The Mark Hamill Kick-Ass Superhero You’ve Never Heard Of

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Mark Hamill might be best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, but his real passion is comic books. Over the course of his storied career, Hamill has played several characters from both the DC and Marvel universes, belying the love he feels for the superhero genre. Hamill’s passion for comic books even led him to write his own, The Black Pearl, in the late ’90s.

The Black Pearl

the black pearl

Released in five parts through Dark Horse Comics between September 1996 and January 1997, The Black Pearl examined topics like media sensationalism and tabloid journalism through the lens of a traditional costumed vigilante story.

The story follows Luther Drake, a court reporter who routinely stalks an ex-pornstar named Tina, who lives nearby. Drake is following Tina one night when a pair of criminals attempt to abduct her.

Unconventional Hero

the black pearl

Luther is far from a hero and declines to get involved until one of the kidnappers pulls a gun. Fearing the object of his obsession is about to be shot, Luther steps in and scuffles with the gun-toting criminal. The thug is accidentally shot and killed during the struggle, causing Drake to flee.

A freelance crime photographer in the area takes a shadowy picture of Luther Drake’s back as he retreats. A scrap of Luther’s coat with a pearl-like button is found at the scene of the crime, and soon, the media dubs the mysterious man in the picture The Black Pearl.

A Howard Stern-type media personality builds up the idea of The Black Pearl in the public’s mind until the vigilante is suddenly the only thing anyone is talking about.

Mark Hamill’s Approach

Hamill and his cousin co-writer Eric Johnson treat The Black Pearl less like Batman and more like the vigilantes from Kick-Ass.

Luther is a regular schlub with no fighting skills. He relies on stolen chemicals rather than his fists to knock out his enemies, and his Black Pearl costume is made of items from an Army Navy surplus store.

Kickass Before Kickass


Despite the above comparison, The Black Pearl actually predates the “realistic super-hero” trend that Kick-Ass spawned by about a decade.

Hamill had originally conceived of The Black Pearl as a film but an inability to get the project made in that format led him to adapt it into a graphic novel first. Hamill hoped that the series might create enough buzz in the comic world that it would stir up interest in a movie version.

Obscure Title

the black pearl

Unfortunately, The Black Pearl is still an obscure title, and Hamill has so far been unable to get the story on the big screen.

The actor made a formal announcement at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival that he had secured a budget of  $7 million for a film version of The Black Pearl with himself as the director.

In the fourteen years since his Cannes announcement, Hamill’s star has only risen thanks to the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and yet there have been no new developments as far as the movie is concerned.

Mark Hamill No Longer With The Chance?

star wars

Likewise, superheroes have been dominating Hollywood for the last decade. If Hamill were going to get an indy comic book movie made it would seem like now would be the time. Sadly, much like another famous Black Pearl, that ship has apparently sailed.

As it is, The Black Pearl stands as an interesting little footnote in Hamill’s long and prosperous career.