Monday, January 11, 2010

Comics That Deserve Greater Recognition Pt1

Today we'll be talking about comics that are a bit off the beaten path - ones that I think are worth recognizing as fun, light stuff that you don't get to see much from the "Big Two" with their increasingly dark and dreary storytelling.

First up is Thom Zahler's Love and Capes which recently put out it's first TPB that I managed to pick up - and let me tell you, that was a great buy.

The story is fairly simple - Mark is an accountant, whom also happens to be the superhero Crusader, who happens to be dating independent small bookstore owner Abby. Together, they manage a relationship which isn't easy filled as it is with an Amazon Ex-girlfriend, secrets, and the occassional threat to the planet.

Zahler's high concept is simple enough, and while I've become quite jaded towards analogoues, there are enough differences in both concept and personality (for example Batmanesque Darkblade is light-hearted and snarky, but a genuinely good friend to Mark) that it never seems that derivative or cliche. What you get is a lighthearted comedy that centers first and foremost on the characters; whether it's Mark's bouts of jealousy of other heroes (it seems that everyone has a movie out about them except him) or Abby's everyday insecurities (her business woes, trying her hand at acting, and of course, familial problems galore), the story focuses on how Mark and Abby as a couple gel. Thaler gives them an adorable chemistry - they are both very falliable, but never unlikable.

Thaler's art is also a nice treat - while exaggerated it's never cartoony, and the characters all have unique and immediately recognizable characteristics and expressions. He also excels in slight visual humor gags - such as the running coffee gag or Abby's post-flight hair.

I highly recommend this series for people who want a break from down and dreary heroics. And for people who like to see superhero relationships that work.

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