Supurbia Is The Superhero Comic We've Been Waiting For
Supurbia, a new comic from Boom! is written by Bleeding Cool contributor Grace Randolph. It is edited by Matt Gagnon who is editing the Avengefuls books I am writing for Boom! – who are also publishing them. So this thing has conflict of interest written all over it.
Well balls to that. I've never met a conflict of interest I haven't run towards with open arms grinning inanely. This is a fantastic comic, both in itself and what it could mean the the rest of the superhero genre and I'm going to tell you why.
It's being sold as a superhero version of Desperate Housewives, and I can see why they've done that, it's an easy, appealing hook to some, but they're wrong. This is Squadron Supreme. But, you know, better.
The book concentrates on the partners of superheroes – male and female – and the way they interact with their very literal better halves, all living in a small suburban close, keeping the secret from the rest of the world. In that respect, it's closer to Weeds in the community and characters it shows. And it's funny, oh how it's funny. Not in a bwa-ha-ha fashion, no one tells a joke, there are no pratfalls, there are no one-punches. Instead, there is the juxtaposition between superlife, mundanity and how the two actually mix well, without the standard Incredibles tropes.
And, as with all good superhero takes on other existing genres, it's all about turning subtext into text, exaggerating character aspects through the superhero meme. So someone with a murky past, used to be a supervillain. Those who hang around with their sidekicks instead of the wife, are up to a lot more. Macho alpha male posturing has other connotations when one of them is a god. Superhearing means gossip spreads quickly. Overpowering parents expect a lot from their children when one is a warrior princess – and its a lot to live up to. This book is rich, it is full, it is far more than one idea done well which is often the case with these superhero high concept books, it's about twenty ideas, done brilliantly, and all expertly slotted in together. And all these actions could be played for yuk yuks, here we see their tragic consequences played out on the people around them in a very understandable fashion.
Russell Dauterman creates a very interesting world. It's soft and undulating, it bounces, letting Gabriel Cassandra's shifting pallette through, full of sunshine light above, dark blue shadows below and a twilight inbetween. Every house is distinctly different, reflecting the inhabitants of each. These are places, not backgrounds, and the book does a fine job in convincing us that they are real.
I have been criticial of some of Grace's comics work before. I thought her Muppets work was substandard – especially in contrast to Roger Langridge's work on the characters. Clearly Muppets were not her thing.
If you liked what Fantastic Four, Squadron Supreme, Marvelman, Watchmen, Astro City, Top Ten and The Authority did to superheroes… well, why not come by for the next chapter? Few retailers will have ordered enough. Get them to secure your copy now.
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