The Meteor Man (1993)

Rated PG

Starring: Robert Townsend, Eddie Griffin, James Earl Jones and Bill Cosby

Rated: PG Action/Comedy/Fantasy

Set in an urban neighborhood in Washington, D.C., The Meteor Man is centered around Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend).  An elementary educator, he teaches with his good friend, Michael Anderson (Eddie Griffin).  Unfortunately, his community is plagued by The Golden Lords, a local gang led by Simon (Roy Fegan), and Anthony Byers (Frank Gorshin), a drug kingpin.

After escaping from an incident with members of The Golden Lords, Jefferson is hit by a meteorite, leaving him critically injured.  A part of the meteorite is found by Marvin (Bill Cosby), a vagrant who adds it to his collection of items in his cart.  However, when he awakens in the hospital days later, it is discovered that he has been completely healed.

Before long, Jefferson discerns that the meteorite has gifted him with superpowers including flight; increased hearing, speed and strength; invulnerability; telepathy; telekinesis; weather manipulation and x-ray vision.  He decides to use his new powers to protect and build the community.  Donning a costume that his mother, Maxine (Marla Gibbs), made, he is very successful in his efforts.  He even brokers a truce between law enforcement and several gangs who combine their efforts to improve their neighborhoods.

However, Jefferson soon discovers the side effects of the meteorite, including that his powers are beginning to weaken.  When The Golden Lords learn of his identity and source of invincibility, they increase their attacks and thuggish behavior.

What is Jefferson to do … and is protecting and serving his community worth it?

The Meteor Man was panned by critics but loved by audiences, especially those who could relate to the crisis experienced by Jefferson and other residents in their neighborhood.  Violence and drugs plagued many African-American communities at this time and though the theme of this type of person, a superhero, may seem farfetched, at best, it inspired viewers that the community, full of ordinary people, could save itself.

The film was nominated for “Best Science Fiction” Saturn Award of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. 

A limited, 6-issue comic series of The Meteor Man was also released by Marvel Comics in 1993.  Inspired by the character created by Robert Townsend, who also wrote, directed and produced The Meteor Man, the series was co-written by Bert B. Hubbard and Dwight D. Coye.  It was illustrated by Robert Walker and Jon Holdredge.

Also released that year was The Meteor Man soundtrack on the Motown label. It contained songs from the R&B, hip-hop and funk genres.  Artists who contributed to the soundtrack included Shanice Wilson, Ahmad, Hi-Five, Keith Washington and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

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