Summary: What if you can leap tall buildings and defeat alien monsters with your bare hands, but you buy your capes at secondhand stores and have a weakness for kittens? Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks brings charming humor to the trials and tribulations of a young, female superhero, battling monsters both supernatural and mundane in an all-too-ordinary world.
A lighthearted twist on the superhero genre!
The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks 8.0
Reading ‘Friends With Boys‘ made me curious about Faith Erin Hicks. I knew nothing about her, but I really liked her book, the true-to-life slice that she put to the page. It was real, it was grounded, and yet it was also entertaining – a rare feat.
So I requested all of her works from my library. Or, at least, the ones they have – which unfortunately, was not a whole lot. I got most of them quickly enough, but the one that really caught my attention was ‘The Adventures of Superhero Girl’.
The title isn’t especially compelling, but I loved the format of the book, which was reminiscent of the 1.85:1 ratio of most modern motion pictures. The cover art was also beautifully-rendered and suggested something quirky and fun.
‘The Adventures of Superhero Girl’ might seem to be a parody of superhero comics, but it’s not exactly that: it takes the type of real-life problems that Peter Parker faced in the original ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ comics, and tweaks them for modern audiences.
In effect, ‘Superhero Girl’ is an ironic take on these same concerns, based on today’s realities and from a female perspective: its protagonist, the titular Superhero Girl is a delightful young woman who wants to carve her own path.
Although she has a mysterious history, she comes from a family of superheroes, broke out on her own after a stint as a side-kick, and is an earnest do-gooder. Too bad her student grant ran out and she’s forced to find a job to pay her rent.
To make matters worse, she is overshadowed by her superhero brother, Kevin, who caters to an adoring public. She is also hassled by her arch-nemesis Shaun, the eccentric King Ninja (and his horde of ninjas) and all sorts of silly villains.
Oh, what will Superhero Girl do?
What’s terrific about this book is that it’s designed so that each page is a self-contained strip, but it also ties into the previous and subsequent pages (at least for the most part). This means that the book can be read in small bursts or in one sitting equally.
It’s very well-conceived.
And the artwork is eye-tastic. I liked Hicks’ artwork in ‘Friends With Boys, but it’s enhanced here by the inking and the gorgeous colours that Cris Peters lavished it with. Printed on glossy paper, each page pops out at you in the most pleasing way.
Honestly, I loved everything about this strip: the characters are quirky and fun, the misadventures are realistic but droll, and the main character is so adorable that you wish that there was a Superhero Girl out there in the world.
I look forward to more of her adventures.