Staff Sgt. Mark Bennett's vision of a superhero came to him years before he brought the character to life in his first novel, Sunjata -- Book One: The Blood Wars.
"I loved comic books. I grew up in Brooklyn. There weren't many characters we could relate to," said Bennett, a computer instructor in the 447th Signal Battalion.
He preferred superheroes such as Batman who used their wits to fight villains with superpowers, but he never saw a black superhero.
"They were usually clean-cut with blond hair and blue eyes," he said.
He started writing his book in 2000, but the seeds of stories were planted years before that.
The 37-year-old has created a different type of hero.
"A person with a goatee and dreadlocks is usually negative," said Bennett, whose character, Sunjata, looks like that.
Not only is his appearance different from the usual superhero's but Sunjata also is an artist and a vegetarian.
"He's into meditation. He doesn't believe in weapons, but he uses his energy as a weapon. He combines his spirit with nature and makes his body become a spiritual weapon," said Bennett.
In many ways, Sunjata and Bennett are alike.
"He's what I'd like to be," said the staff sergeant, who at one time had dreadlocks like Sunjata's.
Despite being in the Army, Bennett doesn't like weapons, either.
"I know it's weird. I'm in the Army. I don't enjoy people getting shot and killed," he said.
The novel is the first of a planned trilogy.
Bennett will have a book-release party at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at Club Nightlife on Deans Bridge Road. The event will also feature poets, singers and a fashion show. Admission costs $5 in advance or $7 at the door.
His book is available online through major sellers such as www.amazon.com.
For more information about the release party, call Bennett at (706) 627-5108.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.