving Hero who never hesitates to help people in trouble. In a lot of respects, he's the kind of person you'd think would make a great superhero... until he actually becomes one.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Eric naturally creates a telekinetic "barrier" around himself, protecting him from physical damage. Emphasis on the "nigh" in this case; he is injured at various points by attacks he doesn't see coming like the military laser cannon.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Horrifically averted. The comic takes great care to show how much death and destruction comes from any display of violence, especially when superpowers are concerned... and while Eric initially makes a concerted effort to avoid such collateral damage, the more unhinged he becomes, the more he stops caring to even try.
  • Not So Stoic: Eric is mostly disturbingly calm and stoic after going insane and beginning his rampage and only loses his cool twice; a moment of rage where he rants at a group of soldiers for attacking him and freaking out when the laser cannon blasts his leg off.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In the final act, Eric becomes so powerful that he can lay waste to entire towns by himself. A government declaration was even ratified that the entire country would declare war against him as a national-level threat.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Eric's first act of villainy is raping his sister-in-law after brutally beating his brother.
  • Religious Bruiser: Eric is a religiously devout man prior to getting his powers and becomes even more so in the period just after he gets them. But then as he goes mad, this gets warped into an outright god complex in which he seems to stop worshiping anything other than himself.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The source of Eric's powers and the mysterious explosion that seemingly triggered them are never explained. We do get a possible explanation in the form of a dream (or maybe memory) that Eric describes having - in which he is a deity from another, smaller world who grows bored and decides to find a "bigger" world - but that's about it, and nothing is ever really confirmed. It's just something that happens.
  • Second-Hand Storytelling: Part of the idea of the story is that you don't see things from Eric's perspective; instead you see him and his actions from the view of those around him. As a result, quite a few things are more described or implied than actually seen.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Hugh and Eric have a very subdued one at the start, with Hugh being jealous of both Eric's life and Sam's close friendship with him, while Eric liked Alma back in high school and is implied to be jealous Hugh dated and married her first. It stops being subdued when Eric goes off the deep end by crippling Hugh and raping Alma in front of him.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: The first while after getting his powers, Eric is largely unchanged in terms of personality; he continues to be his usual friendly self and uses his powers to try and help people. But very gradually, he starts slipping further and further away from a standard human viewpoint and becomes increasingly amoral as he does so.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Eric realizing that the people he wants to save so desperately fear him because of his power is the moment he goes completely manic and decides to treat people as ants to be squashed under his whims. His first act was to cripple his brother Hugh and brutally rape Hugh's wife Alma.
  • Title Drop: The title comes from the start of Eric's monologue about a dream he had, saying that in the dream he was "a god somewhere".
  • Transhuman Treachery: One of the most horrifying examples put to paper. The more Eric comes into his superpowers, the more he stops thinking of himself as human. And the more he does that, the less hesitation he feels about treating the people around him like bugs to be stepped on.
  • Trauma Button: After being raped, Alma becomes adverse to being touched by any man, even ones she trusts like her husband. She's still struggling to overcome this years later in the epilogue.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eric is finally wounded once the military brings in a powerful laser canon. The moment the first shot tears his right leg apart he panics at feeling pain for the first time in a long time. The once near-invincible man is left crawling in fear and desperation as the soldiers blast him again and again.
  • What Is Evil?: When called out for raping his sister-in-law and crippling his brother, Eric justifies his actions by saying "Wrong is just a word people made up. It has nothing to do with the real world."
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The more of his power Eric manages to access, the more his sanity takes a downhill drop.