* NOTE - Because of last week's glitch this week's Wednesday Webcomic Weview will feature two comics - the scheduled review of Something Positive will be posted later this evening. *
Where do Superheroes and Supervillians alike go to spend their golden years? Why, Valhalla of course - Home for the Supertired, and setting for today's comic The SuperFogeys.
SuperFogeys is one of those rare cases where the premise alone was enough to get me interested. I've read my share of superhero comics like most geeks, and I've worked as a nursing assistant in "adult care facilities" - how could I not relate to a combination of the two? I did have a slight fear, however, that the whole thing would be nothing but a slapstick mess. Happily, my fears were never realized. In many ways the writing reminds me of those earlier superhero comics; peppered with foreshadowing, character associations, and flashbacks; but with a much appreciated dose of humor. While many of the jokes are spurred by depreciating powers and advancing age, I never get the feeling that they're dependant on them. The punchlines are appropriate for the characters they frame and not at their expense.
SuperFogeys is only 70 strips in, which is early in the plot development stage for this one. It isn't dragging by any means, but the nature of the characters practically demanded that they be introduced before they played their parts for the collected audience. Atypical characters require set-up, a fact the creator clearly understood, and artfully executed. No boring bios here - you're introduced to the characters in a playful manner, allowing you to settle into the plot lightheartedly.
The artwork is absolutely enjoyable. It would have been easy for a lesser artist to over-emphasize the physical aspects of age for comedic effect, but just as the other potential pitfalls were avoided, this one was dodged as well. Line variation and subtle touches add depth to each panel without distracting the eye, and the colors chosen round out the feel of the comic rather nicely. Backgrounds are simple but more than adequate, giving a full sense of scene without pulling the eye from the characters. There's a great deal of variation between the characters - no chance of getting one character confused with another should they suddenly change hair styles. To quickly garner an appreciation for the artist's skill, take a look at the amazing detail of Comic 52, absolutely beautiful.
Created by Brock Heasley, The SuperFogeys was picked up as an exclusive earlier this year by Th3rdworld Studios. As such, I'm not terribly sure if he has any control over the website at all. Nevertheless, it bears mentioning that while the website is very clean and certainly functional, I just don't like it very much. There's a big numerical block in between the navigation buttons and the comic that stands as an archive, and the menu links all lead to th3rdworld items rather than anything specific to the comic you're actually trying to read. The strip is also available over at Pixelstrips, but it's much of the same there. Syndication is generally a good thing, especially in terms of marketing and reach, so a creative approach to offering those items fans look for is in order - adding an About Me, FAQ, and/or Extras section to the MySpace group for example would be a welcomed addition.
Petty spoiled bitching aside, head on in and smell the ointment. Now if I could just find one of those damn space pigs...