If Beethoven was ever red in the face, it was most likely the result of a backhand from his father. Beethoven Senior would beat his young son for a reason unimaginable in our time—the lack of greatness. Senior believed, deeply believed, that his young son was every bit the equal of Mozart who enthralled and delighted the courts of Europe less than a generation earlier. All that was required for the young Beethoven to equal and eventually surpass Mozart was the proper encouragement. Physical encouragement as far as Senior was concerned.
But Mozart had demonstrated his musical talent as early as age seven. So here was Beethoven Senior, claiming his 12 year old son was in fact nine, pleading the aristocracy of Europe to listen. And in his private time beating his son into genius.
The pettiness and mediocrity and myopia of Senior illustrates at least one point clearly—that genius has always been a problem. In our time, the problem of genius is slightly reversed. We’ve awoken in an age when genius is über-fashionable; it’s not the scarcity of genius that drives society, but its overabundance. It’s strange then, that in “Shot through the heart and who’s to blame?”, issue two of Red Hood & the Outlaws, creators Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort choose to tackle the problem of genius not only from our own historical perspective of overabundance, but from the point of view of scarcity as well.