Invincible is the story of Mark Grayson, an average teenage boy who father happens to be the, essentially, Superman. When Mark, as an effect of puberty, starts developing powers of his own, he begins a superhero career with the approval of his father as the teenage hero “Invincible”. Teaming up with a group of like minded young heroes, one of which turns out to be a clasmate at his school, the book follows Mark’s school, family and professional life.

Two things struck me about Invincible, the first, is how incredibly obvious the premise seems once you’ve heard it; yet nobodys done it before. This is a sign of brilliance: to create something out of wholecloth that’s never been done and yet seems so obvious and natural.

The second thing is how lacking in angst the book is. Superhero books have hit a new degree of angst lately, and it’s shocking to see how innocent, how pure this book is, without the need for any wink wink meta-aspect. This is virtually unheard of in today’s comic scene.

The book, intentionally or not, seems to reject the modern trend found in Avengers Disassembled and Identity Crisis, among others books, when Mark askes his fellow hero to be hush hush with his secret identity. “You never know when a hero turns out to be the next big supervillian.” He says. “That only hapens in comic books,” the friend replies.

If you’re one of those people who complains that superhero comics aren’t fun anymore, this book is for you. It reminds me a great deal of the innocent, yet intelligent, fun in Scott Mccloud’s classic 80s series, ZOT!

The art is both excellent and unique, and complements the story well.

Volumes Reviewed: 1
Publisher: Image
Authors: Robert Kirkman and Cory Walke

Tom Strong

Today I’m reviewing a book by Alan Moore. Moore is often recognised at one of the greatest auteurs to every work in the comics industry. Words like “genius” and “brilliant” are often applied to his stuff. In his mainstream comic work, Moore tends to combine pulp low brow entertainment with high brow pretentions. He’s been credited with introducing postmodernism to the comic form. Using Tom Strong as an example, allow me to explain.

Tom Strong is the story of a Doc Savage type adventure hero, the kind that dominated early science fiction pulps. Tom Strong is also a simulation of a long running american artifact; it’s a fake long running comic book.

Many stories are told in a clean, modern style. But when they flash back to Tom’s previous adventures in different era’s ,Moore does pastiches of older comic forms.

We get a 1920s crime adventure, a 40’s WWII story, a 50’s horror comic, a 70s radical feminist adventure, a victorian illustrated short story, and more. Each story reflects different eras in American culture. The 1920s adventure, for example, uses an incorrect scientific concept, phlogesten, , specifically known to be wrong today. In the modern day storyline, we get lines such as “You know, science eventually proved phlogesten didn’t exist, but we both know it did back then.”

Moore exhibits many writing tricks on the book, from flashback stories within stories, eight page adventure shorts, sequences done in incongruent or contradictory styles, and more. For example, one story is told in the form of a collectable trading card set, and one simulates a Tom Strong hanna barbara cartoon. Moore also recreates some classic Superhero comic tales, such as Crisis on Earth 2, classic Captain Marvel adventures, and more.

The art, by Chris Sprouse, is exceptional, and a variety of guest artists do pastiche sequences that add the postmodern collage effect of the book. Moore has no trouble finding great artists, he’s hot stuff in the intelligent comic world.

Unless you’re allergic to all things retro, check out Tom Strong. I’m certainly glad I did.

Publisher: America’s Best Comics (DC Comics)
Authors: Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse, and others
Volumes Reviewed: 5+

The Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi

For those not in the know, doujinshi is the japanese word for amateur or fan comic. Don’t let the term fool you, though it may be an unapologetic example of copyright infringement, The Powerpuff Girl’s Doujinshi is a professional quality comic, far better than than many titles to be found at your local comic book store. Continue reading “The Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi”